I normally like to create and post “polished” videos – but then there are times like this where I want to show you something that is so super quick I just can’t wait.
Do you like Embossed letter embroidery? In StitchArtist, all you need to create an embossed letter is the object that is the shape of the frame and the letter that you want to be the hole in the embossing. As you can see below, I created the letter “E” from a True Type Font and sized it to be the size I wanted. This shape is from the library of built in shapes but you can create your own as ornate or simple that you want.
So the two objects are inside each other – they kind of look like what I want my embossed letter to look like so all I need to do is add the hole in the shape of the E to the polygon shape. This is so easy to do in StitchArtist that I created a 60 second video showing you how to do this, apply a motif fill AND add a satin border around both the outer and inner edges.
Seriously – done in 60 seconds. Here’s how:
Now if you are not familiar with StitchArtist, here is the link to the information page. Although I am in Level 2 in the video – this can be done in Level 1 for those that are just getting into digitizing.
Click Here for the StitchArtist Information page – click on StitchArtist in the left column to read all about this value priced SUPER DUPER EASY software!
Yes, I am doing the happy dance and it is all because of you! Thank you so much for taking the time to vote for my blog and let me know that you like the information that I share with you. It really means alot.
Now don’t laugh, but I’ve been sitting here at the computer trying to think of something to write in addition to this, but I am at a loss for words. This has been a crazy week – I didn’t even post here that I found out that an article and project I had submitted to Creative Machine Embroidery magazine was not only featured on the front cover but also as a downloadable project!
I have a few things on my “Business Bucket List”, and one of them was to have something of mine featured on the cover of a magazine in my industry. I’ve been writing magazine articles for years, but they never made it to the front cover! So as I was browsing through Facebook with my morning coffee and feeling kind of giddy because my blog had made the top 4 in the Craftsy voting…and kapow! there was my tablet case! Thank you to the editors at CME for picking my project and showcasing it with such beautiful photography!
Now, if you visit the webpage, there are a few things to download. First the article with project instructions is always a good thing. Next there are the embroidery design files and applique templates. There are a few links on that page and they are only active for a set period of time, so be sure to get them while you can!
In case you were wondering – YES both designs were created using StitchArtist. I really liked the elegant form of the butterfly and knew that the interior holes would be a great job for my Brother ScanNCut. I love using the E-stitch for a finishing stitch for applique and I think it gave a delicate edge for this project. I’ll let you in on a secret — the flower designs were created to embellish the lining of a jacket I’m working on! When you want to embellish a lightweight material like jacket lining, you don’t want to use dense designs. Heavy embellishment on a lightweight fabric will change how it drapes and I didn’t want there to be any stabilizer left in the fabric when it was complete. So I’m working on that project in case you were wondering what else you could do with the designs!
So today’s post is going to be short and sweet — first and foremost because I really wanted it to be about thanking everyone that voted for my blog. I am honored and very appreciative. Second – because one of my sew-lutions this year was to be more consistent in my blog posting – once a week is the goal. Yes, I have 3 sew-lutions, which are sewing related resolutions – blog once a week, decrease the stash, and learn at least 3 new sewing techniques in 2015. And I think that this whole Craftsy blogger thing will be a motivation for me to stay on track.
Thank you again and hope you all have a wonderful week! Next blog post – back to the monkey in the box design so we can finish that up!
I will admit that my reason for today’s post is to “make things easier for me”. Smile with me – once you get to know me, you will find I am all about EASY – easy for me and easy for you!
I belong to quite a few machine embroidery groups on Facebook and one of the questions that I see asked quite often is how to line up multiple hoop designs such as 3 letter monograms or words/names using just a single position hoop. I did a blog post on this a few years ago, and I teach a Craftsy class on it, I have a coupon for that class, and I have a free alignment line library for Embrilliance available from another post….so you can see ALL the work I have to do to find those posts that all relate to one another! So as I was flying back from visiting family in CT last night I thought, “hmmm Lisa, why don’t you do a blog post with all that information in it in one place so you and everyone else can have all the information in one place”.
