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

YOU FLOAT A BOAT, NOT STABILIZER – Hooping skills 101

Many years ago, when I was just starting with embroidery I read some information about embroidery and running a successful business, and the thing I remember most was this:
“YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR HOOPING SKILLS”
That made a lot of sense to me at the time, but I didn’t realize the vast importance of this statement. For example, you can have a beautiful design that looks amazing on the computer, and when you stitch it out, it looks terrible. Why? It all comes down to your hooping skills! Hooping skills do not mean just hooping things straight or hooping difficult items, hooping skills also means knowing the proper stabilization for your items that you are embroidering. Hooping skills makes the difference between OK embroidery and WOW embroidery. Which brings us to the topic of today’s blog: FLOATING STABILIZER.
The message I would like to get across is “floating is for boats, not for stabilizer”. This is what I hear often in many, many groups “ I hooped 1 layer of cutaway and floated tearaway, and it still looks awful”. Yes, yes it will because that piece of tearaway is doing zero good. ZERO. Other than making your embroidery thicker, and possibly pulling down the stitches on the top to compensate for the thickness, floating is not doing any good.
Let’s look at this logically. What is stabilizer? Why do we even use stabilizer? Stablizer is a type of material that makes the pretty material more stable for you to embroider on. That is the key there, STABLE – meaning strong and sturdy. If you are floating something and not hooping it, how is it helping to make your fabric more stable? That floated piece is not holding your fabric still – it’s floating around under your hoop…floating free, like the wind, not providing stability to anything! If you hoop two layers of tearaway or hoop 1 layer of tearaway and float a second, which one do you think will be better? Guaranteed it is the 2 hooped layers because they are helping to make the embroidery more stable and strong, which translates into clear and perfectly placed embroidery.

Some designs that you may have will have a small black outline to them. And most of the time when you stitch this out, that small black outline will be out of registration. Why? Because the material wasn’t stable enough for the embroidery, that’s why! When things go out of registration it is because the fabric has MOVED because it isn’t stable enough. Having the material move 2mm to the left is going to be an issue for that small black line! And, if that line is out of registration, it will make your whole embroidery design look awful. The solution is not to blame the digitizer as most do, the solution is to provide more stability to your fabric in the hoop!
One of the things I spend my “free” time doing is teaching  people the proper way of embroidery so that especially on your own designs, you get amazing results. People float all of the time, and some digitizers are putting floating in their instructions…and you are setting your customers up for a fail, and they will complain, and you are not doing your digitizing any justice by instructing people to float stabilizer to try and make your work look better. For best results, HOOP IT.

You can take your cues from things that are right in front of you. For example, Hatch and other embroidery software  has this cool feature where you can pick a fabric type (cotton, leather, polyester) and Hatch will actually tell you what that fabric requires for stabilizers!! It is all right in front of you!! And please take note, not one of the stabilizer recommendations say to float anything – not a single one.

Ahhhh, the answer is right there!!

So what does that tell you? That tells you that the professional embroiderers that have been the top of the embroidery business for 30 years are not recommending floating any stabilizer!!! Why would you not follow their recommendations? (I mean that jokingly, of course, don’t take me too seriously here, but it is a good question!!) Wilcom knows their stuff, they have been doing it, and doing it well for 30 years, and they are the top of the “embroidery food chain” for a reason. So listen to them, and stop floating anything. You can float a boat, or a duck can float, but please don’t float your stabilizer!!

Hooping skills include being able to hoop properly, with the right tension, having the hoop tight enough, placement of the hoop so that the embroidery is straight AND USING THE RIGHT STABILIZER. And all of these things make a big difference to your embroidery.
Let’s say it one more time together “YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR HOOPING SKILLS “…. And say that to yourself each and every time you embroider a design – are my hooping skills correct? Do I need to do some research on what kind of stabilizer is correct? And when you have a design that has stitched and doesn’t look quite right, it may be the digitizer, but more often than not, it’s user error for lack of the correct stabilizer.
Let’s do this right – do not float stabilizer and let’s have some awesome embroidery stitching out!

Hooping skills: your embroidery will thank you!
Happy Digitizing!

Sue

aka The Economical Embroiderer

Want to learn more?  check out my YouTube channel OMLEmbroidery.  Everything I do is free. Yep, FREE.  100 + videos and counting. Learn and have fun.

