MY TURN: Machine Embroidery Blog Hop and GIVEAWAY with Anita Goodesign Fantasy Birds


Happy Blog Hop, my fellow machine embroiderers!  Today it's MY turn to strut my feathers in the week-long Spring Machine Embroidery Blog Hop hosted by SewCalGal and I Have a Notion, and sponsored by the embroidery digitizing gurus of Anita Goodesign
 
I suggest that you get up right now and go to the bathroom, and then get situated with a cup of coffee and maybe even some snacks.  This is going to be one of those blog posts that rivals Tolstoy's War and Peace (in length and wordiness, if not in literary genius), but unlike War and Peace, my lengthy post will at least be broken up with lots and lots of PICTURES. 

NOTE: Those of you who soldier through this entire post will be rewarded with multiple chances to win the Special Edition design collection of your choice, valued at $99.95, from our generous sponsor, Anita Goodesign.  I am not going to tell you how to enter the giveaway until the end, though -- I'm gonna make you work for it!  ;-)
 
Tutorial Photo of Appliqued Quilt Block Technique
I was delighted when I was invited to participate in this hop even before I knew who the sponsor was, but when I found out it was Anita Goodesign, I was delighted!  I attended an all-day embroidery seminar with Anita Goodesign at my local Bernina dealer's shop several years ago, and not only was I wowed by their beautiful, high-quality designs (yep, I spent lots of $$ that day), but I was also impressed by the extent to which these folks work to make their designs and projects as accessible and hassle-free to home embroiderers as they possibly can.  In fact, despite how ornate and elaborate many of their projects and designs appear, Anita Goodesign is actually one of the best digitizers for those who are brand new to machine embroidery.  These collections are all designed with projects in mind, thoroughly tested so the designs work perfectly in the project application, and each collection comes with thorough instructions.  My Fantasy Birds collection came with a 72-page, full color PDF tutorial that thoroughly explains all aspects of the project from stabilizing your fabric all the way through assembly and the final binding stitches.  The tutorial PDF includes scores of full color photographs like the one above to guide you every step of the way.  All the guesswork and confusion is eliminated, and even beginners can easily achieve professional results.  I have not seen any other company do this, and it's a huge value add.
 
48" x 48" Fantasy Birds Tiled Quilt Project in Silk Dupioni
I chose to showcase Anita Goodesign's Fantasy Birds Special Edition Collection because this tiled quilt project is a perfect example of an embroidery project that looks impressive and intimidating, but is actually easy to create if you read through the tutorial PDF and follow the instructions.  Always keeping novices in mind, Anita Goodesign includes three different sizes of each design as well as mirror images of each design, so you don't need to have embroidery software in order to create the project, and there is a version of every design that will fit the hoop of any home embroidery machine without resizing.  (However, just in case a customer who doesn't own software wishes to tweak the size of these designs, Anita Goodesign includes a resizing program on the CD as an extra bonus). This collection allows even embroiderers with smaller hoops to achieve impressive, large scale designs by splitting the larger rectangular designs into two separate appliqued quilt block designs that fit together perfectly when seamed together.  How cool is that? 
 
Not only do I love the concept behind this design collection; I also really love the way these designs combine very realistically digitized birds with fanciful, stylized Jacobean floral and botanical motifs, amost as if a real bird flew in the window and alighted on an embroidered fabric branch.  I knew I would have fun playing around with that.  This time I'm using brighter jewel tones for the Jacobean floral motifs, but next time it would be fun to do the birds in full color but do the Jacobean motifs in grayscale.
 
The original project I had planned for this blog hop was a 16" x 78" quilted table runner using all four of the large rectangular bird designs as well as four smaller square bird designs, with the blocks laid out as you see them in the image at left.  Except, as great as I think the split bird block designs are for making the designs accessible to every home embroiderer, I'm not every home embroiderer -- I'm a home embroiderer who recently spent a good chunk of change on a fancy Bernina 750QE machine and a snazzy Jumbo Hoop to go with it, primarily because I have always longed to be able to embroider large, beautiful embroideries all in one hooping.  I am also a home embroiderer who has invested in the v6 Bernina Designer Plus Embroidery Software, and I almost NEVER stitch out a stock embroidery design without tweaking it in my software first.  No way was my first big embroidery project with the new machine going to have seams running right through the middle of the birdies!
 