The most popular post on this topic is on how to add alignment lines to a design. This technique can be done with any sized hoop and I created some screen captures of the steps I would take to use this technique for a 3 letter monogram. For the complete original post, you can find it here: Original Post
In the original post, there is a link for a zipped file with alignment lines. A few months later, Embrilliance came out with the first BX file, a library of alignment lines that could be added to any Embrilliance program.
This made it very easy for me – and everyone else – to add center crosshairs or alignment lines to any design. In case you missed that blog post, here is the link to the original.
I really do like to create a stitch designs that are bigger than my hoop. And it doesn’t matter if I have a 4×4, 5×7, 6×10 or 8×12 hoop – once you learn the technique, if you are like me, you will notice that a few things will happen:
1. The hoop size becomes irrelevant – does NOT even matter one bit anymore because you have software and can line up anything.
2. Because the hoop size is irrelevant….yes your embroidery gets bigger even when you get a bigger hoop 🙂 There really is no limit to what you can embroider as far as size goes.
3. You may find that it is easier to rehoop more often instead of splitting a design down the middle.
For example, you could look at the size of the above design and see that it could be split in half – right down the middle of the third flower, in my opinion YUCK. It would be so much easier to put the sun in one hoop, the flowers in a second and the bear in a third – keep all the designs together. When you use alignment lines between each overlapping section, no one will ever know that you only have a 5×7 hoop!
And if you want to learn from the ground up how to create big design layouts with any size hoop – check out my Craftsy class! Here is a discount on the class which has 7 projects – all done with a small hoop (click on graphic below to go to the sale page). The techniques can be applied to any size hoop. I personally enjoy taking Craftsy classes – what I like about them is that I can watch them any time and as often as I want. Asking questions is super easy – just pause the video, ask your question and you’ll get a personal answer.
So here is a link with a discount coupon (click on the graphic below) – and if you like my Facebook page, you will see that every so often I put up discount notices for other classes!
So these are just a few of the blog posts I have done that talk about rehooping designs to create larger layouts. I hope that even though they are repeats, you find it nice to have all the similar information brought together in one post 🙂
Between Christmas and New Year’s, I thought I would try to make a couple posts on some of the digitizing functions of StitchArtist. I know many people got the program for Christmas or are thinking about getting the program. I’ve been using it for over a year and really enjoy creating my own designs. I thought that creating a series of posts that follow me through a design from start to finish might help give some insight as to how a “non-professional but always learning” digitizer works with the software.
First, let me say that this project will be using StitchArtist Level 1 just to demonstrate that there is quite a bit you can do with this entry level digitizing program! Yes, it runs on both a Mac or Windows computer and pretty much looks the same on either operating system – so just because the picture/video is done in the Mac version, pretend you are looking at a windows computer and tell yourself “Its ok that my program is not identical, if I click on the same button on my computer that looks a little different, the same thing happens so it’s all good!” YES you can start with Level 1 and upgrade to Level 2 at any time. YES the program is stand alone, HOWEVER, I have other Embrilliance titles installed so when you watch the video, you may see other buttons that you will not have if you only have StitchArtist authorized. I WILL NOT be using any of these buttons, so please do not say “I have StitchArtist Level 1 and mine doesn’t look like yours, why?” Yours will have every function and feature that I actually click on and use in this blog post – I will not be discussing the other programs. If you are paying attention to the other stuff I’m not talking about…stop that 🙂
There are many ways to do any single task – including how to digitize a design. In fact, I would say ESPECIALLY when it comes to design creation because this is a personal and artistic form of expression. That being said, I’m going to walk you thru ONE way that I chose to create this embroidery design – not the right way or only way – but rather, my way. Use this information any way you want!
