Optimize your objects!
If you have been reading the blog, you will know that I have been diligently working on some typography designs, and loving every minute of it. In the last blog, I outlined some instructions on how I made a great subway design art. You should work with typography and lettering – its quick and easy to do, and if you are using pre-digitized fonts, you will have some great results (as long as you don’t do the lettering too small, but thats a lesson for another day!)
As I was creating and placing my words here and there to create the heart shape for the design, i realized that the words were everywhere!!! I had a million separate objects going in different directions, and my embroidery machine would stitch the top left, go the bottom to stitch, back to the left and then over to the top right. Oh, what a mess that would have been – there would have been jump stitches everywhere, and too many jump stitches makes frustrated embroiderers – you will have a mess on your hands once you stitch, instead of a smooth stitch out with minimal jump stitches. Of course it is not always possible to eliminate all of the jump stitches, but get rid of as many as you can and manually trim out the rest.
When I teach digitizing, the “best” practice when you have a design is to plot it out in your mind in the right order by layers. For example, if you have a picture below of this pretty flower, you need to stitch the dark green first, then the flower. You could either do the light green stitches right after the dark green or you could then stitch the flower petals, etc. If you stitched the flower first, then the dark green stem, you will have the stem on top of the flower! you have to organize and optimize your objects in the right stitching order!
I put best in quotations up there because I don’t want to imply that there is a right way or a wrong way. To me the best way is to put everything in order as i am doing it, so i won’t have to figure it all out when i am done. So for me, that is the best, most efficient way. However, I do realize that beginner digitizers and professional level digitizers too, don’t think this way – they have a hard time digitizing things in the right order – they just feel more comfortable digitizing from the top to the bottom then putting things in the right order. That works too!
The point is, you HAVE TO OPTIMIZE YOUR OBJECTS when you are done digitizing your design, or you will have a mess on your hands and tons of jump stitches. So if you can plot out your design in order (or close to it) go for it, that works for me. If you are like Don and prefers to get at it (and he digitizes just as fast as I do, by the way) then you will have to take the time and put all of your objects in order. Don finds the optimization fun and loves how the embroidery design comes together!
Generally when you are optimizing and organizing your embroidery digitizing, you mainly need to watch for two things (plus a few others): layers and stitch order for jump stitches. As mentioned above you need to move things about so everything stitches in the right order – thats the organization part! after that, you then need to optimize your design. You can make connections instead of jump stitches. This may take a few minutes to complete, but a fully organized and optimized design is a joy to stitch out!!
So, before you send your embroidery design to the machine, check on the stitch simulator that you have optimized your design – check for the end points – you want to try to have them as close as possible to the start point of the next object to avoid a big jump stitch. You can make some connections to avoid most of the jump stitches and make sure you keep everything in the same order so you don’t mess up your layers.
Its seems complicated but if you take it step by step, you stitch outs will be so much better with less “finishing” work to do! Trimming jump stitches is not all that much fun, and I think the final embroidery design looks much better with less trimming.
So the words for the day are OBJECT ORGANIZATION and DESIGN OPTIMIZATION. No matter how your digitize, check your design a few times before stitching.
On that note, HAPPY DIGITIZING (and happy stitching, too)