So my grand plan was to stitch the square birdie blocks at the ends the way they were digitized, as applique blocks, but to sew out the larger bird designs seamlessly in my Jumbo Hoop.  In addition to the 25 quilt block designs in 3 sizes that are appliqued and embroidered in the hoop, Anita Goodesign also includes 48 individual embrodery designs from those blocks with the collection, each in 3 different sizes -- and including the four large bird and flower designs WITHOUT the split, in 3 different sizes, as shown below: 
 
Individual Blue Jay Design from Fantasy Birds Collection
The largest size of these individual designs is 6.75" x 11.75", so I planned to enlarge them in my Bernina software to fill the sewing field of my Jumbo Hoop, which is a little over 8" x 15" on a 7 Series machine (you can sew a design up to 10 1/4" x 15" on a Bernina 830 with the Jumbo Hoop due to the longer free arm on that machine).
 
Here's what this design looked like when I opened it up in my Bernina software, after enlarging it but making no other changes:
 
 
My Fantasy Birds look pretty ugly, don't they? That's because I imported the design in the commercial format EXP, which doesn't contain any information about thread colors so the software assigns colors randomly.  Bernina software will save an EXP design with an additional two files -- one contains the thread color information, and the other is an image file of the embroidery, like an icon.  If this was a simple two or three color monogram, I'd leave the design the way it was and disregard the colors shown at the machine during stitchout, but with a design of this complexity it's very easy to get confused about which color is going where and which portion of the design is stitching next -- I wanted to work out the colors ahead of time and have the correct color numbers displayed on my sewing machine's screen for each color change.
 
So my next order of business was to go through the thread chart for this design in my software and individually assign each of the Madeira rayon embroidery thread colors specified by Anita Goodesign for this design.  There are only 13 thread colors in the design, but there are 34 color changes in order for each component of the embroidery to stitch out in the correct sequence.  Although Anita Goodesign specifies Madeira thread, I already own almost every color Isacord makes and I wanted to use what I had on hand.  So, once I had manually entered the Madeira colors, I simply chose "Isacord 40 Numerical" from the drop-down menu, clicked "Match and Assign All" and, in seconds, all of my thread colors had converted automatically to the equivalent thread colors in Isacord polyester embroidery thread.  No need to hunt down a thread color conversion chart online or try to match up the colors manually!
 
I still wasn't finished with the software stage yet -- I spent another hour or so playing around with different thread colors for the Jacobean floral portions of the design.  I left the blue jays alone because I loved how realistic they looked and didn't want to mess that up, but I wanted to do something brighter and more vibrant with the "fantasy" part of the design, so the flowers wouldn't blend into the background as much and so the design would coordinate better with the assortment of silk remnants in my fabric stash.  This is what I finally came up with:
 
 
By this point, I was really getting really excited about the project!  I put my son Lars, the best 12-year-old embroidery assistant ever, to work digging through five large bins of embroidery thread until he had located all of the appropriate thread colors and lined them up for me in stitch order. (This task was assigned to him as penance for falling asleep with silly putty in his bed a few nights ago.  Laundry will be EXTRA fun this week!) 

So I was ready to start embroidering, and I was going to start with this blue jay design! I knew it would take awhile to stitch out, and I figured I could use that time to enlarge and edit stitch colors for the subsequent designs.  I had assembled all of my supplies and notions, cut out Jumbo Hoop sized pieces of silk fabrics, and prepared my fabric pieces as per Anita Goodesign's tutorial instructions. 
 
Silk Dupioni (above), My Kravet Glittered Silk Shantung (below)
My base fabric is a gorgeous, very unusual glitter-embellished 100% silk shantung drapery remnant from Kravet -- the pattern is called Sparkle, the colorway is Ivory, and it retails for a sickening $121 per yard.  I have several odd-sized scrap pieces of this fabric that were left over from one of my interior design clients' projects several years ago, and I have been saving them just for a special project like this! 
 
