The one tool all embroiders MUST HAVE!!

Are you lost when it comes to selecting the right stabilizer? You need a compass to navigate the mysteries of embroidery!

Not a compass to help you with directions, but an EMBROIDERER’S COMPASS! It is one of the best things to happen to embroidery – this is the handiest tool you will ever have.


WHO NEEDS THE EMBROIDERER’S COMPASS? Everyone, including me. I am a seasoned embroiderer, but when it comes to fancy fabrics and stabilizer, I am truly lost. Do you know offhand what stabilizer to use on gauze? how about bulky knits? Yeah, me neither and that information is kind of difficult to find…unless….you have this amazing tool!

Let’s take a look at it. Keep reading, you will LOVE this:


zOOM RIGHT IN AND CHECK IT OUT! Here is the fantastic information you will get with just a turn on the compass! First, find the fabric that you want to use. The top window tells you the correct stabilizer to use. The next window will tell you what needles to use – the size and the type. NEED MORE? The embroiderer’s compass has more! Check out the comments section and get tips and tricks for the fabric.


Let’s look at the first example: embroidery on velvet. I really don’t know the procedure for embroidery on velvet other than you can’t hoop it because velvet crushes. That is not enough information to get the job done. I need more to be able to successfully embroider on velvet! Dial-up velvet and get all the information fast, easy and complete.

velvet requires two stabilizers!! did you know that?

Did you know that velvet requires two stabilizers? Ok, so now what needle do you use, and what are the steps to get the best embroidery results?

This is how to embroider on velvet!!

Look at all of the information that you get. Everything you need to know about how to correctly embroider on velvet. The Embroiderer’s compass shows you the way!!

Let’s try another one. How about MOISTURE WICKING FABRIC? These are expensive garments, so you better know what you are doing! Let’s navigate the compass:

Boom! the answer is right there in front of you, and you can start stitching with confidence. This tool will save you time and money and will allow you to say “yes, I can stitch on that” each and every time something new comes to your machine. I say it’s priceless.

For $24.99, this tool is worth it…for EVERYONE WHO DOES EMBROIDERY! Check it out for yourself, you won’t regret it. I am very happy that I have one and I am going to store it right beside my machine.

Happy stitching on any fabric!

Until next time,

Sue Brown

(happy to check out embroidery tools and test them for you)

Let’s keep making FREE Digitizing/Embroidery classes!

Have you joined the facebook group OML Embroidery University yet?  I am so happy with this group – it’s a fantastic place to be for embroidery. I wanted to take a few moments to explain to everyone what I am doing with this group and the youtube channel: I want to explain my goals and expectations.

The first goal is to provide everyone with some serious learning classes and quick tips so that they can learn embroidery properly, and be more confident in their work and learn to digitize at a level different from others – a higher level. I want everyone to progress with their embroidery skills..and practice those skills both embroidery and digitizing. We have challenges, we have contests and we have full length classes for free. Everything is free!

I would like everyone to realize that planning, recording, editing and uploading classes takes a lot of my time. Sharing everything on facebook and youtube takes even more of my time. It all ads up. I really do spend a lot of time making these classes for you. I do not get paid anything at all. So yes, the classes are free and I am working for free.

Obviously, I won’t be able to do this long term. But there is a fantastic solution to this whole problem. Youtube. Yes, youtube. I can get paid by youtube and CONTINUE DOING FREE CLASSES FOR YOU. Yeah, it can work like that. I decided to try this approach to the classes for one simple reason: People were having a hard time paying for classes. I heard that many times and it made me think – I want everyone to learn embroidery properly and be successful in every single stitch they take. But again, I can’t keep doing this for free – no one works for free and I have the same bills that you do. So that got me thinking…How can i make this work, there has to be a way. and there is. Youtube. and it can work.

HOW CAN YOUTUBE WORK? that’s easy. Participation. Every time you watch the entire video, it helps. When you like and comment it helps. when you get other people to watch the video by sharing it helps. Every interaction on youtube will help me get paid. There are ads on youtube and I get paid a teeny tiny amount every time you watch them. Every subscriber makes the channel bigger and more available to everyone. and if it is big enough, youtube will start sharing the videos more…and they will be trending and more people will subscribe…see how the snowball effect works here?

