Do this if you want a faster embroidery computer!!

The Economical Embroiderer here, bringing you important computer information:  clean up your computer desktop and keep your embroidery designs organized!

OK, that may not seem like a big deal, but eventually, it may be.  I am making it a part of the Economical Embroiderer series because eventually having tons of embroidery designs on your computer will take up too much space and everything will slow down.  If you take the time now to organize your designs and keep up with it every time you download a new set of designs, it will take up less room, and your computer will be faster for longer.  True story!

DON’T HAVE EMBROIDERY DESIGNS ON YOUR DESKTOP.  Yep, people don’t realize this, but the more you have on your desktop, the longer it takes your computer to boot up and get ready to work.  Keep your desktop clean!  On all 4 of my computers, I have only 4 folders on my desktop – and my computer functions very well.  All of the icons for the programs that you use are simply shortcuts – get rid of them they are just clutter.  All you need to do is RIGHT-CLICK on your programs, and select “pin to taskbar” and they will appear at the very bottom of your screen, for easy access.  Then all you have to do is take the icon and drop it in the recycle bin.  Do that with all of your programs and clean up your desktop.

FILES ON YOUR DESKTOP NEED TO BE CLEANED UP TOO.   As I said above, keep your desktop nice and tidy.  If you have a ton of embroidery designs, you need to organize them on your desktop, or better yet, take them right off of your desktop!  If you must have them on the desktop, then organize them by putting them in folders.  You can create a folder easily.  All you have to do is RIGHT-CLICK anywhere on the desktop and a list will pop up (similar to the image above) and you can navigate down to NEW FOLDER and name it!  That’s it!  Then all you have to do is drag and drop (left click and hold) all of your designs into that folder.  Double click on the folder and it will open up to show you all of the embroidery designs that you have put in there!  Now your desktop should look a bit better – some folders, a file here or there, but you should be able to see the background now!  If you can’t see your background picture, keep organizing!

ORGANIZE THE REST OF YOUR EMBROIDERY FILES:  At this point, it may be a huge job to get organized BUT if you can find the exact embroidery design that you are looking for in a short amount of time, then it is worth it – time is money, and saving time before embroidery leaves you more time for embroidery, right?  Well, that is how I see it – I don’t really want to waste time finding stuff when I can use that time to create and stitch.

People ask what is the best way to organize all of your files.  By digitizer?  by design name?  by design subject?  My answer is YES.  Each of those or even a combination of those ideas will work just fine.  It really depends on what you like.   If you would like to know how I do it, hold on because it is a big job. I have been creating embroidery designs for around 15 years, and I have a big BIG list of embroidery files on my computer.  The list is so big that I have around 8TB of storage space on my computer.  No, I don’t use nearly all of that, but I can if I need to.  I think probably if I wasn’t so organized, that hard drive would be filling up faster.  Here is how I keep organized.

I keep work files separate from “fun” embroidery files.  That is the first “branch” of my folder organization.  WORK is one, and Embroidery is the second one, and everything is organized into those two big files.  If I am working, I am only using the work folder.  Yes, there are many subfolders, etc, but I don’t have to see any embroidery files that are not work-related, so that saves me time.

Let’s look into my Embroidery organization methods.  This file folder contains my non-work related digitizing files as well as files from other digitizers.  I have some files that are organized into general categories that are easy to find.  For example Dogs, Cats, Christmas, Halloween etc.  That way if I am looking for some Halloween designs, I am going to have a whole folder full of them.  I also have a few digitizers with separate folders.  I do that for a few reasons – time-saving would be the main one.  When I am downloading designs from Kreative Kiwi, it is easier and faster to put them in one folder directory.  I also want to know exactly where Kreative Kiwi’s designs are because I know they will all stitch perfectly, so I don’t have to worry about any of those designs – I have confidence and I just pick what I want and send it directly to my machine.   I do have some other digitizer’s work from big companies, and I like to put them in separate folders so I know where they came from.

If I am starting a big project or planning a big project, I like to make a folder specifically for that project so I can keep everything in one place.  All the designs that I am thinking about using, I COPY them into that folder.  If I don’t end up doing the project, I can simply delete the entire folder, and I am only deleting copies of files – the original files are still organized on my computer.  It’s a simple way to keep organized and keep the right designs exactly where you need them.

KEEPING DUPLICATES OF THE SAME FILES:   When you are downloading embroidery files, you quite often get ALL versions of that file:  PES, DST, JEF, and XXX (singer, if you didn’t know).  While it may not seem like a lot of extra files, if you are downloading files that are separated into sizes too, you may have a few extra hundred files that you really don’t need.    After a while, that can quickly pile up and take up a lot of space on your computer.  The solution is pretty easy and fast and if you do this EVERY TIME you download files, it will simply become a habit.  All you have to do is delete the files that you don’t want!  Personally, I only keep the EMB files (of course) and PES files, because I only have Brother Machines.  You may want to keep the DST files, as that is the commercial version and you can use it on most machines.  But cutting out a few hundred files on each design will end up saving you space on your computer.