Silk shantung is a lightweight, flimsy silk that is similar to the silk dupioni that Anita Goodesign used for their quilt samples, except that it's a bit more refined, with a smoother surface, a tighter weave, and a much less pronounced slubbed texture than what is characteristic of silk dupioni, as you can see in the photo above.  So I thought it best to follow Anita Goodesign's recommendations for stabilizing my silk for these dense designs.  I fused Pellon Ultra Weft interfacing to the reverse side of my silk first.  Then I cut a piece of plain cotton muslin large enough to fit comfortably in my Jumbo Hoop, and adhered a piece of Pacesetter Midweight Tearaway embroidery stabilizer to the back of the muslin with my 505 spray adhesive.  I then sprayed the top of the muslin with 505 and adhered that to my interfaced silk.  Finally, I spray-starched the right side of my silk with Niagara Original spray starch.  My fabric sandwich was as crisp as cardstock when I hooped all of my layers.  I intended to use my sewing machine's hoop basting feature to secure all four layers around the perimeter of the hoop prior to stitching, but alas, I could not find the screen with that option, and I was impatient about getting started...
 
Well, I plugged that USB stick into my sewbaby, opened up my design, attached my hoop, and pressed the start button -- and almost fell on my ass when I saw that the estimated stitching time was 220 minutes.  I grabbed a calculator to check my math -- yep, this baby was going to take almost four HOURS to sew out, not counting the additional time involved in rethreading and trimming jump stitches between color changes, or the time I'd spend removing stabilizer and cleaning up the completed embroidery design once it had finished.  Eek! 

My enlarged design was 13 1/4" x 7 3/4", had 69,639 stitches, and was going to burn through an estimated 161 meters of bobbin thread and 4-6 hours of my time.  And, considering that it was already 5 PM on Tuesday evening when I made this discovery, I realized that not only would I be unable to complete my entire table runner project for this post, I wasn't even going to be able to sew out the entire first design in one evening.  Dinner and bed time stories with my children trump sewing projects any day in the week.  So I embroidered about half of the design after I put the kids to bed on Tuesday night, and when I stopped at 11 PM I put my sewing machine in Eco Mode to conserve power while ensuring I could pick up right where I left off on Wednesday morning. 
 
Finally, around 2 PM yesterday, my blue jay design had finally finished stitching:
 
Ta Da!
 
Well, I now truly appreciate the value of owning a machine that can embroider up to 1,000 stitches per minute.  Even if my old Artista 200E/730E could have embroidered a design this size (which it couldn't), at its maximum embroidery speed of 680 stitches per minute it would have taken approximately FIVE hours and forty minutes to stitch this design.  (I've been practicing Pre Algebra with Lars -- this would make a good word problem for him!)  Uff da!  Clearly, a large, densely-embroidered quilt project like this is a major time commitment, not the quilt-in-a-day scenario I had envisioned.  After all, other than embroidered quilt labels, occasional monogram projects, and quilting "in the hoop" with speedy outline quilting designs, I really don't have much embroidery experience, and I've certainly never tackled any designs of this size before.
 
I really love how beautifully this design stitched out, and I'm looking forward to continuing my project.  Above are some of the other silk fabrics I'm considering for borders and/or for the appliqued fabric strips on the smaller blocks.  Wouldn't it be fun to cut out the big butterfly from that silk Robert Allen print and fuse it into this design as an applique, secured by satin stitching? 
 
After unhooping the design, I carefully tore away most of the tearaway stabilizer.  Then I sat down with a bright Ott light and tweezers and painstakingly removed the stabilizer from all of the nooks and crannies.  Next, with a duck-billed applique scissors for safety and holding my breath the entire time, I trimmed away most of the cotton muslin fabric from the back of the design, as though the muslin was a cutaway stabilizer.  I really wanted to restore the soft hand and drape of the silk now that the embroidery process was complete.  When I was finished, the back of my design looked like this:
 
Back of Design, Tearaway Removed and Muslin Cut Away
 
Now that I've stitched out this design, I keep thinking of other applications besides table runners, quilts, or pillows.  Wouldn't this design be gorgeous on the flat sections of a box pleated or pelmet-style window valance? 
 
Can You Imagine These Designs on a Window Treatment?
Of course, as soon as I got that idea, I had to import the photo of my completed embroidery design into my interior design software to try it out.  Why do I suggest embroidery for the valance, but not for the drapery panels?  Well, with a top treatment, you wouldn't have to embroider 15 yards of continuous fabric and drive yourself nuts trying to space the designs with an accurate pattern repeat like you'd have to do for a pair of drapery panels.  You would just overcut each flat section, embroider the design, and then trim the piece to the appropriate size afterwards.  If you're really ambitious, you could even use some of the other standalone designs in this collection, maybe some of the Jacobean floral elements, to embroider banding for the lead (inside vertical) edges of your drapery panels in place of the solid brown banding in my rendering. 
 
