Katherine Artines is at it again with her recent Welding Wizardry video on YouTube. She explores the difference between the Weld, Intersect and Trim shape tools in Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro. These helpful tools expand your drawing capabilities and streamline complicated processes.
Katherine’s video will show you how to add an enticing scallop border to the outside of a simple heart or better yet, to the inside of the same heart.
Scallops invoke a sweetness that is particularly inviting to many Valentine’s Day designs. They can elevate a plain, applique heart into a dainty love-filled message. Follow Katherine’s easy to duplicate steps to achieve the same results.
In this 50-minute video, you’ll learn how to use guidelines for accuracy plus Katherine shares her tips for precise positioning of objects – a real time saver! Plus, she illustrates how to sharpen corners in just two clicks of the mouse.
As you watch the video, you’ll see why she has embraced the Navigator tool. Often, we forget to use the new tools that have been added to our software. Navigator was added as a new free feature in November, 2017. Navigator allows you to view areas of a design quickly by blending the Zoom and Pan tools into one window. You can access the Navigator on a tab at the bottom right of the screen, next to the Library and Color Sequence tabs.
Click here to watch and learn Katherine’s latest wizardry. Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day.
When I log into this blog to add a new post, I can see what information people are searching for online. I often use that info to help me write blog posts. After all, if the blog information isn’t relevant to the reader, what’s the point in writing it?
This week, I noticed many embroiderers are looking for information on how to make embroidered eyelets because laced necklines and sleeves are popular in ready wear. And when you have digitizing software, you don’t have to wait for a design company to offer a new trendy design – you can do it yourself. Of course, I (and all of us) would be lost without the BEAUTIFUL AND ARTISTICALLY digitized designs embroidery companies furnish for us to purchase. The techniques I teach here on Software Saturday do not replace the embroidery designs available at reputable companies, these techniques complement those designs. I am not an artist and never will be but I can do awful lot with Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro to bring my ideas to life.
Here’s how to get the fun ‘laced up’ look. Set the measurements to millimeters by clicking on the ruler at the top of the screen. Select the ellipse tool and draw a circle with a 11.3 mm diameter. Select the circle, right click and select Convert to Steil.
The inner dimension of this eyelet is 6.0mm, a comfortable opening for the standard eyelet cutter of 3.0mm.
Click on the ruler to set the measurements to inches. Select the eyelet, and click on the Repeat tool.
Change the numbers in the preview screen to 2 across, 5 down, 1 in distance for both Horizontal and Vertical. Click Apply.
The eyelets are evenly spaced and measure 1.75” x 5.91”.
This spacing is a good starting point for most projects. To customize the space, measure the area of the garment where you want to stitch the eyelets. For instance, if you want to fill a 7” vertical space, draw a 7” vertical line to use as a guideline. Select the bottom eyelet and align it with the bottom of the line. Hold down the CTRL key and use the keyboard’s down arrow to move it straight down. Select the whole left column of eyelets and click on the Distribute Vertically tool. Boom! The eyelets are evenly spaced.
Now repeat the process for the column on the right. You’re ready to stitch.
It’s a good idea to test one eyelet on your fabric. Cut it open and insert the yarn you’ll use to lace the eyelets. Once you’re satisfied everything works as planned, then add the eyelets to a bag, neckline or sleeve.
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.
Select the design on the screen and click on the Split Design icon.
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.
When you click in the second hooping area, the preview window changes to the second hooping.
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.
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!
Tis the season for shiny, sparkly embroidery! Many embroiderers shy away from metallic thread but a few tips will help even the most hesitant embroiderer master this holiday favorite!
- Use a vertical thread stand. If it comes off the spool and kinks, slip a thread net over the spool. Don’t have one? Cut a 3” section of pantyhose and slip over the spool.
- If you’re worried about feeding the thread from the stand to the machine, add an extra thread guide. Tape a safety pin to the top of the machine (closed end up) and feed the thread through the hole.
- Need another guide? Tape a straw onto the top of the machine. Just a 1” section will do the trick.