Computer housekeeping is important and will help you get stitching faster – and a faster computer, too.

COMMENT on how many files/folders you have on your desktop and how many embroidery designs you have on your computer.

Here are my answers:  4 folders and no files on my desktop and….more than 400,000 embroidery files. Can you beat that???

Until next time,

Keep organized!

The Economical Embroiderer

SueB

Do you speak embroidery?

Embroidery Lingo

Let’s talk embroidery!  Do you know the lingo?  There are quite a few embroidery terms, short forms, and verbs that we need to be using properly to speak the embroidery lingo properly.  Using the correct terms will help everyone understand your comment or question better, and it will also help you make more professional posts and statements.  Also added in this list are some things that you should be doing in everyday embroidery.  Embroidery is a skill that you must learn!   I am not the Grammar Police, but I do see the same mistakes made over and over again – and as we discussed in the blog two weeks ago, presenting yourself and your business in a professional manner AT ALL TIMES, in every post and everything you do online is paramount to increasing your business.  After all, first impressions are lasting impressions – and social media works the same – even if we are not in person anymore, people do read what you write, and if you don’t present yourself properly in a professional manner, that is what everyone will remember.

I know everyone can read their manuals and find out these definitions, but I am not going to copy and paste any manual – I am going to explain everything in terms that everyone can understand, somewhat of a guideline to speaking and doing embroidery.

Stabilizer:  This is what you use under your embroidery to provide stability for your embroidery designs on your machine.   There are many kinds of stabilizer, just as there are many different fabrics:  you must make sure that your stabilizer is the correct thickness and type BEFORE you hoop.  Hatch has an “auto fabric” feather that will tell you exactly what stabilizer you need to use. Listen to Hatch’s suggestions and your embroidery will look much better, and last much longer too!

Hooping:  I know I sound like a broken record here, but I am going to keep saying it until everyone has heard me.  HOOPING IS PART OF EMBROIDERY.  You must hoop stabilizer AND the garment/material that you want to embroider.  Floating is an option and yes, it may work, and it may look OK, but it is certainly not as good as it should be.  Seriously.  I am confident that my embroidery will look great through many wash and regular wear – because I have the proper stabilizer and I have hooped everything properly.  I go for the best, so I take the time to do my best.  Learn how to hoop.  Some projects may be difficult, but it will be worth it!

WSS:  This stands for water-soluble stabilizer and it is one of the most over-used stabilizers around.  It is not actually a stabilizer – it does not stabilize your garment/fabric in any way.    WSS was designed mainly for FSL, and that is what you should be using it for!  You can also use it to help hold the stitches up (a bit) when you are stitching items like towels or anything with a high nap, but you will get much better results with a light fill stitch, stitching first to hold down the nap (also called Hatch Smash).  You do NOT need to use WSS for stitching designs on t-shirts or sweatshirts or jeans.  You are simply wasting money and time.

FSL:  Free Standing Lace is one of my favorite things to do in embroidery, as long as the embroidery is designed well.  The FSL design is made up of only thread – that is to say that you are not embroidering on any material, just some WSS, and when you have finished the design, you soak the design in water and wash the WSS away and you are left with a beautiful design.   I have noticed over the years that FSL designs have changed quite a bit!  I have done a few designs, and my machine was not happy going through layers upon layers of thread to stitch through. I do not continue to stitch when my machine doesn’t like it – I am not going to break or wear my machine down because of dense stitching.  When you are stitching your FSL design, your machine should be happily stitching, no banging, no thread breaks, and no design separation.  I have noticed quite a few people posting designs where the FSL has come apart, or parts have separated from the design, and even been “punched out” of the WSS before it is done!  That is not how FSL is supposed to be!  Some FSL designs are merely a crosshatch design with satin stitches over top and a few layers in between too – while they may be nice-ish, they are not going to hold up well and they are not going to make my machine happy.

ITH – In the Hoop Embroidery Designs: ITH is the short form for in the hoop – which means that the embroidery design is comipleteted in the hoop. Some ITH designs need some sewing when they are finished stitching, but they are still considered ITH. You can make bags, purses, zipper purses and even cute stuffed animals. Anything goes! My favorite place for ITH designs is Kreative Kiwi! Her designs are fantastic! If you want some fantastic machine embroidered ITH mugrugs or coasters, Kreative Kiwi is the place to be. You will love doing ITH once you try it!!

IT’S GRAMMAR TIME!

