Archive of ‘Inspiration Software’ category

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!

Get More Sparkle from Your Designs

It’s sparkle time!  You can add a 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 2.4.  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.  I hope you had a chance to watch our Facebook Live session this week. Embroidery expert Deborah Jones and I shared ideas for using metallic thread and there’s a special offer on a holiday 6-pack of Kingstar Metallic thread. Click here to take advantage of the special price.

Resizing Tip

The Lace Charm collection features 34 small designs  – all under 2” – perfect for adding small enhancements to jewelry, purses, zipper pulls and the like.  Depending on how you intend to use them, you may want to resize the mini designs. No worries, all Inspirations’ software can handle resizing because stitches are recalculated when enlarged and reduced.  If you’re not familiar with the term recalculate, it means stitches are added when a design is enlarged and removed when a design is made smaller.

But sometimes, you want to use caution when resizing. For instance, the Fringe Earring design – the first of my top 10 Holiday gifts to make for 2019 – looks very cool as large, dangling earrings.  One of our Inspiration dealers, Jill Esber from A Scarlett Thread in McDonough, GA, bumped up the volume on her fringe earrings.  She enlarged it right at the machine (Baby Lock Solaris) and loved the results.  She did confess that the eyelet ‘collapsed’ when resized but she was able to force the fish hook earring into the eyelet.  But they look great, wouldn’t you agree?

If you want more control over the sizing, use software. Open the Fringe Earring design in Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro or My Lace Maker software.  Copy and paste the design. Resize the repeat to 2.5” in height. Notice how large the eyelet is now.  Any earring finding will slip right off the eyelet.

When you measure the eyelets, you’ll find the eyelet has almost doubled in size.

No worries, just resize everything but the eyelet.  In the color sequence window, select the three elements below the eyelet.  Change the size to 2.25”.

Group the three elements into one group (right click, Group). Move the eyelet back in position.  Select all, Align Horizontal.

Now you can bump up the volume without worrying about losing your earring.

MAC Catalina Alert

Apple just release a new MAC OS named Catalina and currently there is an issue with Inspiration’s software compatibility with the new operating system.

If you are on a version prior to Catalina, your software will work as normal.

If you upgrade or have upgraded to Catalina, your Inspirations software is not compatible and you will not be able to operate your program.

Our programmers are working diligently to create a compatibility fix to our software so that it will work normally within the Catalina operating system.

We advise waiting until Inspiration has a fix for Catalina before upgrading your MAC OS to Catalina. We do not have a timeline for completion but will update you as soon as the issue is resolved. Rest assured, our developers are working diligently to resolve the problem.  Thank you in advance for your patience.

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.

Block of the Month – Block 12

Block 12 – Star Block Instructions

We’re up to Block 12 in the Block of the Month series from the July/August issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery.  You’ll find everything you need for Block 12, video instructions, step-by-step instructions and all download files.  Enjoy!

If you prefer watching the video directly on YouTube, click here.

Download the files for block ten here: Block 12

Materials Needed – for 1 block

Base Block 9” square – muslin or No Show Mesh

Back Block – 9” square

Front – all cut parts from MBP

Warm and Natural or White Batting – 7 7/8” square

Block 12

1 – Back Block

2 – Bottom Base Muslin

3 – Top Base No Show Mesh

4 – Batting

5 – Background

6 – Corner

7 – Star Points

LOADING THE MONSTER BLOCK MAKER

Follow the directions included with the purchase of Monster Block Maker to apply the Maker to a 200mm x 200mm Baby Lock/Brother Snap Hoop Monster.

 

Place the muslin flat on the work surface. Center the Monster Block Maker on the muslin.

Insert the batting into the opening of
the Maker. Place the Top base No Show Mesh over the batting.

 

Working from the center out, firmly
press the No Show Mesh (top) and muslin (bottom) onto the adhesive tape on
 the edges of the Maker.

 

Attach the hoop to the machine.

 

STITCHING THE BLOCK

Stitch color #1, the block layout.  Place glue at fabric #1 as shown in blue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place fabric #1, right side up,
aligning the fabric edge with the stitched outline. Stitch color #2, the
tackdown. Place glue at the seam for fabric #2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place fabric #2, right side down, aligning the raw edges and stitch color #3, the seam.  Place glue at fabric #2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flip fabric #2 open and finger press
the seam. Smooth the fabric and stitch color #4, the tackdown. Place glue at
the seam for fabric #3.

