Archive of ‘Digitizing’ category

April Door Reveal

I’m wrapping up National Quilting Month with quilting projects: one large and one small. I’m quilting a large – and I mean – large quilt! It’s 90″ x 90″ and I’m quilting it on my embroidery machine. I spent weekends in March piecing Red Ribbons by Kaffe Fassett and added extra borders as the original size of Red Ribbons is 68″ x 68″.  You can find the pattern in his Quilts in America book.

Truth be told, when I’m piecing a quilt, all I think about is the next step – the quilting – as that’s my favorite part of quilting!  I love seeing the design come to life and watching the quilt morph into a dimensional, cozy quilt sandwich.  The texture of the quilt completely changes as the stitches are added and the end of the task comes into view.  It’s motivating!

But there are quite a few challenges along the way – like what design to select, what hoop to use and how to handle the bulk of the quilt.  Tomorrow, on Facebook Live you can watch the process as I’ll be quilting the second half of the quilt.  I finished the first half this past weekend.  Come see for yourself how you can handle a 90″ x 90″ quilt on single needle embroidery machine!

And…meet Becky Thompson, from San Antionio, TX, my guest on tomorrow’s Live session. Becky is the force behind Power Tools with Thread (fun name wouldn’t you agree?). She’s so passionate about machine embroidery, I just had to introduce her to you.  We’re going to have fun because she’s going to be quilting an Edge to Edge design in her studio while I’m quilting in my studio!  Join us at 1:00 CST PM on Facebook Live!

But wait there’s more!  My small quilting project is the big reveal of the April Door!  If you’ve been looking for a breath of spring – you’ll find it in the April Door. I can’t wait to share it with you tomorrow on Facebook Live.  See you at 1:00 PM CST on March 26, 2020.

 

Micro Lettering Isn’t Just Small

Micro lettering isn’t just smaller than standard embroidery fonts, it’s digitized completely different.  If you want professional results in small embroidered text, then you have to start with professionally digitized micro fonts.

You most certainly can create a text phrase in a standard embroidery font and shrink it.  But the results will not be pleasant.  The stitches will pile up at the column intersections, small openings will collapse and the lettering will be illegible.  So why waste your time, energy and materials?  Start with a true micro font and you’ll be pleased with the results. Let’s take a closer look.

At a quick glance, the two letters look very similar except for size.

But if you look at the framework, you’ll notice the areas where the columns meet are treated differently.  On the large letter, at the top of the A, the columns actually overlap.  That’s important on standard size letters to avoid gaps between the columns.

It’s not just the peak of the A,  overlapping is also visible where the horizontal column connects with the vertical columns as shown in the highlighted areas below.

On the Micro A, the top of the A is a wider satin, rather than two angled and overlapped satin columns.  The horizontal column stops at the edge of the vertical columns. This digitizing technique allows the tiny lettering to stitch with crisp edges making it legible.

The underlay is also different as the columns are narrower and the stitch count is smaller in micro fonts. You can purchase 11 Micro Fonts with full editing abilities in Inspiration’s Embroidery Tool Shed.  Just click on the shopping cart at the bottom right of the screen. Scroll down to Micro Fonts.

Click on the ellipse to purchase.  This week, the Micro Font Pack of 11 fonts is on sale for $179.99, a savings of $20.00.  That’s only $16.37 per font and each font includes upper and lower case along with numbers and punctuation.  You’ll use these fonts on every quilt label, recipe, logo, bible verse, birth announcement and more.  You can learn more here. 

The Micro Font Collection works only in Inspiration’s Embroidery Tool Shed.  If you already own Inspiration’s Word Art in Stitches, you already own the 11 Micro fonts.

Bring Your Questions!

Two embroidery experts are joining me tomorrow on Facebook Live at 1:00 PM CST, Christine Connor of Amelie Scott Designs and DIME Inspiration Education Consultant, Ashley Jones.  It’s going to be so much fun as I continue to celebrate National Quilting Month.  They will both share their secrets on quilting on their embroidery machines – from Christine’s Edge to Edge quilting  techniques to creating the perfect quilt label.

Hope to see you there – it’s going to be fun and packed with tips and techniques to help you quilt those quilt tops!  You can watch on Facebook Live or YouTube Live at 1:00 PM CST. Bring your questions, we’ll be happy to help.

