Archive of ‘Embroidery Tips’ category

To Rip or Not to Rip?

Imperfect stitches happen, no matter how experienced you are. The more you stitch, the better you get. The more confidence you have, the more you trust your machine to produce professional results. Even so, not every project will be perfect.  You can stitch the same design 30 times and 28 of them will be spot on, but two may not be up to snuff. Is it the end of the world? Of course not, but it does beg to answer a serious question, “To rip or not too rip?”

Some rip out EVERY misaligned stitch while others shrug and move on. Here’s the criteria I apply on making this call: How bad is it?  Can it be easily corrected? Will the recipient even know if something is amiss?

How bad is it? On a scale of 1 to 5, is it glaringly noticeable?  That’s a 5.  Barely visible, that’s a 1.

Can it be easily corrected?  On a scale of 1 to 5, will the removal of 20-30 stitches fix the problem?  That’s a 1.  A 5 is when you must start over as the project cannot be salvaged (and really that’s a 10!).

Will the recipient even know something is amiss? If yes, that’s a 5, you must fix it.  If not at all, that’s a 1.

Recently, I stitched an applique name and everything started out smoothly.

But as I advanced to color 3, the satin outline of the first letter, something must have hit the hoop and the outline didn’t cover the tackdown.  Ugh!  

Immediately, I applied the 3 questions: How bad is it? It’s a 1 in my book because the tackdown and satin outline is the same color as the applique fabric and there’s a just a speck of background fabric peaking out.

Can it be easily corrected?  Since I didn’t notice the problem until the satin outline was complete, it’s a 4. That’s a lot of satin stitches to remove.   Plus, I was on a tight schedule so ‘easily corrected’ didn’t fit the time frame.

Will the recipient even know something was amiss? No, not this little angel. She’s only 5 and not an embroidery expert yet!  If this was for a customer, then yes, by all means, rip it out.

End result? I removed the visible tackdown stitches, moved on and completed the project. 

How about you? What’s your criteria for removing stitches?

Learn Today in Your PJs

Resident software wiz Katherine Artines just posted a new tutorial on the Inspired by Dime YouTube channel. This latest video, Give Thanks, concentrates on Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro digitizing software.  She shares easy steps for using (and finding!) artwork that is in the public domain and royalty free to use for digitizing. 

Follow along to make a fun Thanksgiving project as you hone your Shape Tool skills.  A master at lettering of all types, Katherine shows how to make TTText fit into pumpkin shapes. But she doesn’t stop there. She creates Custom Stippling to finish the block.

Imagine what you can do what those skills!  She’s featuring several of PEP’s premium tools:  Backdrop, Artwork, Shape, TTText, Combine and Sequencing.  She even unearths a hidden Windows tool found on most computers: the Snipping tool for capturing screen shots.

Katherine doesn’t leave you hanging at the computer – oh no, she walks you through the embroidery process at the machine.  Watch for free on YouTube.  While you’re there, make sure you subscribe to the Inspired by Dime channel, you’ll be notified of all new posts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrGI7OgUkkY

Your Opinion Matters

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of teaching at Wisconsin Quilt Expo. My topic was Turn Your Embroidery Machine into a Longarm.  The one-hour lecture covered everything from selecting designs to placement of designs to handling the bulk/weight of the quilt.  I had a blast! I love that topic and my students were really interested in mastering the technique. I shared everything I know about the topic that I could fit into 55 minutes. You know, I’m originally from New Jersey so I can talk really fast! 

That experience made me wonder what you look for when you want to learn new embroidery techniques.  What motivates you to attend a teaching event? What’s your preferred learning environment: at your local dealer in small groups, large group, hands-on, short lectures, online, TV or in print?  If you prefer a mix of environments, I’d love to hear our thoughts. Would you take a moment to share your thoughts on classes/events?

Take These 5 Time-saving steps Before You Embroider

Embrace these five tips to save as much time as possible in your embroidery studio. These tips have saved me countless hours, I hope you find them helpful.

  1. Stock up on supplies. Nothing slows you down more than running out of the right materials for the project. Always have a variety of stabilizers and threads on hand. Take advantage of store sales and buy in bulk if necessary.blphoto1
  2. Pre-cut stabilizers to fit your most popular hoops. You’ll have a stack to go to whenever you’re ready to hoop.
  3. Consider purchasing extra hoops in your favorite sizes. This way you can prepare the next hooping while the first one is stitching. My number one go-to hoop is the 5” x 7”. I have four of them and I still believe they were worth the investment.
  4. Plan your project by using embroidery templates and target stickers. Mark the placement of the embroidery on the item with the target stickers. When you’re interrupted during the embroidery process (and who isn’t?) you’ll know where you left off.
  5. Test your designs! Stitch a sample using the same fabric/stabilizer/design/thread combination. Make adjustments to the variables before tackling the final project. Keep a towel, knit t-shirt, or cotton blouse on hand to test different designs. For specialty items, shop at thrift stores to find similar-fabrics. blphoto

Of course, once the towel or t-shirt is covered with designs, it’s time to start a new one. Starting a new one never seems to a problem for me, I save mistakes for that chore. Unfortunately, I have plenty of inventory!