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Beware of some Youtube Videos

This blog post might be a bit of a rant, but also somewhat of a warning, too.  I was trying to do some research on some new techniques for embroidery (reverse applique and the ever intriguing cross stitch), and I came upon some videos that shocked me.

OK, let’s start by saying that I do have many many years experience, but I don’t know everything, ever.  I am ALWAYS up for learning new things.  Don watches each and every video that we produce, for quality control, but also that he learns something each time!  I am far from a know it all, and I am always open to learning a new technique, reviewing old techniques and even going back to beginner digitizing to refresh my skills – it’s a never-ending need for knowledge.  It’s just how I do things 🙂

Enter Youtube.

Youtube is a  fantastic venue for learning (I have many youtube instructional videos), as long as you are careful about what you are watching.  I was going through some videos, again, trying to glean some information on a few things, and I was shocked and appalled, and frankly a bit worried about some of the videos that I found.  I called Don over to watch them with me, just to make sure I was not exaggerating anything – it’s always good to have a second opinion.   Don was just as shocked as I was!  I was in a bit of a panic thinking of the new digitizers out there possibly thinking that this was how to digitize embroidery and how many serious and frustrating issues they would be having if they learned from this video.

While there are many, probably thousands of excellent embroidery tutorials on youtube, you have to be careful what you are looking at, that’s for sure.   You need to use your own judgement as to whether the tutorials are valid or not.  However, when I search out a title “how to digitize a design…” I expect some valid instruction!  Of course, there are many ways of accomplishing the same task, some are shorter, and some are longer ways around – and those types of ideas are not wrong, just different – everyone has their own ways of accomplishing the same goal.  Those are not the videos that I am talking about – I am speaking about the videos that if you follow their instruction, you will be going backward in your embroidery skills!  Yes, I found more than one of those, and the person or people doing these videos portrayed themselves as Digitizers or embroiderers!  Apparently from the videos, they had no idea what they were doing – and the mistakes that this person was “teaching” were beyond errors – they were terrible ideas that if you incorporated them into your designs, you would not be able to stitch them out!  And if you kept on using these “skills” you would not be able to accomplish any embroidery!  I AM SERIOUS.   WOW.   Perhaps if the person titled the video “watch me struggle through a design, and learn with me” or something like that, you might have had an idea of what you were learning.  Not so.  One of the videos started with “how to…” implying that this was a way to digitize.  No, not even close.   Do you see what I am saying?  Pay attention to what you are watching in general – just because it is listed as a “how to” video, doesn’t mean that it is telling you how to do something.

Ok. Ok. So don’t be picking on me for saying any of this – I am well aware that everyone has to start somewhere, and there is nothing wrong with that – but if you are just starting out, are you qualified to offer instruction?  Yes, if you have discovered a new tool or have a particular way of doing something that you know how to do, and have stitched it out – yes.  Absolutely yes, share that with everyone!   Those make great videos.  But if you are making up new rules on how embroidery works, you may have to assess your ability to teach, and maybe work on building up your skills instead?  If you can’t digitize a design, then should you be teaching someone else to digitize a design?

One of the first clues as to the level of your “teacher”  is what designs that they use.  If they are using a design that STILL HAS A WATERMARK ON IT, then you should probably move on to another video…if they offer you the design to work on, then definitely move on to the next video.  Why?  Because you should not digitize from a design that has a watermark on it for many reasons – the first being that it is a copyrighted design – hence the watermark!  If they are offering it to you for “free” the have no right to do this!  Watermarked art would tell me that this person has no consideration for any rules, and they don’t understand how everything works – or they don’t care.  That may be a bit rough, but please don’t digitize designs with a watermark on it – that is meant to give you a clear message – so listen to it!.. Someone teaching a design that is still watermarked also tells me that the did not take any time to plan out their video – and if they didn’t take much time to plan out their video, then how is the video going to be useful to you as a learning tool?

Again I am not saying that all videos are bad on Youtube, there are some excellent, helpful and fun videos out there for digitizing.  I am saying that you need to use your embroidery brain when you are learning from some videos – if the person can’t complete the task at hand, then there are probably mistakes in their video that you don’t want to learn!