You know, embroidered silk drapery fabrics that look like this go for hundreds of dollars per yard, yet you're limited to the thread colors chosen by the mills.  By embroidering your own silk base fabric, you can have your dream fabric with embroidery thread colors custom selected to match your oriental carpet, your other fabrics, or anything else that tickles your fancy.  Just add English bump interlining, a heavy cotton sateen drapery lining, and you'll have a gorgeous custom window treatment unlike anyone else's, anywhere.
 
It's probably a good thing I didn't finish my table runner project, because I've been going on forever and I still have dozens of photos and three more pages of notes that I had planned to include in this blog post, just from sewing out the first design.  So, expect a follow-up post within the next few days where I will share the Trouble-Shooting Journey to Eliminate Thread Loops with an Unusual Needle, my Three Favorite Embroidery Tools that Don't Come With Your Machine, and My Final Verdict on the Final Steam Pressing of Embroidery Designs.  In all honesty, I probably won't finish my project until several months from now, considering that it was just last week that I finished the project I began for the Fall Machine Embroidery Blog Hop I participated in back in November!
 
So, have I lost everyone, or are you still with me?  Because I did promise a giveaway!  Anita Goodesigns is giving away FREE Special Edition design collections worth $99.95 each (winners choose which of the 15 Special Edition collections they want to win). 
 
For the Cheeky Cognoscenti giveaway, you can earn ONE chance to win by visiting Anita Goodesign's website here, drooling all over your keyboard at their gorgeous designs, and then commenting on this post to tell me which Special Edition design collection you would choose if you won and what ideas you have for using those designs in your own project. 
 
You can earn a SECOND chance to win by following Cheeky Cognoscenti via either Networked Blogs or Google Friend Connect (on the side bar at the right side of this page, scroll up) and then leaving a second comment telling me that you're followingImportant: If you are a "No Reply" blogger or an Anonymous commenter, be sure to leave your email address [eg. Sally(at)hotmail(dot)com] in your comment so that I can contact you if you're the winner! 
 
That's right -- not only am I giving away a free Anita Goodesign Special Edition design collection, but each of the other eight bloggers in the hop is also giving away a free Special Edition design collection this week as well.  If you haven't done so already, be sure to stop by each of the other blogs before the end of the week so you can see more beautiful embroidery projects, pick up more embroidery tips and tricks, and collect even more chances to win.  Each blogger sets their own rules for when they will choose a winner, so if you missed any of the blogs from Monday through Wednesday you might not be too late to enter!

I plan to select a random winner from all comments on this post on Monday the 25th.

Here's the lineup with links, one last time:

Monday, March 18th:

Tuesday, March 19th:

Wednesday, March 20th:

Thursday, March 21st:
ME! ME! ME! ;-)
Rebecca Grace - Cheeky Cognoscenti

Fri., March 22nd
 
Once again, I want to extend a HUGE thank-you to SewCalGal and I Have A Notion for organizing this hop and for inviting me to participate, and an even bigger thank-you to Anita Goodesign for graciously agreeing to sponser the event, for supplying the designs featured in all of our blog hop projects, and for donating such generous prizes for our lucky winners.

Well, folks, I had glorious plans of not only finishing the entire table runner yesterday, but I also planned to complete this blog post before my kids got home from school and schedule it to publish automatically at 7 AM.  Since it is now after 2 AM on Thursday morning.  I'm going to do one thing AHEAD of schedule -- I'm going to go ahead and publish it right now and then head straight to bed.  Happy Thursday, everyone, and good luck in the giveaways!  May the best stitcher win.  ;-)

UPDATED 6/17/2013: I didn't make this into a table runner, but I did finally layer it with batting and quilted the piece, and it came out so beautifully that I was doing a happy dance all over the sewing room!  You can see those results in this post.

109 comments, opinions & scuttlebutt:

MJ said...

All the collections are Great! Hard to say which is a favorite but maybe Tree of Life, as I can see a genealogy project quilt for my mom.
Thanks for the chance to win!

MJ said...

I'm also a new follower of yours too! WhooHooo!!

Trish said...

