Archive of ‘Software Saturday’ category

Splitting Designs

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. 

I added the bold yellow line to the photograph to make the stitched line more visible. In reality, a single line of running stitches is underneath the drawn yellow line.

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!

A Very Cool Tool

Wouldn’t you agree the planning process is the most time-consuming and challenging part of machine embroidery?  Well, you’re not alone.  One of our team members thought previewing a design on fabric would streamline the planning process and after several months of development, we now have a way to do that.  Check out this cool new tool.

The Maximum View Projector, or MVP, is your solution for intricate design placement. The MVP comes with MVP software that converts any embroidery design into an image – sized perfectly – to audition on your fabric.

It’s so easy to use.  Let’s take a look at the process.  Download and install the software. Attach the projector to a work surface with the included clamp.  Measure the projector’s image area which will be up to 14″. Enter the measurements into the software.

Load the embroidery design (any format).  Then save the design in Color, Silhouette Positive or Silhouette Negative.

Save the image(s) to a USB stick and insert it into the projector.  Use the remote (included) to view the images. Slide your fabric under the image, moving the hooped fabric until you are satisfied with the placement of the embroidery.

The leaves and stem are printed features of the fabric while the flower is the image of the design. Notice the 3-d embroidered flower in the finished block above.

 

Align a Target Sticker (included) with the image’s crosshair.  Attach the hoop to the machine and center your needle over the Target Sticker.  It’s just like using a template without the hassle of a printer.  You can watch a video demonstration here.

I’m sure this will be a hot topic during our Wednesday, June 26 Facebook Live session at 1:00 CST.  Not only will I take questions on the MVP but I have a very special guest joining me – Christine Conner of Amelie Scott Designs and author of Edge to Edge Quilting.  Christine is helping me wrap up Hoopapalooza month as she’ll be sharing tips for edge to edge plus custom quilting.  I can’t wait to hear what she has in store!

Please follow us on Facebook to get a reminder for our Live session.  See you on Wednesday!  https://www.facebook.com/DesignsInMachineEmbroidery/

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/

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They’ll Never Guess You Made It

People will never believe you made these clutches on your embroidery machine.  They look like they were purchased in a high-end artsy boutique.  But they were stitched with our polyester matte embroidery thread – 40 wt. and 15 wt. That chunky 15 wt. makes all the stitching look like it was done by hand.  But nope, the secrets in the digitizing!  Just take a look.

There’s the Floral Spray

 

And the Geometrics.

And possibly my favorite (it’s so hard to choose), the Stacked Loops. 

Best of all, they’re on sale this week!  And they come with the thread, instructions and designs to make all three!

This collection is just in time for Easter, Mother’s Day’s and grad gifts.  They are fresh and new and stitch up in no time.  Start it at lunch and wear it to dinner! You can learn more here.

Which one’s your favorite?

I’ll hope you’ll join me on Wednesday, April 17, at 1:00 PM CST on Facebook Live!  I’ll be talking about My Lace Maker and all things lace.  How to hoop, what stabilizer, thread and needles to use!  And don’t forget to enter the contest…there’s still a chance to win.

Luxurious Lace

Many of you asked where you can purchase a copy of My Lace Maker software. We are shipping My Lace Maker software this week to dealers.  So if you want to jump into the industry’s easiest, most exciting new design maker, call your dealer and ask them to reserve a copy for you.  You can find a list of dealers by clicking here.

If you read Thursday’s blog, you know we’re opening up another lace contest with Angela Wolf this week.  Look for details on that in the next post.  And on April 17, 2019 at 1:00 CST I’ll be talking about lace on Facebook Live.  I’ll delve into the secrets to success in thread, needle, stabilizer and design selection.  So mark that date on your calendar and join me!  It’s more fun when you’re there because I’ll read your comments and answer your questions during the broadcast. It’s like being in the same room and learning about embroidery together!

I’ve had so much fun playing with My Lace Maker.  I created this layout in no time.  And you’ll find all the tools you need to do the same in My Lace Maker.

But it’s not just fashion, there’s so much more you can do with lace.

One of a kind linens are just the beginning!  Stay tuned…more to come.

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!

 

 

6 Tips for Continuous Line Designs

Recently, I’ve been digitizing quilting designs – continuous line designs in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro.  Continuous line designs present challenges to digitizers that are all their own.  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.

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.

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.

Or select a percentage from the drop down menu at the top tool bar. I

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.

Digital Cutters and My Block Piecer

Use your digital cutter to cut quilt block patches with Inspirations’ My Block Piecer (MBP) . Let me show you how.

GO to the Block Library and select a block.  I chose Basic, Nested Triangles. This block features five patches, two patches in fabric A and three patches in fabric B.

Go to the Properties Box and click on the Transform tab. Enter the size of your finished block.  My sample is 5” finished – the software will add all necessary seam allowances to each patch. Click Apply.

Select the block and click on the Cutter icon.

Scroll through the list of formats and select the appropriate format for your digital cutter.  I selected FCM for the Brother Scan ‘n Cut.  The screen shows the first frame, or the two patches for the fabric A. 

When you click on Frame 2, you’ll see three patches for fabric B. Click Save.

Select FCM for the Brother Scan ‘n Cut to actually save the files in that format.  The software creates a new folder with all of the necessary files.  Name the file and select Save.

The software creates a folder and stores the cutting files in that location.

If you are cutting patches for multiple blocks, change the number of repeats on the cutter screen.

How easy was that?

Custom Quilting

Last week, blog reader Kay asked for some help in Inspirations’ My Quilt Embellisher. It’s a popular software program and easy to use. You can design custom quilting for an 8-point star in just a couple of steps. Follow along to learn how.

Click on the Block Library icon. Go to Eight Point Star and select Arrow Star. Click OK.

Select the white diamonds in the center of the block. Right click on a color chip in the tray (bottom of the screen) to change the color of the diamonds.

Change the color of the center diamonds.

We’ll start by filling the negative space with stippling, In the sequence view, select the remaining white shapes (red box) and click on the Stippling icon (red arrow). In the Properties Box, change the Stippling style to Hilbert (green arrow).



To decorate the eight points, use the art tool to draw a diamond. Size the diamond to fill one of the star points.

The diamond pre-set shape in the Art tool drop down menu.

Select the diamond and click on the Contour tool.

The Contour tool fills a shape with rows of stitches.

Copy and paste the Contour diamond to fill the star.

Save the design. That was easy, wouldn’t you agree?

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