Monday, November 14, 2016

Our new BOOK!

Modern Machine Embroidery: a NEW Book by Lisa Archer of Pickle Pie Designs!

Modern Machine Embroidery Book by Lisa Archer of Pickle Pie Designs

I'm so proud to announce the release of my new book Modern Machine Embroidery. It was truly a labor of love to create all of the projects included in the book. My goal was to show everyone how fun it is to add embroidery to ready made and hand made items, how to create adorable applique designs, and how easy in the hoop bags are to create. 

Modern Machine Embroidery Book by Lisa Archer of Pickle Pie Designs

I created 11 projects for the book, which range from cute appliques and bibs, to sophisticated monograms and even an elegant clutch – all with step-by-step photos to guide you along every step of the way! As you try these projects, you will learn more about all of the amazing capabilities of your embroidery machine. I hope you will gain confidence as you try new techniques and explore all that you can create. I include detailed information about stabilizer, needles, hooping and thread so you can use this book as a resource for years to come. I also include 25 free embroidery designs on an included CD – so you can get creative and play.

Modern Machine Embroidery Book by Lisa Archer of Pickle Pie Designs

I decided to make this book release special, by offering you just a little bit more. First off, if you purchase the book through my website, you get an autographed copy of the book! 


Next, whether you buy the book through me or another book seller, you get a bonus project! Simply email a copy of your receipt to and I will send you this beautiful “Sew Very Happy” in the hoop project for free! 

Modern Machine Embroidery Book by Lisa Archer of Pickle Pie Designs

For our Facebook friends, I created a private Facebook group just for those who buy the book. There, you can ask me questions and join us for weekly stitch-alongs. I hope it will be a place where we can have fun and learn together!

Finally, we'll be posting weekly Stitch Alongs, here on our blog so you can follow along with us!

Modern Machine Embroidery Book by Lisa Archer of Pickle Pie Designs

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Organizing your Studio, Part 1

Welcome to our ongoing series on organizing your sewing studio! We'll be sharing some great tips to get you organized so you can get stitching...

If you're like me, you have several projects going at once - and each project is at a different stage. Last year, I was given three amazing opportunities - first, I was asked to write a book on machine embroidery; a month later, BERNINA of America asked me to become a BERNINA Spokesperson, and a few weeks after that I was given the opportunity to film a series of courses and videos for my Creative Machine Embroidery Magazine column "In the Hoop". All three of these opportunities required me to create several unique "in the hoop" embroidery designs and I knew it was time I created a system in my studio to keep me organized and on track. As a single mom and an ADD poster child, I don't have a set 40 hour work week. I have frequent interruptions and I'm not always able to complete any given part of a project in a day (sometimes not even in a week). I needed a way to keep track of many projects all at once, so when I had time to devote to a project I wasn't wasting valuable time locating my notes (which could be found in one of my many spiral notebooks), the fabrics I'd planned to use, prototypes I'd created, etc. I came up with a system that has been a lifesaver and I plan to continue with it because it's worked so well.

As I mentioned, I was constantly losing parts of my projects and spent way too much time gathering up everything before I could continue to work on any given project. If you have only one project, that may not seem so bad, but last year I was working on literally dozens of projects at the same time for BERNINA, my book, the magazine, and for my website, and I was going insane. So, what's a girl to do? Head to Target! There, I bought a wire shelving unit and several lidded plastic bins that stacked neatly. Back at my studio, I labeled a bin for each project I was working on. I then collected each and every part of each project and put them in their respective bin - fabrics, prototypes, notes, thread, needles, fabric - EVERYTHING. Now when I am working on a project, I pull the bin off the shelf and carry it to my workspace. It stays open until I'm done working on it and I put everything back inside, put on the lid, and it goes back on the shelf, ready for next time.

I also write notes on whatever is handy when I have a design idea - spiral notebooks, loose paper, napkins - and I promptly lose track of them. In the next post, I'll show you the solution that has completely changed the way I work; Evernote.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Know Your Needles

What do you think is the most important part of your embroidery machine? Perhaps you think it's the machine or the hoop? Surprise, it’s the needle! Choosing the incorrect needle can make or break a project, not to mention may cause you tons of time with the seam ripper!

Start every new project with the correct needle – and be sure to change the needle frequently. A good rule of thumb is to change the needle when you go through 2 bobbins. If I experience thread breakage, loud noises when stitching or other issues, I always change to a new needle to see if it resolves the problem.

Embroidery needles are specially designed to handle the constant penetration as it stitches out embroidery and the needs of specialty thread. They have a larger eye and a specially designed groove to lessen friction and prevent the thread from breaking and shredding. They also have a slight ball point which slides between the existing embroidery stitches and fibers of your fabric, rather than piercing them, as a sharp needle might do. 

Note: Ball point needles also work great for fabrics with a stretch, such as T-shirts.

You may use sharp sewing needles for embroidery on woven fabrics. However, you may experience shredding of your thread. If you do, try switching to an embroidery needle to see if that helps.

Needle Size

If you look at a pack of needles, you’ll notice there are two sizes listed. The first number is the European size followed by the American size. You’ll choose smaller size needles for fine fabrics, such as a 70/10 for light fabrics such as cotton batiste. Larger sizes are used for more dense fabrics, such as a 75/11 or 80/12 needle is perfect for a mid-weight cotton fabric. A 90/14 is used for heavier fabrics, such as canvas or denim. When it comes to needles, keep in mind that the larger the needle, the larger the hole in your fabric.

Titanium and gold embroidery needles are great for when you use adhesive stabilizers or coarse fabrics. These specialty needles allow the needle to better penetrate dense materials. These needles also last longer than standard needles.