Love the valance idea and love love love the sparkle fabric you added the fantasy birds to! So many great ideas!

Pauline G said...

Wow- what a great post - I'm definitely a new follower after reading this

Pauline G said...

It would be the Mix and Match set for me so that I could make some of those wonderful quilts

Pauline G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
marth225 said...

WOW - stunning. You did a wonderful job.

Fiesta said...

Rebecca, I loved your post.Rebecca, I read your post in its entirety. Probably because I do embroider. I have the 640 but my biggest hop is 5x7. I so want the new 730 or 780 I believe but I am waiting for another special financing plan to come along. 36 months is not quite affordable to me. I want to be able to make larger designs. I am glad that you decided to make your design in one continuos piece because the birds do not look good with their heads cut in 2. I love Christmas town and pledge of allegiance which I just saw at the sewing expo.
Thanks for the chance.

Fiesta said...

I am a new follower and I put you on my blog roll roo

Barbara Budelman said...

After showing the Fantasy Birds I would have to pick that one.
Maybe not on silk....LOL!

Barbara Budelman said...

I am also am a new follower. Glad to find you.

Sharon said...

I really like the Homestead collection. What a cute table runner those houses would make.

Gene Black said...

Wow..that is a great project. (and I love that my machine stitches at 1000 per minute too)

I don't know if the other stops on the hop are eligible to win, but I would pick Oriental Daydream. (I also really like Garden Gate)

Marjorie said...

This is an incredibly inspiring post. You make everything seem possible. I love the way you used tearaway and then cut away the muslin. That would work well for the quilts too.

The Quilted Kitchen said...

Goodness your embroidery is beautiful! I never thought about changing the thread colors in software. I pull my threads first then change them in the machine. Your method will save a lot of time. I just bought the jumbo hoop for my new 780 and would love to try the Fantasy Birds with it.

Joanne Lattrell said...

Great tutorial.My favorite designs from Anita are the Baltimore Album collection. I would love to make a quilt using my new double wide hoop. Glad I discovered your website.

Joanne L

shelleyjwilliams said...

I am a new follower and a new embroiderer. I just purchased an 830 LE from Bernina, and I am so excited to find your blog. I understand all you have said and appreciate your information very much. I love the birds, and Anita Good Designs has so much to offer. I can't wait to start!

CK said...

Wow! I'm so impressed by your thorough description of your creative process. It's very helpful to a beginner like me. The Anita Goodesign you chose is beautiful. Great job! Thanks for sharing.

Purl Buttons said...

It might be the Christmas one I like best. But you had better check back with me when I win! I might change my mind!

Purl Buttons said...

I am a new follower!

IHaveANotion ~ Kelly Jackson said...

Great post and I love the idea for the window treatment. Imagine how stunning that would be in a room with the double windows.... a real show piece for sure.

Thank you for the participating in the blog hop and thank you for putting yet another design on my must have list.

Smiles,
Kelly

beaquilter said...

wow! it was going to take 4-6 hrs and took you 2 days and THAT many stitches. are you still making it into a runner?
I just got a "fancy" embroidery machine so my eyes have really opened...going to look at Anita's page...awwww. since I have a 6m old I went straight to the baby section... the owls.. giraffes.. baby peacock... uhhh bible stories too that's fun.... I'm going to be drooling over the site.

beaquilter said...

I'm a few follower too now- don't know if you allow 2 posts, so you can delete this one

Rose W said...

The birds are beautiful. I would probably select the Christmas special edition. I've always loved Anita Goodesign's Christmas designs. I could see using the designs for pillows, table runners and a new tree skirt!

Rose W said...

And now I'm a follower too! I looking forward to reading your follow-up posts...

j wallace said...

I also have snippets of wonderful old (35 years old) material that I would love to incorporate into a fantastic "something". as for which design, they are all wonderful and would love any one of them.

Carol Jones said...

I would love to stitch the Christmas Town, it is so lovely and bright

Sallie said...

I'd choose Homestead Special Edition Collection and use the farm animals in a baby quilt. Thanks for the great post and giveaway!

Sallie said...

I'm a new follower.

Tammy said...

Iuld choose the Tree Of Life special edition if I was to win it.

Tammy said...

I am now following your blog .

judy said...

loved pansies and parasols good job on tute
judy

judy said...

you do really great work wonderful idea
judy

Barb said...

