Archive of ‘Continuous Embroidery’ category

6 Tips for Digitizing Continuous Line Designs

Have you tried your hand at digitizing quilting designs, continuous line designs? Follow these 6 tips to create your own quilting designs

Continuous line designs present unique challenges to digitizers. Since the designs are just one line of thread, there’s not a lot of room for error. But the biggest challenge may be in the pathing – where the needle will travel throughout the design. Sometimes the pathing is intuitive. Other times, you’ll have to make several attempts at creating streamlined pathing.

Start with pencil and paper. Sketching a continuous line design is the best way to address the pathing. Even if it’s digital clip art, print it out and trace over it. If you have to lift the pencil to draw the next area, there’s going to be a break in the stitching.  Find another solution like backtracking (retracing over previous stitches) or looping (adding an extra design element like a vein on a leaf) to get to the next area.

Dive in –Go to the software and get started. You’ll find the time spent sketching/tracing has already focused your brain on the task. Sketching is like stretching exercises before a run – they prep your mind and body for the task ahead. Start drawing the design and adding nodes.  It will flow faster than you think. Don’t worry if it looks like a mess at first. You can tweak each node later.

The Close Line feature is a time saver. If you’re drawing a closed shape, at the last node, right mouse click and select Close Line from the drop down menu. The shape will instantly close and you won’t waste time wondering why your continuous line turned into a two-ply. In Perfect Embroidery Pro, draw the shape, (setting modes with a click of the mouse), when the shape is complete, right mouse click to end the line.  Select the Shape tool, right mouse click and select Close Line.CL4BL

The Slow Draw tool is your best friend.  Before you begin tweaking the nodes, click on the Slow Draw tool. This tool allows you to focus on the pathing. Keep a close eye on the screen as the design stitches.  Get your pathing right, and then tweak the nodes.CL1BL

Zoom in. Magnifying the stitches on the screen helps you see exactly where they lie in the design.  This is quite helpful when perfecting individual shapes within a design. There are several ways to zoom in on a design in Inspriations’ software programs. The most obvious is to click on the magnifying glass.CL2BL

Or select a percentage from the drop down menu at the top tool bar.CL3BL

If you’re using a mouse, just push the wheel away from you to zoom in.  Do this while holding down the CTRL key and the magnified area will focus on the location of the cursor, not the center of the screen. That’s a huge time saver!

It’s important to remember when you are zoomed in, you are seeing a magnified view of the stitches – not what it will appear when sewn. So don’t stress out too much!  Pull back to actual size often to keep it in perspective.

Save As often. You really can’t have too many versions of your work. Go to File/Save As and rename the design every time. Eventually, you’ll be satisfied with the final design and you delete the earlier versions.  But during the design phase, it’s wise to keep each version. Just go for something basic like HeartV1, HeartV2, HeartV3, etc. Use the same method for all your digitizing and you’ll know where to find your latest and greatest.

I’ve found these tips to be real time-savers. I seem to be immersed in quilting designs right now – there’s so many beautiful designs dancing in my head! I’d love to know what you’ve been working on.

Stitching Split Designs

It’s easy to split designs in software but the challenge for many embroiderers is in the stitching.  I use a combination of templates, Perfect Alignment Laser and the advance stitch feature on my machine. First, split the design in Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro.  Click here to review the steps.  Send the two designs to your machine.

Print a template of both designs. I use Print & Stick Target Template Paper because its adhesive back will stick to the fabric.  Align the two templates on the fabric focusing on placement of the entire design.  For instance, if you’re embroidering a pillow, center the monogram (both designs aligned) on the pillow.  Then remove the second design template (the second hooping).  Hoop the fabric centering the crosshair of the first hooping.  Stitch the design. 

Remove the fabric from the hoop.  Place the second design template on the fabric aligning the template with the stitched design.  

