Sunday, December 14, 2014

Part 9, Photostitch tip to make that project easier: A thread chart of your own...

I like to revisit Photostitch and other photo features of several embroidery softwares from time to time because it makes beautiful personalized gifts.  If you have  a photo style feature in the software you own, I encourage you to try it.  Bernina, Brother, Babylock, Pfaff, Viking and Embird are just a few of the many that offer some version of this style of digitizing with photos.  As always, I would love to see your work either here or on Facebook.

I am working with PE Design for this post. Most digitizing softwares include creating special thread charts in addition to converting photos into stitched portraits.

If you want to do one in a monochrome, sepia, or gray tone embroidery  project then the default settings of Brother PE Design and Babylock Palette are amazingly easy to use and do a pretty good job without tweaking.  The steps in the manual are clearly outlined.  If you have lost your manual, both Brother and Babylock websites have them as downloads as do most of the others.  

This post is for tips that you may have missed. At the end of the transformation steps from image to stitches, in the newer versions, you get a choice of candidates to choose from. They are worth looking at. The software can see things that we might have not noticed. And the candidates vary in lightness, contrast and saturation for you to choose from.

Color photos can be slightly trickier. 

Stella Photo 1
Using a thread chart with specific colors can be very handy when digitizing a color photo using photostitch or in creating a cross stitch.  In this post I am using Photostitch feature of PE Design. Most digitizing software packages offer the ability to create your own thread chart. Check in your manual.

The steps and tips outlined here are the same in all the versions from 4 and up with difference being how you access the Photostitch feature.  Check your manual and see whether it is through Design Center or Layout and Editing.  Newer versions of software open right from the main screen.

By creating a thread chart based on the colors in the photo you are working with, you may be surprised on how much better the results are.   At the end of the process you get to choose your best candidate, in the later versions, which is a big bonus.

Here's a quick overview for creating a thread chart to work well for the intended color photo:
In Options choose "Edit User Thread Chart"
Click new chart and add the colors you need by scrolling through the bottom color chart and click the arrows to insert them.  For the Stella photo: I used the tawny, reddish and brown shades with some pinks and gray added. I save and name the chart based on the name of the project I am working on.
Stella Photo 2

Photostitch itself is very easy to use. With the Photostitch feature you select the image you are working with and choose the frame cropping tool.  (aka Mask Shape)

For Stella I chose an oval. The page size was set on a minimum of 5x7 and the image was centered in the hoop.  The Photostitch wizard does the rest. Be sure to select the thread chart you created on the next screen. For the choice of Photo or Cartoon, select Photo. After you are finished  (in later versions, have chosen the best candidate) you can always use Stitch to Block feature and remove any layers that contain just a few "unnecessary" stitches without effecting the quality of the photostitch and will save you time.  The Stitch to Block feature is in all the versions of Brother PE Design and Babylock Palette. You will need to ungroup the Photostitch embroidery pattern first to use it.

Stella Photo 3

Consider combining different elements with your photo embroidery creation. This design has a motif candlewick pattern and a wing ding font beneath it. By using a specific thread chart, and removing stray stitching with Stitch to Block feature, I have saved many minutes without compromising the quality of the finished project.

Imagine the family ornaments you can make, or little decorator pillows.  Notice I am not saying quilts because my goodness it is 11 days before Christmas and a few days before Hanukkah and time is short!

Take a look at all the cropping choices and I am sure you will find one that lends itself to a special project you are working on.

I did a test crop to see if this five sided crop would be fun for a starter patch. I'm planning a favorite pet photo for a friend but at the moment this was the photo I had to test the grays with. But you can see how easily this crop shape in the software would work for a crazy quilt starter patch. What is a Crazy Starter Quilt? See the how to video!

Another favorite crop is to move the points in a freeform crop to isolate just the person or object with no background fill.  Take the time and experiment with all the shapes, if available and most of all have fun with it.  ~Cookie

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