So what can you do to make this happen? participate is the answer. People told me that they would do anything for free classes REAL CLASSES that they can learn from. To those people, here is your chance. Participate. Make it your mission to make the channel POPULAR and the biggest embroidery channel in existence. If we make it big enough, we may get sponsors – ok yay for me, right? not necessarily – If my classes are successful on the channel, I might be able to get free embroidery software to do more free classes with different software. Wouldn’t that be awesome? classes in as many software as possible? OK, that may never happen, but it would be cool! I have purchased software on my own, i just won’t be able to pay thousands for more.

So, everyone out there Do your part and make this happen. Do it for you – do it for your skills and learning. Make sure everyone knows OML Embroidery’s channel for free full classes. Make it your mission.

Oh, before anyone asks or thinks that I make a ton of money from youtube, right now I make a whopping $.25 a day (i am being generous here). Yeah, i can’t live on that either. My goal is to hit minimum wage. Or work at McDonalds for minimum wage, LOL.

Let me know in the comments. Personally I think we can make it, and have a ton of fun along the way. But do remember I can’t work like this for free for ever, so lets make it happen. Just a few clicks and you are done. I promise that your skills will improve in the end!
Again, I won’t keep “begging” to get this done. I will remind everyone to participate, but if it doesn’t happen in the long term, I will have to stop making videos. No, not immediately, I will work super hard until the new year and see where we are.

LET’S DO THIS. BE ON THE GROUND FLOOR FOR SOMETHING BIG. After all, you will get a lot out of it!!! I can’t do it without you. All of you

Thanks everyone!


What do you know about nodes? Save time with editing nodes!

Working with object nodes will save you time in the end.  If you make a mistake digitizing, you don’t have to start all over again – simply edit the nodes!!

Nodes are those little points that you place down every time you click the mouse when you are making an object.  Left click makes a straight node, and a right click makes a curved node.  What happens if you make a mistake, or want to change something in your object?  That is when the nodes come in handy.   Let’s go over a few things with nodes that will make object editing easier and faster than ever.

Once you have completed your object, and you want to make changes, the first thing you need to do is select the object (by clicking on it) and then click on the Reshape Icon  at the top left of your screen (this works for Wilcom E4 and Wilcom Hatch, but your sofware will be similar – look for editing nodes, nodes, edit button.   Once you click on that, the nodes will appear!  Now you can start working with the nodes to change or fix your embroidery object.

how to select nodes

There are two different kinds of nodes:  straight nodes and curved nodes.    The small yellow square indicates a straight node that forms a straight line or a cusp.  The light blue circle indicates a curved line.  Pretty easy to remember, right?  Square for straight, and circle for curves.

how to make curvesTo work with a specific node, you need to select that node first.  You can also select a bunch of nodes by left-clicking and dragging a bounding box around a group of nodes.  Once you click on a node, the node should turn dark blue – that is the darker blue color that lets you know that the node is now selected .  The other nodes will appear yellow.  These colors apply for Wilcom Hatch and Wilcom E4 – your software may have a different color scheme, but once you play around in “node mode” you will figure out the difference between selected nodes and non selected nodes.

Once you have selected that node, you can click and hold down your left mouse button and drag that node around and change your object.  If you were not precise enough in your node placement, you can quickly hop into reshaping (select your object first) and align your nodes,  and zoom right in and place them where they need to be placed!

Another thing you can do with nodes is change their type!  Yes you can – you do not need to delete and start your object all over again, you can do some fixing.  You can change your node from a curve to straight (circle to square) and vice versa – from a straight to a curve!  All you have to do is select the node (make sure it is dark blue) and hit the spacebar, and the node will change for you!  Of course, that will make big changes to your object, so if you don’t like it, hit spacebar again and it will go back to where you started – either back to a straight node, or a curved node.

There are a few more things you can try.  What happens if you add too many nodes or have nodes that you don’t need?  Select the node and hit the delete key.  It is that simple – select and delete and your node is gone!  What if you want to add more nodes to finesse your embroidery object even more?  When you are in reshape, just left click on the place where you want the node, and it will be inserted.  If you want the opposite node that was inserted, then select and hit spacebar to change it.

So instead of starting all over again on an object that isn’t quite right, try fixing your object using nodes – it is fast and easy and once you get the basics down, you will find its very easy to make adjustments and make better embroidery.

Happy Digitizing!

Now you know more about nodes!


Stitch files vs. working file. Whats the big deal?

Trying to edit or change stitch files is the biggest mistake new digitizers make.  You can save yourself lots of frustration if you understand this embroidery rule clearly.