It probably took you four hours just to write this post...totally amazing, that bird is just beautiful...I can see why it takes four hours. You are lucky to have such a nice machine and yes that valance looks wonderful! Thanks for the time you took in preparing this post.

What's Her Name said...

Love Christmas Town and the Victorian roses collections best! (Have prayer garden which I adore)

What's Her Name said...

Am a new follower

BizyStitches said...

Loved your blog and the great pictures and idea. Thanks for being in the hop and for sharing. Wow, lots of designs to pick from I would probably pick from the seasonal bunch. My first thought would be to make a wall hanging. If I should win I will need to spend more time thinking about this. LOL

BizyStitches said...

2. I am now following your blog. Thanks

Bonnie58 said...

Wow, gorgeous stitching - I don't have the confidence yet to work with silk, but maybe someday. Thanks for sharing with us all. I would love to win a copy of the tree of life special edition - this was hard as they are all gorgeous. Thanks for the opportunity
bonnielarson58@gmail.com

Sally said...

Oh my, those birds are gorgeous!! Who would want anything else after seeing them??

Bonnie58 said...

I am a happy new follower. Love you blog. Thanks for sharing and for the opportunity on a wonderful draw
bonnielarson58@gmail.com

Lou said...

I like teh Christmas collection.
Thank you SO much for the lesson... I also have the V6 software and now have a Brother PR620 so I can stitch out larger items than my 165:)

Anonymous said...

I would have to go with the foundations pack. I love your idea with the valance - it's always great to get inspiration from others.

Christina

GeeMa said...

My favorite collection is the Prayer Garden. I love what you did with the birds.

quiltin cntrygrl said...

If I had to pick my ultimate favorite Special Edition it would be the Christmas town that is why I own it. But to pick one that I would love to win its a hard choice I'm thinking Garden Gate or Victorian Roses.

Fran said...

Thank you for an incredible post!! I am a newbie with a previously loved Bernina 200/730 and I would love to learn how to do one of these projects. I am a follower on Google Friends and I am so happy to have found your blog!

Claudia Wade said...

I would pick the Fantasy Birds collection. It is beyond gorgeous! Thanks for all the details on this project. cwade1211@sbcglobal.net

Beth said...

I would have to pick the Prayer Garden. You do some amazing work. You are very talented.

Fran said...

There are so many fantastic collections at Anita Goodesign that it would be hard to choose just one! But, I think I would choose The Foundations Special Edition, it looks like it would work perfectly with my quilting! Thanks again for a great opportunity to win this incredible prize!

cntryways said...

It's so hard to choose. I think I would like either the Homestead or Christmas Town.

Your bird stitchout is beautiful.

Rosemary

Grandma Margie's Family said...

GREAT post! Love the detail. I have the Foundations Special Edition. I think I would have a tough time picking between the Christmas Special Edition and the Tree of Life Special Edition. I love everything related to christmas but I am also getting into Genealogy. Thanks for the GREAT post and the chance to win.

Linda E in AZ said...

I looked at all of them and think I'd like to have the Foundations one to use with the various designs I've collected.
Thanks!

Grandma Margie's Family said...

I am a new follower. I am so glad to find you. Thanks

SewCalGal said...

OMG My mind is spinning. What an absolutely beautiful design collection. And, I love how it stitched out so beautifully. Your son did a great job helping with threads too! And, I love the idea for drapery valances. I'm going to have to track down and get a copy of your interior design software. What fun to stitch out machine embroidery projects, using Anita Goodesigns, to decorate my home. Love it!

SewCalGal
www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

PS - It has been years since I had to deal with silly putty on sheets. I seem to recall if you stick the affected sheet in the freezer the silly putty flakes off much easier. But, I may be thinking of another type of accident. LOL!

Kathy MacKie said...

I'm a new follower and thanks for the in depth post, I've learnt alot from reading it.

Kathy MacKie said...

I really like them all but the Christmas caught my eye but what a hard choice, thanks for the giveaway.

Sandie @ crazy'boutquilts said...

Wow~ you are very artistic! I love what you are doing with the birds! I am new to ME and it seems I have a lot to learn. ;-) I love the Prayer Garden edition.

Sandie @ crazy'boutquilts said...

I'm a new follower~ I can't wait to see your next posts! Have a happy day!

Jean(ie) said...

