Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Be Fabric Savvy!

Seasonal changes effects our embroidery fabric choices. Pick a design, fabric and stabilizer that work well together. Let's consider a linen towel for gift giving!

Many embroiderers avoid outline designs on crisp linen towels due to the appearance of the towel in daily use and the shrinking effect on the stitches. If you love the look of embroidered linen and would love to have them in your own home, follow these tips:
  1.   Pre-wash new linen towels and press them back into shape with Magic Sizing. Use a pressing cloth with an even weave is recommended since irons can be unpredictable. It gives an even layer of protection. Cheap fabrics like muslin may have uneven weaving which DOES effect the outcome.
  2.  Choose a high quality, smooth stitching Redwork design, with a reasonable stitch count for the embroidery hoop selected.
  3. Important: a good design can stitch out poorly with the wrong or low quality stabilizer.  A water soluble stabilizer that offers an adhesive wash away property is fabulous. Avoid pulling on those outline stitches once the design is stitched by applying a little water to those stitches. Remove as much water soluble stabilizer as possible without tugging and wash out the remaining stabilizer.
  4. Choose a polyester 60 wt. thread for a crisper looking micro tiny lettering. Important for those who love to embroider recipe towels to accompany baking gifts ;) All threads are not equal when it comes to shine and breakage. Do your research!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

What if you love to machine embroider and enjoy creativity but do not want to digitize?

Purchased Card - inspiration!
Creativity in machine embroidery does not require digitizing however, editing is a great skill that will expand your current inventory of designs. 

 Having software that will give you maximum editing power is a great solution. Purchasing well digitized designs is the second part of insured success. Editing features that rank at the top of the wish list: re-sizing, changing color, changing stitch order, splitting designs, mirror imaging vertically and horizontally, lettering, monograms, changing fill types, aligning capabilities are needs and worth every penny. 

Pay close attention to the lettering package of the program for variety of font styles, ability to move the letters within a word, circular lettering, changing one color or all colors within a word, altering size of the individual letters, changing the shape of the word as a whole, are micro sizes included? Lettering is the most used feature so pick a software that offers beautiful fonts which targets women, men and children from casual to business. Having a built in monogramming tool built in is icing on the cake and will be invaluable. And monogram built in embellishments is the cherry on top.
Luxury editing features corner repeat (4 way mirroring) with options, design repeat, circular designing, scattered designing, color wheel aka color play, a smart color sort, removing overlaps, hole sewing, auto applique.

Total up the features you want and compare the pricing of the editing software packages versus full digitizing packages. Does it include free updates? A dongle (security device)? Can you keep it on your desk top and lap top? There are some brands of software that offer free upgrades and do not have physical security devices instead they are activated be registering the serial number. There are many choices available and before eliminating any software, look at all the tools that is included, the support offered, cost of future upgrades and the current needs and where you might want to go in the future.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Halloween machine embroidery Word Art made easy for Mac and Windows users...

This post is dedicated to the students who have asked about Stitch Artist 1 and 2 in my Craftsy digitizing classes.

Create a quick design for the"Trick or Treat "kid inside of you.  Word Art is simple and can be done with almost every home embroidery software package in a short amount of time. Key tips: vary the size, direction and font styles. Choose colors that will stand out from background. If this design were stitched on a black sweatshirt, then the Boo and cat would be changed from black to perhaps glow in the dark white thread.

Embrilliance is affordable, easy to use and gets the job done. Not everyone spends their dollars on expensive features in software that they might not use.  I want all the bells and whistles but that is part of my digitizing illness. There is a lot to be said for pay as you go. I tend to buy as much sewing machine as I can afford and the same for software, knowing I can grow into it!

One of my favorite affiliate instructor friends is Lisa Shaw. Not only does she teach the Craftsy affiliate class Hoop Savvy, Lisa is the guru teacher for Embrilliance. Her booth was next to mine at the AEC this year, and I moved my chair right next to her when she told me:

Embrilliance software can be used by both Mac and Windows users.  

Free on Facebook till 10-9-2015
That caught my immediate attention. I am able to put the software on both of my computers which is incredible.  I can seamlessly use both platforms in the same manner and therefore no transitional learning curve required!

In this photo, you can see how crisp the letters are with a nice raised underlay which is set to the default. Impressive clean stitching by choosing the stitching style, the color, and letter style. The Spooky Word Art design file is on Facebook as a free download for a limited time so you can see it stitch out for yourself!  It shows what Embrilliance can do fresh out of the box without any "insider understanding" of setting. Beginners do not have all the tricks of the trade when they first start creating designs! I could make the stitch out even better with entrance and exit point options and angle directions.

There are 12 letter choices in the basic platform with Embrilliance. The prior post on the Yoga Pillow shows some of the other letter styles included. More lettering is available.