Some new people find this concept confusing:  stitch file vs. working file.  Here is one way that I explain it to people:


Definitions:  stitch file – the stitch file that your machine understands PES, JEF, XXX, DST, etc.

Working file:  depends on your program, but are NOT any of the above files – Hatch and Wilcom are .EMB files,  Embird is EOF,  DG15 is PXF etc.   And no, you cannot take an Embird EOF file into Hatch and work on it – each embroidery software program has its own working file, and these are not interchangeable either.

The only way you can BEND this rule is to simply add lettering to a stitch file.  But thats not what we are talking about here- thats adding lettering to a file, not editing the file.

So yes, we are talking about editing  – changing things, not adding things to the file.

We have that clear.  Stitch files and working files are completely different files.

Then people ask – so what if I take my stitch file (a PES for example) and CALL IT A WORKING FILE.  (example, open up a PES file and do save as EMB), now its a working file, right?  NO.  IT IS STILL A STITCH FILE – NOTHING CHANGES.  YOU CAN’T “CONVERT” A STITCH FILE TO A WORKING FILE, IT JUST DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT.   Thats one embroidery rule that you cannot change.  If you take an apple, and paint the outside an orange color, is it now an orange?  NO.  It is still an apple no matter what you do to it.  Its still an apple.   Thats exactly what people try to do with the stitch files- give it a nice name for a working file (similar to the orange paint) and think that everything changed.  It doesn’t…the stitch file is still a stitch file and the apple is still an apple.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense.  What you are working on is different from what your machine understands.  If you could take any embroidery file and “magically” turn it into a working file and change the size, edit nodes and have all the editing functions, no one would buy very many designs from digitizers, would they?  If you could change everything that they spend hours creating in a certain way, their embroidery art, if you will – then there would not be many digitizers in business.  The digitizers have the working file, they create it, and they put it out in a stitch format for you to stitch out on your machine.    It is the digitizer’s creation.  And if you create a working file, its YOUR creation.  After all, you really wouldn’t want anyone to change your work, would you?

The stitch files have one purpose:  they are meant to be sent to your machine, and stitch out.   You can resize the whole stitch file a tiny bit, but be aware, you will be introducing errors and problems (and sometimes a big huge mess that breaks machines) if you change the size of the stitch file, or try to do any editing, because stitch files are meant for stitching.  So stitch them out, and enjoy.  Thats it.

I was having this conversation with a friend of mine, and she came up with a great example of visually showing everyone the difference between a stitch file and a working file.

Here is the working file in Wilcom Janome MBX v5


Look over to the right those are the objects in the (funny) shapes that she did.  Each object has a place in the resequenced list – there are only 4 objects in this file:  and each object has a symbol beside it, telling you what kind of stitch was used.  You can easily make many many edits:  click on the object, make it bigger or smaller, change the stitch type, add nodes, remove nodes, add underlay – the list goes on and on.


Here is the same file but as a STITCH FILE:


The design on the screen looks exactly the same, right?  4 objects…but now look over to the right in the objects panel.  Wow, what a difference – there are way more than 4 objects!  Each little piece has a few parts to it…AND THAT IS WHAT THE MACHINE UNDERSTANDS – STEPS TO STITCH.  THATS IT.  So now, if you wanted to change the stitch type on the orange embossed square?  How would you do that?  you can click on the orange, but you have to pick all 10 of the orange parts…and then there are no options to change anything.  That is because it is a stitch file.

That is how you can easily tell the difference between stitch files and working files.

THE EXTENSION:  PES, JEF, XXX, HUS are all files for your machine.

EMB, PXF, EOF are working files, your machine will not understand any of these files.

Take the quote at the top and put it on a sticky note on your computer or desk.  Remember it.  It will save you so much frustration!  most newbie problems begin with trying to change a stitch file.

So if you want to change a stitch file, STOP.  You are not meant to change anything on a stitch file.  Add lettering if you want to – but that is adding not changing.

Thems tha rules.

Wilcom Hatch: Two new Quick tip Videos

Editing nodes and moving the start and stop points when you are digitizing can be slightly annoying – if you notice a mistake, or you are off a little bit, Hatch makes is quick and easy to fix those mistakes using the Reshape Tool.  Once you click on the reshape tool, you can have access to the start and stop points, all of the nodes, add extra nodes either the corner node or a curve node and you can even change the nodes around and completely reshape your design.  Also, when you click on the reshape tool, you can have access to the angle lines to quickly and easily change the angles of any stitches.