Embroidery vs. Embroider.  Ok, this is a bit of a grammar police paragraph, but it is worth mentioning.  Some people write “I am going to embroidery this design”.  Embroider is a verb (verbs show action) so the correct sentence is “I am going to embroider this design”.  Embroidery is the name of the skill that we are learning “I am learning embroidery”  or “I am learning to embroider” are both correct.  Of course, there are exceptions to all grammar rules, but that is the basics.

Digitizing:  I see this word spelled incorrectly all the time.  You digitize, or you learn to digitize, and I am digitizing.  It is not digitalizing.  Grammar police, again, but there it is.

Jump stitches:  When you are learning to digitize, one of your main goals is to get rid of as many jump stitches as you can.  Jump stitches are literally “jumping” from one object to another.  A jump stitch can be long (a no-no) or shorter (between letters in a word), some are acceptable and some are not.   Jump stitches between letters are fine, as long as they are not too long!  Again, if I am doing an embroidery design and there are huge jump stitches (my old single needle machine did not trim any stitches) I will STOP stitching that design.  If you have jump stitches everywhere, your needle foot may get caught on them and you might break your machine. If I am working on one of the big machines which trims, I still hear and see all that trimming going on, so I know that the design was not optimized properly – and that means that the digitizer did NOT take the time to digitize properly.

Connections or connecting stitches:  These stitches are what you need to eliminate the jump stitches to keep your design optimized.  You must learn optimization if you are a digitizer – you must!  You need to make running stitch connections between objects so you don’t have an excessive amount of trims or jumps.  Anything less than a maximum effort on optimization is not acceptable.

Optimization and optimizing your designs:  This should be the final check of your design that you are about to stitch.  Do you need to make connections with running stitches?  Is your design set out in a logical manner?  Do you have tons of unnecessary color changes?  Do you have tons of jump stitches?  Does your machine stitch one color at the top, then trim, and then move to the bottom and back up again? If your machine is doing any of these things, your design is not optimized and therefore not finished!  Take the time and finish it!

Design Registration:  This term has to do with your hooping skills, which includes using the correct stabilizer.  If your design is “out of registration” that means things don’t line up, your fill stitch is pulled back from your outline, or things are misaligned.  These issues are not usually the digitizer’s fault, more often than not it is the embroiderer’s fault!  If you don’t hoop everything and stabilize properly things will move around and pull.  Keep things looking sharp and exactly where they should be by learning hooping skills.

Hopefully, that will helps some people that are struggling with some of these terms.  If you don’t understand WSS and what it stands for, the whole process of FSL will be confusing!  Hopefully explaining these terms will help some of the new people understand some of the terminologies that we use in embroidery.

Now you speak some of the embroidery lingo!

Until next time,

Happy Digitizing

Sue Brown

Dream Machine 2 – scan and stitch handwriting!

Can you digitize embroidery without embroidery software? Yes you can with My Design Center and a Brother Dream Machine 2! All you have to do is scan the writing, fix it up a bit and stitch! It’s that easy! Have you tried this yet? Let me know in the comments!

Did you know you could scan handwriting right in the hoop and the Brother Dream Machine 2 can turn the handwriting into embroidery? Yes, you can, and it looks amazing!! When you purchased your Brother Dream Machine 2, you recieved a bunch of hoops. One of the hoops was thick and had some green magnets attached to it. That is the scanning hoop, and that is what we are using in today’s video. Take a plain piece of paper and draw a picture, or create a saying using a thick sharpie pen. Keep it simple and make sure there is a clear contrast between the handwriting and the paper. If you used colored paper or even lined paper, you will have a more difficult time digitizing the handwriting on the Brother Dream Machine 2 because it will scan and recognize the lines too. Once you have your handwriting in place, put the paper on the special scanning hoop and load it onto your embroidery machine. The special scanning hoop loads the exact same way as other hoops, so this part is easy. Once the scanning hoop is in place, go to your “my design center” on the screen of the Dream Machine 2 and select line drawing. Then you can start scanning! This takes a few minutes to do and a few minutes more to recognize the writing, but it is fun to watch 🙂 .

Once the handwriting is scanned, you are ready to convert it into embroidery. I think the stitches look best as satin stitches, but you can play around with different looks. you have a chance to edit the embroidery design right on the dream machine 2. You can move, resize and change the satin stitches to suit your embroidery needs. Once you get the embroidery design how you like it, remove the scanning hoop and replace it with a regular embroidery hoop. I hooped some cutaway stabilizer and some groovy fabric and use my Snap Hoop Monster 8×8 magnetic embroidery hoop to make things easier. yes, I love my snap hoop magnetic hoops – they make embroidery so much easier. Now load the snap hoop monster on to the dream Machine 2, load up your favorite embroidery thread and get stitching and watch the embroidery magic happen!