What stabilizers do I need to get?

The Economical Embroiderer Series: Stabilizer

I have had fun doing the research to become an Economical Embroiderer! 

This week we are talking about stabilizers, and how to be economical with stabilizers.  Some people will go to extreme lengths to save a few pennies on stabilizers, and I am not going to suggest any of these solutions – I will briefly talk about them and why I don’t suggest following those suggestions, but that is going to be it on that subject.  I don’t really want to ruffle those darn feathers today!

START OFF WITH THE BASICS:  When you are starting off building your stabilizer stash, it can be quite overwhelming because there are so many options out there.  Where do you start, let alone how do you save money?   In this situation, my advice would be to start with the basics so you can get doing some embroidery.  The basic stabilizers are cutaway, tear away and WSS (water-soluble stabilizer).  That’s it!  3 rolls and you can get started on any embroidery.  Now there are different weights, sizes, cuts and so many other options for each kind of stabilizer.  I say go for the middleweight and get the fabric type WSS stabilizer, that will get you going.

THE BIGGER THE BETTER:  The only way to really be economical with stabilizer is to purchase the stabilizer in bulk – the bigger the roll the more money you will save.  Again, stick with the basics on cutaway and tear away.  You can really save a lot of money if you purchase larger rolls of stabilizer – for production purposes, we purchase huge rolls of 500 yards of tear-away stabilizer – it’s a massive roll – I only wished it lasted longer!

USE COMMON SENSE AND KNOW YOUR PRICES!  you always have to be careful when making ANY purchases – use common sense and of course, know your prices. If you are purchasing large rolls, make sure the price per yard is less than the smaller rolls.  Also, use your common sense – make sure that what you are purchasing is actually used for embroidery – that is super important – and make sure you will use that particular stabilizer.  Some people have purchased large rolls of stabilizer only to find out that they hate how it hoops or the end results in their hoop.  For that reason, spend the extra money and don’t worry so much about being economical, and purchase a SMALL ROLL of that stabilizer before you purchase the large roll.  Test out the type of stabilizer and make sure it is useful for you – and once you decide that it is, THEN purchase the large roll.  Having a large roll of stabilizer that saved you money and you hate using really is not saving you money in the end, is it?  Know your prices and make sure you are getting a good deal – some stores will just make it look like you are saving money – know your prices and make sure it is a great price.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ROOM FOR LARGER ROLLS:  Yeah, that may seem like a stupid thing to say, but some of the economical rolls can be very large – larger and heavier than you think!  You must be able to use the large rolls, and you must be able to store them somewhere.   In our workroom, we have a large strong table that can support the weight of the roll, and a cutting board underneath it so that we can cut the sizes that we need.  If you don’t have a set up like this,  you may not be able to use a large roll effectively.  Make sure you have room in your workspace and make sure you can get at the stabilizer easily when you need to!

REMEMBER YOU PAY FOR CONVENIENCE: If you purchase pre-cut stabilizer of any sort – even perforated stabilizer of a certain size, remember that you are paying for that convenience.  Sometimes it can be a lot more money per square if it is pre-cut!  Now I am not saying that pre-cut stabilizer is not economical – it certainly can be under some circumstances.  Production would be a good example of when the pre-cut cutaway stabilizer is economical.    If you need to stitch say 40 shirts on your 4×4 hoop, it will save you tons of time to just grab a perfectly sized square of stabilizer and then hoop and go.  In that example, the extra cost of the pre-cut stabilizer is saved in time.  Time is money, and if pre-cut stabilizer will save you time, it will save you money too.  I have a bunch of pre-cut stabilizers left over from our t-shirt production days, and I seriously rarely use it!  It does look great sitting on my shelf though – almost inviting me to do some 4×4 designs once in a while just to use it up!

NOT RECOMMENDED:  Here is where some feathers may get slightly ruffled – but remember this is just the writer’s opinion here.  I don’t think anyone should bother stitching scraps of stabilizer together to be economical, for any reason.  The stabilizer in your embroidery is the foundation of all embroidery – the foundation of your hooping and material.   If that foundation is weakened for any reason (such as running stitches holding it together), then your embroidery is going to be “weaker” as well.  If I have larger pieces leftover from other jobs, I will cut them into 6 x6 squares and save them for the 4×4 hoop, but the rest of the scraps won’t fit into any other hoop,  and those small or medium pieces need to be thrown away.  Remember that your foundation is everything.    Being an economical embroiderer is great, but I don’t think you can take shortcuts with your stabilizer foundation.

KITCHEN PRODUCTS ARE NOT STABILIZERS AND ARE NOT DESIGNED FOR EMBROIDERY ON YOUR EXPENSIVE FINE-TUNED EMBROIDERY MACHINE.  Enough said, right?  Foundations, foundations, foundations.   Coffee filters are for coffee, and you don’t make coffee on your embroidery machine….or do you?

Great embroidery starts with great products that will ensure that your embroidery looks great for a long time!

Until next time,

Sue

The Economical Embroiderer: THE BEST BEGINNER MACHINE


We have talked about saving money here and there, and ways that you can search out some awesome deals for great embroidery accessories. This week, let’s talk about your machine, or if you have more than one, your machines. In my house and workshop, we have lots of machines: Commerical level machines, multi-needle machines, fun older machines (not used for our daily production) and hobby single needle machines that are nice and quiet in my office.


FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU NEED. GET IT. Here is where it already gets tough – what do you need in a machine? What are you planning on doing for your business? You need to have some sort of a plan going on if you are intending to start a business – and NO you do not have to have a multi-needle machine to start a business, but you do need to have a plan. Are you going to be doing mostly baby clothes? Monogramming? Embellishing purses? Once you figure out your plan of action, then you can start narrowing down your machine by what you NEED. There is a difference between NEED and WANT when picking out a machine and being economical about it – you may only be able to get what you need and save the wants for later when your business grows. There is nothing wrong with that – after all, you do have to start somewhere, right?


