Make it Personal! Machine Cross Stitch Journal Cover

Make it Personal

Machine Cross Stitch Journal Cover

Finished book size: 8-3/8” x 6-5/8”

pamela Cox headshot

This series is written by guest blogger, Pamela Cox. Pamela is an expert embroiderer, designer, digitizer and all around wonderful girl! We are so happy to have her contributing to the Sulky Blog!

When my girls were little, I volunteered in their classrooms.  I remember an elementary school project, which I was so fortunate to participate in:  Helping young authors turn pages of their original stories into a book!

Together, we wrapped cardboard in gift wrap, folded the story pages in half, and hand-stitched down the center to bind these precious thoughts into history.  To this day, I have my daughter’s book and she is now 35 years old!

Preserving thoughts…documenting events…capturing expressions…are well appreciated by us in simply remembering special times.  However, it is invaluable for our future generations in understanding the lives of the loved ones who came before them.

Sulky’s new “Wordplay” designs unleash a flood of inspirations!  These whimsical word-play designs, created by Ursula Michael and digitized by Marcia Manning of Lickity Stitch, manage to capture the best expressions within each theme!  And there are usually a couple of designs to choose from within a theme.  Plus, the designs are applicable for a variety of projects besides the featured book!

Tote bags:

Throw pillows:

Or every design can stand on its own as a framed picture!

Even though I chose to do a “Christmas Book” – tis the season – many other designs offer unique book cover ideas to document a variety of notable occasions.

So let’s get started!

Gather Supplies:

17” x 13” piece of Osnaburg fabric – Osnaburg is a 100% cotton utility fabric resembling coarse linen, is a perfect canvas for cross-stitch.  Place the fabric on true grain by pulling threads, until one fiber travels the full length of the piece.  This establishes the “straight edge” to begin straight cutting.

8-1/4” x 13-1/4” of Christmas themed cotton fabric

90/14 Topstitch needle



#1348 Christmas Tree Word Play Word-Play Design 16.4 count – Available at

Cardstock folded in half like a folder for the cover, along with paper for inside pages.  Paper can be computer paper, specialty paper, card stock, or themed scrapbook paper.

Jute thread (optional)

How to make it happen:

Fold the piece of Osnaburg in half, and hand-baste along the fold, establishing the fabric center.  From the fabric center, hand-baste a vertical line 3-1/2” to the right.  From the bottom edge, hand baste a horizontal line 6” up.  The intersection of the two lines is center design placement.  (Shown above.)

Hoop a piece of Sulky Sticky+ Stabilizer, with the gridded release sheet side facing up, and still intact.

Lightly score the paper inside the hoop and remove it, exposing its sticky surface.

Smooth the fabric, right sides together, along the vertical center, matching the intersecting basted lines with center markings on the hoop. Helpful Hint:  If the hoop is squared on a quilter’s mat, the grid lines will be visible underneath the Sticky+, making it easy to keep the fabric straight in the hoop.

Firmly press the fabric into the stabilizer, keeping it taut and wrinkle free.

Secure the hoop on the embroidery machine, matching the center needle position to design center.

Remove the stitched basting lines.

Slow the machine down by half, and stitch a “fix box” (basting box) around the design.  Although this step is optional, a basting box serves as a second method for checking that the fabric is straight in the hoop, and that the design placement is acceptable. 

Once you’re satisfied, stitch the design.  Cut the jump threads after each color change, before proceeding to the next color.

When the embroidery is finished, remove the hoop from the machine.  While the fabric is still hooped, use a pin to score through the stabilizer outside the fix box and remove the piece from the hoop.

Using the fix box as a guide, fold the embroidered fabric in half, wrong sides together, 1/4” to the left of the fix box.  From the fold, measure 8-5/8” to the right, and straight cut. From the bottom of the fix box, measure down 1-1/4” and straight cut.  From the bottom cut edge, measure up 10-3/8” and straight cut.  Press under a 1” hem on all four sides.  Miter corners. 

Cut the cardstock 6-5/8” wide x 8-3/8” high and fold it down the center. Check that the fabric cover fits the cut cardstock.

