Looking for High-Quality Low-Cost Embroidery Education?

I’m frequently asked when will I come and teach at a certain place. We find out how many are interested but then only a handful of those people actually show up. And it’s not just me.

Classes are being canceled all over the globe due to lack of signups. The reasons given vary: gas is too expensive, scheduling conflicts, too much work to drag a machine, too expensive, inability to plan ahead, and so on.

To combat those issues, I’ve teamed up with Echidna,Australia’s largest Brother dealer, to provide a monthly embroidery lesson and accompanying project. Since the training is all downloadable, there’s no issue with time or travel.

And, since there’s no time or travel, the training is very affordable—especially when you consider the value you’re getting with each month.


As with other events, the initial signups were good but now the response is, “I haven’t made the other projects yet!” What I want to tell you is, it’s not about the project!

The project is simply a way for you to put the educational part into practice if you choose. It’s totally optional and it’s not the focus of the training.

I go to all kinds of classes where I’m not interested in the actual project; I just want to learn the technique so I can use it in the way I want. With the P.I.E. projects, you aren’t limited to a predetermined kit—you’re free to select your own fabrics and even designs.

Truthfully, the project part is the hardest part for me to design. Why? I’m trying to figure out if it’s interesting and unique enough, if it’s too hard or too easy for those taking the class, if it will appeal to a big enough segment, if people will want to make it or not.

And if you think it takes you a long time to make the project, try taking photos and notes of every step as you work and then writing up instructions when you’re designing the project from scratch and not following some other guide!

The project does give you a way to put into practice what you’ve learned in the lesson. The lessons and topics are designed to be “real world” uses of embroidery and include a focused look at that month’s topic.

If you print out the PDFs that come with each month’s P.I.E., you’ll end up with a big fat binder of valuable embroidery information all right at your finger tips. Already my binder has an inch high stack of double-sided instructions and that doesn’t include any of the templates or design worksheets.

Some months have over 50 pages of content not counting the templates and color sequences!

Each month’s Echidna P.I.E. slice includes a lesson, a project, plus designs (7 to 20 or more)—all for only $9.95.

For this year we’re working with designs from the Birth Month Flowers of the Year series. Most months include two flowers, such as January’s Carnation and Snowdrop, while other months only have one flower. The original designs were based on a block of the month appliqué design for 200 x 200mm sewing fields and morphed into the current presentation.


One of the goals of the Echidna P.I.E. series is to teach you to move beyond “plop and drop” embroidery or simply replicating the design exactly as it was produced. One of the simplest ways to do that is to use different colors.

With the designs in this series, you have many ways of adding color and we’ve looked at a few ways with the appliqué versions. But how much can you do with a single color redwork design? You’d be surprised—and it happens to be one of my favorite choices!

This month’s topic is adding color via other media. Other media meaning paint, ink, crayons, colored pencils, etc. I chose to use colored pencils for the project because they’re easy to use, inexpensive, and don’t require any cleanup.

The lesson portion covers the technique in detail while the project gives you an opportunity to try it out. I used the redwork designs and quilt-as-you-go technique to make a small quilted wall hanging. Typically there’s an extra lesson embedded into the project and you’ll learn a technique you can apply to other projects.

January month marks the seventh chapter in our year-long series with these designs. If you haven’t given it a try yet, check out this one or any of the previous six. Not only will you be adding to your design stash, but you’ll be learning valuable tips and techniques for a wide range of embroidery projects.

In addition to the stated topic, we often do some simple design manipulation in a customizing program and even venture into some basic editing techniques. Of course, I’m using Embrilliance products for that but really you can adapt the steps to whatever software you have. Some months I’ve made YouTube videos to demonstrate a technique so you can watch it, read it, and then do it yourself.


Check out this list of topics for what we’ve covered so far this year. The topics assume basic embroidery skills and the topics are sequenced in an orderly way and build on previous ones. If you’re more advanced, be all means just pick and choose

Month 1, July: Larkspur/Delphinium—How to Appliqué
Appliqué is amazingly versatile, adding textures and patterns that aren’t possible in a thread-only design. Appliqué also works well in situations where a fully stitched design may not.

In this lesson, we’ll learn several methods of appliqué and create a design using the July birth month flower, Delphinium, also know as Larkspur. We’ll also discuss hooping and stabilizing for creating a block using quilt-weight cottons that can then be incorporated into a quilt, tote bag, pillow, or wall hanging.