 

 

70 Free Training Lessons!

Really? 70 free training lessons on software?  Yep – it’s all on the Inspired by DIME YouTube channel.  You can learn about Inspirations software programs in the comfort of your home, in your pajamas, in the middle of the day or in the middle of the night.  And they’re free. Each video is about 60 minutes so that’s 4,200 minutes of education!   

Every month, our resident software wizard Katherine Artines uploads a new video that’s chockful of information and often includes a project (or two or three) for you to create in your software.  For instance, in this month’s video, PEP Text Trails Project, she explores text on a path, spiral text and circle text.  

 

You’ll learn how to go from this:

To this:

She includes references to other videos that delve deeper into specific subjects.  In this month’s video,  she included this call out:

That’s so helpful when you’re trying to understand the difference between backdrops and artwork.  She also includes keyboard shortcuts (my preference when digitizing) such as this:

If you’re serious about machine embroidery – and you must be or you wouldn’t be reading Software Saturday! – then you are probably contemplating purchasing software or you already have.  I want to encourage you to use it and not to be afraid of your software – it’s such a fantastic tool and help is just a click away!  Use it to learn it. Watch instructional videos to master it.  You’ll be so glad you did.  Click here to view the Inspired by DIME YouTube channel.  Subscribe today to receive notification when a new video is posted. You’re going to love learning with Katherine Artines.

 

 

 

 

Text Editing Tips

Often, new users in Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro struggle with making simple changes in text files.  It’s really quite easy so follow along in your software to get a better understanding of text editing.

Open a new page in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. Click on the Text icon. The cursor changes to an A and the Properties Box opens. Select your font. I’ve chose Arial Small. Type a fictional recipe into the Properties Box, then click Apply. 

With the Text tool still selected, change the justification to Left Alignment.  Click Apply. Notice all of the editing features available on the text itself. You can move individual letters, whole words and lines. 

When the Select Tool is used, your options diminish. You can size the design (the software sees it as a design and not text when the Select Tool is used), rotate, mirror image, duplicate, etc. But you do not have the freedom to edit the individual letters. 

Click on the Text tool again, and all of your text editing options appear. I’ve readjusted the kerning on the word chips.

When I click on the Select tool again, my changes are there.

Save the design now in C2S – the native format of Perfect Embroidery.  Change the color of the thread to green and save it as Chips.pes. Close both designs.

Open Chips.pes. The design is no longer recognized by the software as text – it’s just an ordinary design. When you click on a letter, the sequence field now shows all of the individual elements of the design – runs and satins. Ugh – that’s very challenging to edit.  

Not to worry, you have the original file. Open it and you’ll find the software recognizes it as text and all of your editing abilities are right at your finger tips! 

For instance, you can increase the 5 cups to 6 cups if you’d like. 

This is a great example of why it’s so important to save the original file in C2S and a working copy in your machine format.  Make your changes to the original and you’ll always have the ability to edit.

 

 

Has This Ever Happened to You?

If your summer travels take you through the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, schedule a little more time to explore the terminals. You’ll find local fresh food, lovely shops and interesting artwork.  On a recent trip, I had ample time to browse in some of the shops.   Intrigued by this gorgeously-embroidered pillow, I stepped in take a closer look.   The pillow was at the top of a pile of pillows in a handsome wicker basket.

My first thought was of my sister Liz – an avid bicyclist. And the message, ‘life is a beautiful ride’ rang true with me.

I lifted the pillow to see if there was the same embroidery in a different colorway and slightly gasped when I saw this:

 

I quickly snapped a photo of each pillow and dodged out of the store not wanting to bring attention to the flawed merchandise.  I figured that wasn’t my job in the store on that day!

I know how this can happen because it’s happened to me.  I once stitched three aprons for a friend and didn’t notice that one of the aprons was missing the ‘u’ in Beauties.  I stitched and gifted all three aprons before noticing the misspelling! Talk about embarrassed – not only am I an embroiderer but I’m also an editor!  We sure had some laughs about the snafu. 

I learned to always double check the spelling in the software before sending the design to the machine AND check it again on the machine screen.  That process has served me well over the years.