Cut a piece of Steam-a-Seam2 Fusible Web the same size. Fold the fusible web in half, leaving the protective paper covering on one side and removing it from the other to expose one sticky side.  Tuck the cardstock folder inside.  Keeping the folder folded, first fuse one side and then turn it over and fuse the other side.  This permits the fusible enough “give”, allowing the book to close.

Remove the release sheet from the folder’s front cover section. Position the folder behind the wrong side of the embroidered tree using the creased hem lines as a guide, but don’t fuse yet.

Turn it over to confirm proper placement. Helpful Hint: If you’re not pleased, gently lift the fabric from the sticky surface and re-position it. Once satisfied, smooth the front in place, keeping it taut and wrinkle free. Iron it to fuse in place.

Turn the unit over and continue to cover the back.  Once again, keep folder folded.

Turn under a 1/2” hem on all four sides of the lining fabric, mitering corners.

Cut a piece of Steam-A-Seam2. Peel the paper away from the sticky side, and cover the back of the cardstock folder.  Helpful Hint:  Expose only half of the sheet, securing it before removing the other half.  Keep Osnaburg hems free.  Secure the Osnaburg hems to the stabilizer making sure that the iron only touches the 1” fabric hem allowance.  Center the lining inside the cover and fuse. 

Using Cotton+Steel Thread by Sulky, hand stitch the edges of the lining to the Osnaburg hem with a slip stitch.

Cut the inside paper to size.  Use as many sheets as desired.  On the fold, cut 6” x 7-3/8”.

Align the folded paper inside the folded cover.  Open the book, and machine stitch with Cotton+Steel Thread, using an elongated straight stitch (about 8 stitches per inch).


Wrap the bound edge with a piece of jute and tie into a bow.  Pages can be left blank for the receiver to fill in, titled to encourage thoughts; or, if talented with a computer (which I am not), pages can be first printed and then bound into a holiday Christmas book.

Machine Cross Stitch Journal Cover

Introducing Machine Cross Stitch to the Sulky Embroidery Club!

Introducing: Machine Cross Stitch

to the Sulky Embroidery Club


Machine cross stitch gives you the unique look of counted cross stitch with the ease and versatility of machine embroidery. We have added over 100 machine cross stitch designs to the Sulky Embroidery Club from two of the most popular cross stitch designers: Marcia Manning of Lickity Stitch Designs and Ursula Michael with her famous Word Play Designs.

If you like the look of Cross Stitch designs, especially Word Play, but do not have the patience or desire to hand stitch them, then you will love these Machine Cross Stitch Designs from Ursula Michael.  Here are some of her Word Play Designs:

And for you cat lovers… you will adore Ursula’s “Cats on Quilts” series:

We have also fallen in love with Marcia’s monstrously cute alphabet designs:


Here are some things you need to know about these new designs:

  1. With each design you purchase, you will receive anywhere from 5 – 12 different size/density design files. These means you do not have to pay more for the same design if different hoop sizes. All hoop sizes come with the purchase of the design.
  2. You can treat this like any other Embroidery design and put them on lots of different fabrics. You are not limited to counted cross stitch fabrics.
  3. When it comes to words and fine detail, Machine cross stitch is crisper and words can be read more easily. This is really noticeable in Ursula Michael’s Word Play designs.
  4. There is a tutorial that includes a free machine cross stitch design to try and gives you lots of details and hints about stitching out these fun designs. Get the Tutorial here:

We know you will fall in love with these designs like we have! Can’t wait to see what great projects you all come up with!

Happy Sewing!

Machine Embroidery Series – Embroidery on Mid-Weight Cotton

pamela Cox headshot

This series is written by guest blogger, Pamela Cox. Pamela is an expert embroiderer, designer, digitizer and all around wonderful girl! We are so happy to have her contributing to the Sulky Blog!




The term “mid-weight/medium weight” cotton fabric covers many fabrics known by other names such as oxford, “quilting cottons” pique, broadcloth, just to name a few.  They are often used, but not limited to, tote bags, throw pillows, table-toppers, garments, quilts and other patchwork projects. They are the most common fabrics used for machine embroidery and by following a few simple tips, your machine embroidery on these kinds of fabrics will always turn out great.