First off, I **LOVE** how you showed an alternate use of these designs beyond quilts, pillows, and totes. Thanks for taking this out of the box!

If I could choose only one special design it would be the new gold tapestry. There are SO MANY designs that I could play with. I'm not the cutesy type and that fits me fine!

Nanbon44 said...

I am torn between foundations and Homestead... or was it pansy or roses... WOW they are all great...

Nanbon44 said...

GFC follower

Chris said...

What a great post!! (I have to admit, though, that your post about your espresso machine having a transplant is my favorite. I had to send it on to my daughter who also loved it.)

I'd get the Christmas set as I love all things Christmas. Meanwhile, I look forward to reading more about your project!

Lyn said...

I am a GFC follower Thanks

Lyn said...

Thanks for the wonderful pictures and post. I like all of the designs. I think I would like the Prayer Garden. I think that was the name. so many and got a bit mixed up. Thanks again.

Cecilia said...

Thanks for the great post. This is a hard choice, but I would probably go with the Christmas collection.

Cecilia said...

I'm a new follower via GFC.

Anonymous said...

I have a lot of the AG designs and they always stitch out so nice. Just made the bees and butterfly quilt for a granddaughter and turned out so cute. I never got the bird one, though I loved it as I didn't want to do a wallhanging or quilt out of them, but you gave me ideas to use it in a table runner, and I love that idea, so since I have that idea now, would like that collection to add to my others!

Donna~~ said...

Wow--I'm impressed (and intimidated)! Your bird is lovely! There are so many great designs to look at that I almost forgot to come back here to comment. I guess (today) I'd choose the Baltimore Album one, but tomorrow it might be a different one all together!

Donna~~ said...

And I'm now a follower too!

LeAnne said...

I'm not a fan of the quilt as you go method when it splits a major design element in half, so I would do the same thing you did and combine the two designs so it all flowed together.

I went through all the special edition designs and have it narrowed down to five. My choice in choosing designs is usually how many different ways can I use the designs and can they be split apart to make even more designs. For that reason, I'd probably choose Fantasy Birds, Victorian Roses or Special Edition Christmas. But I've seen The Rose done up and it is a show-stopper.

LeAnne said...

I am a follower through GFC and email.

LJ said...

The collection I found that appeals to me is "Christmas Town Special Edition". Just absolutely gorgeous.

LJ said...

I am a follower. I really look forward to more posts on machine embroidery. I have a Viking and have been embroiderying for about 4 years and love it! I enjoyed your lengthy post because you went into so many different details about the process. I did wonder why you imported the design in the EXP format rather than a format that would import the thread color changes as AG has them and then convert them to your threads??
I did comment that I love the Christmas Town collection but forget to say that I would love to make a quilt but I can see some table toppers, too; absolutely would use the designs for gifts.

Rebecca Grace said...

That's a great question, LJ! I did not have the design CD that included all formats; Anita Goodesign asked me which format my machine needed and I told them EXP because that's what the new Berninas supposedly like best. Yes, my software can convert from one format to another, but it's kind of like making a recording of a recording of a recording because the commercial formats DST and EXP are supposedly the pure "original" files (I swear I read or heard that from a reliable source at some point -- I just can't remember where). Since I knew I was going to be altering the design by enlarging it as well, I wanted to start out with the cleanest, most original form of the design to minimize any distortions that might occur with each conversion and alteration. Does that make sense?

Sheryl Colle said...

The collection I liked was the Homestead special edition.

Ivory Spring said...

This is awesome, Rebecca! Beautiful work.

Tina said...

I love the Christmas and Victorian Rose collection.

Sewgirl said...

I would choose the Prayer Garden designs. i am just starting to do some ME and enjoy smaller designs like those, that can be used on towels, clothing, and to make things like potholders, etc that I use for hostess gifts.

Sewgirl said...

Thanks for the detailed information. Very impressive to take on such a big design! I am now a follower and look forward to more ME postings! Can't wait to see the finished design.

stitchedbyme said...

I just made the Christmas Town quilt and it hung on the wall for the entire Holiday season this past Christmas. It turned so nice that I made a smaller, three block version, as a gift. If I had the chance to choose a Special Edition set, I would probably choose the Christmas Special Edition. It looks like it could be used for a lap quilt.
~June in AZ
(info to contact me is on my blog)

Sylvia said...

