Course 2 is now Open


Following the success of Course 1, I have opened Course 2. The price remains the same $60USD for 6 Units of content.

Topics that will be covered in Course 2 are

  • Lace
  • Cross Stitch
  • Quilting
  • Carving Stamp
  • Morphing
  • Multi Hooping
  • Ripple and Contour Fills
  • Sculptured Fancy Fill

Not in this order

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Course 1 Outline


Well it has been a long time since I posted directly to my website. I have been flat out running my online classroom. It has been a huge success with over 150 people enrolled. Although the course was supposed to be six months long, it actually took me nine months to add all the content. Now that all the content is there, it is time to move forward with Course 2. While it won’t be compulsory to do course 1 before you do Course 2, I will be assuming you know what I have taught in course 1. I have compiled an outline of what I included in Course 1 below. Course 1 will remain open indefinitely so you can still enrol and work through it at your own pace. There is no time limit on how long you take to complete it.

Here is what a few kind participants said about their experience with the course.

Carol, Thank you for all your hard work. I have received more than I ever could have wished for in your course. Your have opened up a whole new creative world to me with all the tools that need. I cannot wait to redo your course one with the V7 edition and then I am sure I will forge ahead with Course 2.. Kind regards “

I have enjoyed your course very much. Our last few months were unexpectedly hectic and we were gone a lot so I am BEHIND but I have them downloaded except for this last one. I am anxious to catch up so I can do another course with you. Thanks “

Here is a video showing how to enroll and use the course, including an excerpt from one of the video tutorials included in the course.

Course 1 Outline



Calibrate Your Screen

The Help Menu

Open a design

Saving Designs

Sending designs to your machine or memory stick.

Digitizing Project

A Coin Purse

Practical Embroidery

Instructions for the embroidery and construction of the Coin Purse.



Accessing Corel Clip art

Loading a Picture

The difference between Raster and Vector Graphics

Where to get Graphics and Copyright

The Convert Tool

The Auto Digitizing Tools

Using an image as a backdrop

Setting up your scanner

Open and Closed objects

The Reshape Tool

Digitizing Project

Digitize a doodle

Practical Embroidery

Pattern and instructions for a notepad cover embellished with your doodle design



Editing Bitmaps

Art Canvas page set up

Editing Auto digitized designs

Other Manual Digitising tools

Underlay and Pull compensation

Different fills and outlines and their settings

Blackwork Fill Options

Digitizing Project

Digitize a Blackwork Flower

Practical Embroidery

Positioning your design on your project

Printing a Template



Advanced Applique

Creating a graphic for applique in Art Canvas

Exporting your graphic

Blanket Stitch Applique

Inserting a fill stitch into your applique

Other Outline stitches for applique

Using the Carving Stamp to add interest.

Digitizing Project

Digitize an applique rooster for a towel topper

Practical Embroidery

Instructions for the construction of the Towel Topper



Editing Lettering

Speciality Fonts

Identifying Fonts

Lettering in Art Canvas

Elastic Lettering


Pattern Runs

Digitizing Project

Digitize a monogrammed lingerie bag

Practical Embroidery

Instructions for hooping and constructing the lingerie bag



Thread colors

Color Bar/Palette

The Freehand Tools

Textured Edge

Removing overlaps with textured edge

Gradient Fill

Digitizing Project

Digitize a Daffodil from a photograph

Practical Embroidery

Create an applique outline to apply your successful test sews to projects.

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Version 7 now included.


I have uploaded all the version 7 content for month 1 to my Bernina Designer Plus online classroom. Month 2 will be up by the end of next week, but don’t worry you can take as long as you like to work through the course.

A big thank you to those who have already enrolled. I know some of you have already completed the purse project and are eager for next months content.

Newbies can get started by clicking on the Classroom menu tab at the top of this page.

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On line Classroom


At last I have got my online classroom up and running! At the moment the Course 1 only includes content for Version 6, but my Version 7  is on the way. As soon as possible I will add V7 material to the course so that it covers both versions.

Version 7 is now included.

Each course has 6 monthly sections. Only Month 1 is currently visible. Each month a new month will be revealed.

Each month has three Sections

  • Digitizing Theory – A step by step guide to using the software, starting at the very beginning. Great for people new to the software, but as it is very detailed, experienced users should browse the content for anything they haven’t picked up on yet.
  • Digitizing Project – Step by step instructions to digitize a design, and instructions and patterns to complete a project using that design. Suitable for all levels of experience.
  • Practical Embroidery – Suggestions for suitable fabric, stabiliser and hooping etc. for the project.

The course content consists of videos and notes. The notes are in PDF format so that you can save them to your computer or print them.

There is a Question and Answer forum where you can post if you need anything in the course clarified.

The cost is $60.00US per course (6 months), but you will remain enrolled in the course permanently so you can always return to go over the content, or re download any PDF’s you may have lost.