Before I start any embroidery project, I decide what hoop I am going to use. I’m choosing to create the design for the 5×7 or 130mm x 180mm PES hoop. Deciding this now will tell me how much detail to include – for example I have zero desire to stitch large areas with fill stitches or cut applique shapes the size of pennies – not my idea of fun. I also work in metric because it just makes more sense. I know the difference between a 2mm and 3mm stitch but .078 inches or .118 inches means nothing to me visually – I can’t “see” the difference between those in my head. But I know that a 2mm running stitch is going to be wicked tiny and a 3mm stitch will do decent curves for a running stitch. So the first thing I will do is open my software, set my measurement and hoop.
The most common way to begin creating a design is with using a graphic or picture as a guide. StitchArtist is NOT an automatic digitizing program. Computer software programs have zero creativity and emotion. Creating an embroidery design is an artform and StitchArtist provides you with tools so that you can creatively interpret the graphic into a stitch file. So the first thing I will show you is how to do is setup your workspace and open a graphic into the program. I drew this monkey in a gift box and scanned it into my computer as a JPG file. The important part of this step is that what you open as a background is a graphic file such as a JPG, BMP etc. Formats are listed on the website. The software doesn’t care that you can’t draw – it cares that you choose a graphic on the computer to open. How the graphic got there is up to you!
Once I open my graphic as a background, I size it to fit my hoop and save the file. Saving often it a good plan in my book. When someone asks how often you should save, my answer is that I save as soon as I finish something I never want to do again. I strongly dislike duplicating work. Therefore, I save often.
I have zero intention to replicate the information that is well documented in the manual. Again – I’m not into creating more work for me 🙂 If the manual did not exist or was poorly written, I would have a different opinion on the matter. However, I read the manual. Its a great read – one might even venture to say that it is entertaining and fun! I have a copy in my kindle app so that I can search and refer to it often. The Embrilliance manual makes sense and gives you background information on digitizing practices as well as how to use the various tools in the program. I highly suggest that if you have not done so, that you download the manual from the Embrilliance website and check it out. Not sure where to find it? There is a link on the StitchArtist page to both the FAQ and the manual.
So once the graphic is open in the background – that is the inspiration upon which the embroidery design is going to be created. My “vision” is that this 5×7 design will be part applique with various stitched accents. The monkey is coming out of the gift box, so the first thing that needs to be created is the box and its lid. My favorite drawing tool is the point input – click your mouse and that’s a node. You do not need to have the last click be on top of the first click in order to close a shape – that’s done for you automatically using the close button on the menu bar. And for those that want to get the most our of their software and have read the StitchArtist chapter as suggested, you already know that you can use the Command+right click (CTRL+right click in windows) to end and close the shape in one step.
The Applique stitch properties for Level 1 has two sections – the stitch properties and the tie off properties. (note: Other levels may have more pages to their properties pane.) Hopefully you have stitched a few well digitized designs so you know that locking stitches or ties are important at the start of a color/section as well as at the end. These are called Ties in StitchArtist and you can turn them on or off for each object you create. Yes, I will show you some examples later on in this project of when you would not want the ties to be turned on. You have various options for the applique properties – the style of finishing stitch and its density and width for example.
The Applique object type can have up to 3 parts and you have complete control to turn any of these – on or off. An applique normally has a single run that stitches showing you where the fabric needs to be placed. This is referred to as the Applique Position stitch. The machine would stitch this and stop because it is its own colorbreak. You would place a piece of fabric in the hoop covering this outline. The next colorbreak is another single run (material position) – it holds down the fabric you just placed in the hoop and stops. If the fabric you placed in the hoop was not cut to fit this shape ahead of time (either by hand or die or fabric cutter), you would remove the hoop and trim the fabric. Return the hoop to the machine and stitch the final colorbreak – the finishing stitch.
As you can see in the applique properties, these three “stitching objects” are all part of a single object – so if you reshape the applique shape you automatically reshape each of the components. Kind of cool and saves you a lot of time. You can also turn off any one or more of these depending on what it is you are trying to do. For this example, our applique will have the 3 components – we’ll start off simple!