I thought I would show a few basics by showing you how I stitched out this adorable humming bird from the Sulky Embroidery Club.

What I used:

Sulky® Soft ’n Sheer™ Stabilizer – 10” square
Cotton Broadcloth – 10” square, pre-washed, dried and pressed
Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Embroidery Thread
Sulky Bobbin Thread or Sulky 60 wt. PolyLite™ Thread
120mm square embroidery hoop
80/12 Embroidery Needle
Embroidery Design: Red Retro Humming Bird Design #661


Embroidery Design: Red Retro Humming Bird Design #661


Divide the cotton broadcloth into quarters by folding in half, and stitch a hand-basted line in the crease of the fold. Refold the fabric so the opposite sides are now halved, basting another line. The intersection of these two lines mark design center. Hoop fabric and stabilizer as directed in this blog post.

basting lines


After purchasing and downloading the design on my computer, I then opened it in a software editing program to change the colors to those which would complement my fabric color. This “edited” file was then copied to a USB stick – my method of transferring designs from my computer to my embroidery machine. The needle position for the design center was located on the machine and matched to the intersection of the basted lines. This step required me to move the design a very tiny bit in the embroidery machine to insure both centers matched and that the design would be stitched exactly where intended. The design was stitched, changing colors as required.

embr design

Personally, I slow my embroidery machine down by 1/4th. Slower speeds mean I can use a slightly smaller needle than what one might normally consider.  If you choose not to slow your machine down and your thread keeps breaking, increase the  machine needle size to 90/14. Once the embroidery is completed, remove it from the hoop and trim the excess stabilizer and jump threads from the back side of the embroidery. Be careful not to cut through any thread knots.  Removing excess stabilizer will enable the fabric in between the design elements to relax and return to its “proper place” in the fabric, eliminating any puckering often seen on machine embroidered projects.  Also remove the basting stitches.

trim excess

Finish by pressing the embroidered fabric with a steam iron, face down into a thick terry towel.  Using a towel instead of the flat surface of an ironing board will allow the embroidery to preserve its “depth”.   Note:  If you have used a Polyester Bobbin Thread, remember that polyester thread does not tolerate the same iron temperature that rayon does.  So use a press cloth over the back or lower your iron temperature.

Other stabilizers which are perfectly acceptable and would work equally as well with medium-weight woven cotton fabrics are Sulky Cut-Away Plus™ and Sulky Tear-Easy™.

Now your design is ready to be added to whatever project you choose!

Happy Sewing!

Make Quick Halloween Costumes in the Hoop!

Halloween-spoolie---Collection-2 (1)

Halloween has become one of the most popular holidays of the year, and with good reason! It is so fun to dress up in costumes, get together with friends and take the kids and grandkids out trick or treating.

Here is a fun little In The Hoop project to get you in the Halloween spirit a little early.

Need some more Halloween inspiration? We have a ton of it! Check out all these great posts and tutorials in the Halloween Category on this blog!

Happy Sewing!

In-The-Hoop Piggie Softie – And It’s Free!

Little softies are fun to make and they make great gifts! This little piggie by Lisa Archer of Pickle Pie Designs is fun, easy and FREE! Here is the video tutorial

And here is the link to the Free Design Download

pig-200_28378Aren’t they adorable? I have several friends with new babies on the way and they will all love these guys! It’s perfect for girls or boys. I mean, who doesn’t like pigs?Now go make some piggies.

Happy Sewing!

St. Patrick’s Day TBT

St. Patrick’s Day is just 3 weeks away! Are you planning a fun party, an Irish meal or doing any St. Patrick’s inspired crafts with you kids?


My girls love to ‘look for the leprechaun’. We usually color him, hide him somewhere around the house or in the yard; and once they find him, we eat candy or cookies. Simple but fun. Here are some fun leprechaun coloring pages.

St. Patty's Day mats header

Last year I made these St. Patty’s Day Placemats.

st patty placmat 6

They are quick and easy to make. The full tutorial is here.

We also have some fun St. Patrick’s Day Machine Embroidery designs in the Sulky Embroidery Club. As always, click on the picture to take you right to the place to purchase the design.

Kiss Me Im Irish

X Appliqued Shamrock

This one's FREE

This one’s FREE


Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Sewing!

