As we DIG OUT from the 2011 Snowmaggedon here in Wisconsin — I’m pleased to say I enjoyed some extra time in my sewing room this week. Nancy Zieman Productions and many other businesses were closed for a “snow day” on Wednesday. What a great time to stay inside (where it’s warm) and sew, quilt and embroider! If you’re looking today for inspiration for machine embroidery projects — you came to the right place!

Deborah Jones and Nancy Zieman on the set

Considered by many to be one of the foremost authorities on machine embroidery, Deborah Jones writes the “Ask The Expert” column for Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine.

Deborah Jones has been involved in the world of machine embroidery since she was a small child.  Her father was a Western Wear tailor who made embroidered cowboy clothes.  She says “they were very cool – palomino horses, wagon wheels and cactus – the embroidery was incredible.”

Deborah’s life isn’t ALL about machine embroidery!  She lives in a rural area an hour outside Dallas with three Anatolian Shepherds and three Silky Terriers. She had the National Champion Silky Terrier in 2007 and exhibited at Westminster Kennel Club in New York City in 2008. She fosters dozens of rescued Silkys while they are waiting for their “forever home”.

Deborah’s first book  “Machine Embroidery on Difficult Materials”  is a reference for machine embroiderers who want to get great results on challenging fabrics like silk charmeuse, stretch knits and faux fur. It has recipes for the correct needle, stabilizer and holding techniques.

It was a pleasure for me to work with Deborah on her latest book, “Dimensional Machine Embroidery”. This book is a compilation of projects using techniques that include at least one other dimension to standard embroidery. The added dimension can be a void, as in the case of lace and cutwork, or Trapunto padding or the completely unique but subtle dimension of shadow work by machine.

Deborah and I created a DVD to be included with the book.  Hooray for technology!  It’s great to be able to SHOW the techniques and demonstrate the process step-by-step at the machine.

Deborah’s personal favorite technique from the book  is “Through My Window” which includes a printed image from her front yard with a clear vinyl “window” overlay.  When I asked Deborah what were the three BEST THINGS in the book, she replied:

1. It includes designs that use at least some techniques that most embroiderers have not been exposed to.

2. It has techniques that can be adapted to designs that most embroiderers already own. For example, the beautiful mylar technique can be adapted just by opening up the density in a design to let the mylar show through.

3. The techniques show you how you can add everyday items like silk flower petals or faux fur to your embroidery. The photos inspire ideas to take your creativity to the next level using things already in your sewing studio.

Deborah’s website is:

So — take a break from snow shoveling and DO SOME MACHINE EMBROIDERY!!

Bye for now,