The Big Reveal

I’ve been looking forward to tomorrow’s Facebook Live broadcast for several weeks and have been keeping hush about what we’ll reveal. We have two big announcements – one is all about Inspirations software and the other is the Dime March Door.

I’ll reveal a transformation that will make your embroidery software experience more enjoyable.  DIME will flip the switch on the new software ‘mothership’ during Facebook Live at 1:00 PM CST.  The best part – the new mothership is free and will house all your existing Inspiration software programs.  Don’t have any Inspiration software programs?  No worries, you can download the ‘mothership’ for free and use its basic editing features. I hope you’ll join me during the broadcast as I’ll be happy to answer our questions.

Speaking of free downloads, tomorrow is the big reveal for the March Door. I hope you’ll love my version of the first signs of spring.  I’ve heard some oohs and ahhs from office mates when they saw the March Door so I’m hoping you’ll feel the same way.  I’ve also heard some sewing machine retailers are hosting Watch Parties in their store.  Might be a good idea to check with your local sewing machine retailer and see if they’re hosting a Watch Party, then plan on joining them for the big reveal!

The last Thursday of the month is beginning to be my favorite day of the month!  See you at 1:00 CST on Facebook Live or YouTube Live.  To be notified when the broadcast starts, like our Facebook page or subscribe to our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/dzgns.  See you online at 1:00 CST!

Lofty Monograms!

Gift #2 on my top 10 gifts to make for the 2019 Holiday season was a personalized throw. There’s such a wide selection of throws available at every price point and in many different fabrics. In Thursday’s Facebook Live session, Deborah Jones and I reviewed four different throws: a fleece buffalo plaid, a nubby and stretchy chenille, a poly/wool blend tweed and a faux suede with a Sherpa back.  The trickiest one to embroider was definitely the stretchy chenille because of its thick yarns and open weave.  But I am thrilled with the finished results.  Let me walk you through the process so you can duplicate this at home.

Open a new file in Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro.  Select the Text tool and type in your monogram.  Select the Fan_Scr font and click Apply in the Properties Box.

With the Text tool selected, click on the monogram and the kerning tools will appear.  Drag the blue diamond between the letters to change the spacing.

Click on the Select tool, right click and select Utility, Nap Blocker from the dropdown menu.

Leave the default setting at 4.0 mm and click OK.

The Nap Blocker, or low density fill, will now be the first color of the embroidery design.

Its function is to hold down the fabric’s nap and create a delicate, yet solid base for the beautiful monogram.  Without it, the monogram would slip between the chenille’s yarns. The end result would be less than professional!

Change the color of the Nap Blocker to match the fabric and select the color of your choice for the monogram.

Click on the Auto Baste tool to add a basting outline around the design.  It will stitch in the first color.  Send the design to the machine.

Hoop the throw with Piece & Stitch Tear Away Wash Away stabilizer.  Place water soluble topper over the design area to allow the embroidery foot to glide over the surface.  Without it, the foot would caught in the loops.  (Hmm…wonder how i figured that out!)  Stitch color 1, the basting outline.  Stitch color 2, the Nap Blocker.

Finally, stitch the monogram.

Remove the throw from the hoop. Snip the basting stitches and remove.  Tear the excess Piece & Stitch stabilizer from the wrong side of the throw. Tear the water soluble topper away from the monogram.

If you hate those pesky bits of water soluble stabilizer that are trapped in the small openings, then you’ll love Deborah Jones’ tip for getting rid of every last speck. Watch the Facebook Live session from Thursday, Dec. 5.  You can watch here on YouTube or over on our Facebook page.

I love this throw and think it will definitely put a smile on someone’s face at Christmas!

Instant New Baby Gift

As embroiderers, we are always driven to create a custom gift for new parents but it can be difficult to find time to create something special.  For the new parents, there’s nothing quite like seeing the statistics of your new baby etched in thread on pretty fabric. Inspiration’s Word Art In Stitches has just what you need to put a smile on the parents’ faces.

Subway blocks were added as a free update to the software several months ago and I think many of us forget they are in the software.  Let’s take a look. Open a new file in Word Art in Stitches and click on the Library icon under the Properties Box (lower right corner).  Scroll to the bottom of the list.