Your tutorial was great. Thank you.

I have a few favorites including both Christmas editions and this Fantasy Birds, Floral Ring and Tree of Life. I would definitely make quilts as gifts for family with whichever design pack.

Sylvia said...

I now follow you too via Google Friend Connect and Blog lovin.

Thank you!
Sylvia

Beeshebags said...

Drool drool, slobber, slobber.....wipes mouth clean.....lol

There are lots of lovely designs over there, but my favourite, is the Tree of Life Special Edition.

Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy
Hugs
Naomi

BRD Girl said...

Thank you for such a wonderful, detailed post - I enjoyed reading about your adventures with Anita Goodesign's Fantasy Birds Special Edition Collection...so fun to read about all your ideas! I would really like to work with the Homestead Collection - I think it would make some lovely pillows...

BRD Girl said...

I am a happy new follower through Google Friend Connect!

Beeshebags said...

I'm now a follower via GFC.

Hugs
Naomi

Joanne said...

I love what you have done I had no idea something this intricate could be done with machine embroidery. I do hope I can get myself an embroidery unit to go with my bernina soon.

hugs from France,
Joanne

Mary Walker said...

I think I'd choose Victorian Roses.

Shelor Robin said...

I'm lusting after the birds you did! Great tutorial and love your blog.

Sew Quilt Embroider said...

Hello! I almost fell off my chair when I saw the valance treatment! Wow! I've never seen glittered silk before, nice to learn something new! My software is not playing nice with my Windows 7, so I enjoyed seeing your post and all your steps! Thank you for the fun here on 'the hop'! Nice to see other machine embroiderers! I love the AG Christmas Edition Special!

Sew Quilt Embroider said...

I just subscribed to your blog, it appears on my yahoo home page! how cool is that? Another first! LOL I'm off to read your Dresden post now as I am working on a Dresden of my own! Thank you! It's a fun hop!

Robin (RsIslandCrafts) said...

I am a new follower :)

Robin (RsIslandCrafts) said...

I love all things Christmas so I would choose that pack.

WoolenSails said...

I really like the prayer garden designs, those would be nice to use in a quilt or for smaller items.
I love the bird quilt, it is gorgeous but I have a lot of learn with my machine before I tackle something like that, but would love to be able to do designs like that.

Debbie

Needled Mom said...

I really like the Asian designs with the fish. Your birds turned out so well. That IS a long time stitching! Wow. Glad you stuck to it though.

My Sister Made Me Do It.... said...

Lovely birds....and thank you for the chance......I like the Prayer Garden.

Ohio quilter said...

Garden Gate - it's just beautiful. I think of my mother when I see it

Rebecca Fiedler said...

I thought the Golden Tapestry was my favorite but now I love the birds, too. My, oh my!

Rebecca Fiedler said...

I will be following you now!

Judylee said...

The birds are lovely and the fabric? Wow.

Judylee said...

I like the Prayer Garden design pack. Lovely.
Judy Z

Susan said...

I signed up to follow you via email. I would love to win the tree of life design set. Thank you for the in depth blog post. I have enjoyed every stop on this blog hop.

Melody Shingler said...

Rebecca, home decor is precisely why I bought my Viking D1 a dozen years ago! Lovely job on the blue bird design, & I love that sparkly silk you chose for your base fabric.
Thank you for the Anita Goodesign giveaway. My favorite of the Special Edition designs is the "Prayer Garden". (It's been pinned to Pinterest for over a year...)

Melody Shingler said...

Oh! I am now following your blog via feedburned in my mailbox. Thanks for another chance to win that giveaway!

KatieQ said...

This has been a great blog hop. I learned a lot of new tips to try with my embroidery machine. I love the Oriental Daydream pack.

KatieQ said...

I'm a new follower.

Deb said...

I really like the tree of life one!

Debra Spincic said...

I have just stopped by for the first time. So glad I did! I have been wondering about the Fantasy Birds Collection and was happy to read your review. I am working on Jacobean blocks right now for a wallhanging.

I will be following your blog through bloglovin'
If chosen, I'd like the Fantasy Bird Collection. It's right up my alley. I love Anitagoodesign's collections too!

Michelle Greene said...

I'm so stun with your beautiful creation embroidery! I'm still adjusting and practicing my embroidery machine. Practice makes perfect. :)

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