Hey everyone and Happy Friday! Today’s blog goes out to all the brand new digitizers out there.
Good for you! Welcome to the embroidery world! Welcome to learning all about embroidery! Embroidery is an exciting and creative venue, and I love figuring out new techniques and styles and generally playing with embroidery.
For the new digitizers out there, there are a few things that you must do once you decide that embroidery is what you want to learn about and eventually create.
If you have been embroidering for a while, and know your stitches and understand hooping etc. this next section will not apply to you.
First: you need to have an embroidery machine. Really, you need to have one. You don’t have to have a $10,000 6 needle machine, a single needle lower end one will do – you need to be able to stitch out designs and see the stitches, see the mistakes and understand a few things, and I feel strongly that you can only learn all of these things by using an embroidery machine and watching it work.
Second: RESEARCH AND LEARN. Yes. You must learn about embroidery…everything you can about embroidery…how to use your machine, hooping, stabilizers, bobbins, different threads, different needles, different fabrics, jump stitches, connections, color changes…the list goes on and on. You have to learn embroidery – its a skill. If you think you can pick up digitizing software and instantly you are a digitizer, you are wrong. It takes so much more than that. It takes WORK. It takes LEARNING. It takes TIME. It takes RESEARCH….it takes a lot. The more you put into digitizing, the more you will get out of it with beautiful stitch outs and beautiful designs.
No matter what embroidery software you are using, you must learn about embroidery. You must understand that you can’t make a satin stitch 3 inches wide…you need to understand stabilizers and good hooping, you must understand all about embroidery before you can learn to digitize. If you don’t understand embroidery, then you will be frustrated as a digitizer. SUGGESTION: watch different designs stitch out…pay attention to what is happening on your machine. learn about connections…learn to see the difference between a good stitch out and a bad one and most importantly WHY. Watch designs stitching from different sources – some are better than others. Hoop…and re-hoop and practice hooping using the correct stabilizers. You can have the best embroidery design ever, and if you hoop a stretchy material with tear away stabilizer, the design will look terrible. Remember “you are only as good as your hooping skills” . You also need to understand what Push/Pull compensation is, and watch it in action on your machine with different stabilizers. Use your embroidery machine…embroider everything you can and learn to hoop even the most difficult fabrics or items. How can you create a simple design for a shirt collar and make it fit properly, if you have never embroidered on a shirt collar?
And here are the big ones that I can’t stress enough time and time again:
UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A STITCH OR MACHINE FILE AND A FILE THAT YOU CREATED: .EMB, .EOF, .PXF FILES ARE DIFFERENT FROM STITCH FILES. THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A STITCH FILE AND A WORKING FILE…BIG…
UNDERSTAND THAT IF YOU TAKE A STITCH FILE AND RENAME IT A .EMB FILE, IT IS STILL NOT A NATIVE .EMB FILE AND YOU STILL DON’T HAVE BIG EDITING CAPABILITIES.
UNDERSTAND THAT YOU CAN’T TAKE A STITCH FILE, BRING IT INTO YOUR DIGITIZING PROGRAM AND EDIT IT VERY MUCH…YOU CAN’T TAKE A STITCH DESIGN THAT IS 2 INCHES AND MAKE IT 7 INCHES. YOU DON’T HAVE THAT LEVEL OF EDITING.
Understand that these rules apply to ALL DIGITIZING SOFTWARE. A stitch file that your machine can understand is something completely different from a working file…if you get frustrated and change softwares, those rules still apply. People ask me this all the time…”I AM SO FRUSTRATED..I HAVE A .PES FILE THAT I BRING INTO STUDIO AND I WANT TO MAKE IT BIGGER AND IT WON’T WORK….I AM SO FRUSTRATED…WILL HATCH/EMBRILLIANCE/WILCOM etc. DO THIS? No. No it won’t. A STITCH FILE IS MADE FOR STITCHING, A WORKING FILE IS MADE FOR WORKING. Understand this part, and you will save yourself hours of frustration and wasted materials. WHAT DOES A WORKING FILE LOOK LIKE? my first answer is “it will look like YOU CREATED IT” OK, in the software it looks the same as any other file, except that it is completely editable…and the name of it will be different. Machine files are named depending on the type of machine that you use: .PES for brother, JEF for Janome, XXX for singer, etc. The working files will be named differently: EOF for Embird .EMB for Wilcom, PXF for DG15, etc. You can’t send a working file to your machine: your machine will not acknowledge it as anything and it will not stitch. So again:
STITCH FILES (.PES, JEF, DST etc) are for stitching on your machine, not for working on and editing.
WORKING FILES (EOF, EMB, PXF) are for working on and will not work in any machine.
Once you have mastered embroidery on its own, it may be time to move on to digitizing. If you understand embroidery, you will better understand digitizing – it will make more sense. Sure, you can get an embroidery machine and the software that it comes with and dive right in and do everything at the same time, but if you do one step at time you will learn properly and save yourself tons of frustration. You can’t expect someone in grade 1 to understand something in college, right? grade 1 is building the foundations for everything you learn in college. Ok, I am not saying that mastering embroidery is going to take you 12 years, but it is going to take time. Take the time. Learn. Have fun. Learn some more. Be happy.
If you have any brand new embroiders/digitizers that you know in your group, etc. pass this information along to them. It will be very helpful!!