Thursday, March 23, 2017

fruBlomgren MugRugs - Mix and Match Designs with Embrillance

I recently "found" a new digitizer on the Brilliant Embrilliance Facebook group.  Around Christmas, Marianne of fruBlomgren on Etsy began promoting some caroling 3D angel files made with Stitch Artist.  As a Stitch Artist user, I was excited for her and intrigued. Her angels were unique and again, I began thinking of new options. Then she began sharing more designs as she created them. I was enchanted by the whimsical and folk-style designs, unlike really anything else I have seen on my happy online embroidery-shopping scavenger hunts. For some of my favorite of her designs, she credits the artist Stefanie Muehlbergen of KittieKatStudio on Etsy, who allowed her to digitize her original creations.

As much as I loved these images, and really loved that they were so different and wanted to find a way to use them, I was drawing a blank until Marianne recently posted her version of the mugrug, an in-the-hoop embroidery project.  Hers was cloud-shaped and it came with a bird!  Or is it an egg?  I knew instantly that I would finally stitch out her designs on a stack of her mugrugs, which I really needed for my family room coffee table.

I chose a gray base fabric, a fleece, from my stash and teal thread for the edges to make them coordinate with the fabrics in the room.  I used my Embrilliance Essentials software to merge, mirror, and resize-to-fit her designs into her mugrug shape, as well as to add text on a couple.

I imported the plain mugrug that I purchased from the fruBlomgren shop, which she calls the "neutral" one.  

I had decided on four designs that I wanted to use.  This one is the angel.  Although she does have a flat angel file, I purchased Angelina, a design that she shows stuffed.  To use this design, I had to simply delete the last step, the outline that is normally used to sew the front, embroidered fabric to the plain back.  I also used the lasso tool in Embrilliance Enthusiast to remove some of the stitches of her cloud so that she would fit into the shape.

The key to inserting the design into the mugrug form is to look at the the Objects pane, select the angel design, and slip it in between the applique material sewing step and the next to last step that tacks down the back piece of fabric.  I do that by selecting the angel and dragging her to the right spot.

You can see from the Objects pane above that the machine will stitch (1:1) the cloud shape to show the applique position, then it will stitch again (1:2) to tack down the fabric, then it will stitch (2) the angel design, then it will stitch (3:1) the cloud shape again, then it will end with the (3:2) satin stitch all around in the shape of the cloud.  
 To prep, I saved my design and transferred it to my thumb drive, cut two pieces of base fabric about the size of my hoop, hooped my 5x7 hoop with Vilene (fibrous water soluble stabilizer -- NOT the filmy topper kind of WSS).  I printed my design in Embrilliance.

On designs like this with a number of short color changes, I like to use Embrilliance's Stitch Simulator and take a few notes so that my print out is a true guide and I know exactly what each little icon is.

I selected a palette of threads.  I wanted to make these mugrugs look like they are all part of a set.  I tried to do that by keeping the size and shape the same, keeping the base fabric and outside thread the same, and by using the same palette of colors within the different designs whenever possible.

To illustrate the general way that these were made...
The machine stitched the placement (1st outline of the cloud).  I placed my fabric and allowed the machine to repeat that design (the 2nd stitching of the cloud design) to tack down the fabric.

Once it was done, I removed the hoop from the machine (NOT unhooping the fabric!) and trimmed close to the stitching, like you do for an applique or for making a patch.

I returned the hoop to the machine and allowed the decorative design to stitch out completely.

There were a couple of long stitches that were the result of my lassoing off part of her cloud in Enthusiast.  I made sure to snip those because I wanted no threads below my eventual satin stitch that will be the outline of the mugrug.

I removed the hoop from the machine while keeping the fabric hooped....

...I flipped the hoop over to the backside.

I placed my second piece of fabric base right on top and pinned it in place from the front.

Then, the cloud shape was stitched a 3rd time.  This time to hold the back fabric in place.  The back fabric covers all the backside stitches.

