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I originally started digitizing embroidery designs several years ago when I thought it would be fun and easy to create my own designs for every possible project. It would be so convenient to have perfect machine embroidery designs whether it was for quilts or linens, apparel or dcor. After getting my software, it didnt take me long to realize that this would be a very time consuming venture just for my own personal stitching pleasure. And, with the exception of a full-filled triangle for a fantasy costume for my sons friend, I have never digitized an embroidery design for my own personal use.

As the world of machine embroidery has grown and evolved, I have been pleased to see the original ideas and wonderful projects that the designers come up with! It makes it easy to find what I need for my own projects and saves me lots of time in not having to create my own. Free-standing lace designs are my favorite. From ornaments and coasters to bowls and even lampshades, there truly is something for every taste and style. The best part is that the designers present me with ideas, projects and construction techniques that I might not have come up with on my own. That really keeps my creative juices flowing!



When stitching free-standing lace (FSL), its important to think about the final project. Ornaments and coasters are easy. Stitch, rinse, and theyre done. Bowls, mats, boxes and other intricate embroidery projects take a bit more planning, though. For simple projects like ornaments, I like to use the clear water-soluble stabilizer (WSS) that looks like plastic or vinyl. When rinsing, I can decide if I want the ornament to be soft or slightly stiff. The stiffer I want it, the less I rinse. The remaining WSS acts like starch. When creating bowls or mats, I prefer the WSS that looks like interfacing.

While it is called a non-woven fabric, it has the feel of fabric, which makes it easy to handle the pieces for final construction. This type of stabilizer also rinsed out very easily! While water-soluble stabilizers are more spendy than other stabilizers, having both in my embroidery supplies stash makes it possible for me to make any project at any time! While most FSL projects are finished with a satin stitch to hold the pieces together, Ive found that its easy to be very creative with it.



Instead of the heavy satin stitch, Ive found that other decorative stitches on my sewing machine can work beautifully. Ive also had great results using ribbon to weave the edges together. My all-time favorite finish is to attach the FSL pieces together by crocheting them with a slip-stitch or single-crochet using embroidery floss. It is the perfect finish to those machine embroidery designs that mimic hand-crochet work. This is especially effective on larger projects like tablecloths.

Because digitizing for free-standing lace is very detailed and technical, Im glad there are so many designers willing to create it! I dont think I would have gotten as much enjoyment from the embroidery of FSL if I had to digitize the embroidery designs myself. If youve never given it a try, there are many digitizers that offer free embroidery designs as a sample to make sure you like their work. This is a great way to try this fabulous embroidery style. And, if youre like me, youll be hooked!

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