After 6 months if you would like to continue, you can enroll in the next course.

Just click on the Classroom tab in the top Menu to get started.

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Echo stitching for a square quilt block.


Just taking the echo stitching a step further by filling the quilt block. Here is a video to show you how.

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More Digitizing For Quilting


I have made a couple more videos with quilters in mind. Outlining or Echo Stitching and Creating a stipple background for a quilt block.
While the concepts are great for quilting in the hoop projects, they can also be used purely as decoration to enhance any design.
Both techniques are easy to do. The Echo Stitching video uses the Outline Design tool. Version 5 does not have this tool, so I have included instructions on how to get a similar look in that version.

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The Portfolio section of the Bernina Designer Plus, is the file management area. Here you can navigate to any folder on your computer and view thumb nails of the designs in that folder. You can sort designs, access designs from zipped folders and open designs into the digitising part of the software for editing. You can convert designs from one format to another, either individually or in groups. You can also convert the designs to multiple formats at once. Here is my latest video showing you how to do all of this and more.

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And the Winner is!!!


Well this is a bit overdue, but I have finally got there. Thank you to all who entered the competition to win the signed copy of Eileen Roche’s book . The entries were all wonderful which made my job of picking a winner quite difficult. Added to that The only guide I gave entrants was that I was looking for the most original entry. I have now realised this was quite vague and if I ever run another competition it will have more specific parameters.

I ended up picking Marian Hardman’s entry. Marian developed her project from a photograph she took while on holiday. Her vest is pieced so as to depict a typical Australian outback landscape.  She further embellished the design with embroideries and appliques. The whole project was balanced in both layout and colour, and while her embroideries were not digitised by her, they were appropriate and well placed. Congratulations Marian!

IMG_0192_1_1         IMG_0193_1_1IMG_0194_1_1     IMG_0195_1_1


For those of you who digitised your own designs I was very impressed so well done. Just goes to show what is possible. I wish I had more prizes to give away, because really all of you deserve one.

To see all of the entries go to the Hall of Fame page.

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Puffy Foam


Puffy Foam is used in embroidery to pad stitching to give a three dimensional look. Sulky produce packs of this foam in 2mm and 3mm thicknesses. You need to use foam that tears easily. Not all foam sheets will work. Possible uses for this technique are lettering on hats, decorative projects and artworks including wall hangings.
Recently I shared a link on the Machine Embroidery and Digitizing Facebook Page to an article published by Wilcom on digitizing for Puffy Foam. I remembered doing a Puffy Foam design some time ago and thought I would share my experience and provide some additional tips.

Chinese Symbol for Peace stitched using Puffy Foam

Chinese Symbol for Peace stitched using Puffy Foam

I chose A chinese symbol, because traditionally they are created using a paintbrush, and therefore the individual parts don’t have blunt ends. Normal lettering has blunt ends, and as explained in the Wilcom article these are areas where the foam might poke out unless you digitize some covering stitches.
For those of you who are using the Bernina software, I set the Satin Stitch Spacing (density) to 0.23 (the default is 4). This is nearly twice as dense as normal. I made sure Satin Stitch was selected (not Satin Special) so that there were no needle penetrations in the middle of the design,  and I deselected the underlay.

Stitch settings for Puffy Foam

Stitch settings for Puffy Foam

I was not in Artistic Mode and I had view Needle Points selected. As you can see some of the areas of the design were too wide for normal satin and the software has replaced the stitches with jump stitches and needle points. I decided to use the reshape tool to change the angle of the stitching to fix this problem. I also kept an eye out to avoid any long stitches forming along the outline of the object.

Unwanted needle points and jump stitches

Unwanted needle points and jump stitches

Changed Angle Changed Angle

I set two underlays. For the the first underlay I chose ZigZag and changed the stitch length to 8. This eliminated any needle penetrations in the middle of the foam. The second undelay I chose was Edge walk. This was to add additional needle penetrations around the edges to help with tearing away the excess foam on completion, and to help with achieving a neat edge.

Underlay Settings

Underlay Settings

Next I checked my stitch order to minimise jump stitches. I then moved my start and end positions to put any remaining jump stitches in places where objects were close enough so that they wouldn’t show. In other projects I may choose to put the jump stitches where they are easy to trim, and depending on your machine you may get the machine to trim the jump stitches for you.
As a result of the above processes, the software has now put travel stitches running under the satin stitch.

Unwanted Travel stitches

Unwanted Travel stitches

As Travel on Edges is not available for Satin Fill, these have to be moved manually. I went into edit mode, (press”E” on your keyboard) And left clicked and dragged these stitches to the edges. (see my video on Manually Moving and Deleting stitches on YouTube for more info on moving stitches).
You can digitise a placement outline if you like, but I chose to use the basting stitch on my machine as a guide to where to lay the foam.