Hoop adhesive stabilizer and remove the protective paper.  Attach the hoop to the machine and stitch the first color of the second hooping, the alignment line. Remove the hoop and position the hoop under PAL aligning the horizontal beam with the horizontal marks on the hoop and the vertical beam with the stitched line. 

Place the embroidered fabric on the sticky stabilizer aligning the stitched line with the vertical beam and the horizontal beam with the template’s horizontal line. 

Double check the placement by lifting the fabric and checking that the stitched line on the fabric is aligned with the stitched line on the stabilizer. 

Attach the hoop to the machine and return to the beginning of color 1, the stitched line.  Advance through color 1 watching the foot trace over the stitched line.  It should align with the stitched line, if not, adjust the fabric until it does.

Stitch the second design.  Now take a closer look.  

My sample is not perfect. 

The four circles illustrate where the two designs connect.  The connections are fine in the blue circles but the areas in the red circles need some help.  I would fix these disconnected areas by sewing a narrow satin column (zigzag stitch) on the sewing machine to join the two areas.  No one would ever know!

I hope you’ll forgive me for this not-so-perfect project and the poor photography on the laser shot.  We’re moving our offices this week so my working environment is not quite up to what it should be.  Hope to have everything back to normal in a week or two!

Last week’s winner of Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons is….BRENDA KENNEDY!  Brenda said, “I have four tops that need to be quilted.Just purchased the Brother Dream Machine. I need to do something to justify the cost of the machine.I also have a Quattro 2.”

Brenda, we’ll email you to get your mailing address. Congratulations!

Small Hoops – Jumbo Designs

If you love jumbo designs but don’t have a jumbo hoop, you can easily split a design in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. Follow along with me to learn how.

Open a new file in Perfect Embroidery Pro. Click on the Monogram tool and select Mono17. Type in the letter P. Change the height to 6” and click Apply. Split1

Select the design on the screen and click on the Split Design icon. Split2

The Split Design screen appears. Click on the arrow in the Hoop field and select your hoop. I entered 130×180. The red boxes illustrate two hoopings: 1:1 and 2:1. You can move the boxes to select what portion of the design you want to stitch in the first and second hoop. It’s a good idea to move the boxes to split the design at a natural point. In this instance, where the upper right of the P meets the left leg of the P. Click on Split Preview to see the actually split.

The first hooping appears in the preview window.Split4

When you click in the second hooping area, the preview window changes to the second hooping. Split5

Toggle between the first and second hooping to view each individually. If you want to adjust the split, click on Split Preview again. Move the boxes around each portion of the design. Click on Split Preview again to see you changes.

Once you’re satisfied with the split, click Save and the software will save the design into two separate files and templates of both portions.Split6

Print a template of each design and send the designs to your machine. Splitting designs has never been easier.  Give it a try, this is a skill you’ll use over and over again!

 

 

Turn Your Embroidery Machine Into a Longarm

If you want to successfully quilt with your machine, you have to learn the secrets to controlling the process.  In my class, Turn Your Embroidery Machine Into a Longarm at Wisconsin Quilt Expo Sept. 7-9, you’ll learn why handling your quilt like this is a recipe for disaster:

I’ll also share why having two versions of a continuous design, not just mirror-imaged, makes connecting designs a breeze.

And what to do when you have a thread break in the middle of a design.

Most of all, I’ll show you how to get your embroidery machine to do what you want it to do!

I hope you’ll join me in Turn Your Embroidery Machine into a Longarm, at 1:00 every day at the Wisconsin Quilt Expo, Madison, WI, Sept.7-9.

I’m really looking forward to this quilt show because I’ve been spending too much time in my office and studio!  It’ll be great to meet and chat with other embroiderers/quilters/sewists. Hope to see you there!

If you purchase your tickets online before the big event, you’ll save $2.00 per lecture.  Hurry – seats are going…

Tropical Summer Stitching

The May/June issue of Designs in machine Embroidery featured one of my favorite new projects: Hints of Havana. This project could have easily been called Hints of Hawaii summer Splash, Tropical Flavors or well, you get the idea. You’ll find this look in the women’s department of any retail store this summer. If you missed the issue, here’s how to do it in Inspirations’ Vintage Embroidery Software.

