Creating an Embossed Letter in StitchArtist

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.

Shapes

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!

Enjoy!

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Hoop Savvy has launched on Craftsy!

Well today is the day – class has launched and I’ve already been answering questions!  You guys are FAST 🙂  For those of you that are interested in taking the class and want to save $20, be sure to use my special sale link.

Hoop Savvy special pricing

Thanks for all the warm wishes and support!

Lisa


Hoop Savvy Sneak Peek #4 – twas the day before class launch…

I believe that software goes hand in hand with machine embroidery.  Even if I don’t want to change the design at all, I personally need to be able to print actual size templates so that I can mark my fabric and hoop accurately; this is best done in software.  The worst feeling is spending 40 minutes stitching a design on a shirt only to try it on and realize you have a lovely embellished armpit (or worse!)  Using a printed template removes any guesswork as to where the design is going to end up when it is stitched.

So yes, in Hoop Savvy, we will work a bit in software to show you how to do some fun “hoop related stuff” such as watching the design stitch out on screen to help you plan the stitching at the machine.  And what about creating and visualizing repeating border designs without having to print out multiple copies on paper – wouldn’t it be great to preview the border in software when you digitize it?
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Of course, we will also talk about creating layouts for multi-position hoops with alignment lines, and how to add a basting box to help with professional stitched results when floating.  Oh yes, we will talk about floating in case you were wondering what that was all about!  And if you have misplaced or never got the plastic grid that came with your hoop – I’ll show you how to create a new one using software so that you can mark your fabrics for accurate placement!
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Here come the butterflies again….

Stay tuned – I will have links with 50% off pricing to share with you as soon as the class launches!  I know you like a sale as much as I do 😀


The final day to vote with another free design to download! THANK YOU!

Lilly_finalThe final day of voting has arrived and I am so grateful to all of those that have taken the time to vote for my blog.  The internet is a wonderful thing, but unlike presenting in person, its hard to know if your audience understands or even likes the information that you are presenting to them.  I truly appreciate your feedback and will do my best to continue in this manner!

SO – this is Lilly the elephant.  She’s a layered applique design with a couple of 3D items going on 🙂  Her tail is a simple bunco braid that is attached by the applique finishing stitch and she’s got fringe eyelashes!  The fringe is part of StitchArtist Level 2 and I threw that in there because I think it adds a little something to the finished design without going over-board.  Sure you could use this function to create a flapper dress style “fill” but I like to use it as a little bit of wow and it is very simple do do.  Background

But first, Let me show you what the the original photo background looked like.  When you open an image most of the time its in the orientation that we want to work with – but what if it isn’t?  Use the rotation handle in the upper right corner just like you do on any selected object.  So I enlarged the graphic and rotated it so that it was how I wanted to work with it and set the transparency to a lower value so it was less bold on my screen.  I get distracted very easily – squirrel! – so I tend to plan my workspace so I am most productive.

If you look at the first color break in the design, it is a short little run – maybe 5 stitches.  Its only job is to tell me where I need to put the tail down.  Yes, I could have just guessed when the next run stitched which is the applique position – however I do not want to forget that I need the tail!  In a month from now I can load this design to my machine and it will stitch color #1 and I will literally say “OH I almost forgot – I need to put the tail down, where is my yard?”  Since I said this last night and I literally just digitized the design we all know in a month I will have no recollection until I trim the eyelashes and then its too late.

EyelashSo let’s talk about those eyelashes!  This is a StitchArtist Level 2 function as part of the column stitch – its actually a built in style!  The column stitch is one of the most powerful tools when you want to create interesting designs.  It is also how those swirly tatoo style fonts are created.  The angle of the sitches curve or turn with the shape of the object so you may also hear this tool referred to as the “turning angle tool” in your research.

By the way, I am giving to you here, the SIMPLE “this is how you create this exact shape” explanation – so please check out the information in the StitchArtist section of the manual as well as the Embrilliance videos that show all the features and functions of this tool. If you just look at this example, you are getting a shotglass size dose of the 10 gallon drum of information and capabilities of this tool –  so please don’t limit yourself and check it out!