Take a quick peek at these quick tip videos and learn a few things about the reshape tool.



Creating outlines and offsets

I had a question on Youtube today about Hatch’s ability to do “knockdown” stitches.  While Hatch does not have a button for one click knockdown stitches, it has something better – MORE STITCH CONTROL!  Woohoo!  This is great because it enables you to do more things than just create one certain stitch.

Lets walk through it step by step:

First, go to the lettering panel and type a  few words (a name, maybe) and then click back on the select button.

Open up the EDIT OBJECTS PANEL (the panel of twirl down menus on the right) and go near to the bottom and look for the tulip and the words CREATE OUTLINES AND OFFSETS create offsets and outlines

(make sure you have the letters selected or else the option will be greyed out)

an Outlines and offsets pop up will.  This is the awesome part because you have some good stitch selections and stitch control going on.  outlines

If you look at the pop up, you can do object outlines and/or offset outlines, and each has its own selections.

Object outlines:  If you want the object outlined, then select this option by ticking the check box.  This will add an outline to the text in this example, but it will work for any object.  You can select the type of stitch too – from backstitch, motif, satin line, single run, stem stitch or triple run, depending on the look that you want.  The next drop down menu is for the thread color for the outline.  After that, you have the choice on what you want done with overlapping objects:

1… individual outlines – all outlines created will be full outlines

  1.  common outlines – the intersecting outlines will be welded or combined into a single outline
  2. trimmed outlines – the overlapped portions of outlines will be trimmed by the overlapping objects.

Each selection will give you a different look.  Go ahead, try each of them!

The next area is OFFSET OUTLINES.   Offset outlines are outlines of the object that are stepped or spaced away from the object that you are offsetting.  you can select the size of the offset and the number of offsets that you want to add.

Next you can pick the color of the offsets

The last part is what to do with multiple objects from the offset:

  1.  individual offsets – all offsets created will be full offsets
  2. Common offsets – the intersecting offsets will be welded/combined into a single offset.

Depending on the look that you want you can select either one – the welding makes a very cool effect.

Once you have made your selections, click OK. Taa-Daa!  Isn’t that awesome???

knockout stitches

In this picture you can see that OML Embroidery is outlined (close to the letters) with a running stitch in green.  The other green lines are the offset lines.

Each of the green offset lines are separate objects.  That means that once you have created them, you can change them like any other object!  You can click up top to make them a fill stitch, or keep them as outline and change the stitches to a motif stitch.

If you want to do knockdown stitches – select one of the offset lines, change it to a fill stitch and then change the density – you have more stitch control so you can make the stitches less dense to flatten the loft of the garment that you are working on.  These stitches are especially effective with towels and “furry” materials – it makes the embroidery look awesome!

outlines and outlines

of course I played around with the offset lines a little bit 🙂

  1.  I changed the offset lines to a motif stitch.
  2. I changed the first offset line to a fill stitch and then played around with the different kinds of tatami stitches until I found one that I liked.
  3. I clicked on Create Outlines and Offsets again and created an outline for the green tatami stitches, just to give it an awesome look – i changed the color to red, too.

There you have it!!  That is how to make outlines and offsets quickly and easily in Hatch!  Once you make an offset, its easy to make your own “knockdown” stitches with more stitch control!



Gradient fills are awesome – and generally difficult to accomplish.  And if you can do them correctly, they are hard to see on screen.  Wilcom Hatch has all of this covered, and more.

I have had a bit of a hard time with gradient fills in other software – they are usually a bit complicated and I don’t get the results that I want – I can handle complicated and I can figure it all out – but when its all said and done, its not enough of a gradient to blend the thread colors like I wanted to.  Also, I don’t always want a gradient going from top to bottom, I want the gradient from side to side, and even at an angle.

If you have not used gradient fills in your embroidery, now is the time using Wilcom Hatch.  I get the exact results that I wanted, plus its easy to make changes with the gradient – lots of stitch control as well as the angle of the fill can be changed too!  If you don’t know what a gradient fill is, here is a screen shot of the one I was working on for the video:

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 2.21.26 PM.png

You can see by the picture that the top and the bottom of the square is darker than the rest:  thats a gradient – you could say that its almost a shading fill!  The top and the bottom parts are more dense – that means that there are more stitches closer together in the top and the bottom, and the density gradually gets thinner or less dense – and then in the middle the density is pretty open – a nice light and airy stitching in the middle.  The again the stitches gradually gets thicker, until the bottom part is the normal density.  It is a great effect to use on just about any design – of course, make sure that your gradient section is large enough for the gradient to actually show – the bigger the better for this one – the larger object will show the gradual stepping of the density much better.