Open a new file in Vintage Embroidery.  Click on the Designs Library icon and retrieve the following designs: ABS_0090_D, ABS_0093_D, FLO_0028_Flower, FLO_98_LilyD and FLO_0097_Flower.

Place Abs_0090 in the center.  Place ABS_0093 below it.  Flip 0093 vertically.  Ungroup 0093 and remove the leaf at the top right. 

And the top left. 

Add FLO_0028 at the top right. Copy, Paste and flip it horizontally. Move the second repeat to the left of the center designs. Use the alignment tools to position the designs symmetrically. 

Merge FLO_0097 into the screen. 

Delete the running stitch outline around the flowers.  Carefully group each individual flower.  One by one, select each flower and position it around the four larger motifs.   The fastest way to do this is to position all the flowers on the right side then copy, paste and mirror image.  Move the second set to the left of the larger motifs.  The Group and Ungroup tool is helpful here. Use it when moving all sections and you won’t leave any stray stitches behind.

Merge  FLO_0098_Lily_d into the design. 

Move the lily design to a clean area and delete the first two colors.  Select the remaining portion and mirror image it vertically. 

Center it under the newly-created design.

Save the designs as PB. The PB design measures 230mm x 240mm.  Since I don’t have a hoop that wide, I’ll split the design in Perfect Embroidery Pro.

Open PB in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. Select the design and click on the Split Design icon. 

The Split window appears.  Select your hoop from the drop down Hoop menu. 

Place the cursor in the 1:1 and 2:1 segments to toggle back and forth until you have a split that you are comfortable with.  

Click Save and the software will split and save the design into two files.  Both files include a long basting line.  Use this line to align the two hoopings.  

I’ll use my PAL 2 (Perfect Alignment Laser) to align the second hooping with the first. Love that tool – it’s makes aligning designs a breeze!

Free Webinar!

I’m so excited to present a live webcast (my first!) with my good friends at Sulky.  They spotted my recent book, Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons, and thought it would be a hot topic for their webcast offerings. I was flattered to be asked, so of course I said yes!

So what should you expect in this webcast? I’ll share my 20 years of quilting with an embroidery machine experience with you.  I’ll cover everything from raw edge applique to custom quilting to overall quilting.  I’ll show you how to manage the quilt bulk while achieving perfect placement on every hooping.  You’ll learn what type of designs work on blocks and large negative spaces.

Included in this hour of education, is a downloadable continuous line design for 6” x 10” hoops*, a downloadable guide to my secrets of continuous line quilting on an embroidery machine plus a question and answer period at the end of the webcast.

You’ll get an in-depth look at my patented quilt and applique as you go technique, the difference between custom quilting and overall quilting. And I’ll cover selecting shape designs, connecting continuous line designs, working with magnetic hoops and three options for handling a full size quilt on a home embroidery machine.

We are packing a ton of information into this webcast but don’t worry, after the webcast, you’ll be able to review it whenever you’d like.  Join us for this live webcast and later you can watch at your own pace.  Sign up now because seats are limited!  Just click here: https://goto.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1138339&sti=eduction_webinar_banner

*Formats included are C2S, DST, EXP, HQV, HUS, JEF, PCS, PES, QLI, VIP AND VP3.

The winner of last week’s blog post answered the following question: 

Leave a comment explaining what quilting project you’re working on right now.  One lucky winner will receive a copy of my latest book, Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons. It’s finally back in stock so I’m happy to give one away.

The winner is: LAURI WINTERFELDT: I just completed a whole cloth quilt to practice quilting on my machine. I have two more lap quilts basted and ready to go.

Thank you, everyone for taking the time to comment.  I love hearing from you and hope to see you in the webcast on March 23, 2017, 9:00 PM EST.