- Select the right stabilizer. Soft is best as a heavy, dense cut-away can shred the metallic thread as it enters and exits this tough barrier. Consider polymesh, soft tear-away or tear-away wash away stabilizer.
- Tension – decrease the top tension to let the metallic thread slide through the tension discs.
- Slow the machine down to 500-600 stitches per minute. Remember this is a specialty thread so it needs special attention!
- Chill It – really, many embroiderers swear their metallic performs better after resting in a freezer for 30 mins.
- Insert a new sharp metallic needle. The large, polish eye prevents shredding. You can learn more about needles at SchmetzNeedles.com
It’s sparkle time! Dealers around the country are watching metallic thread fly off their shelves as embroiderers reach for their favorite holiday thread. You can add this shiny element to many designs but you should set yourself up for success.
Use your digitizing software to change some elements into metallic-friendly details. In Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro digitizing software, lengthen run stitches. My normal stitch length for quilting designs is 2.2. For metallic threads, I increase the length to 2.8. The longer stitch length lets the metallic thread shine on the fabric while shorter stitch lengths, tend to hide the pretty sheen. Imagine how pretty those longer stitches will look on a dark fabric.
Reduce the density of a complex fill. The stitches should lay right next to each other without overlapping. The density default setting is 5.0, type in .80 and click Apply.
If your design requires underlay, consider making the underlay a separate color. Stitch the underlay first in a coordinating polyester thread, then switch to the metallic to add the top layer.
Satins – think curves! Metallics really shine when light bounces off the thread at different angles. So curve your satin columns, and adjust the widths to take full advantage of the light.
The satin column on the right will reflect more light than the blue, straight column.
When digitizing for metallic thread, schedule some extra time for testing your digitized designs. Later in the week, I’ll share tips for stitching with metallic. I’m hoping all of your holiday stitching is happy stitching!
Cold weather calls for cozy fabrics like Minky, faux fur and lofty knits. As wonderful as they are to wear, they present challenges when it time to add embroidery to them. First, their fibers creep over embroidery camouflaging the beautiful stitches. Second, since they’re lofty and bulky, they’re hard to hold in a hoop.
Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro’s Nap Blocker feature is the answer for taming the fibers. Nap Blocker adds a layer of complex fill stitches that’s just light enough to flatten the lofty fibers creating a smooth surface for the embroidery. Here’s how to do it in PEP.
Select the Text tool and type JOY in the Properties Box. I used the Bookman font.
Select the design, right click to access the command menu. Select Utility, Nap Blocker.
Instantly, a layer of complex fill is added to the design in the first color position.
The fill extends .15” beyond the design to ensure any long fibers will not obstruct the embroidery. You can change this by selecting the fill only and resizing.
Notice how the complex fill is placed at the beginning of the design in the color sequence.
Stitch the complex fill in the same color thread as the fabric. This is key because you want these stitches to disappear behind the beautiful embroidery. And…you don’t have to use a topper when you use Nap Blocker. How sweet is that?
Now to hoop – I use Snap Hoop Monster for all lofty fabrics because the magnetic flat frame does not leave hoop burn. My 5” x 7” is my go-to hoop for these bulky fabrics – its strong grip does a great job for monogramming and more!
PEP and Snap Hoop Monster are a powerful combination for furry fibers. Use it for Christmas stockings, faux fur throws and Minky blankets.
The development team at Inspirations wants to wish you a happy holiday season with two exciting new features in Perfect Embroidery Pro! Update your software now (for free!) to Version 9.68. I’m sure you remember (and it might be why you purchased PEP) that all updates are free for life in Perfect Embroidery Pro.
Katherine Artines created a new 45-minute tutorial on the new features. She gives a thorough exploration – and explanation – of the new tools. She confesses her new favorite feature is Navigator. Navigator allows you to view areas of a design quickly by blending the Zoom and Pan tools into one window. You can access the Navigator on a tab at the bottom left of the screen, next to the Library and Color Sequence tabs. Here’s a close-up view of the area.
Notice the blue box – that shows the magnified area in the main screen.
You can move the blue box in the Navigator window to any area of the design. This tool is such a time-saver – I love it!