 

 

Place fabric #3, right side down, and
stitch color #5, the seam. Place glue at fabric #3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flip fabric #3 open and finger press
the seam.  Smooth the fabric and stitch color #6, the tackdown. Place glue at the seam of fabric #4.

 

 

 

 

 

Place fabric #4, right side down, and
stitch color #7, the seam. Place glue at fabric #4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flip fabric #4 open and finger press
the seam. Smooth the fabric and stitch color #8, the tackdown. Place glue at
the seam for fabric #5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place fabric #5, right side down, and
stitch color #9. Place glue at fabric #5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flip open fabric #5 and finger press
the seam. Smooth the fabric and stitch color #10. Place glue at the seam for
fabric #6.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place fabric #6, right side down, and
stitch color #11. Place glue at fabric #6.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flip open fabric #6 and finger press
the seam. Smooth the fabric and stitch color #12.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLOCK EMBELLISHMENT

Stitch colors #14, 15 and 16 – the
embellishments

Congratulations, your Star Block is complete!

 

 

 

Custom Hoops

Hundreds of hoops are already in all Inspirations software but you did you know have the ability the edit the list by eliminating brands and adding new hoops?

It’s fairly obvious why you would edit the list.  I think we all agree there’s no point scrolling through dozens of hoops that don’t apply to your machine.  It’s easy to do.  Just click on the Hoop icon and select Filter.  When the hoop list appears, remove the check mark next to each hoop that you want to eliminate. Click OK.

The next time you access the list, you will see only the hoops you want to see.

Let’s explore custom hoops.  In my list, I’ve created three custom hoops: 12″ Block, 12″ Round and Placemat.  I can see at a glance how an array of embroidery designs will fill a 12″ quilt block, a 12″ wooden embroidery hoop for wall decor and a standard placemat.

Click on the Hoop icon and select New.  Select Rectangle and type 12″ in the width and height for the 12″ Block hoop. Click OK.

Instantly, I can see how nicely this embroidery layout will fill a 12″ quilt block.

Follow the same steps for a round hoop but select Round from Frame Type field.  This same array doesn’t quilt fit in the 12″ wooden hoop.

To add the Placemat hoop, select Rectangle from Frame Type and type 15″ in the width and 12″ in the height.  Place the digit 1 before the word Placemat to position it at the top of the list. Click OK.

As you can see, this placemat layout needs some work.

Custom hoops make planning embroidery a breeze.  They provide a quick view of the finished layout.  You can then use the Split Design feature to break up it for the hoop you will actually use.

What sizes would you add to your list of hoops?

Look Closely…

Did you know there’s a speedy auto sizing feature in all Inspirations software programs?  It’s practically hidden but once you know how to find it, you’ll make it a habit to use all the time.

Open a design in any Inspirations software program such as Perfect Embroidery Pro, My Quilt Embellisher, My Block Piecer, Word Art in Stitches and more.  Click on the Hoop icon (on the left tool bar).

Click on the hoop you want to use from the drop down menu.  Use the scroll bar on the right to see all the hoop options.

The design appears centered in the hoop but it’s much larger than the hoop I intend to use.

Click on the arrow under the Hoop icon and select Auto Fit.

Instantly, the design is resized to fit in that hoop! Of course, the stitches have been recalculated so there’s no worry about the design being too dense due to resizing.

Auto Fit is such a time saver!  The feature evens provides a little wiggle room so you don’t have to struggle during the hooping process.

Speaking of hooping, it’s HOOPAPALOOZA at DIME this week!  If you’ve had a Snap Hoop Monster on your wish list, this is the time to take advantage of our low price, free shipping and gift with purchase.  You can learn more here. 

Join me on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at 1:00 PM CST on Facebook Live. Marie Zinno, my Stitching Sister and co-author of Hoop It Up will be joining me in the studio. We’ll share our Top Ten Tips for Hooping. Follow us on Facebook to get a reminder here https://www.facebook.com/DesignsInMachineEmbroidery/

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