Archive of ‘Software Techniques’ category

Get Quilting with My Quilt Planner

My Quilt Planner is Inspirations popular quilt layout software. It’s easy to use and loaded with 99 continuous line designs. You’ll find two short videos to give you an overview of how to use the software.

Click the image below to learn the basics for allover quilting.

The second video illustrates working with custom quilting for each block. Click on the image to view the video.

 

My Quilt PlannerMy Quilt Planner takes all the math out of designing a quilt layout and lets you get to the fun part of quilting quickly!

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

Room for Improvement

Last week, I showed you how to how to draw a simple flower design in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro and turn it into a large applique quilt block. I ended the lesson with this comment: “I’ll stitch a sample before creating the whole block.”  Testing an applique design is the sure-fire way to beautiful quilt blocks.  But you can take some initial steps before stitching a sample in software. Start by critiquing parts of the design by asking yourself some basic questions about the design. Blk1

  1. Can the area where the right and left leaves meet be improved?
  2. Are the leaves elegant? By elegant, I mean do they flow naturally along a curve? I see an awkward spot (the stop/start point) on the bottom of the right leaves.
  3. The leaf ends (corners) look blunt.

These are easy steps to fix before stitching.

First, let’s change the stop/start point from the middle of the right leaf to the center (where the arrow is pointing).QB2Notes3

Now, select the leaf and change the Corner Type to Extended in the Properties Box.QB2

Finally, let’s reshape the curve to remove any unnatural bends. Select the Shape tool and adjust the points on the leaf.Blk2

 

The result is a much more pleasing to the eye. Now it’s time to head to the machine to stitch a sample. Next week, we take a close look at the stitched sample.Blk2A

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.

Preparing Files to Send to Janome Machines

If you’re a Janome user, it seems simple enough to send a design you created in Inspirations’ software to your Janome machine. But there’s one more necessary step if you’re transferring a JEF file to a USB stick for your Janome embroidery machine. A special folder must be created on the USB stick in order for the machine to find the design and thanks to the genius engineers at Janome, your machine is programmed to do that instantly. Just insert a USB stick into your Janome machine. Select Embroidery.  Select the USB icon. You’ll notice a warning screen telling you NOT to turn off the machine or remove the USB stick.  When the message clears, you’ll see a folder on the machine screen, titled, EMBf.janome1BL

Remove the USB from the Janome machine and insert it into your computer. Open a design in your Inspirations’ software, I’m in Perfect Embroidery Pro. Go to File, Save and select JEF from the drop down menu.janome2BL

Locate the USB drive. When selected, you’ll find a new folder, EMB.janome4BL

Click on it to open and there you will find the EMBf folder.janome5BL

Open the folder and save the design in that folder.janome6BL

Now, take the USB stick to the Janome machine. Select Embroidery, USB stick and open the EMBf folder. You’ll find your design.janome8BL

That’s all there is to it.  If you need specific Janome model information (some machine models generate one file instead of two), you’ll find a very thorough blog post by a Janome dealer.  Click here to view. That solves the mystery of ‘Why can’t I see my design on my Janome machine?’

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.

2016-01-09_13-59-51

 

 

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.

Software Update – January 2016

mothershipSoftware Update - January 2016

The new year brings exciting new features in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. On Monday, January 4, 2016, update your version of Perfect Embroidery Pro to the latest version: 8.62. Once you update, you’ll find new access to all other Inspirations software programs that you’ve purchased and installed on your computer. If you’re like me and have them all – you’re going to love the speed at which you can work now. Perfect Embroidery Pro is considered the ‘mother ship’ of all our software programs and it’s the program where you find every digitizing feature that we’re known for. Now, instead of opening separate programs to perform different functions (like block piecing, quilt layout planning, quilt block embellishment or fun lettering), you can do it all from one screen. Take a look:

On the right of your screen, next to the Properties Box, you’ll find icons for each Inspirations’ program you’ve purchased and installed. Hover your mouse over each icon to reveal its identity.PEP1

 

Click on the Word Art in Stitches icon to instantly access the bubble text window.WAS2

Need more Word Art in Stitches features? Just click on the arrow under the icon to access the other features of Word Art in Stitches.WAS1

 

Click on the My Quilt Embellisher icon to access the block library.MBP

Select a block and click on the arrow under the icon to access all of My Quilt Embellisher’s rich features. MQE2

 

Click on My Block Piecer icon to access its block library. Then click on the arrow under the icon to access all of My Block Piecer’s features. MBP2The My Quilt Planner icon works the same way. Click on it to access the main quilt layout window. MQPThen access more tools under the arrow. MQP2All of this is happening while you’re still in Perfect Embroidery Pro! This new feature saves so much time and gives you access to dozens and dozens of tools. For instance, if you’re designing an applique in Perfect Embroidery Pro and want to use your digital cutter to pre-cut the applique pieces. Just click on the arrow under the My Block Piecer icon and select Cutter. Boom – there’s the Cutter window. Sweet! MBP3-smWhat else has been updated? The Snap to Grid feature is now more precise than ever. If the point, object, or design is within 10 pixels of the horizontal, vertical grid and/or guidelines, it will snap to the grid. Of course, you still the option of turning this off under Tools/General Options/Grid.

All you Handi-Quilters will be happy to know our software programs now read and write to HQV files.

In order to protect your software license, the registration/activtation process has been streamlined. As before, each serial number can be activated one time via the web in each of the software programs. If you wish to receive a second activation, you will need to contact customer support. You can now unregister the software from any computer and the system will add another activation so that you can install it on a new computer without contacting customer support.  NOTE:  Users can unregister/register up to 5 times after that, they will need to contact support.

There is a limit as to how many sites (computers) you can have live at one time. As a default, each serial number will have a limit of one site (computer).  What this means is, only one computer can be used with any serial number at one time.  If the customer wishes to receive a second activation and site (computer) in accordance to the license agreement, the user will need to contact support as described in above.

Next week, we’ll cover some of the other updates that have been included this month.

 

 

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?

Software Saturday: Applique to Instant Gift Tag

Make an impression with flawless, personalized gift tags this holiday season!  Once the gift is unwrapped, the gift tag can be used as a Christmas ornament for years to come!


In Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro, open an applique frame from your stash or choose from any of the included applique shapes.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Click on the Text tool and type the message in the Properties Box.  Select a micro font such as Bauhaus.  Click Apply.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Center the text in the frame and change the color of the text to another color.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Select the an Ellipse from the drop down menu on the Artwork tool Insert

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Drag the mouse to draw a small circle and center it above the text.  Select the circle and right click to access more options. Select Convert T, Steil.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

If you’d like to review different applqiue fabrics, select the Applique, and click on the Command tabe in the Properties box. Click on the field next to Fabric.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Select a fabric to review your work.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Stitch the applique on lightweight tear away stabilizer – one that tears clean. After removing from the hoop, use an awl or eyelet cutter to open the eyelet. Thread a pretty ribbon through the eyelet and you’re all set. Start making them now and the gifts under your tree will be beautiful!

 

 

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