In conclusion…pay attention to what you are learning on Youtube videos – pay attention to the technique and skills shown to you.  If it doesn’t seem right, or the teacher can’t finish the task at hand, or there are some red flags, then move on to the next video.  Keep your embroidery skills safe by using the skills that you already have to figure out if the video is valid or will help you learn a new skill or method.

PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU WATCH.  Just because it’s on Youtube, doesn’t mean that a video is educational.  Pay attention and use your judgment and decide if the video is valid or not, do not blindly follow along with what you are seeing.

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Embroidery: Think outside the box, design what you see…

EMBROIDERY INSPIRATION FOR THE WEEKEND:

In our classes and in any video that I produce, I am forever saying THINK OUTSIDE THE EMBROIDERY BOX.  What does that mean?  It means you don’t have to stick to all of the rules or traditions with embroidery, you can think or “see” embroidery differently and come up with designs that are completely original and one of a kind.

Don and I work together ever day, but we see embroidery completely differently! When we both look at a jpeg or a vector design, we see different results in embroidery.  We both think outside the box, just maybe on other sides of the box.  We both do amazing embroidery, but we create completely differently.  Don has an amazing eye for details, and I see thinks in a more artistic fashion, if that makes any sense.  I see bright colors and flowing stitches and everything fancy.   We did an experiment once – a patch customer didn’t exactly know what he wanted from his design.  Don took the picture and worked on it and so did I – the exact same picture – and we came up with completely different custom patch results!!  We had a good laugh over that one – and of course we let the customer decide which one he liked best.    The customer said it was very difficult to decide – they were both good, and both different.

So yes, think outside the embroidery box.  If you have a picture that you really like, what can you do with it?  You can use it as a backdrop for something interesting, you can take elements out of the picture, you can take the “feeling” of the picture and make a whispy – artsy design – or you can add all those elements together and come up with something interesting and different.

Don loves working with redwork and blackwork designs- it seems to be his thing.  And when he looks at a design, he can “pull out” the important parts of the design to make into redwork – not all of the elements of course, but just the ones that will look good.    He took a picture of our friend and his motorcycle and turned it into an embroidery design – and all of the details are in the right place.  We sent a picture of the design to a few of our friends just to test – and they were able to recognize the person in the design – I would say that is the right amount of detail in a design.

So yes, think outside the embroidery box.  When we are outside relaxing, or walking around – we can see embroidery design elements everywhere we go – a flower, some grass, our gardens, the cute weenie dogs we have – anything!  Try it – you might be surprised at what you can come up with.   Snap a picture with your phone – then you have that picture to bring into your embroidery.  It doesn’t matter what embroidery program you are using, the results will be the same:  a one of a kind embroidery design.

burtch redwork.png

WILCOM HATCH: RADIAL STITCHES

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!

Wilcom Hatch Embroidery Software

At OML Embroidery, we are all digitizers and we absolutely love digitizing.  We are also open to new programs, and we are happy to check out different ways of creating awesome embroidery, and are happy to keep growing out software stash.  As of this month, we use Tajima DG15, Embrilliance, Embird and now Wilcom Hatch.  We use all of these programs for daily digitizing and also for creating learning videos.

Keeping an open mind and always doing research, I stumbled upon the (much loved) Wilcom embroidery site – I often check with Wilcom to see if they have anything new – and was super happy to find out that they do have something new, its called HATCH.  I checked out their website and learned everything I could about the software, and then decided to try the demo.  And I have to say, I am impressed.

If you are looking for embroidery digitizing software that is user friendly, tablet friendly and has a great layout AND powerful tools, this is the software for you.  Hatch has all the power of Wilcom with a fantastic interface that makes your digitizing experience easier.  Powerful tools, a great help system and a super easy user interface makes Wilcom Hatch one of the best embroidery programs so far.  I absolutely love it.  The program is fast, easy to use and has all of the bells and whistles that you need.  It is far from a “basic” embroidery digitizing program, but not as complicated as the Wilcom E3 program, I would say that it is somewhere in between – not a simple home embroidery program, but not a high priced commercial program either.  I guess I would have to call it semi-commercial?

I can barely contain my excitement in this video – i even say “groovy” more than once (ha ha)!  This video is an introduction to the software so you can see the brilliant workspace and see how quickly and easily you can find everything that you need.

 

Take a few minutes and check out this video – I am sure you will be as excited as I am about this new embroidery program!

