Water Bottle Carriers

It was an unseasonably warm Halloween here, so among other treats I gave out chilled mini water bottles and juice packs. It was recycling day so there were plenty of carts at the curb to drop empties into, but I also made it easy to hang onto the water bottles by making little snap-tab carriers for them.

I kept things super-simple: each file of eight carriers (the 4×4 version only has two) was just a little over 3,000 stitches. The designs are from The Noun Project, specifically Saeful Muslim’s Line Animals. I copied them into the blank fob design and just used Path->Dynamic Offset to bring the two sides of the line closer together. I broke the paths apart and trimmed out any superfluous pieces to minimize jump threads. I made three different sheets, and did each one on four different colors so there are no two exactly alike and siblings (or classmates) won’t get their bottles mixed up.

There is a Lite version of each size with simple outline stitching, both to cut down on stitch count and to keep the outline from overwhelming the design since except for the two sheets of black designs I stitched everything in white to keep it streamlined. If you want the outline thread to show up more, the non-Lite version uses a bean stitch.

Cutting them out is labor-intensive, but the supplies are fairly cheap in bulk. They’d make good booth filler (especially at a hot outdoor fair), classroom gifts, or freebie items to throw in with your Etsy orders. If you’re not giving them with a water bottle, loop a label around the O-ring that says “let me hold your water bottle!” or the like so people can figure it out.

I got most of my colored vinyl from Designs By Little Bee, and the snaps from KAMsnaps.com. The hardware came from Amazon: a 100-pack of O-rings 📦 and a 100-pack of tiny carabiners 📦. You could also use swivel hooks 📦 which are nicer but considerably more expensive, or split rings instead of O-rings to make keychains.

Note that those carabiners have very narrow ends. It’s a bit hard to tell in the picture above, but the design file includes notches to accommodate them. If you’re using swivel hooks, you may want to edit the design to remove the notches (pretty easy) or use smaller swivel hooks.

Enjoy!

Deathly Hallows dangle

I needed a Potter-themed freebie item, so I whipped up a little Deathly Hallows logo and ran it on a bit of sparkly vinyl. I ordered a whole truckload of little bead chains📦 because these little tinies were too small to justify snap tabs. They fit ten to a 4×4 hoop, so they’re fairly efficient.

I’ll put a few in the shop in the next Saturday-morning shop drop, or here’s the file if you want to make your own. As usual, multiple embroidery formats plus the SVG source in the ZIP file. You can scale it up from that as large as you think the satin stitch will let you — certainly big enough to put a snap tab on if you wanted.

Deathly Hallows Dangle (ZIP)

Delivery Truck Snap Tabs

As promised, here is the delivery-truck snap tab freebie. It fits in a 4×4 hoop.

All four trucks are included in one file, so you’ll need to run only the thread colors for the version you want. In the SVG source file, they’re in separate layers so if you prefer you can hide the layers you don’t need and use Ink/Stitch to produce the embroidery file.

Construction is the same as other snap tabs: float a piece of vinyl on top of your stabilizer and embroider on it. Just before the last color, take the hoop off the machine and secure a second piece of vinyl on the back of the stabilizer to cover the threads.

  • Placement Box – Optional; this will show you the size and placement of the top vinyl. I usually just advance to the first stitch and use the needle position to align the lower left corner of the vinyl.
  • Truck – This is the outline of the truck itself. I used gray for the two white trucks, and the logo color for the blue and brown trucks.
  • UPS – This is the shield logo, which should be run in gold.
  • Amazon – This is the arrow, which should be run in light blue.
  • USPS – These are three thread colors in one layer: blue for the logo, red for the top stripe, blue for the bottom stripe. It makes for an extra thread swap (I just jumped ahead to the second blue and then back to the red) but gives you the chance to skip the stripes altogether if you prefer.
  • FedEx – These are two thread colors in one layer: purple and orange, or purple and green.
  • Outline – Place the second piece of vinyl on the back side of the hoop before running this, which will stitch the whole thing together. Run this in the vinyl color – the bobbin thread will show so you may want to use a matching thread there too. It will put in a couple of stitches to indicate snap placement. Pull those threads out completely if you can.

Delivery Fob download (ZIP with DST, EXP, JEF, PEC, PES, U01, VP3, and SVG source file)

Delivery trucks

It’s been a little while since I did an embroidery design freebie, so I started working on one I should have finalized by Friday.

This one is inspired by goofing up a USPS scheduled pickup and making my mailman make a special trip to the door. I realized I owe all my delivery folks a nice Christmas gift.

Although it seems like I live at JoAnn these days, I still get a lot of stuff from Amazon (witness all the 📦 icons next to referral links here) and [Amazon-owned] Fabric.com. On which note: if you aren’t buying enough to meet the free shipping there but have Prime, go to Amazon and find the fabric, and check the other sellers: Amazon usually lists it itself but also with Fabric.com as a secondary seller so you get Prime shipping but Fabric.com’s cheaper price. Why does it work this way? I dunno.

So my UPS person has had to lug a couple of long, skinny rolls of marine vinyl (ironically, not that brown which was a JoAnn remnant) and all four of them have brought me an endless parade of things, including the embroidery machine itself (though I forget who got saddled with that; probably UPS again).

