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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New Sfumato Stitch Embroidery Tutorial

After two weeks of hard work working, I have finally finished the Learn to Digitize video on Embird’s Sfumato stitch! Whew!  Not that the program itself is that difficult to do (because it isn’t once you get the hang of it) but it was hard to put it all together, from start to finish on how to do things properly and easily.  Once you do things the Sfumato Stitch way, it all comes together!   And I got it all together, and this tutorial takes you from start to finish on how to create your own picture stitch embroidery designs.

This is the picture that I started with:  a simple close up picture from my iPhone of my best buddy, Gallifrey the Weenie Dog, (aka Gally or Frey).  This picture in its original form is high resolution to be able to get in all the details we need  in creating this embroidery design using Sfumato Stitch.

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The video tutorial is a beginner Sfumato Stitch video so we will be going over the basics: how to pick a picture, which pictures will work and which pictures will not and why, picture resolutions and some Sfumato rules that you have to do. And, if you stick to the Sfumato Rules, you can have the same results with your pictures! There is nothing that adds more WOW to your design than making a beautiful stitch out that looks exactly like your model!  Its picture embroidery!

sfumato stitch embroidery, picture stitch embroidery, create your own embroidery

Gallifrey looks so good!

Gallifrey looks so good!

Step outside the regular embroidery box and learn a whole new technique with a new set of embroidery rules and finally learn Sfumato stitch!

So grab the tutorial and get started on making your own picture embroidery!
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Embird Update: 10.17

Have you updated Embird yet?  you should be on 2016 version 10.17 – the last update was on March 16, 2016.  If you have not already updated your software, you should do it!

There are are few bugs that they have fixed:

Embird is now able to process the new Pfaff .VP4 format. It will convert to and also from this format.
Fixed bug in .FCM format.
Fixed bug in Iconizer for processing .SVG files and .EMB files.
Fixed bug in Alphabet and Font Engine plug-in causing stacking of objects.

New changes:

New function “Insert Knockdown Stitching” added to color popup menu in Editor.
Support for Janome Cutwork Needles 1-4 and Viking Cutwork Needles 1-4 added to color popup menu in Editor.

Good news about adding a whole new feature to Embird – adding knockdown stitching to your stitch files!  Thank you Embird!!

But wait, what are knockdown stitches??  Knockdown stitches are somewhere between an underlay stitch and a fill stitch. Knockdown stitches can be very handy, indeed.   They are stitched first on a design, and knockdown stitches are meant to make a firm base for your actual embroidery.  A good example is if you are going to embroider a design on a towel – if you simply embroider the design using backing, you will find that the nap of the towel may just show through your embroidery!  Yucch!  Nobody wants that look.  Yes, you can use WSS (water soluble) as a topper for the embroidery (you can float the WSS on the towel before you embroider, and it will help the stitches stay on top of the  fabric).  However, WSS can be messy and awkward and might not necessarily have the clean look that you want.  The solution is knockdown stitches.  Knockdown stitching will lay a nice base of not-too-dense stitches down before your actual embroidery – providing the perfect place for your embroidery – with no material nap showing through!  How awesome is that?  Knockdown stitches are simple to do, and Embird has provided a quick and easy method to do them – the option for knockdown stitches is right in editor, just a click away!

I have created this quick tip video to show you how to create your knockdown stitches and some of the features in the stitches – the parameters you can change and what settings to use.

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Class Number 8: Appliqué Cupcake

Check out this new appliqué cupcake design!  Join us for this class and learn to create this awesome design.  This is an intermediate/advanced class and we go over quite a few skills i this class.  We first create the bottom appliqué (the cupcake cup) and then the fun top of the cupcake and then we add the details.  Some well placed and sized column stitches, some swirly bean stitches and a few icons, making the proper manual connections as we go along.  We work with density and backward paths too.  In the end, we finish up the design with some satin stitches to complete the appliqué.  With all the proper connections, this design will stitch out amazing and look great.

 

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Class 8: Applique Cupcake

Upcoming class:  cute applique cupcake

CLASS 8 CUPCAKE 2

This is going to be a fun class1  Lets make this awesome appliqué cupcake design!  This is a relatively complicated appliqué design with two appliqué fabrics in one design.  We will go though all the steps of the appliqué for both pieces:  outline stitch, takedown stitch and then the final satin stitch – we will be using the column stitch to make some of the details look better.  After the appliqué fabric has been tacked down, we will add some details to make the whole design more fun – add some more detail work such as pretty hearts and maybe some icing swirls to make the design complete.

Keep learning about appliqué and join us for this awesome class!  Follow this blog, follow us on Facebook and join our Facebook group, Embird Happy Digitizing…don’t miss another class.

Making things clear class

We have had quite a few questions regarding our Making things clear class video, and I would like to, well, make things clear.

This video is about Embird Digitizing software – and it is a helpful video for everyone out there.  It covers some basic ideas as well as some more advanced ideas.  It its a compilation of questions frequently asked on our website, via email and on our Facebook group “embird happy digitizing” (where we discuss and post work from the classes).  We are around to answer your questions, but we thought a video that answered the questions, and SHOWED you the answers would be very helpful.   So that is exactly what we did!

Some of the highlights of the videos include the differences between a stitch file and a native EOF file – a file that you created from scratch in Studio – and why you can’t bring in a PES file into studio and expect it to work like a native EOF file.

We talk about pull compensation – what it is – a few examples – and how to properly use pull compensation, including using underlay.

We talk about density – when to change the density and when to leave the density where it is, and why messing with it can make a mess of your work.

We talk about hole cutting, and common mistakes that can be made with hole cutting – why you may get errors with your work, and exactly how to fix them.

We have tried to answer your questions and show you the answers – by the time you finish the video, you will have a clear understanding on these subjects- using examples and showing you clearly why some techniques don’t work very well, and how to avoid having issues with your work.

Enjoy this video and pick up on all the information that it offers.  Coming up this week, class number 8 – its going to be a cool appliqué class with lots of detail work.   Class is set for release on Wednesday, March 23, 2016.  You won’t want to miss either of these classes.

You can find Class Number 7 at OMLdigitizing.com

 

 

Class #7: Making things clear

New video just released:  Making things clear.  This video is rated E for everyone!  In this video, we talk about things that people wonder about:  pull compensation, correctly making holes, density issues and how to change the density and why and some common mistakes when using stitch files and .EOF files.  If you want to understand these items and more, then this is the video for you!  I show you examples of pull compensation issues and explain how pull comp works and how to avoid issues.  I explain with examples how to properly cut holes and how to make them work properly.  I talk quite a bit about density and how to change density and what the number actually mean, plus so much more.

This video will answer many of the questions that digitizers have, and will explain how everything works.  If you want answers, this is your video!

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Class #6 now uploaded

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We have uploaded the newest class!  and its a good one!

APPLIQUE + APPLIQUE +IN THE HOOP

We listened to everyone saying the they would like more advanced classes, especially in appliqué – so that is exactly what we have for you this week – an advanced appliqué class!  Awesome!

Join us for this class and you will learn quite a few things – two methods of appliqué and how to digitize for each method, we create two appliqués on the same project and tie it all together with some in the hoop work to create this beautiful bookmark just in time for Easter.  In this class, we will create the bookmark from scratch – only using a simple egg template (because I can’t draw an egg, for some reason) and then we build the bookmark from the beginning.  Of course we like to think outside the box, so there are a few suggestions how you can create your own variations on the design.  We use motif stitches, run stitches and we change width and density to make the whole design work.

So check out this awesome Embird Appliqué In the Hoop lesson, and learn how to create an advanced appliqué in the hoop project.

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