So by selecting the column stitch Left/Right input method, I started on the right and clicked in my top bottom pattern in the order shown alternating top and bottom.  I started on the right because I am used to demonstrating for a group of people and I like for my audience to see what is being created.  It is perfectly OK to start on the left and go right, you just may need to change the Fringe direction.  The direction is dictated by the 1-2 direction.  I wanted the fringe to be loose on the side where the 2 was which is to the right of the 1 so I set it to Fringe Right. The fringe stitch is a satin stitch that has a locking running stitch on one side – this is what holds the top stitches in place in this case just like false eyelash glue 🙂

Lilly_Start  So how does this work at the machine?  I’ve stitched my design completely.  This photo does not have the finishing stitch done on the ear because I was running out of camera battery and wanted to get it all photographed. And yes I have navy bobbin thread in the machine because I was too tired to go get another bobbin plus the navy shows up nice against the white stabilizer 🙂 Laugh with me – its how I roll!

So the way I like to create the fringe – and remember my way is not the only way, we flip over the hoop and with sharp thin blade scissors trim JUST the bobbin thread for these stitches.  Pictured here are the super thin and sharp Kai 5100DC scissors.  They have a double curved handle so they are great going over the hoop for cutting jumps while your fabric is still Lilly_Backin the hoop (between color changes is when I trim).  This very thin blade is also perfect for sliding right underneath the bobbin stitches and cutting them cleanly.

The only threads you want to cut is the thread that is the underside of the satin stitch.  DO NOT cut the running stitch as that is the only thing that is holding the loose threads in place!  Be careful not to impale the fabric when using sharp scissors – I don’t even cut the stabilizer.

And if you have used a tearaway stabilizer for your project just be careful when you tear it away from the backside of areas like this.  I’ve not had any fringe unravel on me after the fact but you don’t need to be giving it any excuse to misbehave.  If you are a afraid of future wear and tear – a drop of fray check at either end should give you piece of mind.  So once you carefully trim the bobbin stitches, flip over the project and carefully run your fingernail over the column stitch and the loops will pop up!

Lilly_eyeAnd here is a tilted side view of Lilly’s long and flirty eyelashes!  I wanted a soft look which is why I only cut the bobbin thread.  You can also cut the top thread on the fringe side (opposite the side of the run stitch) and they single threads will not be looped so they may have a more wild or organic look.

So here are the design files for today’s blog post.  I hope that you enjoyed the information presented during this fun week of voting!  No matter the outcome at midnight tonight – I thank you for your very visual support and appreciation of what I do!  You have each made me feel very special – thank you!

….and if this is your first time to my blog on the final day of voting here’s the link:
Craftsy Blogger Awards - Vote for Me badge


The post that I send a link to most often…. How to line up designs for re-hooping

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

step1 step2 Step3 Step4

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.

AlignmentLibrary

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.

3iseasierthan2

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!

Title Card for Blog

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 🙂

Enjoy!


How to Digitize in StitchArtist Lesson 1 of many – opening the graphic, setting the plan and GO!

monkey in boxBetween 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 🙂

In case I forget, you can find out about the software from the Embrilliance website and here is the direct link to the StitchArtist page: http://www.tinyurl.com/StitchArtist.

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!

Part1

Check out the video clip here to see how we got to this point!

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!


Saving cut files for the Cameo, Scan ‘N Cut, & more for embroidery designs

Create with fabric cut using Silhouette Cameo - Essentials will save the cut files from your appliqué embroidery designs!

Create with fabric cut using Silhouette Cameo – Essentials will save the cut files from your appliqué embroidery designs!

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.

One of the potential lumps in an overlapped appliqué

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 🙂

comparison of puffy foam vs none

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.

Saving a Cut File in Essentials from an appliqué position shape

Saving a Cut File in Essentials from an appliqué position shape

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

Click Here for information on all of the affordable easy to use Embrilliance products!

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