I removed the hoop again (and again NOT unhooping the fabric!) and trimmed close to the stitching.

The hoop was placed back on the machine and this time the cloud outline was stitched using a heavy satin stitch.  This is the outline of the mugrug.

 The hoop is removed and the front and back are done.

I could have used matching bobbin thread so that the back of the outlining satin stitch was a bit prettier.  I slacked on that!

 I trimmed the vilene stabilizer close to the outline stitches, careful not to cut so close as to nick a stitch!  I use warm water and my finger to dissolve the vilene just on the outside edge of the satin stitching to avoid getting the whole project wet.

I allowed the edges to dry, which only tool a few minutes.

 These are my four coasters with details...

This is Frau Blau and Ede from fluBlomgren.
Free tiny text font can be found at   
(I triple stitched the lettering so it wouldn't get lost in the pile.)
Her expression is hilarious to me.  The cat doesn't seem too happy either.  I added "Frau Blau is" to play on her name, Mrs. Blue,  and because I just love that look on her face.  There is an option to have the face filled in.  I was trying to make it fast, but I would have preferred that for the set as a whole. Next time!

This is Angelina angel from fluBlomgren.  I used metallic organza for the wings and glitter dot for the cloud.  The hair is metallic gold thread from Robison Anton.  It was so much fun for me to use these kinds of fabrics.  So often, applique is all cotton.  I like that this project allowed me to think outside the cotton print box!

This bird is on the file with the mugrug itself.  I simply copied and pasted it and used the mirror image key in Embrilliance  so they would face each other.  I did make the one on the right a little shorter.  

This mermaid is simply my favorite.  I have a little mermaid collection and used to try to find unusual ones or kitschy ones or whimsical ones whenever we went to the beach for a vacation.  She fits all three descriptions.  In the information about the file on Etsy, we are told that mermaid in German is meerfrau so her name, Frau Meer is a little play on that.  This is fruBlomgren's Frau Meer.  She is also in a separate file sitting on a rock.  That one is on my wishlist.  I don't know if it's the "Mimi makeup" or the blue "parts" but I just love this character.  

I was so happy with my little mugrug collection. I think they will be cute on my family room coffee table.  I am not sure if they will be used for hot mugs or just enjoyed.  I do think this project is gift-worthy, as I usually give away everything I make...but I'm keeping this one!

List of Links on this Blog Post:

  • fruBlomgren embroidery design shop on Etsy:  click here.  
  • KittieKatStudio gallery of paper, paper mache, and clay original works on Etsy:  click here.
  • fruBlomgren's cloud-shaped mugrug with applique bird:  click here.
  • fruBlomgren's Angelina angel:  click here.
  • fruBlomgren's Frau Blau and Ede:  click here.
  • Free Tiny Text font by Lisa Shaw:  click here
  • fruBlomgren's Frau Meer:  click here
Thank you for checking my blog post today.  To see all my Embroidery projects, resources, tutorials, and links, check out my Embroidery Page on this blog, or click here.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Bunny Birth Announcement and Baby Gift Set

Thirteen years ago, when my baby was born, I remembered something that a customer (a mom of eight) had told me back when I worked at a fabric store.  She said that giving birth wasn't exactly fun so she always waited to learn the gender of her kids at their birth.  That it was the "fun" of the day for her.  I took that advice. And she was right; the wait and the work made finding out that I had a precious little girl even more exciting!

Not until recently did I realize how annoying that decision must have been for the people at my two baby showers!  Ha!  So, when my husband's cousin announced her pregnancy and that she too would be waiting to learn the gender, I knew she would be getting my {personalized} baby gift after her baby was born.  I remember how I felt with all those neutral colored and themed clothes and baby items... I went on a pink shopping trip the first time I headed out the door with my new little girl.  I bought the girliest stuff you have ever seen!  Those were the days before having a die cutter and having an embroidery machine.  If my child were born today, everything would have her name or monogram on it.  So that was on my list for Baby Margaret!

