Yes, we are nearly on our way. Four weeks and counting before we pack up our traveling road show  and fly  from Australia for 15 long hours to come exhibit at 2015 Houston International Quilt Show.

Its actually the worlds longest flight but will be so totally worth the effort.  World’s longest flight on biggest plane: A380 takes over Qantas’ Sydney – Dallas route

The Houston show is  from October 29 to Nov 1 at George R. Brown Convention Centre.

2015 International Quilt festival /Houston ,TX

HISTORY OF THE FESTIVAL The International Quilt Festival began in 1974.  It is the largest annual consumer quilt show in the world, and was attended by more than 60000 people in 2014 from all over the U.S. and more than 28 countries around the world, from Australia to Zimbabwe.

We are looking forward to coming to the show . We have a large selection of samples of our designs made up for everyone to look at.  We recently have been to Birmingham UK  as exhibitors at the Festival of Quilts and we found that many people who were aware ( and not so aware)  of our designs just loved seeing the actual final product.

Sweet Pea at Festival of Quilts, Birmingham UK , July 2015
Sweet Pea at Festival of Quilts, Birmingham UK , July 2015

As well as showing off our wonderful designs we also have ongoing demonstrations in our stand. This is great for beginners to see just how fun and easy it is to use our designs. It is also a good opportunity to ask questions and get advice.

An eager audience watching Tricia ,our demonstrator at UK show.
An eager audience watching Tricia ,our demonstrator at UK show.

We even had samples of our designs at the Brother UK stand at Festival of Quilts .

Sweet Pea design samples on Brother UK stand
Sweet Pea design samples on Brother UK stand

We had so much fun in UK at their show that we really cant wait to meet all our lovely US customers, new and old.

Please come visit us at our Booth # 430 in Houston , International Quilt Festival from October 29 to November 1.

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So you have lovingly made your quilt blocks… you have carefully chosen your fabrics, procrastinated over colour choices and worked out the best layout for your design.

Now comes the time that a lot of us fear. The sewing together of the quilt blocks. While we worry about the sashings, bindings , batting/ wadding and backing of our projects ( we will have blogs about all these issues later on ) , there is another technical issue that needs to be addressed….. getting perfect points and aligning of satin stitching . For example….

Points being swallowed by seam

1.the point of a geometrical shaped piece to a seam allowance ( border)… you don’t want the tip of the point being swallowed up by the border/seam.

2. two geometrical shaped pieces meeting together at their points… you don’t want the points to not meet each other exactly.

3.the diagonal lines  of geometrical shaped pieces within the design not lining up straight.

4.Aligning satin stitch also present problems when two blocks are joined and the satin stitching doesn’t come together exactly.

Satin stitching not aligning
Satin stitching not aligning

All these issues can be rectified easily by taking care when pinning the blocks together. Getting the pinning right from the start takes a bit of time but its time worth taking because it saves on having to pull apart misaligned stitches and points.

There are quite a few different ways to pin and everyone has their favourite.

The following method uses a ‘positioning’ pin.

  1. Hold the two blocks ‘right’ side together
  2. With the ‘positioning’ pin push it from the ‘wrong’ side straight through the exact tip of the point that you are wanting to  match up. Always check by looking under at the right side that the pin has indeed come through straight and not at an angle.
  3. Then continue pushing the ‘positioning ‘pin through the ‘right’ side of the other block, through the corresponding point.  Once again check on the other side, the ‘wrong’ side this time to make sure the pin has come through straight and not on an angle.
  4. Its important at this stage to keep the pin straight through the two blocks.
  5. While you have this ‘positioning ‘pin in place , you then use another pin to secure the fabric ready for sewing together.
  6. This is done by pushing the second pin on an angle through the two blocks. Insert this pin making sure that the pin comes up through the fabric at the exact point of the ‘positioning ‘pin.  This second pin will now hold the fabric together with the points held together perfectly.
  7. Continue pinning as usual
  8. Sew together
The 'positioning ' pin being inserted through the from the 'wrong'side through the tip of the point
The ‘positioning ‘ pin being inserted through the from the ‘wrong’side through the tip of the point
Pushing the 'positioning' pin through the tip of the point on the 'right'side of the second piece of fabric
Pushing the ‘positioning’ pin through the tip of the point on the ‘right’side of the second piece of fabric
Insert ‘securing ‘ pin through the seam making sure the pin comes up at the exact point of the ‘positioning’ pin
Points matching up evenly
Points matching up evenly
Satin stitch aligning well together
Satin stitch aligning well together

