Mighty Hoop It!

Happy November blog readers! Once again, it has been a while since my last post! Fall is so busy… blah blah blah…. ūüôā Back in February I did a blog post about Mighty Hoops. They are the fantabulous magnetic secondary hoops that you can use with various brands of multi-needle embroidery machines. I have had the 7.25″ x 7.25″ mighty hoop for a while now, and I’ve just used it solo without any stand or fixture. I was contacted recently by one of the co-owners of HoopMaster about trying a smaller hoop and the fixture. I have seen these things demonstrated over the years and have always been intrigued, so I was excited to give it a try. So now I have the 6.5″ mighty hoop and fixture/stand. I’ve used it quite a bit over the last week or so and I.LOVE.IT! It’s an investment, but like any embroidery investment (like software, that bigger machine, etc.), it’s worth it if this is what my job is!¬† If this is what I’m going to do, why not spend the money on the things that make my job easier!¬†Monogram Wizard Plus seemed like a lot of money to spend on font software back in 2008 (or whenever I got it), but when you put in to perspective that I’m still using it in 2015, it makes it seem so worth it and not such a huge investment! Might Hoops will be that same great investment!

Here is the Fixture/Stand. When I first put it together, I will admit I had no idea how to work it. Luckily there are several videos out there so I got the hang of it very quickly. Here are a few things to note:

The -0- is the center of the hoop.

The T-bar is used when you are monogramming something like a hand towel. I will post a photo of that later.

It’s really hard to understand the whole Fixture/Stand without having one in front of you, so hopefully my pictures and explanations will kind of help you get it!

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I monogrammed some baby blankets recently and took some pictures along the way. See if you can follow me! The bottom of the hoop, which typically goes on the bottom of the garment, is placed neatly in the fixture. It fits like a puzzle. It simply keeps the bottom of the hoop in place until you can get your garment centered and ready to hoop.

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Next, you lay your stabilizer on top of the bottom of the hoop. I’m using a waffle weave tearaway on the bottom of my baby blanket. Note: the black corners and top piece flip back (see the hinges) and can hold the stabilizer in place. Pre-cut stabilizer would come in handy here. I just laid mine on top which worked great too.

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I marked my center of the blanket which was about 6.5″ from the bottom. The lines on the fixture count up from -0-, which is the center of the hoop. If I want my monogram centered 6.5″ from the bottom, I line the end of the blanket up with the 6.5″ line on the fixture. I also lay a piece of water soluble stabilizer on top of the blanket because it’s a minky material and I don’t want my monogram thread to sink in to the blanket. Note: the clear part on top bounces up and down, and is used for the top part of my hoop. Note 2: I did not use the T-bar for this particular blanket, but will show a photo later of when I did use it on a hand towel.

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Next I rest the top part of my hoop on the clear part of the fixture. It fits perfectly in between the clear arms. Now I am ready to actually hoop the blanket with the Mighty Hoop!

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I pressed down on the top hoop/clear arms and the top of the hoop snaps to the bottom of my hoop because of the MAGNETS in the hoop. You can also see my center mark on the blanket is centered in the hoop below. You can also see closer that the edge of my blanket is lined up with the 6.5″ line on the fixture. If I wanted the monogram centered 10″ from the edge, I would line the edge of the blanket up with the 10″ line.

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As you can see below, my tearaway stabilizer is in the hoop also on the bottom. I am now ready to monogram the blanket! So my layers are: bottom hoop, tearaway stabilizer, blanket, water soluble stabilizer and then top of the hoop on top.

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Below is the hoop on my machine, and as you can see, my center dot is already lined up with needle because my blanket is hooped (almost) perfectly centered!

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Wouldn’t you know I didn’t take a photo of the finished monogrammed blanket! Sorry!

