Saturday, July 19, 2014

Floriani's Doing WHAAAAT??

Hey y'all!  It's Karin here, 'cuz Kelly's had to leave town real quick.  No, no, she's not in trouble with the IRS or the sheriff, and she's not running away from home.  A dear friend of hers has had a medical emergency, and Kelly's gone to help her out.  (Kelly's a good friend like that, isn't she!)

So, in the meantime, she's asked me to share some real exciting news with y'all.

On August 1st, Floriani is releasing a new version of their editing & digitizing software, Floriani Total Control Professional.  Now, lemme tell you, you certainly don't have to be a professional anything to take advantage of this opportunity.  First off, let me just say that Floriani isn't like a lot of other programs, where you have to pay for every new design feature and upgrade.  Oh no, no, no...Walter Floriani is a real-live person, and it's always been his policy that once you are their customer, you are theirs for life.  And you get FREE UPGRADES, for life.

And he's been true to his word.  Many times, I've fired up just to get a quick monogram done, or check on the stitching order of a design, only to be halted by the little info box, telling me an update's available and asking if I wanted it to download now.  I always say Yes, because I never know what new little trick or feature they're gonna throw in there.  The software is already pretty comprehensive, but they are always tweaking (as opposed to twerking, LOL!) it to make improvements, based on consumer feedback and surveys.

So, if you have already purchased your Floriani Total Control or Floriani Embroidery Suite Pro, never fear.  Your update will be automatically sent to Kelly and in due time, she'll be mailing you a CD to use for the new version installation.  And if you haven't already made that purchase, now's the time.  You see, if you purchase the software NOW, you'll get today's version, and in a couple of weeks, you'll get the brand-new & improved version as well!  AT NO EXTRA CHARGE!  (who DOES that??)

So what's so great about Floriani anyway?  Well, for one thing, if you can imagine it, you can do it!  I swear, there's not a single thing I've wanted to do that I haven't been able to easily accomplish....from making simple size changes that automatically adjust the stitch count, to removing unwanted parts and pieces of purchased designs, to merging designs (think banner + school name + sports equipment + team name) to form a very custom & personal logo, to digitizing your favorite daughter's's all in there, just a click away from done.  And if you're a visual learner, like me, there's tutorials and learning videos to help you figure out how to get your desired results.  (Really...who has time to read the manual, anyway?)

One of my very favorite features of Floriani Total Control is what happens when you use the Save-to-Sew option.  Up pops a wizard that steps you through your design and fabric choices and suggests the type and amount of stabilizers to use.  Yup, that's right - no more guessing, is this one layer of tear-away gonna hold, or do I need a topper with this?  It'll automatically tell you exactly what stabilizer to use and how many layers, based on what your fabric choice is.  Isn't that sweet?  The only thing you have to really think about is what color threads to use, and they offer suggestions for that as well.

And fonts, oh my gosh, there are fonts galore.  I use a Babylock Ellisimo, and I thought it was pretty well stocked with a good selection of fonts...maybe 8-10, and 3 different sizes of each.  Well, Floriani stocks his software with over 140 different fonts, many of them already automatically formatted into monogram styles for you!  And they're so easy to use!  You just create a text box, type whatever you want to say, click here, click there, click APPLY, and Bam!  You have digitized into the format & font you want!

Now, I know that not all embroidery machines are created equal.  And there are some whose biggest hoop is only about 5" x7" which means you can't always do those big, fancy statement pieces.  Well, now you can.  Oh yes, Walter has added a split-design function, so that you can get that huge parrot, break it down into quadrants and stitch 'em all onto the back of a jeans jacket in 4 separate hoopings, and no one will be the wiser.  To them, it'll look like one design, that you spent hours on, and it'll be a masterpiece.

And don't let me forget - it doesn't matter what format file YOUR machine takes - Floriani software reads & writes 'em all.  Yup, no joke.  Say you accidentally purchased a design in HUS or VIP or VP3 format, but you really need PES format for your machine.  Oops.  Yeah, not like that never happens, is it!?  I know I've done it!  No sweat, just open up what you have and save it in what you need.  Yeah, it's that easy!