Here you’ll find nine different blocks for baby, new home, wedding and more.  Select the first one, Baby 4×4. Once the design appears on the screen, select it, right click and Ungroup.

It’s so easy to change the name, date and weight to customize the block for the new baby.  Just click on the name and type the new name in the Properties Box.

Select the name, drag one of the side handles to stretch the text to fit the space.  It’s that easy!

Do the same for the date and weight.

The block is 4×4 but you can resize it to fit your needs.  Wasn’t that simple!  You can use as framed artwork, a custom block in a quilt or as a quilt label.  I’m sure you’ll find many ways to use the Subway blocks.

Remember to join me on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 1:00 CST on Facebook Live and YouTube Live to see gift #4 in our holiday gift making countdown!.  I hope you had a chance to see gift #5 on Nov. 7 – it was one of my all time favorites!  If you missed it, you can watch it anytime, check it out!

Digitizing for Metallic Threads

Last week, I provided some tips on digitizing for metallic thread.  Reader Janis O’Connor asked for some clarification on how to stitch the underlay of a complex fill in polyester thread and finish the decorative layer of the fill with metallic. There may be a better way to do this but this is how I do it. Let’s walk through the process. Draw a hexagon with the artwork tool. Select the design, right click and convert to Complex Fill.

Click on the Redraw tool, and notice the underlay that’s automatically added to the complex fill. Below is a screen capture of the underlay only.

Of course, in Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro, you have control over the type and density of the underlay.  Click on the Underlay tab in the Properties Box and note the underlay is Perpendicular with a density of 3.0.  Remove the underlay by clicking on the check mark next to Perpendicular. Click Apply.

Now, select the hexagon, copy and paste it.  Change the color of the first hexagon to pink, this will serve as the underlay.  Select the pink hexagon.  The Fill tab will be open in the Properties Box.  Change the density to 3. Click Apply.

The pink hexagon is the same density as the original underlay but the stitches are traveling in the same direction of the blue hexagon.

Change that by selecting the Shape tool and moving the black circles to the opposite sides of the hexagon. 

Now the underlay will be perpendicular to the complex fill providing a stronger foundation.

Small changes to run stitches and satin columns help light reflect off the metallic thread resulting in eye-catching sparkle. Lengthen short running stitches to provide more metallic surface.  Just change the stitch length in the Properties Box to 2.8 or even longer.

Add curvy edges to satin columns. Use the shape tool to move the nodes on each side of the column.  If your column doesn’t have a node, place the cursor where you want to add one, right click and Add Point.

The image below shows an exaggerated example as just a little movement can make big changes in a metallic design. 

So go ahead, add a little sparkle to your stitches!

30-Second Satin Frame

In Inspiration’s software (Perfect Embroidery Pro, My Quilt Embellisher and more) there’s a speedy method to transform a shape into a satin frame. Follow along in your software.

Select the Star from the Artwork tool menu.

Drag the cursor across the screen to draw the star.  It’s a natural step to select the star, right click and select Convert to Satin.  But here’s what happens when you do that:

The satin stitches fill the star instead of outlining the star.  Definitely not the result we wanted. It’s easy to start over. Just  click on the Undo key. Select the star, right click and select Create Outline. The default setting .08”, that’s fine for this exercise. Click OK.

The points of the outline are squared off so let’s remove a stitch point from each leg of the star to create sharp points.  Select the Shape tool, click on a point, right click and Delete Point.

Select both stars, click on the Combine tool (the paper clip).

Select the star (it’s one unit now), right mouse click and select Convert to Satin.

There’s your frame!  It’s so easy, give it a try.

Worth the Wait!

The May, 2019 FREE update for Perfect Embroidery Pro will be available on Monday, May 6.  When you open the software on May 6, you’ll receive a notice to update.  I strongly encourage you to do it because the updates are fantastic!  Here’s what’s in store for you on Monday!

PEP Ver. 12.92

New Features:

Hi-Resolution Displays: New hi-resolution toolbar icons for 4K displays.

 

General Options: New look to Tools/General Options:

Realistic view option: (Optional) Increase double and bean run thickness in Realistic view; Tools/General Options/View.

Default Colors: Set default colors on a new design page:

  • File/New
  • Set Colors
  • Click on “Make Current Default”
  • Click “Yes”
  • Go to File/New, notice that the new default colors appear.
  • May also click on an empty box on the color bar for the option.