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Design Placement Made Easy (with no software)


Getting the position of your embroideries correct can be a daunting task. Placing one design on a project is not so difficult, but when you want to combine several designs, it is easy to get it wrong. The issue is even more complicated if you are putting designs on to a garment. You don’t want your designs to dissappear under an arm, sit at an awkward angle, or draw attention to the wrong parts of your body.

Even when making flat projects, it is all too easy to work in the rectangular stitch area of our hoops, rather than arrange the designs in the most attractive layout for the project.

The best way to be sure your layout is how you would like it is to make templates of your designs and pin them to your project. You could then hoop up for each design and embroider the designs out one by one. However if you have a hoop that will cover more than one design, it would save a lot of time and stabiliser to embroider the designs in the one hooping. All you need to know now is how to place the designs in your machine.

Enter Eileen Roche and her new book “ Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Lessons”


This easy to read book covers all the essential information someone starting out in machine embroidery needs. It is packed full of useful tips. Even those of us who have been embroidering for a while will learn something new. I particularly found her information on design placement very helpful and the book includes some tools to make the job so much easier. There were a few other tips I picked up about hooping also. I will need a second roll of painters masking tape now for my sewing room. (The other one is in my art trolley) I’m not going to let you in on all the secrets in her book though. You can click on the blog tour badge at the top right of the screen to learn more and buy it, or you can enter the competition at the end of this post and possibly win the signed copy Eileen generously donated. I am going to show you how I used the tools to get the placement of my designs into my sewing machine. This is just one use for the tools. The book covers many more uses.

You don’t need any computer software for this. In a later post I will show how the tool can be used with Bernina Designer Plus to layout designs.

As I mentioned before, you need to pin your templates on to your project in your preferred arrangement. The book tells you how to make templates if you do not have any for your design. I like to print my templates on tracing paper so that I can turn them over if I want to mirror image them. In the picture I have some printed on paper, so that you can see them better.

Templates positioned on project

Templates positioned on project

Next you need to mark the centre cross hairs, direction and whether or not the designs are mirror imaged. You can use a fabric marker, but Eileen’s target stickers make it so much easier. If you can see through your template, you can slide them under and press into place. If not, cut a hole in the centre of the template. Make sure the marks on the stickers line up with the cross hairs on your design and write MI on the sticker if the design is mirror imaged.

Target Sticker

Target Sticker

Now you can lay your hoop grid over the project, turning it to cover as many whole designs as you can. Any designs that do not fit in the stitch area of your hoop, including those that only partially fit, will have to be hooped seperately. If you do not have a hoop grid, lay your project in your hoop remembering to keep the designs within the stitch area. There are more hints about this in the book


Move your project to the hoop. I like to use a sticky stabiliser, or tearaway with basting spray so that I don’t have to worry whether the project fits in the hoop. Making sure your designs are still in the stitch area press the project on to the stabiliser.SAM_0421

Now for the placement. The Centering Ruler, Target Ruler and Angle Finder, that come with the book, will all help you get the information you need to place your designs in your machine. (If you don’t want the book, Eileen has tool kits available on her website )  If you have used target stickers, you can now remove your templates.

For each design you need to know how far the centre is from the cross hairs of your hoop. Measurements up and or to the right of the cross hairs will be positive. Measurements to the left and or down will be negative. Using either the Target ruler or the Centering ruler measure from the horizontal cross hair to the centre of the target sticker and again from the vertical cross hair, making sure your ruler stays parallel to the cross hairs. Record these measurements.


To find the angle you should rotate your design, lay the Angle finder over the design so that the centre hole is over the center of the sticker. Make sure the 0 degrees is pointing to the top of the hoop, and that the 0 to 180 degree line is parallel to the verical cross hair.


Holding the base of the Angle Finder steady rotate the top section until the red arrow points in the same direction as the arrow on the Target Sticker and the lines align with each other. The red arrow will be pointing to the angle you need to rotate your design.

Record this. Repeat these measurements for all the designs.

Now we can go to the machine. Open your first design and go to your editing screen. Mirror image the design if necessary. You should have somewhere on your machine that shows where the center of the design is in relation to the centre of the hoop. It should read 0,0 or x=0,y=0 as designs open in the center of the hoop by default. Move your design

until these numbers match the measurements you took.

Moving the design on your machine

Moving the design on your machine

Next you need to rotate the design by the measurement you took with the Angle Finder.

Rotating the design

Rotating the design

Continue adding your designs and poitioning them.

When you have all your designs in place, remove the target stickers and you are ready to embroider. You can add a basting stitch if you like.

Voilla! Your layout has been embroidered exactly where you want it. I used one of my metallic splendour designs here. I haven’t used metallic thread though. You can get this design for just $1.00 by clicking on the image below.


Embroidered design


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