Embroidery Case Files: Density Matters

“I WANT A SMALLER VERSION OF MY DESIGN:  I HAVE SOFTWARE, SO WHY CAN’T I TAKE THE DESIGN AND MAKE IT SMALLER?  IT LOOKS FINE ON MY COMPUTER SCREEN, BUT DOESN’T STITCH OUT VERY WELL.”

I see this question asked again and again in all different groups.  I have a perfect example of why you can’t do this, and I opened a case file to show you exactly what happens when you take a large design and try and make it smaller.  Unless you have the original working file, editing a stitch file is a lot of work. If you reduce a stitch file, it usually becomes bulletproof ( or like a hockey puck, as we Canucks say) and you have all sorts of issues.  If you have not seen Embroidery Case Files 4:  Density Matters, check it out before we continue the discussion.

Wow, did you see that logo?  Did you HEAR HOW THICK IT WAS?  Yeah, density matters.  Density matters a lot.   It matters to your machine, your business customers and to your embroidery skills.  It just simply matters.  Taking a BIG design and making it significantly smaller is a shortcut that you don’t want to do – it will cost you time, money and customers in the end.  And maybe even a whole lot of wear and tear on your machine, along with more than one broken needle.  It is possible to do a lot of damage if your embroidery machine is being forced to stitch something too dense and you break needles – you could bend parts, and you can even put your timing off.  Any of those issues could cost a lot of money and time to fix!  Unless you have the original embroidery working file, I would stick to only reducing files a small amount to avoid any issues.

Now you know one more of the Embroidery Rules:  you can’t take a large design and make it significantly smaller for a stitch file.   You just can’t do this and expect good embroidery.   You can slightly bend the rules if necessary – reducing a design somewhat for some reason – but you shouldn’t have to do that often.  You will notice that most designs will be created to fit in the different standard hoops – so just make sure you pick the right size for the hoop that you want to use.  Most digitizers say right on their site that they do not recommend ANY changes to their designs in any way – they won’t guarantee a great stitch out if the embroiderer makes any changes to their designs.

Back to the video – did you see the detail work on that logo?  You can clearly see that it was a massive design made into a smaller one.  There are way too many details for such a small design – I point out the highlights on the lettering.   Too much detail work on small designs can mess up the design.  If you notice below, the word looks like “Ruckets” instead of Rockets because there are so many layers of detail work, it has taken away from the actual lettering of the logo.

You can see that there are layers of white outside the main lettering – small satin stitches and lots of them! That is over a base of black and red again, then the highlight on top of that.  Wow, that makes way too many layers.  But can you see how the detail work is just not necessary at this size?  Can you picture it on a large scale? There would be enough of a gap between the red of the “e” and the outside white edge to make the highlight look useful and give the desired effect.  At a small size, it just makes it look like Ruckets.

So, what is the solution?  (say it with me, everyone, and with enthusiasm, please)

DIGITIZE AT THE SIZE YOU WANT YOUR FINAL DESIGN TO BE.

You can’t really break that rule…so if you create a design that is big, and you want a smaller version, the best way is to start again, and digitize for the smaller size – omit the details that will not have any effect on the final design (such as the highlights in the letters), and make your small design look good.  With the right amount of detail work and using the correct stitch types, you can make a small design look just as good as the large one.  It takes time and practice to learn these skills, so keep working at it.

Remember that embroidery digitizing and stitching is a SKILL.  You have to learn a skill, and you have to keep learning to keep up with that skill – the learning should never stop.

SASSY PRO TIP:  if you are stitching out a design, whether you created it or you bought the design, and if you changed the design or not – if you start breaking needles, or hear some new and loud noises from your embroidery machine – it doesn’t matter if you are working on a single needle, 10 needle or commercial machine – if you hear anything different or loud STOP YOUR MACHINE.  Like, immediately.  Figure out what the issue is – tension, bird’s nest or density issues.  But seriously, stop stitching – don’t take a video and put it on facebook – a noise usually means something is wrong or is going to go wrong, so save your machine while you can.    That is my sass for the day.