If you thought I was going to work through this entire design in one blog post – SORRY! If you have the software, I encourage you to play. By playing with the software, you will slowly develop YOUR WAY to do something which may be different than mine – and that’s a wonderful thing to happen!
We have quite a few more lessons coming up so be sure that you subscribe to my blog. And please remember that if you have questions on the software, you will ALWAYS get an answer by clicking on the Contact Us link on the website! This is the best and fastest way to get information on any of the Embrilliance programs.
Until next time – see you online!
I had mentioned in an early post that there was a simpler solution on the horizon for creating cut files for machine embroidery appliqué designs. Well it has arrived! The current version of Essentials software has some pretty nifty features and functions for existing appliqué embroidery designs and I just finished the video showing a quick overview of these functions.
Before I give you that link let me first talk about the purse shown to the left. I’ve been reading about all these people who were embroidering monograms on straw floppy hats they had gotten at discount stores like DollarTree. Ours did not have any but they did have these really cool circular placemats in all sorts of bright colors. I picked up a few thinking I could bring out the Puffy Foam from its stash in my closet and try my hand with a swirly monogram. Before I forget – this alphabet collection is from Rivermill Embroidery and stitches out LOVELY!
And then I thought about trimming those appliqué pieces in the hoop on a textured rather stiff surface like this straw placemat. Yeah. I’ve been doing this long enough to know there was not enough wine in my house to calm my nerves with that project! Even with my favorite Kai Scissors! But I knew Embrilliance was working on creating the cut files so I waited a week or so until I got the test version and HOLY SMOKES! Embrilliance, Cameo and machine embroidery appliqué designs is a winning combination. I’m in heaven.
And sure I can rather quickly create the cut file in the Studio software and double checking to make sure that it is the exact size and shape to match the embroidery design – but that’s only part of what makes this triple combination so perfect. In Essentials, when you combine two designs together and over lap them, the Remove Hidden Stitches (RHS) function kicks in when you save the stitch file. The software AUTOMATICALLY looks at the overlapped area and removes the stitches from the first design on the bottom during the save process. And what is even better, is that this process is only done in the stitch file – what you will send to the machine. Your original working file still has the complete designs. Yes, if you want to tweak things and change them up, no need to start over – simply open your working file (has the BE extension), make your changes, and resave to the stitch file.
So that’s all fine and dandy with traditional embroidery designs….but yes… this is also possible with appliqué designs – OR if you mix and match appliqué and traditional embroidery style designs! In other software programs, and I’ve been doing it for years so its nothing new, you would have to open the combined designs and use the stitch editing function to select and delete those stitches underneath. Again, not hard to do, just extra steps. And you have to be careful with appliqué, is that you don’t want to remove the placement and material stitches when you start deleting things – then you get into trouble at the machine.
But what Brian Bailie of Embrilliance has done is developed a way for us to go in and tell the software “hey this is an appliqué design. It has running stitches that are used to mark where the appliqué fabric goes, hold the appliqué fabric in place so you can trim around it, and then finish it off with a satin or other decorative stitch. So now that you know that, Mr Essentials Software Program, when I choose to overlap these designs, you need to think of the region enclosed by the appliqué position running stitch as “filled with stitches” not this empty white space. I want you to remove anything that is underneath just like you would if it was a filled stitch design” Hey – I talk to my software and computers all the time so this does not seem like an unusual conversation to me 🙂
Now removing the extra satin stitch from overlapped designs may not be that impressive to you. So you have a little bit of overlapped satin stitches – eh no big deal! Well you haven’t stitched with Puffy Foam yet have you! This hit me when I was trying out colors on placemat number 1…the letter S does not have foam under the letters and looks rather choppy. I was going for a tropical look so not only did the teal colored finishing stitch give me the pop I was looking for, but placing the puffy foam on top of the appliqué fabric and having the finishing satin go right over it really helped it stand out and make a statement.