So, what's up with the new release?  Tell you the truth, I'm not 100% sure of everything that's going to be included.  I do know they're keeping the Workspace much the same, but the icons are a little easier to see and figure out, and they've added a lot of new digitization features.  And that is not all....

With the new release, they are opening up an amazing new virtual section, where you will find customizable, interactive templates you can use to create your own designs via any internet connection.  That's right - you will be able to access this area via smart phone, tablet or the computer down at the library.  How exciting is THAT?  You are no longer tied to one computer or a dongle...any internet connection gets you to this new database of designs.

So what can you do with templates and why would you want one?  Well, right now, all the templates appeared to be sports-oriented.  So, instead of spending all that time merging each design to get that sports banner I'd mentioned earlier, you can just logon and they'll have a few designs already put together and waiting for you to customize.  Say your daughter's volleyball team was the Falcons, and their colors were blue and white.  Well, you just open up the template that has a volleyball (you can tell which one it is just by looking at the convenient thumbnails), and in the Team Name element field, you just type in "Falcons."  You can select fonts & colors with a simple click of the mouse.  And presto!  The design will update to read "Falcons" in the banner!  Want to modify colors?  That's easy too...just click the color chart and select your desired color...and, you guessed it...Presto!  The design updates to show your new colors!  Export your custom design and it'll be there when you're ready to sew!  I'd say it was easy as pie, but I've made pies, and they're not always so easy, so I'll just say it's as easy as falling off a horse.  (I've always found falling off a horse lots easier than staying on!)  The plan is to add more designs as they're requested - think quilt labels, birth/marriage announcements, tags for presents, luggage tags.  The possibilities are endless!

Are you excited yet?  I know I am!!  And I'm pretty sure Kelly can make you a great deal, but only if you act fast.  She's out of town, but she's still going to be checking her email, so shoot her a message or give her a call if you want to discuss pricing or financing options.  If you've got questions about the software, leave a comment and I'll get back to you here, so everyone can see the answer(s).

In the meantime, let's all send Kelly a virtual hug and hope she returns soon, safe and sound.
,' .•*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•`*~~~~ Karin

Friday, July 18, 2014

A New Approach - Painted Applique

I have had the excellent fortune to have heard Linda speak at two different guilds in two states PLUS take one of her classes.  Linda is a very well traveled, educated and talented artist who has contributed so much to the quilting world.  When I heard she had a new book out, I was not only pleased for her, but excited for me to see what she would be sharing this time.

Linda fully explains different materials and supplies (you don't need them all and probably have many already in your stash) that can be used to take your applique to the next level.  There are excellent photographs that provide step by step instructions.  Like I said previously, Linda is an excellent teacher and it carries through in her book.   "Fancy Heart" is one of the patterns included in the book and below you can see how she made an ordinary flower, extraordinary.

The flower just JUMPS right off the fabric.
There are several patterns that Linda has included in, "Painted Applique".  "Dragonfly Star" and "Little Helpers" below are some of my favorite.  This book is so much more than the patterns provided.  Linda covers her  glue stick applique technique, her painted applique techniques, teaches you how to make bias tape and do machine applique. "Painted Applique" is a comprehensive "how to" for so many of the techniques Linda has mastered. 
These birds grabbed my heart....I just love this pattern and all it's beautiful color. 

Linda writes a blog, you can find it HERE.  If you are not familiar with her work, consider inviting her to speak and teach at your guild....I guarantee you'll enjoy every minute of your time with Linda.

For those of you who think...gee....Kelly must be getting something out of writing about Linda's are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!!  I get to share with others the pleasure I've had in taking Linda's class, getting to speak with her and enjoying the book I purchased for myself, "Painted Applique."  That's what I get....and I'm so greatful to be able to share with you.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ever been to Bali?

My body has not been to Bali but my mind has been there now for several days as I have vicariously traveled with Linda Fitch who is writing on Hoffman Fabrics new blog, Creative Canvas.

Linda is traveling in Bali now and she is posting photos of how the Hoffman Batiks are made, pictures of the town, and today she has posted about how the Tjap (chop) is made.  The chop is the die that is hand made and produces the design on the fabric using wax resist.  Each of the amazing Hoffman Batiks are made this way....can you imagine the number of chops they must have?  Mind blowing!

Vicarious traveling smiles,

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