  • Month 2, August: Gladiolus—Perfect Placement 
    The first thing noticed about an embroidery design is its placement. In this lesson, we’ll learn how to use templates to get accurate placement.

    This is especially helpful for this year’s series if you have a sewing field smaller than 200 x 200mm since all the designs are optimized for that size and split for 130 x 180mm sewing fields. Even with the largest hoops, perfect placement is vital. Placement for garments will also be covered

  • Month 3, September: Aster—Rearranging the Pieces 
    All of the designs in this series are provided as full-size blocks and smaller pieces. In this lesson, we’ll use customizing software to work with the pieces and create new combinations.

    We’ll also discuss adding lettering and when to use color sorting.
  • Month 4, October: Marigold—Sheer fabrics 
    Sheer fabrics can be tricky—they are often slippery, shifty creatures. However, layering them can create some interesting effects with appliqué. 

    Some fabrics may create too much thickness or weight when piling up layers in appliqué but shears are less likely to do so. In this lesson, we’ll experiment with sheers as a base fabric and as appliqués. Discover how to stabilizer and tame these fabrics.
  • Month 5, November: Chrysanthemum—Redwork/Quilting 
    In this lesson, we’ll look at redwork designs and how best to use them for quilting. If you’ve ever used an embroidery design for quilting, you know the back looks less than pretty.

    We’ll discuss ways to minimize that, compare different thread weights, and how to hoop and stabilize for quilting in the hoop.
  • Month 6, December: Poinsettia & Holly—3D Flowers 
    Make a Christmas poinsettia corsage with the central motif for this month’s featured design. Embroidered corsages are easy to make and you don’t always need a 3D design to do it.

    In this class we’ll use customizing to separate the pieces we need for out flower, stitch out the layers and then combine them with a decorative button in the center. We’ll also look at different fabrics for the corsage and some other non-embroidery embellishments to enhance our project.
  • Month 7, January: Carnation—Adding color with other media (inks, pencils, paint) 
    In this lesson, we’ll expand on non-embroidery embellishments and add color to our project with other media including inks, colored pencils, and acrylic paint.

    I’ll demonstrate with both the appliqué version as well as the redwork version of the this month’s flower. Colored pencils are especially easy, inexpensive and no mess. I personally love adding a touch of color this way!


Each month’s P.I.E. module is only $9.95 for Echidna Platinum members and you’re getting way more than that in value in just the designs. When I taught a monthly live class last year, participants paid $7 and they were lucky to get a one page printed outline.

I never give this much physical content in a live class at these prices! And, since that $9.95 is in Aussie dollars, it’s even less for U.S. customers at the current conversion rate (down close to $8 as I write this). Echidna Platinum members also get a special rate on the design collections if they’d prefer to get the rest of the designs or just the designs alone.


Just want the designs and not the education part? You can do that too. Each month’s designs are in the Block of the Month category on my site and the current month’s designs are introduced at a whopping 63% off.

The collection includes all the designs for a single flower in all the various versions and sizes plus templates for appliqué and full-size design worksheets to aid in placement. Instructions are not included for making the quilt or for making any of the projects.

  • January Snowdrop – up to 24 multi-format designs (depends on your max sewing field). Regularly $39.95. Only $14.95 during January.
  • January Carnation – up to 33 multi-format designs (depends on your max sewing field). Regularly $39.95. Only $14.95 during January.

If you’re an Echidna Platinum member, download from Echidna’s site to get your special Platinum member pricing. You’ll also want to download from there to get the Echidna P.I.E. lessons. These are exclusive to Echidna and are not available on my website.

Update: This series is now complete and is available as a single package that includes the 12 monthly lessons plus the bonus quilt project along with all the designs used in the projects.


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Echidna PIE Update Notice

  • Please note the dates on this post.
  • This Echidna PIE series is now complete and is available as a single download that includes:
    • 12 lessons and projects (412 paged PDF book)
    • 220 embroidery designs
    • templates for appliques
    • plus a bonus project
  • All for only $99


Yes, you can.

And you’ll have to spend time looking for it and who knows what the quality is. I see all kinds of goofy stuff that I just laugh at but then I know some people will be doing it and thinking it’s the right way and then it makes me want to cry.

Why not get thorough, high-quality content that you can store offline and reference any time you want?


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