And because I was using Essentials software, when I stitched the letter S first, where the designs overlapped, the satin had been removed — so there was no shiny bump in those areas – the satins were gone.
I use the Puffy Foam made by Sulky – it tears away very cleanly without pulling the stitches. No I have not tried craft foam – I have enough of the original in my stash to host kindergarten arts and crafts day for a month so there is no need for me to try anything else. Hey, it was on sale and its not like it will go bad!
Seriously, my stash has been in development for years. I have been challenging myself to use fabric in my stash first so it has been shrinking – not as quickly as I would have liked, but its a work in progress.
So I saved my cut files just like the video shows – on the Applique Position tab, you choose Save as CutFile and in the Save as dialog choose which format you want to save to. Now just so you know, a cut file is not a stitch file…and its not really a graphics file. But I am so happy that the folks at Embrilliance figured out take the stitch file information and translate that in such a way that the cutting machine can create a shape that fits inside the stitched shape! This is an exclusive feature that is being patented. On top of that, there was a lot of conversations and working behind the scenes with the folks at Silhouette in order to actually create the Studio file.
And the software will also save an FCM file which is what is used by the Brother Scan ‘N Cut (SNC) – save this file to a USB stick, put it in your SNC and pull it up to cut right there on the screen! The other two formats are more universal – SVG and PLT. If you have a cutting machine that uses or imports either one of these formats this is what you will want to save to! The SVG format is super popular among those in the scrap booking industry. No. Just say No….I have to tell myself No every so often that I do not need to know more about scrap booking….I fear it can be just as addictive as machine embroidery and my stash does not need to go in that direction 🙂
So a lot of work went into making this easy to use function – so glad that we get to benefit from their hard work! So are you interested in seeing the software in action with this neat feature? Here is the link to the youtube video:
Check it out. If you already own Essentials the update will be available (if it hasn’t been posted yet) from their website under the download link.
Yes this software works on either Mac or Windows and if you happen to own both computers, you can install the program on both without extra cost.
If you don’t own Essentials and it looks like something you might be interested in, why not check it out? I don’t work for the company – I’ve been an independent educator for machine embroidery for well over 17 years. However, I am an Embrilliance affiliate because I believe that this company offers an excellent product for the price and I am impressed with the innovative thinking that goes behind all the features and functions that are added to the programs. 12 built in fonts that stitch out well at various sizes, monograms or multiline text capabilities, resize designs with stitch recalculation by either pulling on the corners of the design to make the design “that big” or type in an accurate size, merge designs, remove hidden stitches, work with BX fonts so you can type names using fancy alphabets, sorts colors, converts to your favorite thread brand, print templates and color change sheets, split for the basic multi position hoops, switch between metric and inches with a simple button at the top of the screen, add a basting box and more — all this in one program with an easy to use interface.
ANYWAY – I’ll get off my soapbox for now 🙂 Have a great week – happy stitching! Lisa SewBubbles
So today is the day…..butterflies in my stomach!
My class on Craftsy is scheduled to be released some time today. When I was told it was to be released on April 1st, I was like “seriously?!?” but then I thought that the timing was perfect 🙂 Today is a day of fun and silliness – so what better day for my first Craftsy Class, Big Embroidery with a Small Hoop, to be released!
So I started this post in the morning….and VOILA!! Here is the announcement! Use the above link to get the class at half price!
So, what’s the class about? Thinking, planning and stitching designs that are bigger than your hoop. We will cover templates and alignment lines – the whole process from start to finish. There is no reason to think you are limited to a small embellishments just because you have a small hoop! The design shown above is just one of the hands on projects you can stitch.
So this is no joke! You can stitch big designs with any size hoop – I promise it’s really not that scary and I’ll be sharing some tips & tricks that make the process fun and easy. I invite you to take advantage of my introductory half price coupon and check out this class.
I’ve recently joined a few new embroidery groups on Facebook that are machine specific. I’ve found the conversations quite interesting, the projects are just as adorable as ever, and most of the people are looking to their online community for answers, tips and tricks – just like I was back in the 90s! So this blog post is dedicated to all those starting out. Thanks for turning back the clock!