Here is a hand towel and maybe this will help with the T-bar explanation. (From the HoopMaster website: “The T-square is to assist you in measuring the horizontal distance from the edge of a garment to where the center of a logo is to be embroidered.”) The hand towel is 15″ wide, so if you adjust the T-bar to line up the center of the fixture with the 7.5″ mark ON the T-bar, your towel will be centered if you line up the corner on the right where the T is. I didn’t have any way to hold it AND take a picture, so I used a clip. I know this is hard to understand!!¬†Trust me… if I had 15 hand towels to do, this would REALLY come in handy! No measuring tape and marking the center. It’s all done on the fixture!

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I also used the hoop/fixture/stand today to hoop the back of a jacket! I had marked the center where I wanted my monogram, but used the fixture to keep it all in place so I could hoop it. The magnets draw the 2 pieces of the hoop together, so it’s SUPER EASY and there’s no hoop burn!

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You can find more information about Mighty Hoops on the HoopMaster website – click HERE! They have several videos you can watch also. Click HERE to see those! There’s one on setting up the T-square that might explain it better than my 1 photo.

I posted a photo of this on Instagram last week and got lots of comments and questions! Please let me know if you have any questions! You can also email info@hoopmaster.com if you have any questions that I might not be able to answer! I know this is hard to comprehend without the Hoops in front of you! Or maybe you DO have the hoop and fixture but aren’t sure how to use it? Several people commented that they had the hoops and/or station and LOVED them! I’d love to hear from you!

Vintage or Simple Stitch Designs

First of all, I seem to have this thing with taking photos of stuff tilted to the right!? I guess straight on can be boring sometimes. Second of all, the new Friends of Applique Cafe Facebook Group¬†is going great! We are up to about 775 members, and I can tell already that creating a group was the right move! Someone commented on my last post that FB PAGES are more for ME to post what’s going on, but other than that, there is not much interaction if no one likes or comments. Basically, you see what I post IF it shows up in your news feed. You rarely actually visit someone’s Facebook page unless you are looking for something. On the other hand, with a group, it’s more like a community. The people in the group are seeing what you post and are actually *liking*, commenting, etc. Very refreshing!!

So… these “vintage” simple stitch (aka redwork) designs are pretty popular right now. I though I would share what stabilizers I use for these, since the first one I did didn’t turn out perfectly. Below¬†are several that we have listed at Applique Cafe, and they can all be found under the Zig Zag | Vintage | Raggy category. I also just sampled a new one which is Stitch the Dog. We haven’t done anything with Stitch in a WHILE. It’ll be listed in the next day or two!¬†vintage

I have found {by trial and error} that Solvy (water soluble) stabilizer should be¬†used on top with these designs. You can’t really see it in the below picture, but I hooped medium cutaway stabilizer underneath the shirt and solvy on top. I am a hooper¬†btw… This is an old Monag shirt someone gave me to sample on and their shirts are pretty thick, so I went with medium cutaway. On a thinner shirt, you might use a thinner cutaway such as polymesh or no show mesh cutaway that won’t show through.¬†¬†IMG_9505

The stitch time on our new Stitch the Dog is 2 MINUTES. These designs are super fast! IMG_9506

The solvy on top helps prevent the stitches from a) sinking and b) puckering the shirt. IMG_9507

This is the back of the design and you can see the big piece of medium cutaway. I trim around the design when I’m done, getting close to the stitching. For this shirt I also trimmed in between the front and back legs, as well as around the tail.¬†IMG_9508

I had someone ask how you remove the solvy without pulling the stitches. I haven’t really noticed a problem, but for this post I did wet a couple of Q-tips and went over the stitching/outline of the design on the solvy. Since it’s water soluble, the wet Q-tip helps loosen up the solvy so it’s a little easier to pull away.

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There were a few stray pieces of the solvy sort of underneath some of the stitching. You can either pull it off, or squirt some water on it from your iron and it should dissolve. IMG_9511

Here is the finished product! Again, this is a thick cotton shirt so you can’t see the medium cutaway stabilizer through the shirt at all. The red gingham ruffle shorts are from EllieO. These vintage/simple stitch designs are great with simple gingham bottoms!¬†IMG_9512

So here is the first designs I did of this type and I DID NOT use solvy on top. It’s sort of hard to see in the pictures, but there was some definite puckering. I added solvy on the next one and it stitched MUCH better! No puckering and the design and shirt lays flat. The arrows point to the pucker/wrinkles.IMG_9513

You can see the little dimples in the loops. USE SOLVY! IMG_9514

As you can see on the Stitch shirt, the design lays flat with no puckering! IMG_9516 IMG_9517

Here are several of our other designs in this style. The Turkey was done on a Monag shirt as well, so thick cotton and I used medium cutaway and solvy on top. It lays flat perfectly!IMG_9521

The church… I did this one on a flour sack dish towel, which is rather thin. Since it’s a towel, I didn’t want cutaway stabilizer left on the back of the towel, so I used waffle weave tearaway with solvy on top for this one, then removed ALL of the stabilizer.¬†IMG_9522

I did our Pumpkin on another thick cotton Just Blanks shirt I had laying around. I used medium cutaway again as well as solvy. IMG_9523

For thinner cotton shirts, you might try polymesh or no show mesh cutaway such as below. Some people use this type all the time with all shirts. I got mine from Sewingmachine.com and it’s on a big roll. The medium cutaway I use is Sulky Cutaway Plus, or the commercial cutaway from Sewingmachine.com. I recommend 2.2 oz or no more than 2.5 oz for the commercial. More than that is pretty thick.¬†IMG_9525

I also love the waffle weave tearaway that I used on the flour sack towel! IMG_9526

I hope this helps! I think the quality of your shirt also plays a part. The String of Fish design I did above was on a much thinner shirt, but I think the solvy on top would have added a little extra support for the stitches!

Try our Golf Green 2 {vintage/simple stitch} design now for $1.50 ~ our new Digitizer’s Pick!

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Instagram Magic Part II

As a followup to a previous post a week or two ago (Instagram Magic), I am happy to report that I received my first batch of CHATBOOKS Instagram books in the mail this past week!! As I told you before, all of my IG photos divided by 60 photos/book totaled 13 books. I chose to receive 5 at a time, so I got my first 5 and should receive my next 5 next month (July), then the last 3 (plus I may be ready for #14 by then) probably in August. Although after receiving the first 5, I kind of want to go ahead and get them all!!

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Above are 4 of the 5 and each book measures 6″ x 6″. I was SO HAPPY looking through all of these IG photos¬†(MEMORIES)¬†going back to 2011! Jeff and the kids enjoyed looking through them too (and pointing out all of the clothes from 2011 that Jeff¬†STILL WEARS!) We live in the age of cell phones photos. I can’t even say we live in the age of digital cameras anymore. We do, but I have taken mine on 2 beach trips this summer and have yet to take a picture with it. I only use my digital camera for AC design photos! Everything is on my phone.

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Each book is labeled. You chose the name of the books and I went with The Gulledges.¬†Original, I know. I love that each book is organized by date and broken down in to volumes. I guess I joined IG in 2011? You also get to go through ALL of your IG photos and exclude any that you don’t want printed in the book. Like the picture of the rain or that rabbit you saw in the yard.

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Each photos is also labeled with the date (YAY!) and some of them have the location. I guess it depends if your location services was turned on? Each pic also has captions underneath and some of mine were blank. I guess before I “got” Instagram and understood how to use it? The Emojis also show up as¬†little characters. NOT Emoji friendly I guess but they are cute!

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Anyway, I love this *HAPPY* and wanted to share!! If you are an avid IG lover like I am, then try it out! You can get your first book free with my code!

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In Applique Cafe news, we’ve started our 4th of July SALE!

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I also added 3 new designs last week and all of them are the quick vintage/redwork stitch designs that are so easy and popular right now. I used medium cutaway stabilizer on these shirts, plus water soluble on top. You could also use a lighter cutaway. You just want to be sure to avoid any puckering! All of these are featured on our home page in case you are working on FALL. football helmet 3 500-horz

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!