Until Next time,

Stitch you later.  And, oh,

DENSITY MATTERS.

Sue Brown

Embroidery on a Budget: MORE WAYS TO SAVE MONEY

Last week, we talked about some things you can do to save money in embroidery and today we are going to be talking about thread.  After all, you can’t do embroidery without embroidery thread, and thread can be one of your biggest expenses.

SO MUCH THREAD:  This can be a tricky subject to save money.  While obviously purchasing less expensive thread you are going to save money, but maybe the thread is probably inexpensive for a reason!  If you are using cheap thread, it will show in your embroidery work – cheap thread tends to split and shred and cause many other issues.  Years ago I tried going this route, and I ended up with many issues when I was trying to stitch a simple design, and I realized that it was because of the cheap thread (it was really really cheap on Ebay) – I tried a few different spools and a few different designs and I realized that the thread was the issue, nothing else.  I switched back to my regular thread, and the design stitched out just fine.   At the same time, people have used this thread and love it, so it really depends on your likes and dislikes and also your machine.  We have one Machine here in the workshop that will not use any other thread other than Madeira.  Barry Barudan (the machine) will not stitch using any other thread, and that is the end of that – I have tried everything, every adjustment and tons of different threads, and he likes nothing else other than Madeira.  So that is all that he uses!  We don’t argue with Barry anymore.

SMALLER IS SOMETIMES BETTER:  Ok, stay with me on this one and let’s think it through.  Small spools of thread are generally more expensive than the larger spools of the same thread.  So for example, you can purchase a mini cone (1000M) of Pink thread and it costs $6, or you can buy a king cone of the exact same thread (5000M) for $11.  The price difference is quite a bit – you are paying less than twice the price of the small cone and getting 5x more thread.  Seems like a great investment, right?  You will save money!  BUT there is a catch – you will only save money IF YOU ACTUALLY USE THE THREAD.  No one thinks of this when they are purchasing thread because the amount of money you are saving is huge – and you are getting so much more with the bigger spools of embroidery thread. BUT if you don’t use that thread all the time and empty the spool, you are not saving anything – you just have a whole bunch of less expensive thread hanging about.    THE SOLUTION? Consider only purchasing the large spools of thread in colors that you think you will use most often.  Of course BLACK and WHITE are basic staple threads, so I would always buy those colors in the larger spools of thread.    I would also think that purchasing large spools of the basic thread colors will save you tons:  so pure red, green, yellow, blue, purple, pink, orange, gold, etc.  will be a great way to start.  You know you will be using those basic colors- especially orange for Halloween and red/green/gold for Christmas.   You can expand on the basic colors depending on what you are creating:  for example, if you are stitching out portraits of people and regularly use skin toned colors for embroidery thread, those will be great to get in the big spools and save you money in the long run.   If you are not sure if the thread color will work for you – then audition the small spool – if it works and you use a lot of it, you can make a note that that specific color can be moved into the basic thread category and you need the larger spool to keep up with your work.

bigger can fit into your budget

Now you have a set of basics in large spools of thread that are made up of the colors that you use most often, and you know you will be using those colors, let’s move on to the smaller thread spools that we know are more expensive, but will get used less.  Let’s not forget to mention that the smaller spools are easier to store, too.  I would then audition lighter and darker colors of the basic colors you have – so you will have a large spool of basic orange, then you can have a smaller spool of a lighter orange and then a smaller spool of a darker orange.  You can keep building your thread collection in this way, and you will have the most value for your money – the threads that you use often will save you money, and the lesser used shades will also save you money in the long run.

LOOK FOR SALES AND PACKAGE DEALS: along with all of your calculations above on saving money on your most used thread colors, make sure you scope out and keep up with any sales.  A great sale can often save you a ton of money, and enable you to increase your thread stash quickly!   Watch for flyers, emails and online store sales – it can be worth the effort!

Personally, I have tons and tons of thread, and I love having so many shades of each shade and color, it makes it so much fun picking out the perfect thread color for a new project and it took me a long time to get so many different colors of thread over the years.