So – the “Basting Box”
What is she talking about – we’re embroidering not sewing! Some machines have a function built into them that will baste a design. What this is, is a long running stitch that can go in a box shape at the border of a design OR around the entire hoop. This will stitch first, before the design stitches. Software programs like Embrilliance Essentials allow you to add a basting box to an existing design. This is handy if your machine doesn’t have this function. If you don’t have software yet – I’ve provided a link here for a 100×100 basting box in the PES format so that you can actually try using one and see if it works for you.
Link to zipped file Zipped_BastingBox_4x4.zip
I’ve found the basting box so useful, that it is part of every single design I stitch and can’t imagine not going to Utility > Basting Box before I send a design to my machine. Here are the reasons why:
- It is a long running stitch that attaches the stabilizer to the fabric. When using adhesive stabilizer it is an extra safeguard against fabric shift.
- If you are using a topping, and I use a topping on every single embroidery design as well, it holds that in place.
- You don’t need to use pins as your extra set of hands in the hoop
- Doesn’t matter what color thread you use – I normally use the first color in the design because I’m lazy. If you want use a thread color that blends into the background fabric, if you are multiple hooping a design and the basting box is covered by stitches or you miss clipping some, it will be less noticeable.
- It takes less time to stitch a basting box than to drag out Peggy’s Stitch Eraser to fix an oops. This goes right along with “measure twice, check it one more time, then make the cut”
In the software….
It would be easier for me to show you how to add the basting box using Embrilliance Essentials, so I created this short video and posted it to my youtube channel. Please feel free to subscribe to LisaSewBubbles on youtube if you would like to have a notice sent to you when other videos have been posted!
If you don’t have software….
If you don’t yet have software I included a link to a 4×4 basting box earlier. What you would do is simply load this to your machine as a design and stitch it first. Then while the hoop is still at the machine, stitch the actual design. It would be just like the following, except you have two designs, not the basting box in the design. Consider the basting box to be color 0 – – – just saved in its own file.
At the machine…
So this is what happens at the machine. I have loaded my design that has been saved with the basting box added (watch the video above if you missed this part). You will see that the first color is the box – I normally stitch this in the same color as color #2, the first actual part of the design.
I hoop my stabilizer – adhesive stabilizer or in this case a simple tearaway with Mettler Web Bond sprayed on – and place my fabric in the hoop. If I was “hooping” a child’s t-shirt for example, I would hoop polymesh stabilizer (my favorite for knits), spray, turn the shirt inside out for easier placement in the hoop and tape it, clamp it, pin it out of the way. I normally do not pin to the stabilizer in the hoop simply because I find that with smaller hoops I have to “man handle” the stabilizer too much and that can stretch it or cause shifting…resulting in not so stable foundation.
I’m ready to go to the machine – so I attach the hoop and float my water soluable stabilizer on top and stitch color #1 – the box – which attaches all three layers in one step. Nice and stable.
Now I stitch the rest of the design…
I decided to come upstairs and finish the blog post so the design is not yet finished! I will be updating this post with the zip file link in a few minutes.
Once the design is done, I will snip the basting bobbin threads from the back side to remove the basting stitch using my Kai 5100C scissors. Remove the top basting stitch and pull the WSS away from the design. I then take the design out of the hoop and if I had used polymesh or cutaway stabilizer I would use my Kai 5135C curved scissors with the slightly blunted tip to trim the cutaway really close. I normally trim my jump stitches at the machine (using my Kai 5130DC double curved scissors that are super sharp and go over the hoop. If I hadn’t I would trim the jumps BEFORE I removed the washaway on top – simply because if its easier to trim jumps with the WSS there and then it’s cleaner to remove it without the jumps possibly catching on the WSS.
Hope this now makes some sense.
If you are interested in getting more information on Essentials or any of the Embrilliance programs, please click on this link to be taken to their website!