Why Did It Take So Long?

Why did it take 20 years to master the art of quilting with an embroidery machine? Well, 20 years ago, sewing fields were 4″ x 4″, machines had little or no rotation ability and there were no ‘quilting designs’ available for the home embroiderer. Machine embroidery has evolved beyond our wildest dreams (well, almost, I know some very creative people!).

Now, we can quilt king, queen, crib or lap quilts on our embroidery machines.  If you have a big hoop (larger than 6″ x 10″), then it’s a breeze. Many students ask if they can quilt with a 5″ x 7″ hoop.  My response is, “Yes, you can but it’s not the right tool for the job. It’s like painting a dining room with a 1” brush. You can do it, but it will take forever!”

So if you want to quilt with your embroidery machine, buy one with a large sewing field and while you’re looking for a machine, make sure there’s a compatible magnetic hoop available.  Why so?  Magnetic hoops simplify the rehooping process.  A large quilt will take 50 or 60 hoopings, imagine removing the entire hoop and quilt from the machine to rehoop – 50 times!  Too much effort. With a magnetic hoop, you just lift the top frame, advance the quilt, drop the frame in place and stitch.  It’s still 50 hoopings but what a time-saver.

And yes, I am very partial to magnetic hoops because I invented Snap Hoop Monster. Without it, I would have never written three quilting books, designed over a dozen quilting collections and quilted dozens and dozens of quilts.  In fact, I probably would have given up trying to quilt with my embroidery machine years ago.

But that’s not all that’s made the process easier.  I made this short video to show you a couple of other products that really streamline the process.  Take a look.

 

Leave a comment explaining what quilting project you’re working on right now.  One lucky winner will receive a copy of my latest book, Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons. It’s finally back in stock so I’m happy to give one away.  Happy Stitching!

 

Design Bigger than Your Hoop? Split it!

Serious machine embroiderers never let hoop size hold them back. When they think big, they stitch big. But that doesn’t mean they have to have a big hoop. No, they just need the right software and some handy notions (okay, the notions are optional but really helpful!) to get the job done.  Here’s how to do it.

Select a large design. My sample is the letter M from http://www.EmbroideryArts.com, Arabesque 9 XL.  I enlarged the design to a height of 262 mm – a whopping 10.31” in Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro. Now that it’s so big, it won’t fit in my largest hoop.  But Perfect Embroidery Pro has a great splitting feature. Open the design in Perfect Embroidery Pro. Click on the Split Design icon. 

The Split Design screen appears. Click on the arrow in the Hoop field and select your largest hoop.  I entered 200 x 300. 

The preview screen shows two hoopings: 1:1 and 2:1. 

Click in either hooping to move the split. Toggle between the first and second hooping to view each individually.  Look for a natural break in the stitches. for instance, I would avoid splitting the column of satin stitches.  It’s better to have one leg of satin stitches in one hooping, and the second leg in the second hooping. Once you’re satisfied with the split, click Save and the software will save the design into two separate files. Print a template of each design and send the designs to your machine.

Place the templates on the left side of fabric (allowing room for the second hooping).  Slide a target sticker under template Hoop 1:1 and align the target sticker’s and template’s crosshairs.  Remove the template. Hoop the fabric with tear-away stabilizer, centering the target sticker.

Stitch the first design: Hoop 1:1. The last color is a vertical basting line (placement line) which will align with the second hooping. Stitch the line in a contrasting color to make alignment easy. 

Remove from the hoop.  Hoop another piece of tear-away stabilizer. Stitch color 1, the placement line, of Hoop 2:1 on the hooped stabilizer. Remove the hoop from the machine. 

Place the hoop under PAL, Perfect Alignment Laser, aligning the stitched placement line with PAL2’s beam.  

Spray the wrong side of the embroidered fabric with temporary adhesive.  Slide the embroidered fabric under the beam aligning the stitched placement line with PAL2. Finger press the fabric to the stabilizer. 