My thread collection in drawers

This is part of my thread collection of small spools, each drawer’s color is filled with that color thread.  If I am looking for shades of yellow, i go directly for the yellow drawer.  It’s a great system!!

Another way of saving money is looking for package deals – so a special grouping of thread in a package – oh I love these!  Usually, in a package deal, the price per spool is less because you are purchasing more spools of thread.  For example, I have seen packages of 10 small spools of thread with a Christmas theme – so different shades of red, gold, green, etc.  Or how about a specialty package of threads for skin tones?  or Halloween colors?

Embroidery on a thread budget just means that you have to think about your usage and save money that way.

Until next time

Sue Brown

OML Embroidery

Are you ready for a challenge? something different? then check out today’s video (released at 4PM EST) and we will unbox a new subscription box that I love!

The box is from Dancing-Stitches.com and it’s fantastic! Everything is pre-cut and ready to stitch. I picked the quilting box because it’s going to be great to practice sewing AND I will come up with some great quilting designs that we can do in the hoop.

All you have to do is piece together the pre-cut shapes, and then put it all together. Everything you need is in the box, including thread.

Why am I recommending this? if you love quilting in the hoop (Anita Goodesign has a ton) then you will know that you need to bring up your sewing skills to be able to finish your project. I have been looking for projects that focus on improving your sewing skills, but are not impossible to sew. This box has it all. The piecing is all cut for you, and the sewing lines are small – so if you make a mistake it only takes a minute to try it again!

Check out Dancing Stitches here: Sewing & Quilting Subscription Box | Dancing Stitches (dancing-stitches.com) and get practicing your sewing skills!!

To see everything inside this box, check out the unboxing video when it is released:

New currency updates

At OML Embroidery we are always working hard to improve everything we do – new cameras, better camera shots and listening to suggestions. One of the suggestions that had been made about the website currency. Good news, we have made those improvements. Now you can order your embroidery designs in USD, CDN and EUR and the currency is displayed on the checkout!

Also to note, when you place your order, your download links are available immediately when the order is completed.

Change your currency and place your order! Summary at the top, download links in the middle and order details at the bottom.

if you sign into your account BEFORE ordering, then your downloads will also show up in your Library, and you will still receive a confirmation email with downloads.

Happy stitching!!!

Police box zipper bag

LOTS OF NEW CROSS BODY ZIPPER BAGS COMING YOUR WAY! Each bag is fully lined and completely finished in the hoop. Make sure you check out the Zipper Bag video on Youtube for perfect zipper placement, front and lining placement plus many more tips and tricks that will ensure that your Police Box Zipper Bag has a professional look!!

Police Box Zipper Bag

Here is a history of the police box, quoted from http://www.oldpolicecellsmuseum.org.uk:

“In attempting to stay one step ahead of the criminal, the Police began to exploit the newly invented telephone technology by setting up a pioneering network in Glasgow in the early 1890s, which allowed policemen to stay in touch via signal posts.

The same technologies that allowed the general public to make telephone calls from street kiosks also allowed police officers to keep in touch with their station.

The history of the police box really starts in America where the telephone was patented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876.  His invention  was soon adopted by the police as a communications device. The earliest form of police signal box obviously didn’t employ telephony but used  morse code to send the messages.

Some of the  first boxes were eight-sided, pillar like and made from cast iron. These boxes employed a signalling line, which allowed a trigger from the police station to remotely operate an electromagnetic lever system that lit a red lamp on the roof  designed to attract the attention of the officer on the beat. Sometimes the lamp was actually located away from the box itself, in a high visibility position to improve the chances of an officer being alerted from further away.

Police boxes and posts were important tools for the Metropolitan Police from the late 1920s until the late 1960s. They allowed  officers on the beat and the public to contact the police or make 999 calls in a time before people had access to their own telephones or mobiles.

Although the earliest police boxes in Britain were introduced in Glasgow and large, square  boxes with sloping roofs were introduced into the north east by the late 1920s,  it was the Metropolitan Police Service boxes, designed by the service’s surveyor Gilbert Mackenzie Trench, in 1929 that caught the public’s imagination and became universally recognisable.”