If you’re intrigued with embossed fills, they you’ll be overjoyed with the expanded control you now have. Scale percentage allows you to change the size of the actual embossed pattern. Katherine has a great example – three rectangles, three different percentages.
Of course, there’s more! Now the angle can set the angle of the embossed pattern to follow the shape of the letters or any shape. Just put a check mark in the box, click apply and you’re done. Take a look at JOY without the check mark.
And JOY with the check mark. Notice how the pattern flows with each letter, not just in a vertical pattern like above. It bends around the curve of the J, around the O and out into the branches of the Y.
Another great example of the Inspiration development team listening to its users. It’s just keeps getting better and better!
Check out Katherine’s video and see how she cleverly used the new features for her holiday decorations.
Do you like to finish the edges of your applique with an e-stitch or a satin? I have to admit I like both finishes. In fact, in some projects, I mix them. I’m working on a quilt – a large quilt – that features five embroidered blocks in a modern composition. Each block has four flowers, stems, leaves and some sort of center design to link them together. I opted to include one block with e-stitch edges. It’s the center block so it works in the overall layout.
When deciding what type of edging to use in an applique project, remember satin (and motif) edges introduce another element to each applique. The edging can blend with the applique fabric, the host fabric or contrast with both.
E-stitches usually blend with the applique fabric and of course, there is no applique fabric beyond the e-stitch edging.
The key to success for e-stitch applique is to apply a fusible web to the wrong side and pre-cut the applique pieces. Since a tack down stitch would be visible in the final applique, don’t include a tack down on e-stitch appliques. Instead, use a tacky fusible web such as Steam A Seam. The tacky adhesive will hold the applique in place while the e-stitch is applied. It can be fused permanently after removing the project from the hoop.
The applique feature in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro and My Quilt Embellisher gives you control over placement guides and tack downs. Follow along in your software so you can see how easy it is to remove a placement guide. Select a leaf from the Applique Shapes menu.
The default applique is a satin edge.
Change the type in the Properties Box to E-Stitch. Notice the check marks in both the Placement line and Tack down line boxes.
Remove the check from the Tack down line box.
When you stitch the design, apply the tacky fusible web to the pre-cut applique pieces and you’ll have a beautiful applique.
Here’s a sneak peek at a recent work in progress. These jeans will be featured in an upcoming issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery and I’m excited to see them on the model.
I know you’ve seen the flower patches in previous posts but check out the magnifying effect on this patch:
Isn’t that fun? Follow along in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro to duplicate the technique. Use the Art tool to draw a rectangle. Select the rectangle, right click, Convert to Complex Fill.
In Properties Box, change the Fill type to Motif, Pattern 129. Change the Pattern Length to 10.0. Click Apply.
Draw a circle and position it off one corner.
Convert the circle to Complex fill. Select the circle and rectangle and click on Combine.
The overlapped area will be empty.
Draw around the open space.
Convert to Complex Fill, Motif, Pattern 129, Pattern length 18.0 mm.
Select all, right click, Utility, Create Outline.
Enter 0.0 in the distance field and click OK. Make sure the color sequence is rectangle, circle and border. Since I planned on stitching this on denim, I assigned Vintage Retro 40 wt thread to the first two colors and the Vintage Rope 15 wt. to the border to mimic hand stitches. Enjoy!
Check out Part 2 of Katherine Artines’ Give Thanks video tutorial on YouTube. Finish the remaining two blocks of the fun Thanksgiving project begun in Give Thanks Part 1. You’ll create additional custom stippling and work with Text on Path and the Outline feature. Katherine illustrates how to access artwork from Word Art in Stitches and use it for other techniques.
If you’ve been wanting to explore the Artwork and Shape tools, this video will help you understand the features of both helpful tools. Learn how and when to use the Combine tool plus how to set colors in the proper order (sequencing).
Katherine shares the steps for completing the quilted wallhanging – the actual sewing part! She’s so much more than a ‘virtual quilter’, I’m sure you’ll pick up several tips to use in your digitizing. Enjoy!