How about you? Have you ever made such a glaring stitched typo?Leave a comment and one lucky winner will receive a copy of Hoop It Up, the Stitching Sisters’ Guide to Hooping.

Volume 104 Subtle Tees – Leaf Lesson Part 1 of 2 – Software

By Denise Holguin

This is expanded coverage of the Subtle Tees project featured in Volume 104 May/June 2017.

Lesson Highlights:
Copy, paste and rotate designs in embroidery software to suit your needs.


Design:  Leaves & Branches Garland Frame
Company:  Stitchtopia / http://www.stitchtopia.com

I like to let the creative process unfold.  Initially, when I purchased this design I planned on placing a word in between the frame.  But the more I thought about it, I decided to transform the design to a 4-sided frame to showcase a spray painted leaf.

I think the process of creating and transforming is the most enjoyable part of stitching a t-shirt.


Open the Leaves & Branches Garland Frame in Perfect Embroidery Pro or similar design editing software.  I used the 4” frame to accommodate the scale of the shirt and the size of the leaf stencil I will be using.  (This very generous collection includes multiple sizes including:  4”, 5”, 6”, 7”, 8”, 9” and 10”.)

It’s easier to group each row of garland separately before we start rearranging and copying.  To do this, select the top garland.  Right click with the mouse button.  Select Group.  Repeat this step for the bottom garland.  If you choose not to group, it can be a little tricky to select the correct elements that make up a single garland design.

Select the bottom design.  Copy and paste. Slide the design to an empty space.

With the newly copied design still selected, go to the Transform Tab.  Type 270 in the Rotate box and click Apply.

Reposition the design so that it is to the left of the original frames.

Slide the top and bottom garland designs to make room for the new vertical garland.

Select the left garland.  Copy and paste the garland.  Slide it to the right side of the design.

Go to the Transform tab.  Click on Flip horizontal.  Press Apply.

Rearrange the garland designs as needed until you have a pleasing shape.  Once finished, go to Edit / Resequence by color.

Save the design, print a template and send to the embroidery machine.

I Should Know Better!

Often, I have very large and complex projects to design, digitize, test, photograph and write the instructions.  These tasks are intense, highly-technical and deadline-oriented. Now don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I’ve been doing it for a long time, a realllllly llllllong time. So I know what I’m doing. And I relish digging into a big project. Recently, I set aside a whole day to work at home (way less interruptions!) to tackle this new project.

I was pumped because I was at the testing stage. All designs were digitized and critiqued in software. It was time to stitch the designs on fabric before moving to the actual project – a full size quilt. I’m never satisfied until I actually stitch the design on fabric.  I see results during the stitch out that I never catch in software. So I grabbed a quilt sandwich for testing and popped it into a Snap Hoop Monster.  And pressed Start. Thirty stitches later and I see skipped stitches. And again, and again.

Then the thread breaks.  I rethread. Same result.

I check the bobbin and reinsert it. Same result.

I change the needle. Same result.

I put the thread on a vertical thread stand. Same result.

I call my sister Marie and complain. She listens and laughs. I’m not laughing, good thing she’s 1200 miles away.

I start the machine again. Same result.

I change the bobbin. Same result.

I change the thread. Same result.

I CHANGE DESIGNS. Same result. By now, you can imagine, I am F U R I O U S.

I exhale, several times. And then I call Scott Goodman, author of the Great Scott column in Designs, and explain the situation. Scott is like a good therapist; he listens intently and asks thought-provoking questions.  But this time, none of his questions provide the answer I need – how to make the machine work!  So he gently suggests that I have my dealer take a look at the machine.  That’s the kiss of death. Now I love dealers and totally respect all technician’s abilities but I DON’T HAVE TIME TO GO TO THE DEALER today. So I thank Scotty and just when we are about to hang up, he says, “Well, flagging can cause that.” I said, “Flagging?”

He responded, “Flagging, when the fabric is not secure in the hoop, the needle can lift the fabric off the bed and the needle and bobbin threads do not connect to make the stitch.”

I turned 10 shades of pink. I was so glad Scott wasn’t actually in my sewing room because I know what flagging is and what causes it. You see, in my haste, I grabbed a quilt sandwich that did not FILL the hoop. And I know that the fabric should fill the hoop but I did it anyway.  Then when disaster struck I didn’t connect my mistake with the skipped stitches. I blamed every variable except the user.

Shame on me!  Scott and I had a good chuckle over that. The fix was so easy – I hooped another quilt sandwich – larger than the hoop – and it stitched perfectly!

I’m grateful for Scott’s long-distance diagnosis – he’s a gem. Connect with him on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GreatScottSews/

I’d love to know if you’ve ever had an experience like this. What do you do when you ‘hit the wall’ with an embroidery project?

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!

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