I started with a Nate Berkus lovey from Target that I embroidered using a file from Itch2Stitch, Magnolia Sky.   I float the item over hooped tearaway and top with WSS.  I pin the item in place and stitch a basting box to hold it in place.  The basting box, as always, also has a secondary function:  it helps me to make sure that the text will be centered and placed just as I envisioned it.  The basting box is removed before the WSS and tearaway.  For a great article all about basting box usage (in case you were wondering), check out the blog post by Lisa Shaw.

I picked up a pack on PUL lined baby bibs.  (Avoid the plastic lined ones at all costs!!)

This one was embroidered using Itch2Stitch's Frame and 8ClawsAndAPaw Infinity monogram (the 8 Claws website has been taken down at the time of writing this, but they are setting up a store on Etsy if you are wanting to search for this monogram font).

This bib was embroidered with Lynnie Pinnie's frame and Applique Corner's Rodney font.  I particularly adore this frame.  This is one of the very first embroidery files I bought the first few months after I received my embroidery machine!  I have loved it for a long time and am so happy that I finally have a project for it!

What to do with a bib with a big print?  Just add text!
This is Itch2Stitch Barnyard.

 This bib has an applique anchor monogram frame and scalloped circular monogram, both from Hang to Dry.

I really needed a tiny monogram for this (the 4x4 size was chosen for the anchor so the monogram space is really small.  This is my pinky next to the monogram.)  My favorite thing is the tiny outline around the monogram letters.  I loved that detail.

Next, I worked on the birth announcement bunny.  This is a bunny I found at Kroger. I tried the appliqued bunny ears last year for Easter and my last blog post (click here) shared all my notes on how to embroider on bunny ears.  I show how to do it through the closed ear as well as by opening the ear, embroidering, then sewing the ear back.  That second method is how I treated this bunny project.  I anticipate that this bunny will be kept for a long time so spending a few extra minutes is time well spent on this keepsake!

I used my Embrilliance software, using the block font that is built in and included with Embrilliance Essentials.  I lassoed off the dotted lines from an Applique Corner birth announcement using Embrilliance Enthusiast just for those divisions.  (Using the dot from a font, repeated over and over would have resulted in the very same effect however. I had to make my birth announcement "fit" bunny ears!)  I printed the design to make sure I liked the size and to plan the placement.

I placed the baby's name on a coordinating baby blanket.  This is Circo brand from Target. This was particularly thick and without a way to open it up, I was forced to allow the wrong side of my stitching to show, a real pet peeve of mine on keepsake blankets.  ...But I liked the look of the set so I used it.  Like the lovey embroidered first, this is also Itch2Stitch Magnolia Sky.

  I was really happy with the set!

List of links noted in this blog post:

  • Itch2Stitch Magnolia Sky font:  click here.
  • Lisa Shaw's blog post all about basting boxes:  click here.
  • Itch2Stitch's floral frame:  click here.
  • Lynnie Pinnie's flower and birdie frame:  click here.
  • Applique Corner Rodney font:  click here.
  • Itch2Stitch Barnyard font:  click here.
  • Hang to Dry anchor frame:  click here.
  • Hang to Dry scalloped circular mini monogram:  click here.
  • How to embroider bunny ears (both methods) on this blog:  click here.
  • Embrilliance Essentials embroidery software:  click here.
  • Embrilliance Enthusiast editing module:  click here.
Thank you for checking my blog post today!  I think the new mom will like this set; I know I would have loved stuff with my little girl's name on it and some pink and purple to go with all the yellow and green and cream stuff that I received at my gender-neutral showers!  

To see all my project notes, tutorials, links for resources, you are invited to check out my Embroidery Page on this blog:  click here.

But wait! There's more! Click 'older posts' above!

But wait!  There's more!  Click 'older posts' above!