(Originally published in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #90, June 2021. Written by Rita Farro.)
We cannot talk about machine embroidery and not talk about software, that digital link between the computer and the embroidery machine. The software proved to be a difficult learning curve, especially in the beginning. It would be impossible to discuss or evaluate the various software programs that have come and gone. Instead, we turned to one of the most popular pioneer teachers in the field. Lisa Shaw has been teaching third-party embroidery software for over 25 years and she has a gallon jar full of dongles to prove it. She has taught software classes at the biggest consumer sewing shows in the world, and the lucky girl makes frequent teaching trips to Australia. On her website, www.Sew-Bubbles.com, she shares her knowledge and love of all-things-embroidery-software.
Because of her geek tendencies, Lisa was ahead of the curve when the Covid pandemic hit. She was already doing an After-Hours tutorial every week on her Sew-Bubbles Facebook page. And she has taken those tutorials, and added additional recorded classes to the mix, to her VIMEO channel.
Before the 2020 all-stop, Lisa was a frequent flyer, traveling to sewing shows and conventions every other week. In 2021, she is only planning to do two shows, and both are very focused on embroidery-only consumer shows. She’ll be teaching at the Everything Embroidery Market in Biloxi, Mississippi in September and the Appliqué Getaway, July 23-25, 2021 in Irving, Texas. Lyndsie Salcido, the founder and Creative Director of the Appliqué Getaway, accidentally got into machine embroidery when she purchased her first sewing machine at Walmart, and it happened to have an embroidery element. Due to her youth and enthusiasm (she was in her 20s), she decided it would be easy to digitize her own designs and sell them on the web.
A driving force behind Appliqué Getaway was that Lyndsie realized home embroiderers loved sharing information, and she believed they would enjoy getting together. Since nobody else was doing it, she decided to create a conference, where they could meet up socially and have fun. They had their first event in 2013 with almost 500 attendees. They have social events, shopping hours, and classes. They provide a grab-and-go lunch option and focus heavily on the let’s have a fun element. For example, they had the 80s themed evening event where everybody dressed up like Madonna.
In 2020, the show was scheduled for June. In April, they moved it to November, but, in August, they decided to go to a virtual format. They were delighted to have 1200 people pay $25 to attend. All the events were recorded, so attendees had two months to watch all the classes. The show also did a completely Virtual Goody Bag, which included digital designs from vendors, as well as virtual coupons for vendor websites.
Lisa will be teaching for Embrilliance software at the Appliqué Getaway in Texas. But no matter what machine she is using or what software, her favorite sewing machine needle for embroidery is the SCHMETZ Chrome Embroidery 75/11. If she is using silk thread on silk fabric, she will switch to SCHMETZ Chrome Microtex to get that nice sharp point. If she is stitching on Neoprene (for Coozies) or marine vinyl for key fobs, she uses a SCHMETZ Super NonStick 90/14. It makes a nice hole for that bean stitch, for example, that triple stitch around the edge of a key fob.
On her website, Lisa says, Over the years, I have learned a lot about all things related to machine embroidery, the good, the bad, and the ugly. One of my favorite quotes is:
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
– Benjamin Franklin
Every project, every stitch out has some bit of knowledge that we can learn from. Our successes, as well as our failures, are valuable lessons.