In-The-Hoop Projects and Photo Frames – A Better Way (& a Valentine’s Day Gift!)

By Guest Blogger:  Patti Lee, Vice President, Consumer Relations, Sulky of America

I have fallen in love with in-the-hoop projects.  Yes, the first prototype of each project takes some extra time; but once you’ve done the first one, they become easier and faster.  My favorite thing about in-the-hoop designs is that when you’re done, you’re done.  There is usually very little finish work once it is out of the hoop.

I made this one into a fridge magnet with a self-stick magnetic strip.


Get this FREE from Embroidery Library until Feb. 28, 2017

Click here to download the free “Hearts Abound” In-the-Hoop Frame Project.  (Note:  Fits in a 4 x 4 hoop.)

Just like with the Sulky Embroidery Club, you will need to sign in or register as a new account (which is free) in order to download this great design.  This design will be free to you from January 25th through July 31, 2017.

Have you ever done an in-the-hoop project using a tear-away stabilizer, and the stitch density just wasn’t supported by a tear-away?   Or when you tore the stabilizer away, some little fuzzies remained?  Or you used a white tear-away stabilizer on a darker fabric, so it showed even more?  Yes, you can get the marker pens out and do some touch-up, but sometimes the colors just don’t match well enough.  After all, we have 333 solid colors to choose from here at Sulky.  And then, with metallics, it’s even more challenging.

So, my personal preference is to use Sulky Fabri-Solvy for my in-the-hoop projects instead of a tear-away almost all of the time now. I love being able to give a truly personal gift.  So this last Christmas, I made this In-the-Hoop Christmas Bell Ornament from Embroidery Library. In fact I made a bunch of them.  It can be an ornament for the tree (adding a ribbon), or you can place it on a small plate stand, or add a fridge magnet on the back.

Here’s how I did it using Fabri-Solvy instead of a tear-away.  You can do this for any of the frames including the free Valentine’s Day Frame.


  • Embroidery Machine with a 5 x 7 hoop for this particular design (a larger hoop could also be used, but  then I would use 2 layers of Fabri-Solvy Stabilizer)
  • Schmetz® 14/90 Topstitch Needle (with metallic threads)
  • 1 – 7” x 7” piece of fabric (front)
  • 1 – 7” x 7” piece of fabric (back) I used the same fabric front and back.
  • 2 – 7” x 7” pieces of Sulky Cut-Away Plus™ Stabilizer
  • 1 – piece of Sulky Fabri-Solvy™ Stabilizer about 2” larger than your hoop
  • Sulky Original Metallic Thread 142-7007 Gold (this is the small size spool)
  • Sulky Prewound Bobbin – Tan
  • Sulky KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive
  • 8-1/2” piece of ribbon (if it will be a tree ornament)

(This was a tribute to a very dear friend, Carol Ingram, who we lost just before Christmas last year; and also a surprise to our Knit Night Group, so I didn’t want to post this before Christmas.)

I used Sulky Original Metallic 143-7007 Gold for this project.  I used a king size spool because I made over 15 of them, but you could use the smaller 142-7007 spool for just a few.  This project was digitized for metallic thread, so it stitched flawlessly and I never broke a thread until my needle got dull (remember, I made 15 of just this version alone).  But even though it was digitized for metallic thread, I slowed my machine down some.

I used a Tan Sulky Prewound Bobbin, and it matched pretty well on the back and was not as stark as white would be.  Sometimes I used the metallic in the bobbin for the final satin stitching, too.

If you look at the Color Sequence Sheet that comes with the project, it has 7 color stops, but all the same color.

Download and print the really great instructions for making the project and templates here:

(Note:  You do not have to have embroidery software to do this project.  Hooray!)

Follow those instructions for this project.  I have added some tips and hints here, and include the specific differences using Fabri-Solvy (which are pretty minimal, really.)

I used a Christmas shirt box as my spray station for KK 2000:

Here are the changes when using a water soluble stabilizer instead of a tear-away. 

  1. Obviously you would hoop the Fabri-Solvy (I used one layer for a 5 x 7 hoop If you use a larger hoop, I would use 2 layers).
  1. After color stop #4, do any additional lettering you choose on the ornament, names, dates, etc. (optional). Then remove the hoop from the machine.  (DO NOT REMOVE THE DESIGN from the hoop).  With a curved scissors, carefully trim the Fabri-Solvy from the center hole, leaving about 1/8” remaining.

  1. Dampen a wash cloth with HOT water (just the area of your finger – you don’t want it dripping wet or even overly wet.  You don’t want to get any wetness on the rest of the Fabri-Solvy).  With your finger, gently rub around the hole and the remaining Fabri-Solvy is instantly gone.  HINT:  If you accidentally get some water or wetness on the remaining Fabri-Solvy, just patch it with a larger piece than the hole with Sulky KK 2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive.