Anyway, the first draft came out medium-okay. The Amazon Logistics van was first, okay other than the fact that I didn’t run the truck outline itself in bean stitch. With that fixed, the UPS truck came out better, but the logo definitely needs more pull correction (especially on the softer walnut non-marine). The USPS truck is fine except I decided to run the truck outline in the same blue as the logo and I don’t think it looks as nice. I went with a medium gray for FedEx, and that’s better but next time I’ll go even lighter. That logo also needs just a little more pull correction.

Now I need the UPS guy to bring me a roll of brown vinyl so I can make him a proper one, because that was the last little scrap. Once that happens, I’ll run more of these and publish the design.

Tiny dragons

I honestly didn’t expect quite as many repeat buyers as I’ve gotten (I have people who want to collect every color of beanie dragon!). It’s been a bit of a race to come up with a variety of “favors” to include in orders. For smaller orders, I’ve started making tinier snap tabs.

The design went through some iterations to achieve “legibility.” This is the last pair of variations: I settled on the design, ran five bronzes, and then after struggling to neatly cut out the circle, revised it to an octagon. Ten fit in a 5×7 hoop, so I can stock up.

Of course, once I’ve gone through all five colors, I’ll need a different design, so I’ve already started on that. This is what the first draft looks like: if you squint, you can kind of tell what’s going on. What looks perfectly clear on the screen and even in the stitch preview can look a lot different when it hits the vinyl. It’ll take a few more revisions before I’m happy with this.

Heraldic dragon snap tabs (and design scaling)

Aldi has $5 letter boards this week so I finally joined the trend and got one. I will not use it for every blog title, I promise.

These dragons aren’t going in the Embroidery Patterns for a change. The dragon is from an Urban Threads design – I imported it into Inkscape, borrowed just the top outline path, rescaled it and let Ink/Stitch choose its own stitch points on the path. You can’t rescale everything that way but it worked fine for this. It didn’t stitch the same points coming and going (it’s a continuous-line design) like it did in the original design, but it’s a slightly sketch-style design anyway.

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The dragon emoji downloadable is up

I’ve added the Emoji One Dragon snap tab to the free embroidery designs page. Have fun with it.

I’ve been resting my wrists a bit before working more on the art doll dragons; I’m a week or two late in getting them posted, but this batch is kind of a step up in complexity and I want to make sure they’re done right.

I’ve been restocking beanies and experimenting with different colors for the bronze and/or greens; those will likely show up in the limited-edition slot after the lavenders sell out.

Sea dragons and snap tabs

My off-machine time has been taken up working on the not-ready-to-photograph sea dragon, but I kept the machine busy the last couple days making teacher gifts for the Head Start site I volunteer at. We’ve hit the end of a session (though it resumes for the summer after a week break), so I made a couple of hand sanitizer holders for the teachers in my classroom, and let the other classroom’s teachers and the lunch lady pick from a random assortment of snap tabs.

The Hispanic lunch lady jumped right on the taco one.

The rainbow ones were larger than I’d expected (all these have been Designs By Little Bee patterns), but one of those went too.

The dragon emojis (a design of mine) had already gone out in Etsy orders.

I also converted the pug plushie design into a snap tab; it’s a *lot* of color changes, and I lost the underfill for the pupils. So this batch will go as freebies in any pug plushy orders I get, and I’m not sure I’ll make any more.

Ampersand snap tabs

When we realized the kid’s birthday fell on D&D night, clearly it was time to make some party favors (or if you prefer: hobbit-style birthday presents). I made use of the ampersand from the dice tray which, I just realized when I tried to link there, I never blogged about! Let me fix that briefly:

It’s pretty much the same as the Jayhawk version, scaled up. It’s a 4×4 inset, but the tray snaps to a little under 8×10 as I recall. I did the rest of the stitching on a conventional machine because, as you can see from the String Theory one above, you can barely squeak out a 3×3 tray doing it entirely in a 5×7 hoop.

Aaaaanyway, I should probably update that one and publish it too. I think I may have been planning to redo it as an applique first, because it is an absurd stitch count.

I remembered this when I scaled it down for the snap tab: making ten or fifteen of those would take forever and at the smaller size was just a little too muddy. I switched it to a bean outline and I’m much happier with it, other than picking out the stabilizer. (As you can see, the black one isn’t done but I decided to rinse it out instead.)

I also went to town with some other String Theory designs. The dice are larger than I really like (maxing out a 4×4 hoop) but it wasn’t worth making my own design just for the sake of this.

Appropriately, the critical-failure die gave me fits. Nothing wrong with the stitch file, it was either the vinyl or I might need to clean out the machine. It kept breaking thread. I rethreaded the bobbin a couple of times, then changed out the bobbin. It wrapped the top thread around its spindle a couple times. Then it broke the needle. Eventually I got it done, and then realized I hadn’t backed the stitching up enough and there was some missing satin stitching right in the middle of the 1. No problem, I thought, I haven’t unhooped so I’ll just run all the way back and pick it up.

Yeah, that doesn’t actually work when you’ve already put the backing on. :facepalm:

(Luckily I wasn’t doing this for the shop because that is NOT up to my quality-control standards.)

In any case, the ampersand is now on the free Embroidery Patterns page.