The same technologies that allowed the general public to make telephone calls from street kiosks also allowed police officers to keep in touch with their station.

The history of the police box really starts in America where the telephone was patented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876.  His invention  was soon adopted by the police as a communications device. The earliest form of police signal box obviously didn’t employ telephony but used morse code to send the messages.

Some of the  first boxes were eight-sided, pillar like and made from cast iron. These boxes employed a signalling line, which allowed a trigger from the police station to remotely operate an electromagnetic lever system that lit a red lamp on the roof  designed to attract the attention of the officer on the beat. Sometimes the lamp was actually located away from the box itself, in a high visibility position to improve the chances of an officer being alerted from further away.

Police boxes and posts were important tools for the Metropolitan Police from the late 1920s until the late 1960s. They allowed  officers on the beat and the public to contact the police or make 999 calls in a time before people had access to their own telephones or mobiles.

Although the earliest police boxes in Britain were introduced in Glasgow and large, square  boxes with sloping roofs were introduced into the north east by the late 1920s,  it was the Metropolitan Police Service boxes, designed by the service’s surveyor Gilbert Mackenzie Trench, in 1929 that caught the public’s imagination and became universally recognisable.”

ITH Police Box Zipper Bag – OML Embroidery

quilt patches

Are you ready for something new? Introducing new embroidered in the hoop Quilt Patches! Now you can take your favorite quilt designs with you everywhere!

Yep!  Patches + quilt blocks!  what a fantastic idea!  Now you can take your favorite quilt designs anywhere!  You can sew the patches on pockets on jeans or cover a hole, hats, bags, purses, and even shirts!  you can sew the patches on with invisible thread, or add some Heat n Bond to the back so you can simply iron the patch on!

All you need is a 4×4 hoop, some water-soluble stabilizer, fabric scraps optional batting for a true quilting look, and beautiful thread to make your quilt patches quick and easy!

The pinwheel quilt patch design includes 3 different patch designs plus PDF patch instructions – each patch design is only $2.00 each!!

upcoming videos

JULY 28
July2021
Borders and Blocks sew alongWhy you need borders and blocks for your quilts!!
JULY 31
July2021
Small Town CharmWhat is the Small Town Charm going to be for the month of August?

Blocks and Borders Sew Along

Scan the code above with your phone and it will add the date and time as well as the link into your calender! A great way to get a reminder!

Small Town Charm Sew Along

What’s the Small Town Charm Design for August? Scan the code above with your phone and add the date and time to your calendar and save the link, too.

oml schedule

UPCOMING EVENTS: Tomorrow we are going to be working on the Lavender Brown quilt and stitching the bottom half of the Benny Bunny block from Anita Goodesign. We will be streaming LIVE directly into the OML Embroidery University facebook group and on Youtube at the same time. Here is the link for the youtube video – Wednesday July 21 at 4:00 PM EST.

Next, on Saturday, July 24 at 10AM EST we will be stitching out the block of the month 6 Snowflake #meepp stitch along!

Do you have a backup plan for your embroidery? Embroidery Talk with Sue

It's a great question, and hopefully, everyone answers YES, and you backup your computers or at least your embroidery designs stash.  In this podcast, I explain to you how we back up our backup for business files…seriously, we have at least 2 copies of each design saved just in case.  It is really important to back up your files in case of computer failure or worse….Can you imagine trying to remember or figure out how to get all of your designs back?  How many designs do you have on your computer?  Have you lost all of your designs before?  Make your life easier by backing up the files that you need the most.  You will thank me later.  — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/sue-brown2021/message

mug rug monday

MUG RUG MONDAY! JUNE 21 AT 4pm EST join me for an OML Embroidery Live! sew along This week’s mug rug is a traditional argyle pattern on a 5×7 mug rug, almost finished in the hoop – there is a tiny bit of sewing at the very last step after you turn the mug rug. You can use metallic thread for the criss cross lines, christmas fabric, bright colors or bold black and white! Everything will work with this mug rug!

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