You will repeat this same removal technique when the ornament is completely stitched.  (See photo later on.)  That’s it.  Everything else is the same as in the .pdf instructions.


If you want to add a ribbon for hanging, you will do so now before you stitch color stop #5, and it’s shown in the .pdf instructions that come with the project.  I used a 8-1/2” long piece of ribbon. (If you changed the order of stitching because you added the lettering, be sure to go back and select color stop #5 before you start stitching again.)

Follow the .pdf instructions to add the photo.  Don’t forget to insert a matching bobbin at this point.  I did use a bobbin wound with metallic for some of them that I wanted to be especially pretty, but the tan on the backside wasn’t too bad with the tension on my particular machine.  TIP:  Be sure to wind your bobbin slowly with metallic thread.

Tape the photo in place with double-sided tape. If you’ve added a ribbon, be sure to keep it out of the way when you re-attach the hoop to the machine. To ensure this, I also taped it to the top of the hoop with regular Scotch® Magic™ Tape (not double-sided), shown by the arrow in the photo below:

This shows the final stitching completed from the wrong side with the ribbon taped out of the way.  (Notice that on this one, I did use the metallic in the bobbin, and it is really is pretty.)  Final stitching in progress:

When complete, remove the project from the hoop, and trim the stabilizer away just like you did for the center hole, leaving about 1/8” remaining.  Lesson learned:  Before trimming…Remove the tape holding the ribbon and re-tape the ribbon tightly onto the back of the ornament.  Why?  Because I accidentally cut a ribbon, and that is not an easy repair.  (You’re welcome!)

Repeat the washcloth process for removing the 1/8” or so remaining:

Be sure to check out all the other wonderful in-the-hoop Christmas ornaments and year-round frames too.

Scrappy St. Valentine’s Day Cards


Post by Guest Blogger Jen Frost of Faith and Fabric

Ahhh…fabric. It’s so much fun to walk through the store, find the perfect prints, and make a one of a kind sewing project! With any sewing project, there are always some scraps left of that gorgeous fabric you picked out, and many quilters save their larger scraps for other projects. However, one thing that always gets thrown out are those ultra tiny scraps. You know, those strands of thread you cut as you thread your needle, the thin trimmings as you cut a block to size, those left over bits from creating applique…all end up in the trash.

I’m excited to partner with Sulky and share a fun way to use those ultra scrappy pieces to make beautiful cards – or in this case, valentines to celebrate someone special on St. Valentine’s Day!


  • tiny bits of trimmings
  • Sulky Solvy®
  • paper and other card making supplies


  1. In your sketchbook, draw out a few designs for cards. In the example below, I’m planning on making four cards: one with a cut-out red heart, one with a purple flower, pink center, and green stem, one with three heart balloons in purple, pink, and red, and one with two blue birds in love.IMAGE 1
  2. Cut a piece of Sulky Solvy approximately 4″ – 6″ wide, depending on the amount of that color you’ll be needing as determined in step 1. You’ll see I needed more purple than green, so I cut wider strips of Solvy for the purple scraps and a thinner piece for the green scraps.IMAGE 2
  3. Pick a color to start with. Pile your scraps on one side of the Solvy and fold over, so you have a little pocket with your scraps inside. Rearrange the scraps in your pocket so there are no areas that are too thick or too thin.IMAGE 3
  4. At your machine, replace your presser foot with a free motion quilting foot / darning foot, and change the settings (as appropriate to your machine) to free motion quilt. Lower your feed dogs, and raise the height of your presser foot. Replace your standard sewing needle with a heavy duty needle. Load a coordinating color thread into your machine.IMAGE 4
  5. Placing the folded end of your scrappy pocket under the presser foot, stitch forward in a slow, straight line. This helps lock those first pieces in place. Once you reach the end, turn your scrappy pocket to the left, and stitch to the corner. Continue all the way around the pocket until there is a border on all sides of the pocket.IMAGE 5
  6. Making micro-stippling, zig-zag, twists, and any other stitch you want, sew the scrappy pieces in place within the pocket. You can’t over-stitch this, but you can under-stitch – so don’t be afraid to really overlap stitches. Ensure there aren’t any spaces between stitches that are greater than 1/4″. Repeat with any other color pockets that you want to make.
  7. Once all pockets are heavily stitched, it’s time to remove the stabilizer. Fill a container with warm water, and – starting with the lightest color – soak the pocket until the stabilizer dissolves. Remove from the water, drain on a towel, and continue until the stabilizer has been dissolved from each of the pockets.IMAGE 6
  8. To dry the pockets, first press any remaining water out by sandwiching the pockets between two towels and pressing down. Once excess water has been removed, place in a warm sunny location until they dry. Speed up drying time by using a hair-dryer to dry.
  9. After the fabric is dry, it’s time to make cards! Cut the pockets into desired shapes as determined by your sketches. Using a glue-gun, glue the shapes down onto your cards.IMAGE 7 Option 2
  10. Pass out to your favorite Valentine!

