Archive of ‘Digitizing’ category

Preserving Signatures

The grandmother of my children, Mom-mom Roche could feed an army within an hour’s notice. No one ever went hungry in her house. The warmth that is shared around her table is legendary – wonderful food, prayerful gratitude and lots of laughter.

On special occasions, she would dress her table in a fine linen cloth. Over 50 years ago, she started to ask her dinner guests if they would sign her tablecloth.  Later, in her spare time (how she ever found a spare minute with 7 children, 21 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren), she would hand embroider their signatures. The next time you saw the tablecloth, the last signature would be stitched – she never missed a single autograph.

It became a rite of passage for all family members. I remember seeing toddlers finger the embroidery and ask when they could sign but Mom-mom wouldn’t let them scribble a few dashes and dots. Oh no, they had to actually hold the pen and sign their name.  The anticipation was about all they could handle. They would watch an older child sit at the table next to Mom-mom and sign. Usually, a tongue was sticking out of the child’s mouth as he or she focused fiercely on the task. Oh the pressure! Not really, Mom-mom has a heart of gold and hugs to match.

My children, now in their 20s remember the day they were asked to sign. Not the same day, mind you, because Janelle is two years older than Ted so Ted had to wait his turn. They loved the ceremony of it and when visit Mom-mom they always examine the tablecloth looking for their own signatures, those of the newest family members and those who have are no longer with us.

Mom-mom has passed this tradition to her grandchildren. When Janelle was married last year, she gave her a hem-stitched linen tablecloth for Janelle’s table along with her blessing to update the tradition to today’s lifestyle. No longer will the signatures be hand embroidered, instead guests will sign a piece of paper, Janelle will photograph it and send it to me. I will then load it as a backdrop into Perfect Embroidery Pro digitizing software and digitize the signatures.

I’m honored to carry on this tradition for Janelle even if some of the nostalgia is lost in the process. She will have a stitched memory of a tradition from her childhood that she can pass down to the next generation.

Today, I started with family members who attended Janelle and Kegan’s wedding reception. (Yes, I know that was last summer!) In a new file in Perfect Embroidery Pro, I loaded the image as a backdrop (File/Load Backdrop).ST1

Then I traced each line in same manner as the letters were written. ST2

As tempting as it was to smooth curves and straighten lines, I forced myself to just follow the lines. After all, it’s a signature not a lesson in calligraphy. 2 sus

What an enjoyable task – as I digitized each name I focused on that person, so many memories come flooding through my mind.  It’s like I was spending time with them – all part of the gift!

Do you have any family traditions like this? If so, I’d love to hear about them.

If You’re Serious about Machine Embroidery…

If you’re serious about your machine embroidery hobby, it’s time for you to elevate your skills by using embroidery software and upgrading your embroidery tools. A good place to learn about both is in an Inspirations’ Everything from A to Z event. What’s A to Z? Embroidery techniques from Applique to Zippers. You’ll learn the keys to making beautiful machine embroidery applique – inside and out – from basic satin edge to trendy motifs on flat to furry fabrics and everything in between.  2016-05-07_13-13-40

You’ll want to include lettering in all your machine embroidery projects after you see Inspirations’ smorgasbord of lettering techniques: monogramming, miniature, bubble, puffy and calligraphy. 2016-05-07_13-12-08

Want to stitch a hat on a single needle? Yes you can! Learn how to mark, stabilize and hoop a hat in no time.  Plus you’ll discover how easy it is to transform one dimensional embroidery into oh-so-cute and useful 3D projects.

Learn how to leave tricky zipper insertion and flawless buttonholes to your embroidery machine. Our Inspiration education consultants will lead you through the tips and tricks for successful embroidery plus you get to play with magnetic hoops, laser and placement tools. It’s a fun, relaxed class that will inspire you to go home and get stitching!  Treat yourself to a Mother’s Day present and sign up for a class today. There are almost 200 events scheduled across the country in the next months and more added every week. Click here http://www.inspiredbydime.com/inspiration-socials/ to find an event near you.

Happy Mother’s Day!

DESIGNING A REPEATING PATTERN FOR FABRIC BY TRUE BIAS

Kelli from True Bias has been having fun working with My Fabric Designs for her launch and wanted to put together a little post to show you how easy it is to make a repeating pattern using My Fabric Designs design tools so that you can make your own fabric too…

Creating a pattern that repeats evenly and seamlessly can be a tricky part of designing the fabric. You can do it all in photoshop or illustrator if you prefer. Here are a few youtube tutorials that helped me a ton when I was learning how to do it. Click here, here, or here for the videos or tutorials.