If you add Stitch Artist to the equation then you are getting some great "shape art" (see the cat), filled in by stitches with a click of the button. Stitch Artist 1 has the basic digitizing tools and does nice appliqué, Stitch Artist 2 includes a nice clean column turn addition with more tool features. Stitch Artist 3 is coming soon. Learn more #AffiliateLink

In a matter of minutes, the design was typed into the screen, colors and styles were selected, easily resized and rotated and the cat shape added. True we can use most of our softwares for this but I have a Mac, and the convenience and price point made it a no brainer for me. Plus it helps me answer questions for students in my digitizing classes on Craftsy.
I love the Embrilliance slogan: "Welcome to Embrilliance, embroidery for the rest of us!"
Happy Embroidery, Cookie ~ CookiesCreations.com

Friday, September 18, 2015

Just an idea: simple personalized gifts are often the most cherished!

Embroidery by Cookie, Bib from AllAboutBlanks.com
Do you spend hours trying to find the right designs to stitch on the perfect gift item blanks? Do you over scrutinize your work?

Simple personalization with no digitizing skills needed adds the perfect touch to a gift. You will save hours of searching for designs by adding initials, monograms or names. A small embellishment combined with lettering provides a customized look with little effort.

In the last post, a Yoga pillow was covered in Words (Subway Art) using Embrilliance Software(linked on website to create a design statement.

Your words are art!

Whether you use letters available that may be built in with the embroidery machine, or type text into embroidery software on a computer, your words are art! You can create a beautiful overall motif to go on to the landscape of a gift blank. Many embroidery machines have built in editing functions and designs. Without owning any software, many machine owners can combine words and small designs and produce elegant classic as well as trendy modern gifts. Learn how to use your machine and all the features it comes with first.

ITH Thread Painted Daisy - CookiesCreations.com
We spend hours researching the best resources for blanks, threads, stabilizers and designs. If you choose a reputable source to purchase your supplies, you will be fine.  Dealers vary in the products they carry and in almost every instance they work fine. A machine dealer is invested in your success. Trained staff knows that poor thread quality, incorrect stabilizers, and poor hooping techniques leads to unhappy embroidery machine owners.

Long time online embroidery websites also rest on their reputation. People often write in and ask which stabilizer do I use for the Sock Easy and Easy Tools? Sticky paper is the answer and if you don't have a dealer close by consider TerradonEmbroidery.com . There are other online websites that offer quality supplies to home embroidery machine owners. My top three are Terradon, Floriani and OESD. Not that others may not work, it is what I use.

As hobbyists it is easy to forget that not everyone who sews wants to own an embroidery machine.  They love how embroidery looks but perhaps they are short of time, space, etc. "Sewers" aka "Sewists" are the perfect ones to give a gift of embroidery and are often overlooked because they do "sew".

Before this hobby entered your world, do you recall how much you loved to get a personalized towel, or your initials on a favorite handbag, shirt or set of napkins? By keeping your gifts simple, you will have more time to master your machine and software during the learning phase of your new embroidery world.

Friday, August 28, 2015

One stop machine embroidery software for MAC and Windows Users!

Here's the solution that has worked so well for me:

Embrilliance and Stitch Artist!  The Embrilliance platform works on both Windows and Mac computers. No dongle to transfer back and forth. One license let's the consumer keep a copy on both Mac and Windows computers.  Of course, the computers must belong to the owner of the software in accordance to license agreement.

My own plugins are Embrilliance, Stitch Artist 2, and Editing, and my plan is to add Density for those purchased designs that are too stitch intensive.  All of us own some of those bullet proof designs! Another use for Density would be to overlap two designs and remove the built up stitches underneath for combining!

The learning curve of the modules is pretty easy.  If you are not into digitizing complex designs then Stitch Artist 1 certainly offers many nice features plus appliqué capability.  An added feature exists in Stitch Artist 2 with the turning of a corner using the column tool which may or may not be important to you.  I've owned the software since May and added Editing after the original decision to work with Stitch Artist 2.  Using the lazy days of August to test out the features that my students ask about in Crafty to duplicate the lessons in my class. It works very well for the course.  The text is lovely as you can see in my pillow. The pillow makes a nice gift for any student of Yoga who takes their "corpse pose" seriously at the end of practice, LOL!

I tested out the gradient fill for the heart element, which proved to be another delightful and intuitive feature.

It is easy to reorder the elements.  I prefer to stitch from bottom to top, and it took only seconds to rearrange things accordingly.  The lettering is easy to manipulate, as either individual letters or whole words.

Stitching simulation is available: Yes, you can watch it stitch on the screen prior to stitching it out on your embroidery machine.  The pillow was done with my Windows computer that I use for local classes.

Here is one done on the Mac that took just a few seconds to create the appliqué using built in shapes that come with the software.  I have such an appreciation for the crisp sharp points in the star and tree. This was done in a 4x4 hoop which is always the litmus test for me.

I am a software junkie and have several.  Each software offers unique features.  The advantage of being able to have the same software on both the Mac and Windows computers is a real bonus.  The layouts are the same.  They work the same.  They stitch out equally great.  Because you can add the modules you desire, it keeps the costs within budget.