Sunday, April 1, 2018

MY FAVORITE MACHINE EMBROIDERY SITES

Hello Amazing quilters, sewists, Machine Embroiders and Fabric artists!  And Happy Easter.   As I begin to write this post a thought crossed my mind.  And I actually remember what it was!  The whole reason I started writing this blog was because I felt like I was on an incredible journey and I wanted to share my experiences with likeminded people.  People who may or may not have the time they need to do the research, read reviews, shop around, or needed a little nudge in a direction to help them on their own journey.

When I first began sewing and quilting, it was all I could talk about.  Diane, my partner, was patient, but at a certain point she said to me "do you think you might be obsessing on quilting."  Wait... What?  Of course not.  Well... maybe a little.  But truly, I think I had exhausted the only ear I had at the time. Remember, I found sewing and quilting while temporarily living in Ohio during a very difficult time in our lives.  We both were living through our own personal nightmares and managed to grow closer through it all. Sewing and quilting saved my sanity and it wasn't until we moved back to Baltimore that Diane's began to feel like she was returning to normal.

With all of this said, I realize that we are all on a journey.  Sometimes it moves fast, somestimes slow, sometimes it feels like a merry-go-round and othertimes like a rollercoaster.  The important thing to remember is that the journey never ends.

This brings me to the gratitude I have for being able to share my adventures.  The latest adventure was the gifting of my Bernina to my Sister-in-law to make room for my new Sewing and Embroidery Machine, the Baby Lock Journey!  The Journey.  I never really thought about the name until this moment when I began writing this blog about Embroidery sites.  There really are no accidents in life.

Now, since I am now the proud owner of a sewing AND embroidery machine it makes sense that I would now peruse machine embroidery sites just as much as I do fabric and pattern sites.  If only our days were 36 hours long and not just 24 hours.  So many sites, so little time.

While searching and typing phrases into Google I happened upon a blog called Laurie's Place.  In her blog I found The List!  She had done all of the research.  The list is called Laurie's Giant List of Sites for Machine Embroidery.  It has probably 100 sites and I looked at every single one.  Whew!

Now, before I list my personal favorites, I encourage you to look at her list for yourself because your taste may differ from mine as we are all unique.  But to give you an idea of what I look for in Machine Embroidery Designs I will list my aesthetic style:
  • Shabby Chic
  • Rustic
  • Artistic
  • Fluid
  • Watercolor
  • Whimsical
  • Unique
  • Actual Drawings
 Designs by JuJu   With all of this said, I do have one Embroidery site that surprised me.  It has all of the usual sayings, quotes, appliqué, children's designs, etc., however, when I saw the sale they were having, which runs through April 2, I visited several times and ultimately purchased 60 sets!!!  Yes, 60 sets!  Why, because if you purchased 15 or more sets the prices was reduced to $1.00 per set in order to celeberate their 14 years in business.  Well I celebrated right along with them.  The company is Designs by JuJu and I hope you will check it out before you finish reading because the sale is over April 2.  Now, if you miss the sale, the sets are so reasonably priced you will still find that you are saving money.  And, if you wonder why I purchased over 60 sets, I believe in planning ahead.  Upcoming baby showers, birthdays, weddings, parties, etc.

Valley of Embroidery  At first site it looks a little bare by comparison to other sites, but don't be fooled.  They have some of the most interesting files I've found.  For instance, a lace bowl made from your own thread scraps!  It's Beautiful!  It's listed under Lace/Recycling Scraps.  They have bracelets, earrings, necklaces, cuffs and also bowls.  They also have Star Wars Key Fobs!  It's one of the more unique sites and definitely worth a look.  Even if you do not believe in the Force.

Embroidery Library  Releases new designs every week based on a theme.  This week the theme is Enchanted Storybook.  Suffice it to say that it fulfills my Whimsical aesthetic criteria.  The sale prices for individual designs is always $1.39.  No, that isn't a mistake.  One Dollar and Thirty-Nine Cents per design!  It's a huge bargain and I usually purchase something every week.  Sometimes I purchase the same design in every size so I can use it on multiple projects.  In addition to their amazing weekly release of new designs at amazing pricing, they have multiple categories and styles and post tutorials on their web site AND Youtube!  Just search for Embroidery Library.  