Or you can just do it straight through the My Fabric Designs website. It’s really simple and you don’t need any fancy programs to it. Before we even start I recommend that you watch this youtube tutorial. It goes through their design tool and will give you a great overall idea of how it works. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5RfnISyCEc

Next you are going to need some images. I made up 5 different shapes or groupings of shapes in illustrator. These could also be something that you draw and scan into your computer. Or it could be online images that are stock or free domain. Whatever they are you need to save them as separate files.  If you are going to be overlapping them or making a colored background make sure that the background of your images are transparent. I recommend saving them at 300 dpi and at a larger scale than you think you will actually print them. You can always scale them down when designing, but you can’t go bigger.

Now, go ahead and open the fabric creator. Click File / New and decide what size you want to start with. Go smaller like 6×6 inches if you want a small repeating pattern like you would use for quilting. I like mine larger so I chose 20×20 inches. You also select the background color at this time. I went for a black.

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Hit apply. The middle square will be the one that you work on (light gray background) and the right square will show your finished repeat pattern.

Go to Add / Image and choose your first image to upload.

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It will drop it in the middle of your work square and show the repeat on the right. Cool right? Continue to upload all of your images.

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Move around the images and scale them. You will notice that as some of your images overlap the edge of the working square that they will create a repeat. The right square makes it really easy to see what your repeat looks like and where to place each object for the best visual affect. You can scale the images or rotate them with the handles on the outside of each object. You can call arrange them by sending them in front or in back of other images. Keep playing around until you like the way that the repeat pattern looks on the right.

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Once you are ready make sure you save your pattern to your desktop. Then click order fabric. This will bring you into the area where you can choose the type of fabric you want to print it on and how large you want your pattern to print (it can go down to 150 dpi).

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Then order your fabric. Make sure that you use the code TRUEBFS for free shipping on your order this month.

I hope this tutorial made designing your own fabric a little less scary. I have had so much fun playing around with this tool. Just a reminder that My Fabric Designs is providing the prizes for the Colfax Sewalong Contest. So if you want to give it a try this is the perfect opportunity. Click here for more details.

Batter Up!

It’s baseball season! Can’t you hear the swing of the bat and the ‘thwack’ when leather hits wood?  Smell the peanuts?  Even though I never played, I still think summer begins with the official opening of baseball season.

And maybe there’s somebody in your life who feels the same way. My new family members, my daughter’s new family, are baseball fanatics – they live for baseball! So when I was invited to a baby shower for the newest grandson, I couldn’t think of anything better than embroidered onesies and burp cloths.  Of course, I have to include a monogram because they already shared his name with the family. Modern times, eh?

My first thought was varsity type athletic letters. Easy to do, just a click of the mouse in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro.

Click on the Text tool and select the Fiction Applique font. Click Ok.BB1BL

Type the initials in the Properties Box.BB2BL

But I felt it could use a little more pizazz. So I added a baseball mood to the common athletic-type appliques. Select the run tool and draw a curved line across the left side of the first initial.BB3BL

Select the line and in the Properties Box on the Run tab, change the Type to Motif, Pattern 129. Add more curved lines to the letters.BB4ABL

Cute!  Now we have to move the baseball stitches behind the satin outlines.  Select the text, right click and select Break Up Text from the dropdown menu.BB5BL

Select the first applique (the text is now two appliques), right click and select Break Up Path from the dropdown menu.BB7BL

Now, arrange the colors in this order: placement guide, tackdown, baseball stitches and satin outline.FinalbbBL

How easy was that? Perfect Embroidery Pro provides all the tools you need for creativity.

Pretty in Pink

4_2_16_9I finally found some time to stitch a sample of the applique flower that we’ve been discussing over the past few Software Saturday posts.  I selected a pink hand-dyed fabric for the flower and a subtle green batik print for the leaves. The center really needed a snappy yellow but I found my stash is totally lacking in yellows. So I cut a yellow section from a wild print fabric. It’s okay for the sample but I think I’ll look for a yellow with a bit more…zing!