 

Print Preview: Print Preview screen is set to “Size to Fit” as a default with a new look.

Eye is sequence view: The eye icon is darker.

Drag and Drop: You can Drag and Drop image file into the center of the work field.

Note:  If you have an image on the screen like above, it will transfer to “Auto Digitizer Wizard” If selected.

Hoops: Added filtering to the Hoop feature; remove or add a check mark for the desired hoops. Jumbo Hoop is now fully supported and new hoops have been added:

  • BabyLock-Brother 240×240
  • BabyLock-Brother 270×400
  • BabyLock-Brother 240×360

Trim: A fast way to add a basic trim to the end of an object.

  • Click on object
  • Click on the “trim Icon”

When using this feature, it will:

  • Add the trim and basic tie off to the end of the selected object.
  • Add basic tie in to the next object.

Trim Branches: A new trim function giving you more control on how you want the trims to be added.

  • Auto: (default):  Trim if the stitch is longer than 2 mm.
  • Always: Will always trim
  • Never: Will never trim
  • Longer than: User can set the distance

Trim, Weld, Intersect: These three functions have been moved to “Shaping” and can be used with a right click when two objects are selected.

Auto Save/Recover: Setup can be found in Tools/General Options/Environment and File/Recover.

To use this feature: go to File/Recover.

Raised Satin: adds multi-layer satins on top of each other.  The default is 4.

Radial Fill can be found in Complex Fill.

Special Files:  We have moved Inspirations special file formats out of the standard Open and Save.  It has its own selection under File called “Special Files”.

Auto Digitizing: Improved color reduction, tracing, support for transparent PNGs, direct victor files (svg, ai, etc.) conversion without tracing. You can try the new same images in c: /dime/Images (Autodigi_*.png and Vectors_*.svg).

 

  1. Effects panel: One click conversion to various stitch types:

Batch Conversion (Updated): New Batch Conversion options, several additions including conversion embroidery format to PNG. Note:  it will convert in 3D realistic mode with no cross hairs. Select by File, Select by Folder.

New and improved curve editing: A new mouse icon appears when editing a curve in an object when the Shape tool (F9) is selected.

More Efficient Editing: The Shape tool (F9) now remains in active mode while selecting new objects for editing. To return to the Select tool (F7), left click on Select.

All Inspirations software programs will have the free update on Monday, May 6.  If a feature is standard in that software module (My Block Piecer, My Quilt Embellisher, Word Art in Stitches, etc), then it will be updated on Monday.  This software gets easier and easier to use!  It’s like the developers know exactly what we want before we do!  Enjoy your free updates!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Your Favorite Embroidery Tool?

Perfect Embroidery Pro is definitely my favorite embroidery tool.  This user-friendly software gives me everything I need to create one-of-a-kind embroidery projects.  Yesterday, my latest book, The Flower Box Quilt, was released.  It’s a sampler quilt with a modern layout plus a table runner bonus project.  The 68-page book is loaded with tips and techniques on stabilizing quilting fabric, machine embroidered applique and quilting.

I used Perfect Embroidery Pro through the entire design process. From creating the embroidered applique elements to designing the custom quilting on the blocks to the quilting on the sashing and of course, the overall quilting in the large negative space areas.

How did I go about designing a large-scale project like this? One stitch at a time. Literally. And Perfect Embroidery Pro made that easy.  I drew each flower. Then converted the artwork into applique.  I used the copy, paste and rotate features to set the four elements into 12” blocks.

Of course, each flower had to be tested and tweaks were made along the way.  But as long as I worked in Perfect Embroidery Pro, I could save every version until I was satisfied. Then the fun part started.  I visited my local quilt shop to select bright, cheery fabrics.

Once each block was stitched, it was time to concentrate on the quilting.  I just uploaded an image of each block into PEP and doodled.  PEP gave me the freedom to experiment. I saved several versions of each block before getting to the stitching stage.  I love how I can audition ideas without stitching!

If you’d like to purchase The Flower Box Quilt book, click here for more information. This week, on Wednesday, March 20, I’ll be doing Facebook Live at 1:00 CST to share my top tips for professional results with machine embroidered applique.  Hope to see you there!

 

 

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