Faith and Fabric Catholic Crafts and Quilts divider

Jen Frost is a Catholic quilter and crafter who evangelizes through fabric. She’s a pattern writter, quilt designer, and book author. When she’s not in front of her sewing machine, she can be found at the beach with her husband and son, toes happily buried in the sand. She writes and quilts each week at Faith and Fabric and invites you to join in the fun every Monday at 12pm PST.

How to do Machine Embroidery on Cardstock

card stock tutorialWith so many amazing embroidery designs out there, creating awesome and very personal cards can be easy and fun!

When I started doing research about this, I discovered that most people were saying that you could only use certain kinds on designs if you want to do machine embroidery on paper. The rebel in me couldn’t help but figure out how to do ANY design on paper. I mean, why not! Who says machine embroidery is just for fabric? People have figured out how the do embroidery on toilet paper for goodness sake, why not card stock and any design? So I figured it out and here is the tutorial just for you.


Card stock – It comes in different weights. Everything from 65 lb – 110 lb. Any weight works fine, so choose the weight based on how thick or heavy you want your card. NOTE: The thicker the paper, the more often you may have to change your needle if you are making multiple cards.

Sulky Fuse ‘n Stitch™ – This is the key to being able to put any design on paper. Sulky Fuse ‘n Stitch is a heavyweight fusible stabilizer that will fuse perfectly to the card stock and keeps the embroidery design looking great.

Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread – You could use any of the Sulky threads: Rayon, Cotton, Metallic, or Polyester; but since most embroidery designs are digitized for 40 wt. rayon and I love the way the thread shines next to the matte of the card stock, I chose Sulky 40 wt. Rayon in Lipstick #561 (It’s my favorite red in the Sulky Rayon line).  Remember…because the designs are generally digitized for the 40 wt. thread, using a lighter wt. thread it may not fill in as well, using a heavier thread maybe require some enlargement.  So test when using different weights and types of thread.  And remember to adjust your needle size accordingly.

Sulky Sticky Plus™– This stabilizer is just sticky enough to hold the card in place during the embroidery, but not so sticky that it will tear the card stock when it finished.

Schmetz Microtex needle – I used a size 12/80. This needle is perfect because it pierces through the card stock and the stabilizer nicely, but doesn’t leave a huge hole behind. Use a new needle!

Dry iron – You are going to iron on paper. Paper and water don’t mix.

Embroidered Card_Love-detail

Start by picking your design. I chose this Love design from the Sulky Embroidery Club. It’s a pretty intricate design and is almost 10,000 stitches so if this design will work, just about any design will if you follow these steps. If you choose a design with a satin stitch, you may want to test it first, just to be sure it doesn’t tear through the paper.

Embroidered Card_Heart-detail

You can do a simpler design like this heart that is a built in design on my machine.

cardstock 3

Fold your card stock in half and decide which side is the front of the card. On the back of that side, fuse a piece of Sulky Fuse ‘n Stitch.

cardstock 4

Iron just as the directions say, but do not use steam.

cardstock 5

Hoop Sulky Sticky+ in the proper size hoop for your design with the gridded, release sheet side up.

cardstock 6

Score the release sheet with a pin and remove it to expose the sticky part. Stick the card to the Sulky Sticky+ with the Fuse ‘n Stitch side sticking to the Sticky Plus.

cardstock 7

Attach the hoop to your machine and sew away!

cardstock 10

I used the Sulky Prewound bobbins in white for the bobbin thread, but you could also wind a bobbin with the same thread that you are using on the top.  (Wrong side shown above and below.)

cardstock 9

Once the design is finished stitching, carefully remove the Sulky Sticky+ from the hoop and carefully remove the Sticky+ from the card. Be sure to tear towards the stitching line.

cardstock 8

You may need to iron the card again and then let it cool under a book, or something heavy, so the card doesn’t curl.

Embroidered Card_both

TADA! You have beautiful and very personal cards.

Happy Sewing

embroidered card tutorial


Heart Mug Rug and Placemats – Tutorial

Heart Mug Rug & Placemats

‘Sew’ many hearts, ‘sew’ little time! Here is a quick little heart mug rug and placemats.


2-1/2″ strips of fabric in white, pinks and reds (or scraps. The stripes don’t have to be the same if you want a scrappy look)
Backing fabric
Sulky Totally Stable® Stabilizer
Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer™ Stabilizer
Sulky KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive
Sulky 60 wt. PolyLite™ Thread – for piecing
Sulky 30 wt. Cotton thread – for decorative stitches
Chopstick – just one (or turning tool)

heart mat 3

Start by folding a piece of Sulky Totally Stable in half with the slick sides together and draw half of a heart on the fold. (Yes, you can draw a heart, I promise.)

heart mat 2

With the stabilizer still folded, cut out the heart. This is now your template, so if you don’t like the size or shape, just keep trying until you are happy. My Mug Rug is approx. 10″ wide x 9″ tall and my placemats are 18″ wide x 15″ tall.

Heart mat 1

Lightly iron the Sulky Totally Stable to a piece of Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer and trace the heart with a pencil (Hint: DON’T use a FriXion™ pen for this because you will be ironing it and the line will go away. Ask me how I know!)

heart mat 23

After the heart is traced, peel off  the Totally Stable and set it aside to use the next time.

heart mat 22Take your first strip and spray a small amount of KK 2000 on the wrong side and stick it to the corner. Be sure to have at least 1/4″ of fabric outside the line of the heart. You can choose to place your strips on the diagonal like I did for the mug rug, or straight, like I did for the placemats.

heart mat 21

Put your next strip, right sides together, matching the edge of the first strip.

heart mat 20

Sew using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

heart mat 19

Press the second strip open

heart mat 18

Continue like this until you have the entire area of the heart, plus a 1/4″ seam allowance, covered.

heart mat 17

As you can see, the strips don’t have to all be the same width or length at this point.

heart mat 16

That is the beauty of foundation piecing! You will cut it down to the right size after you sew. This is how I taught my kids to sew! (Okay, full confession. I didn’t teach them. My friend Sandra taught them. She is amazing at teaching kids to sew!)

heart mat 15

Trim around the heart leaving a 1/4″ or larger seam around the edge.

heart mat 14

Place the heart right side down on top of the backing fabric ( which is right side up), and the batting on the bottom.

heart mat 13

Pin together and sew on the pencil line, leaving a 2″ or 3″ opening for turning. I use my walking foot for this because of the layers and that is what works best on my machine. You might prefer a 1/4″ foot or some other foot, and that is perfectly fine. Use the one that works best for you.

heart mat 12

Have you heard the saying, “There is more than one way to … trim a seam?” (OK, me neither, but the other phrase is not a pretty picture) Well, there is also more than one way to turn a heart. I chose to clip the edges before turning. You can also trim around with pinking sheers.

heart mat 11

At the bottom of the heart, I trimmed straight across to eliminate the bulk.

heart mat 10

I use a chopstick to help turn my heart.

heart mat 8

Either pin or clip the opening closed and topstitch around the edge of the entire heart.

heart mat 9

I used Sulky 30 wt. Cotton in a color that went well with my fabrics for all the topstitching and decorative stitching, and of course, a 14/90 topstitch needle.

heart mat 6

Decorative stitches along the lines where the fabric joins adds a great touch to this mug rug!

heart mat 5

If you haven’t experimented with the stitches on your machine, this is a great time to try them all out.


For the placemats, I just did ‘stitch-in-the-ditch.’


Now my house is all ready for Valentine’s Day.

heart mat 4

It’s time for a cup of tea! Happy Sewing!

DIY Heart Pendant – Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Spread The Love

Whether you want to show your love to a friend or make one of these for yourself, these little hand stitch pendants are wonderful!

vday pendant 2

These guys are so quick and easy to make. This would be a perfect DIY project to do with your kids or grandkids.

circle pendant

I used this wooden circle blank.

Pink Ribbon Petites Thread Collection

And Sulky 12 Wt. Cotton Petites. I used two of the colors from our Beat Cancer Petites Thread Collection, the Hot Pink #1109 and Blendables color Vintage Rose #4030.

vday Pendant 7

With the Vintage Rose Blendables thread I used just one strand. Sulky’s 12 wt. cotton is equal to 2 strands of embroidery floss. I outlined my heart shape first and then did a cross stitch pattern on the inside.


The single strand gave the pendant a more delicate look and I like how the Blendables color change gives it some dimension.

vday pendant 1

For the Hot Pink one, I used two strands of Sulky 12 wt. cotton thread.

vday pendant 4

This not only made the heart really stand out, it also meant that I didn’t have to tie a knot on the back! Thread the needle with the loop at the end.

vday pendant 8

Once you take your first stitch, and you poke your needle back through the pendant, put your needle through the loop of the thread.

vday pendant 3

Pull it tight and this will secure your thread without having to do a knot! (Sorry for the blurry pic. This is the best I could do with the camera on my phone, but hopefully you get the concept.)

vday pendant 6

When securing the thread after you have stitched the heart, slide the needle under a few of the stitches on the backside of the pendant.

vday pendant 5

Once you pull the thread through, those stitches will hold the thread in place. Now go enjoy spreading the love with your new pendant!


Happy Sewing!