The flower center looked so boring in the software I made one more digitizing change to the design before I actually stitched the sample.  Here’s how to do it in Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro digitizing software:

Select the flower center, right click and select Break Up Path from the drop down menu.  4_2_16_1

The design will be split into Run (your placement guide), Run (your tackdown) and Applique. 4_2_16_2Select the Applique, right click and Convert to Steil. 4_2_16_3

Select the Steil and in the Property Box, change the Jagged Type to Both.  4_2_16_4

Change the Value to 4.0 and click Apply. 4_2_16_5

Now the flower center has much character than its original settings.4_2_16_6

My next task is to select the final fabrics for this quilt and I could use some help. What color backgrounds do you like? White, black, blue, cream or gray?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!4_2_16_8

Hold Onto Your Hat

Hat embroidery presents two challenges for the home embroiderer. First, hat embroidery usually entails small lettering.  Second, keeping a hat in a hoop on single-needle, flat bed machine is tricky.  We’ve got you covered on both bases!  Inspirations’ Word Art in Stitches is the perfect software program to create a quick hat embellishment.hat1bl  In Word Art in Stitches, click on the Bubble Text icon and select the following items in the preview window:

  1. Shape: Select the state of your choice.
  2. Change the default size to 75 mm width and 71 mm height.
  3. Border: Steil
  4. Words: Remove My Text
  5. Click Apply

Select the Micro Text tool and type Home in the Properties Box. Select the Arial Small font. Click Apply.  Move Home into the state.hat2bl

Click on the Text Designs tool, scroll down and select So99686. Click OK.hat3bl

Right click on So99686 and select Ungroup from the drop down menu.hat4bl

In the Color Sequence window, click on the eyeball next to the star colors to hide them.hat5bl

Select the remaining portions of So99686 and delete them.hat6bl

Click on the eyeballs again in the Color Sequence window to reveal the star. Move the star next to Home. Save the design and print a template to audition it on the hat. Tape the template to the hat.

The easiest way to hold a hat in a single-needle flatbed hoop is to use adhesive tear-away and our newest product, Hoop Clip. Here’s how to do it: Place adhesive tear-away stabilizer on the back of the Snap Hoop Monster’s metal frame. Snap the Hoop Clip onto the bottom frame. Hoop Clip is magnetic and attaches easily and firmly to the metal frame.hat8bl

Open the clip and slide the brim into the opening.  Finger press the cap onto the sticky stabilizer.hat9bl

Attach the hoop to the machine and stitch the design.hat11bl

Sweet! A hat on a flatbed single-needle machine!hat12bl

6 Helpful Tips for Digitizing Continuous Line Designs

300Recently, I’ve been digitizing quilting designs – continuous line designs in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro.  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 this is intuitive and sometimes, not! I’ve learned a lot as I’ve worked on these designs. Here are six tips that have kept me on track.

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

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.

Perfect Embroidery Pro January Updates pt. 2

Last week, blog reader Vickie Deanglis wrote, “I only have PEP…other than snap to grid were there any other changes made to Perfect Embroidery Pro (PEP)?” Yes, Vickie, there are two more improvements to PEP that I think you’ll find very helpful.

Retrieving designs from the design library has been streamlined. Now, when you select and drag a design from the library onto the current open design page, it will instantly appear on that page. If you drag the design away from the library and towards the Properties Box, the design will open in a new file. Watch this 25-second video to see how easy it is.

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Artboards is a new concept in Perfect Embroidery Pro that allows you to define multiple hoop areas on your screen. Watch this quick one-minute video to see how it works.

Splitting Designs in Perfect Embroidery Pro

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. Split3

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!

 

 

What Color Would You Select?

I’m in a quandary. I’m designing the quilting for the My Block Piecer Block of the Month Sampler. The quilt is pieced and I’m excited to load the quilt onto the shortE and get started. Here’s a look at the pieced quilt on the design wall. Please forgive the photography – I took this photo with my cell phone.2015-12-19_20-00-51

Here’s one quilting layout that I started in My Quilt Planner. This layout features the same designs on each block. 2015-12-19_19-40-36

I don’t know if this is the one that I’ll go with but it’s been fun playing with the feathers.
Here’s a preview of the feathers a quilt block.2015-12-19_19-28-22

But what color thread? I’ve eliminated black because I’d like the quilting to pop on the black patches. Shall I select bright pink, hot blue, neon green or orange? Should I try to go with one color for the whole quilt or select thread for each block? What would you do?

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