Urban Threads is a partner to Embroidery Library and sometimes they do tutorials together.  For instance they have a great tutorial on double sided Organza Embroidery that makes a mobile hanging.  Really elegant and beautiful.   Also, they release new designs weekly as well and have then priced at 50% off regular price.  As the name of the site would infer, they have really cutting edge designs.  Recently they released ultra-violet designs and last month an entire release based on Alice in Wonderland meets Steampunk.  Under design categories they list Styles and Sub-Cultures!  Not your Gramma's Machine Embroidery Site... that is for sure.  I love it!  Circus & Carnival, Gothic & Dark, Literary & Fairytales, Medieval & Rennaissance, Retro & Rockabilly, Steampunk & Victorian, and World Mythology.  I mean, really, who list sub-cultures?  I love this site!

Sew Swell Designs is a group of artists from around the world who are employed by Sew Swell Designs.  All of their artwork is digitized in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  They have a projects page and also projects by customer page.  In addition they offer free designs!  Many specialty categories, such as wine country and Photo Booth Props!  I'm definitely downloading those for an upcoming family reunion!


MACHINE EMBROIDRY WEB-MALLS

The next group of Machine Embroidery sites are all located within on-line Machine Embroidery Web-Malls.  I would imagine that the Web-malls manage the site and take a small percentage of the sales in order for the embroidery digitizers to focus on what they do best.  So, that's kind of a win win for everyone. 

The first site is called Oregon Patchworks and when you type what you're looking for into their search engine a bunch of different designs pop up meeting your criteria but sold by different digitizers.  From this list I have a few favorites:

The second site is Enchanting Designs and they have really unique and beautiful designs for large scale items such as pillows and totes.  In fact they have several of their own tote/embroidery designs and patterns for sale on their site.  Things like an Italian Balcony scene on a pillow or a parisian widow and bicycle Tote bag.  They also have some beautiful 3-D designs for pillows and totes.  You wont be disappointed.

A Vintage Touch has really pretty vintage and Victorian era designs.  My favorites are definitely in the Victorian Dreams collections.  Not steampunk but sweet with a little edge.

The second Web-Mall is Secrets of Embroidery and here are two of my favorites from this site.

Stitch Soup has a nice selection of cute and whimsical designs, such as animal bags, ITH baskets, snap tags, greeting cards, luminaries, Forest Gnomes, etc.  Very Unique and great gift making ideas.

A Stitch and a Half has a wonderful and unique collection.  Useful items made beautiful.  Also 3-D flowers, totes, babushka boxes.  I haven't purchased anything yet, but I am filling up my basket and saving it for a big haul.

TRULY UNIQUE, ARTIST OWNED SITES

You know I have a passion for purchasing from artisans as much as possible.  Here are a few of my favorite artist owned Machine Embroidery sites:

BFC Creations  In addition to truly beautiful and unique designs, BFC has a line of their own embroidery threads and if you like them you should definitely check out their thread club.  The link I provided takes you to their inspirational story and also ends with pictures of two of the most important employees; Duma and Bronko Billy.   Look over the entire site because they have a lot of information, sales and a new blog.  Their designs are original and artist inspired.  They have designs that when pieced together create a huge wall hanging.  I love their stained glass collection.  The colors are saturated and vibrant.  One of a kind.

Picture Stitch Unique Embroidery Designs.  The owner/artist, has digitized her own drawings and organized them into categories on her website.  They remind me of willow statues which are delicate and sweet.  I love how she celebrates all aspects of life through her drawing and it's very special to stitch out a truly original piece of art on your embroidery machine.  The pieces are frameable and look like real drawings.  Of couse you can make them uniquely yours by changing thread colors and maybe even adding shimmery or decorative thread.   She also has a blog and a purchasing club.  If you end up really liking her designs you might want to check out the club pricing.

I encourage you to check these sites and please post any pictures of your work.  We all love to ooo and aww over each other's creations as it also inspires and motivates us.  In addition, if you come across other truly unique sites please share with us.

I hope you found this read informative, interesting and entertaining.  Please share my blog with your friends.  The more the merrier.

Happy Stitching.









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