This method of using the ‘positioning’ pin  doesn’t necessarily guarantee perfect points and nice aligned satin stitching.  All the steps leading up to this stage are equally important. If the pieces are poorly cut, sewn , trimmed or even pressed badly,  then the final stage of pinning the pieces together and sewing will always be difficult to attain a perfect result.

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Welcome to my blog

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I am Allison Nash and I am the owner of Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Designs.  I am also the head designer, the only designer in fact. Why only have the one designer you may ask. Well…. I have a very distinct vision of the designs I want to produce and present to my customers.

I have been involved in sewing, quilting and embroidery way longer than I have been a designer.  Since I was about 5 in fact. When I first purchased my embroidery machine I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it. I figured I had the ‘normal’ sewing machine and the overlocker/serger machine. It was just a natural progression to acquire an embroidery machine.

The After Glow….. Fast track quite a few months after the purchase…. my embroidery machine now sat forlornly on my sewing table. I had embroidered monograms on nearly every fabric item in my house and I was starting to feel guilty about all the money I had spent on the machine.

I decided to try to make some money by selling what I was embroidering at the markets. Problem was, I wasn’t making things that I liked and couldn’t find the sort of designs I wanted to do them.

I started dabbling in digitizing some pretty appliques to use and then I stumbled on the “in the hoop’ technique. It intrigued me, I could not get my head around how this embroidery machine could do “straight lines”. Before I knew it, I was making small items like coasters and then progressed onto little zipper purses. Then I spent a long time learning how to digitize them for myself.

I then started selling a few designs on Etsy and was pleasantly surprised at the amount of interest I was receiving in my product. It then occurred to me that if I had had this experience with my embroidery machine… Well perhaps others had as well.

I was producing more and more designs and my friends and family kept telling me I could sell them….

The Birth…. of Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery … early 2015 and I haven’t had time to look back.

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What is “in the hoop”?

In the hoop projects are ones that are made with an embroidery machine. The item you are embroidering on is made ‘in the hoop’ by laying down the fabric compared to normal machine embroidery where the item being embroidered is either bought or premade.

’In the hoop’ combines quilting, appliqueing, patchwork and embroidery to produce amazing quilts, cushions/pillows, table runners, placemats, oven gloves, handbags, totes, purses, stuffed toys and many other decorative and functional items.

They are made up from the panels produced in the hoop. The size of the hoop is important in determining the finished size of the item made.

Some items are made completely in just the one hooping. Others consist of several hooped panels being sewn together to enable a much larger finished item.

For example… a 6 x 10 hoop produces one finished panel which is perfect for a mug rug, small purse or small stuffed toy.

Several 6 x10 hooping’s produce panels perfect to be sewn together to make handbags, totes, table runners, placemats, larger stuffed toys etc.   The sewing together of these panels can also be done whilst in the hoop.

How often do you hear of people lamenting that they can’t “even sew a straight line”? Well problem sorted, the ‘in the hoop’ method means that the embroidery machine does it all for you thanks to the design file that can be loaded onto it. Even zippers can be inserted whilst the item is in the hoop.

Requirements for “In the hoop” projects

  1. Embroidery machine
  2. Computer, laptop or tablet
  3. A design to be uploaded onto your embroidery machine. A Sweet Pea one of course
  4. Embroidery hoops… the selection available to you will depend on your model of machine
  5. Stabilizer (different types to be used depending on the project)…This is the foundation of your project, what the body of the project will be built on.
  6. Wadding/ Batting
  7. Machine embroidery thread
  8. Selection of fabrics… this is the fun part where you can be creative and original


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