Thats quick and easy to do.  The next problem is – what if you don’t want the gradient to go top and bottom?  I guess you could rotate the shape and mess around like that, but really if you rotate this shape its going to be different – longer top and bottom rather than side to side- so then you will have to change some nodes to make the shape the same.  Nah, I can’t be bothered to have to do all of that.  Wilcom Hatch has a great solution – change the angle lines to change the gradient.  Just like that, and I love gradients again!Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 2.21.10 PM.png

BOOM!  THERE IT IS.  the angle line is shown with nodes outside the object itself, so you can easily move stuff around to get the look that you want.  That is an amazing amount of stitch control – and I like it!!

So there you have it GRADIENT FILLS that are easy to do, and completely custom, too!  If you would like step by step instructions, check out my quick tip video below.


Another awesome stitch effect that is available on Wilcom Hatch:  RADIAL STITCHES.  If you don’t know what radial stitches are, keep reading!  Its a great effect that adds dimension, interest and complexity to any embroidery design.

Radial stitches are similar to contour stitches, in that they move around in a radius from a point.  One of the big differences is where that centre point is located.  In Wilcom Hatch, you can actually move that centre point anywhere you want in the design, even off the design!  This means that you can have the stitches radiating out from any point that you want – and you can change the entire look of the design.

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 11.10.01 AM

In the picture above, I used a tatami stitch with a pattern and set the centre point outside of the first oval, and then used the circle copy feature to make this flower.  As you can see, the ovals merged and the radial stitch still kept its pattern!  I added a plain tatami circle in the middle, and just like that I have a flower – an interesting flower that has a pattern, style dimension and interest!  For a 1 minute flower, i think it looks pretty good!!!

In the picture below, i have set up the oval:  under digitize tools, draw a circle and then apply the radial stitches to it, then use the reshape tool to move the centre point to just below the bottom end of the oval.

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 11.11.11 AM

After the oval shape element has been set up, then I went to the layout panel and picked the Circle Copy tool and played around with it until i got the shape that I wanted – a pretty little flower.  I merged all of the ovals into one piece to create my cute little flower embroidery.

Check out this quick tip video and see the Radial Stitch in action!


YES.  THE RIPPLE STITCH IS IN WILCOM HATCH.  The ripple stitch is one of the most requested stitches- for a good reason – its truly that amazing!  While you can reproduce this sitch manually in some programs, it doesn’t look as good and is generally quite difficult to accomplish.  NOT ANY MORE!  YOU CAN DO THE RIPPLE STITCH IN ONE CLICK.   Oh, I know that everyone is going to love this one – its not just me being super enthusiastic about a stitch effect, this is a big one!

What is the ripple stitch?  It is similar to the contour stitch, in that it stays with the contour of the object that you are using, but it spirals out from the centre of the object in a way that makes the final design have amazing depth and shape – and is really cool to see, too.  It is a nice line stitch, but with a few different elements to it – it follows along the contour, changes spacing and gives an effect that you will love!  In a basic style with no changes – this is what the ripple stitch does to a basic flower shape:

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 2.57.00 PM


Look at the contours, look at the different density and the different stitch widths – all from one click.  Now this example is just from a simple flower design that we made using an oval shape and the Circle copy in the layout tab.  We merged all the shapes together and then clicked on the ripple stitch – and this is what Wilcom Hatch does with it.  Wow.

Here is the same design, zoomed in a little bit more, so you can see the detail of the lines and density:

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 3.04.32 PM

I don’t know about you, but I can think of a million times that this would have added the wow-factor to some simple designs!!  It looks great,even on a simple design like this basic flower.  I keep thinking about Halloween designs – this effect would look awesome on a skull or a pumpkin.  How about different threads?  you could use variegated threads – the design works it way out from the centre, so i think variegated thread would add something even more to this design.  Can you imagine??  I can’t wait to stitch this out on my machine.  And Christmas designs??  The fun we are going to have with Wilcom Hatch for the holidays!!

So the possibilities are endless – the ripple stitch s the stitch of the year – and everyone wants this stitch – its that good.  Check out this quick tip video to see exactly how the ripple stitch is created, and how you make make adjustments quickly and easily: