Free Light Box

Hi everyone,

Here's just a quick idea how to turn your monitor into a free light box by just visiting our website :)

For those instances that you would want to trace a shape to mark on fabric and would need a light box, this is what you have to do:

Visit page: http://artnstitch.academy/lightbox/

That's all! There's your free light box.
Maximize your Browser window and use the Brightness controls of your monitor.  The larger your monitor, the larger your light box. To use the light box page offline, simply use your Browser's menu File > Save page as to save the light box page on your computer.

Use Painter's tape to tape the original plus the fabric to your monitor, then trace away.
Warning: Don't use sharp pointed pens and don't use aggressive markers of course.

I happen to have an all-in-one computer where the monitor can be pushed down flat.  See photo below.

I hope you like it :)


PS: If you have one of our programs Art and Stitch or Pre-Design Studio, you won't need a light box to trace a drawing, because you can simply make a photo with a camera / phone and import the photo as a backdrop / background image and use the drawing tools to trace.


2014 Olympics - for Quilters!

Are you watching the Olympic Games all day long? You're not so much into sports? Then you still have to watch to see the beautiful decorations on the outfits of the athletes, the boards, the buildings!

Colorful diamond shaped patchwork - very inspiring!

Do a Google search for "Sochi 2014 designs" to find images like these:

Here's a story about the logo and style for this years Olympics:


And this is a great website to see the history of the designs in all of the patches:

Now the wait is for Moda to launch a series of fabrics for us, inspired by the 2014 Olympics :)

You just have to love Russia's folkart. Here's a photo Theo took in Moscow:


Have fun!



Applique with Art and Stitch and Brother Scan n Cut

It has been way too long since I posted anything, but today I have to share my fun with my newest toy: the Brother Scan-n-Cut machine. I got it yesterday - it's one of the first machines in our country - thanks to Leo Rijkers in Veghel, my absolute favorite Brother dealer :)

My own applique design, drawn and digitized in Art and Stitch, 

patches cut with the Brother Scan-n-Cut machine, 

finished on my embroidery machine

Let me start with a short description of the whole process and show the photos at the end of this post:

* I drew a Baltimore applique in Art and Stitch, saved it as file 1, to be used for embroidery.  For most parts I used the 3-pt Arc tool and made all parts symmetrical (see tips below). I just drew a quarter of the whole design and used the Magic Square in Art and Stitch.

* Saved the vector artwork again, this time
as file 2, to be used for the cutting machine. In this file I moved all applique pieces apart so that none of the pieces overlap. Selcted all and ticked the box "Fill" in the artwork tab in Properties Panel. Printed this file in actual size.

* Then I used the original file 1 to digitize the embroidery design, converting the artwork into applique  (see tips below), saved as PES for my Brother Quattro (Innov-is 1).

* Scanned the printout of file 2 with the Brother scan-n-cut machine and saved the scan in the machine as "scan to cut data". 

* I used the printout to see where to place the different colored fabric pieces on the mat. Then I scanned the cutting mat with the fabric as "background". 

* On the touch screen of the machine you can clearly see the cutting lines on top of that background. And that is the sheer brilliance of this machine! It makes it easy to move the various parts exactly on top of the right fabric color.

* I let the machine cut the pieces and pulled them off the mat, used spray adhesive on the back - ready to be used in the embroidery hoop.

* Opened the embroidery design (file 1) in my embroidery machine and stitched the placement lines first, glued the pre-cut pieces in place and finished the separate applique parts. I did NOT take the hoop off the machine! I used the little spatula that came with the scanner to adhere the patch in place.


Tip 1:
In our new upcoming Art and Stitch PLUS version 3, there is an extra setting for applique: you can turn layers on and off and you can also let the second tack down be a small open zigzag instead of a run stitch. That small zigzag will secure the patch and because it is an open zigzag the patch stays nice and flat. As finishing layer I chose the default Satin here, but one of the over 300 motifs will be nice too for a next project. 

Tip 2:
The stems are so small that I did not turn them into applique, but just outlined them for placement and put a motif line on top to cover the fabric. 
Hopefully you can see this all in the photos below.

Tip 3:
All pieces I used in this baltimore applique design are symmetrical. That way you can never go wrong, no risk of mirroring the design parts by mistake. They will always fit :)

Tip 4:
I stabilized the fabric pieces with iron-on Pellon Wonder Under 805, fabric peeled off before placing on the standard mat.

Tip 5:
I used a standard mat, standard blade, set to depth 3, pressure 2. You always have to do a test first, because your fabric may be thinner of thicker than the fabric I used.

The digitizing, scanning, cutting and embroidery process in photos: 

1. Drawing the design in Art and Stitch, using the vector drawing tools. Only drew the parts of one flower and used the Magic Square to get 4:

2.  I saved the file again under a different name and pulled all artwork pieces apart, color by color without any overlaps, exactly the way I want them to be cut. Printed this file at actual size, to be scanned into the Brother Scan-n-Cut:

3. I opened the original file and turned the artwork into applique objects:

4. I used the printout to see where to place the different colored fabric on the cutting mat and then scanned the printout into the Scan-n-Cut machine:

5. Then scanned the mat with the fabric on top into the machine, as a background:

6. The brilliance of the Scan-n-Cut machine!! The touch screen shows the fabric on the mat, making it a breeze to move the objects to the right place (forgot to make a photo when everything was in place):

7. Let the machine cut the fabric:

 8. Pull the fabric off the mat, using the little spatula:

9. Used spray adhesive on the back of the patches (in the sink, on a sheet of paper):

10. Opened the embroidery design in my machine and stitched the first placement lines (running stitch):

11.  Glued the first patches in place, exactly inside the placement lines and guess what - the fabric patches cut with the machine are exactly the size of the stitched lines :)

12. I had digitized a motif on the small stems, and used a small open zigzag tack down layer with satin finish for the other objects (see tips above):

13.Glued, tacked down and finished the rest of the applique: 

 14. The result is absolutely beautiful (if I may say so):

To know that I can create my own shapes and designs, ANYTHING, in Art and Stitch and by just printing and scanning get it in true size into the Brother Scan-n-Cut, resulting in the exact matching pre-cut applique patches is a dream come true!