Free Valentine’s Day Embroidery Designs!

We have some wonderful designs for Valentine’s Day in the Sulky Embroidery Club! Here are four that are completely free.

Check Heart

This design would be cute on a pincushion, T-shirt pocket, or tote bag!


I love this “Be Mine” design! It’s sweet, simple and the perfect size to stitch onto a little bag that you can fill with candy or on a hand towel. I think I will stitch this out onto a small hand towel for my hubby to use at his bathroom sink. That way he will think of me every morning while he is getting ready for work.


Aren’t these lips great! This would be perfect on a handkerchief for your valentine. Ellen Osten, Director of Education for Sulky, stitched these out on a towel with an adorable saying, “Let’s go. I’ve got my lips on.”lets go lips

Heart wiht scroll

This wonderful heart with scroll work is perfect to stitch on card stock to make an awesome card! Never stitched on card stock before? It’s ‘sew’ easy! All you need is some cardstock, a nice sharp needle, like a Schmetz Microtex needle, Sulky Fuse ‘n Stitch™ and some Sulky Sticky Plus™. Fuse the Sulky Fuse ‘n Stitch to the back of the cardstock where the design will be (do not use steam!). Hoop the Sulky Sticky Plus with the release sheet up in the hoop, score the release sheet with a pin and remove it from inside the hoop and stick down the card. Now you just sew out the design, just like you would any other design! Don’t worry, if you are a visual learner, I will do a tutorial on this next week.

So let’s get started showing our love with these fun designs! All of these designs are free in our Sulky Embroidery Club. just click on the picture to take you to the design to download it instantly.

Want more designs? Here are all our Valentine’s Day embroidery designs. Keep checking back, because we are sure to be adding more soon.

Happy Sewing!

Because of Paris

Rich and I meeting Mona Lisa in 2012

Rich and I meeting Mona Lisa in 2012

A few years ago, my wonderful husband took me to Paris for my 40th birthday. It was the trip of a lifetime. I was overjoyed to get to see the city of lights and most importantly, the art. I finally got to see, in person, pieces that I had studied in books for years. I got to meet Mona Lisa, Monet’s Water Lilies and Venus de Milo. To be surrounded by such masterpieces everyday, both inside and outside the museums is just something that I cannot put into words.

Venus de Milo in the Louvre in Paris

Venus de Milo in the Louvre in Paris

One painting in a the eight painting series. Monet's Water Lilies

One painting in the eight painting series. Monet’s Water Lilies

These memories cause my heart to ache today as I think about the horrible attacks on this city.

The view from inside the Musee D'Orsay. You can see Sacre Coeur through the large clock.

The view from inside the Musee D’Orsay. You can see Sacre Coeur through the large clock.

To show support for our French friends, I am making these two luggage tags to hang on my purse and computer bag as a show of support.




The Eiffel Tower appliqué embroidery design.


I think I will also make this coin purse.

purse 8pg

With my thoughts and prayers in Paris, Happy Sewing.

In Honor of Veteran’s Day


My 9 and 10 year old girls have learned a lot about the history of our country this year. It has been fun to talk to them about the Revolutionary War and the birth of our country. My older daughter, Korey, is particularly fascinated by our country’s history and it has been fun to hear her perspective on it all.

remembered love

Remembering our country’s history has caused me to gain a greater appreciation for our Veterans. I am proud to live in a country where I am free to express myself, free to worship how I see fit and free to create. These are simple luxuries that are not awarded to all and I am thankful for the men and women in the armed forces who have sacrificed to make that possible.

Red Poppy Thread Sketch

My Red Poppy Thread Sketch

At Sulky, we are in love with the poppy flower as a symbol for Veterans. If you want to know a little more about the history of the poppy and how it came to represent Veterans, check out my post from last Veteran’s Day here (it also has a free downloadable pattern).

The machine embroidery designs in this post are just some of the great patriotic designs from the Sulky Embroidery Club. Just click on the picture and it will take you to the design so you can get the details and purchase it. They are all instant downloads so you could even stitch these out today!

cross and poppies

american spoolie

Happy Veteran’s Day and Happy Sewing!

We Remember






american apoolie