 

#wilcom #wilcomhatch #hatch #wilcomembroidery #wilcomlessons #hatchlessons #embroiderylessons #learnwilcom #wilcomhelp #embroidery #learnhatch #customembroidery #omlembroidery #OML

 

Embrilliance Stitch Artist Classes

We finally took the leap and got the full version of Embrilliance!  It really is a brilliant embroidery program.

We have used the basic program for a little while, but found of course that it is a bit limited for our needs – we are all digitizers with 12+ years experience, so we don’t have much use for simple editing programs – we need to get the full program of everything we do.  So  months later, we finally did it.  And we are happy that we did!!

Our first impressions of the program are WOW.  Just wow.  One of the best features of the program is that it runs natively in Mac – yes, natively – not a program that was “re-designed” for mac, or a program that you have to boot camp or parallels to use, its right there like any other Mac program.  That. Is. AWESOME.  I have an iMac with a whopping 32 gig ram, so i have been itching to run an embroidery program on it.  You can understand why! (its a lot of RAM for one machine – it makes it very powerful and FAST).  And Embrilliance works perfectly so far!

I have a few quick tip videos up on Youtube right now, and I will be working on more and I will have some project tutorials coming up as well.  So, be prepared to learn some cool stuff and be wowed my Embrilliance.

I look forward to sharing my experiences with you, and teaching you how to digitize with this embroidery program.  I have been digging into the program and the learning curve is not too bad.

#embrilliance #embroidery #digitizing #learnembroidery #learndigitizing #embrillianceembroidery #enthousiast #stitchartist
#embrillianceessentials #essentials

 

 

Density and “fixing” files

We often get questions about “fixing” density in files.  Although you can change the density when you are working on EOF files, most of the time the density remains constant, even if you are resizing your objects or moving them around, or both.

The first thing to always remember is that even though you are working on a file in Studio, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is an EOF file.  Sure, you can rename the file .EOF, but it may not have the editing properties of an .EOF file!  For example, if you take a a file in editor, Flower.PES file and bring it into Studio and rename it Flower. EOF, it is still not a native EOF file (it is still a PES stitch file) and all of the editing power of Studio will not work on a stitch file!

So, how can you tell if you can edit a file in Studio?  There are a few ways – if you have CREATED the file in Studio, you will have all of the editing power that Studio can offer to you – including controlling the density.  If you were in editor and brought the file, or parts of the file into Studio, then you do not have a .EOF file, you still have a stitch file and you can’t do much editing.

Going along with the question “how to I fix density” in a file in studio, after many back and forth questions, we come to realize that the person has bought the file from a designer, and wanted to change it in Studio.   They have usually re-sized the file quite a bit, and the density is terrible and makes a complete mess of the file.  The file may look fine in Studio, but stitching it out is a whole other story!

So here are some straight up embroidery rules to live by:

  1.  If you buy embroidery files, remember that you can’t edit those files.   You must contact the designer if you want help changing the size.  Keep in mind that most designers offer the file in different sizes – if you buy the file small one month, and then need it large another time, you have to go back and buy the larger file – there can be big differences from big to small.
  2. IF YOU DIDN’T CREATE IT, don’t mess with it!  You will create a density mess, among other things!
  3. DON’T BRING FILES INTO STUDIO…you can create files in studio, or re-open previously created files in studio and you will not have any density issues.
  4. DON’T STITCH OUT FILES BEFORE CHECKING DENSITY!   When I create a file, i check density, view in 3D and then do the stitch simulator to make sure things are in the right place.

IN CONCLUSION:  Do not change or edit the stitch files that you have bought!  DO NOT BRING THEM INTO STUDIO AND EXPECT THEM TO BE EDITABLE IN STUDIO.  After all, the designer has designed the stitch files, and probably does not want you to make any changes anyways!   Save yourself the frustration and hassle of changing someone else’s files.    Instead of wasting time, effort, thread materials and possibly damaging your machine, do the digitizing yourself and learn the program, or use the design as you have bought it.  Your machine will thank you!

That is all 🙂

 

P.S.  HAPPY DIGITIZING!

 

 

 

Quick Tip video in Embird

New FREE video just released on Youtube:  WORKING WITH FILL STITCHES.  You can check it out here:

Remember to like the video and subscribe to the channel to make sure that you don’t miss any of the new quick tip Embird videos coming soon!