OK, so this is how I spent my Sunday, tomorrow back to finishing the User Guide for our new Version 3 of Art and Stitch PLUS.
See Overview of what's inside Art and Stitch PLUS version 3):


Have fun!



From 20 blocks into a full quilt

Finally I am posting a description of a quilt I made last year.

In August 2011 Theo and I were teaching at one of our Art and Stitch Retreats, in North Salt Lake. It was my birthday and I thought no one knew...  but before I had a chance to start the class, our students surprised me so much! Each student gave me a signature quilt block of 12x12 inch in red and white.

Can't tell you how great it is to receive such a gift - knowing that each student has spent time creating that block, just for me! It sure made me very humble and grateful.

Due to our very busy teaching schedule, time kept vanishing and the quilt blocks kept waiting for quite some time. 

20 signature blocks

When I finally had the time to start the project, this is what I did: First I drew one block in Art and Stitch, filled with color and then started playing with the Repeat tool to find a nice layout.

playing to find a layout for the 20 blocks
I liked it better with space between the blocks
And the winner is...: colored squares between the blocks

 I just moved the blocks around until I liked the result. I then exported that layout from Art and Stitch as an image. The one with the extra colored squares inside was the winner and I pieced the blocks and the extra squares together and finished the top.

Simply because I invented Art and Stitch, I couldn't use existing quilt patterns of course. I had to make my own designs.
I made a design fitting the signature block, leaving the signature part in the center open. I used round shapes in circles and feathers, to prevent stitching in the ditch:

Designing a pattern to match the block.

Reshape to perfection. The pattern is one continuous path.

Keeping the center open. The circle and feather shapes prevent stitching in the ditch.

I used a small part of the full quilt layout and turned that into a backdrop in Art and Stitch, so that I could create designs fitting the spaces between the various blocks. I designed in the true size (12x12 inch blocks and 3x3 inch colored blocks).

Backdrop for Art and Stitch  to design patterns around and between the blocks

For the larger space between the signature blocks I designed a pattern around the colored square and for all remaining parts I made special designs fitting in those parts. I kept playing with designs, moving them around, reshaping, using parts of them (using the Reshape tool, right-click and "Split" in Art and Stitch) until I had enough patterns to fit all blocks and sections.
This is the Art and Stitch screen when I am working on a design, auditioning patterns for the various parts:

Auditioning patterns for each segment of the quilt top

When everything was in place, I printed the full layout and on the printout I wrote the names of the various patterns. I saved the individual patterns for my IntelliQuilter on a USB thumb drive and loaded the patterns in the IQ.  My printout was my help in knowing where to place the various patterns. And then I loaded the top, batting and backing fabric and stitched away! Loved it:) Reading the names and signatures of our students while finishing the quilt brought me back to that wonderful birthday class in North Salt Lake in August 2011. Thank you again so much to all my students!
The final stage: quilting
In Art and Stitch I placed my first and last points for each pattern in spots that I could easily identify on the quilt. That makes precise placement of the pattern easy.

I just love to watch the system stitch the patterns I worked on :)

A special pattern for the square between the signature blocks

Each little square and triangle got a design made for that shape

Almost done

Finished. Hanging on the gallery to be admired :)


Having fun with Book Collector

Hi everyone,

I did it almost twice now: I bought a book that I already have! So I have been searching for a program where I could scan the ISBN bar codes of all my books and let those go into a database. Well, I found the perfect program:

Book Collector from Collectorz.com

I bought the small laser scanner with it and started scanning the first shelf.

This is so much fun. Although the program doesn't find all my books (some of my quilt books are really old and not in print anymore and some front covers are missing), it is still worthwhile to get it all organized.

There's still a lot to be scanned, but once that is done, I can take the database with me and prevent that I buy the same book twice :)

(not affiliated with collectorz.com, just a happy customer)

Art and Stitch Retreat in Birmingham, UK

Hi everyone,

We had a great time in Birmingham! A small class, two days and lots of work done. Geoff and Liz and the staff of The Cotton Patch were wonderful hosts.
To get a very good impression of the class look at the photos Liz made and placed on The Cotton Patch Facebook page:

ArtandStitch Workshop

We are one week home now and then our last trip this year will start, to the Art and Stitch Retreat in Brighton, Michigan, then to MQX West in Portland, Oregon.

For our teaching schedule see page

See you :)



Teaching schedule - sky rocketing

Hi everyone,

A lot has happened in the past weeks. Our Art and Stitch software is becoming very, very popular: the product is now bundled with ABM Innova's AutoPilot, with CompuQuilter, and Handi Quilter's ProStitcher.

That makes us (well, our classes of course) pretty popular. To give you an idea:

* Our classes have been added to the Milwaukee Machine Quilting Show next week.

* The Cotton Patch will be hosting the first European Art and Stitch Retreat at their Studio in Birmingham, in September.

* Yesterday we had a confirmation that the folks of the Road to California show in January have managed to squeeze us into their class schedule. Online Registration will open in a few days.

* In June next year we will organize another 2-day Art and Stitch Retreat: in Nashville, Tennessee.

You can find our updated teaching schedule on our webpage

Here are some images to give you an idea what you can draw after attending our classes (even if you think you can't draw at all):

So check out our schedule and join us in one of the many classes!

Loes (packing for Milwaukee as I am writing this - yep, multitasking overhere)