Attach the hoop to the machine and restitch color 1 to verify the design is aligned. 

Stitch the remainder of design Hoop 2:1. Wasn’t that easy?  I often approach splitting designs with a bit of intimidation but I’ve learned if I take my time and pay attention to the details (like aligning the fabric with the laser crosshair), the results come out as planned.Splitting designs is very rewarding – people will think you’re an embroidery rock star!

Fabric Too Short for the Hoop?

Don’t you hate it when the fabric doesn’t fit in the hoop? Recently, I was stitching a faced scallop border on my embroidery machine and the fabric was about 3” too short to fit in the hoop. I find that so frustrating! I didn’t want to waste more fabric so I cut a 3” piece of adhesive water soluble stabilizer then removed 1 ½” of the protective paper. I pressed my fabric strip to the sticky surface. Presto! The fabric strip fit into the embroidery frame and I didn’t have to fill the hoop with fabric or stabilizer. Fab3

Stitching a faced scalloped hem on the embroidery machine is no different than stitching one on a sewing machine. It’s still a running stitch and doesn’t require stabilizer behind the stitches. The difference is the scallops are perfect when you leave the measuring and stitching to the digital precision of an embroidery machine. It works for all kinds of projects: towels, totes, quilts and garments. And now you know how to fill the hoop even if your fabric is too small!Fab2l

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Inside Scoop on Placement Marks

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Want to look like an embroidery rock star? Learn how to stitch continuous embroidery designs. Many embroiderers are afraid to stitch continuous embroidery although it’s not difficult; you just have to set yourself up for success.

There are several approaches you can take but my favorite is the addition of placement marks. Placement marks are stitched around the embroidery design to help in placement. They are removed after the project is complete.

Here’s how to add them in all of Inspiration’s software programs: Perfect Embroidery Pro and My Quilt Embellisher.

Open a design in PEP and select it. I’m using a strawberry design (53688) from January’s free designs.

Click on the Placement Marks icon.AM2bl

Click on the mark in each corner. If you’re using a large design, you might find it helpful to add the center marks.  Click OK. AM3bl

Move the marks away from the design for increased visibility and easy removal after they are needed. Select the top two marks. AM4bl

Move them up and away from the design. It’s important that you do not move them left or right, just straight up. Use a keyboard shortcut to ensure the marks will not move to the right or left. Hold the Control key and click on the keyboard’s up arrow to move the design. Continue to click until they are about ¼” away from the design. AM5bl

Repeat the same process for the marks on the bottom.  AM6bl

Now let’s take a look at the color sequence, the placement marks are now the first color – the software automatically moves them to the beginning of the color sequence. I like to tweak that a bit. AM15bl

Select the two marks at the right of the design (if you are stitching from left to right). AM16bl

In the Properties Box, select the command tab and type in the number 9 in the color field. Click Apply. AM17bl

Left mouse click on the number 9 in the color sequence. AM18bl

Move it to the end of the sequence.  AM19bl

Now, let’s take a look at multiple repeats of the border design. AM20bl

Here’s how to make it happen on fabric. Stitch the first design of the border on hooped fabric. When stitching the second design, stitch only the first color (the placement marks at the left) on hooped adhesive stabilizer. AM21bl

Place the hoop under PAL (Perfect Alignment Laser), aligning the laser’s horizontal line with the stitched placement mark.  AM22bl

Then simply slide the embroidered fabric under the beam, aligning the beam with the stitched placement mark on the design.AM23bl

The designs will align perfectly!  Continue for the entire border. You’ll look like an embroidery rock star! AM24bl

If you attend an Inspiration’s Hooping Clinic, you’ll get to learn this technique hands-on! Our education consultants are embroidery wizards – experts all things embroidery – you’ll learn tons of new techniques, tips and tricks! Click here to see where a Hooping Clinic is scheduled near you.

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