BELLS AND WHISTLES ARE EXPENSIVE AND LURE YOU INTO AN EXPENSIVE MACHINE. True Story. I have all sorts of cool bells and whistles and extra things on my 10 Needle Brother (named Ragnar) and while some of them are cool and are very useful, some of them really are not. I got a great deal on Ragnar, so I am not worried about the things I don’t use – the machine has paid for itself already. I was not charmed by the extra thingies that the machine had, but I was aware of them so there was no sales pitch that was going to work on me – the sales guy was not going to wow me with anything at all or move me from my $$ goals because I came prepared – I already knew what the machine had to offer, and I knew it was exactly the same as the level up machine that would cost me $6,000 more – and I did not need to spend that. When you are machine shopping, make sure you know your stuff, so you won’t be wowed by some cool features that you won’t use. It’s hard, but try your best and stick to your price point. Go back to the first point, and figure out what you need and get that embroidery machine. Do not spend money on stuff that you don’t understand and won’t use, as tempting as it may be!


REMEMBER YOU CAN DO THE SAME THING ON A SINGLE NEEDLE MACHINE. People always forget that part of the machines. A multi-needle machine does the same up and down motion as the single needle machine – it forms the same stitches and follows the same patterns. There is no difference in the mechanics. You can do the same things on each. Now there are benefits to a multi-needle machine – the obvious one being that you can load up 6-10 threads and have them cut and trim and keep going without changing threads and re-threading. But is that inconvenience worth spending the extra money? Maybe, but it depends on what you are doing of course, and you can get single needle machines that cut and trim. Another big difference between the two types of machines is the shape of the machines and how easy it is to hoop and stitch things. For example, I think it is way easier to hoop and stitch a t-shirt on a multi-needle machine than a single needle machine – the sewing bed area makes it impossible for the t-shirt to simply hang while stitching – so you must keep the shirt out of the way. BUT, that is only a big deal if you do a lot of shirts or garments, right? If you are not planning on stitching on clothing, then that benefit will not apply to you! So do you see what I am getting at here? Another example…Hats. If you stitch out a ton of hats, hooping and set up time is so much faster on a multi-needle machine – you have an awesome hat hoop and the hats will turn out perfectly. You can do hats on a single needle machine, but you won’t have a hat hoop – you will have to flatten the hat out and secure it before you stitch it. Each hat will turn out perfectly, but it is easier to hoop and stitch one on a multi-needle machine – if you are doing 100’s of hats a day, that will be very important to you. If you only do a few, that is not one of the main features that you are looking for, so a single needle machine may have other features that you do need.


USED MACHINES VS. NEW MACHINES: Once you figure out what you need (and want) and can afford, start doing your research on finding machines that will suit your needs. There can be nothing wrong with used machines (we have purchased quite a few), but you need to be careful when purchasing used machines. Personally, I think the best place to buy used machines is from a dealer – they can offer you some kind of guarantee when you purchase. Just make sure you know your stuff when you go in to see the dealer, or you might be wowed by that brand new (expensive machine) that can do many more things than your “old used” one.
You can purchase great used machines from ads in newspapers and Facebook groups, but one word of caution: make sure you can see and test the machine before you hand over your hard-earned cash! I think you need to see the machine running, see all of the accessories, make sure everything that you need is included and then of course test the machine to make sure it works. Don’t forget to check the paperwork for regular maintenance, too. All of these things you need to do in person. We have actually rented a van and driven a few hours away to check out a machine before we purchased it – the van was so that we could immediately pay and take the machine home with us. Don knows his machines, so he is able to make a decision with confidence after testing the machine.


THE BIG QUESTION: WHAT IS THE BEST BEGINNER MACHINE? I see this all the time in various groups, and there is actually no way to answer it for the person. Most questions like this get answered with the names of the machines that people are using or have used, and sometimes each machine out there gets named, so there are not any helpful answers to that question.

ALL THE MACHINES WORK THE SAME AND YOU NEED TO DO THE SAME LEARNING ON ANY MACHINE. You have to read the manual. You have to understand all of the buttons on the machine. You have to hoop things properly and you have to learn the rules of embroidery and how to do each technique properly. ONCE YOU HAVE DONE ALL OF THIS LEARNING, YOU CAN USE ANY MACHINE. It depends on your budget, your needs and wants and how many bells and whistles that you want and how many you can afford. Basically, you want an embroidery machine – the more basic the embroidery machine, the less the price. That’s pretty much it. Seriously, I can’t offer any more advice on picking a machine (and no one else can either, btw) other than what I have written here – you have to do the work and decide what will work for you – your business, your hobby, and of course your budget. No one else can do this for you. The best beginner machine for you will be different than for someone else. Personally, I started on a 6 needle machine, and Don started on 2 6 needle machines, a commercial 15 needle machine, and a commercial 12 needle machine. So what Don thinks is a “beginner machine” (a 6 needle) is very different from what other people think is a beginner machine, right? Do your own research and homework and get the right machine for YOU.

One last point.  It is not a competition.  Really it is not.  There is always going to be a bigger, better and more expensive machine out there, or coming soon.  Just because someone has a more expensive machine, doesn’t mean they are better than you.  You may be a better embroiderer than they are, and are able to produce stunning designs regardless of what machine you are using – it’ s the skills and the learning that matter in the end.

Until next time,

The Economical Embroiderer,

Sue

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.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS EMBROIDERY TOOL.

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:

THIS IS THE BEST EMBROIDERY TOOL YOU WILL EVER HAVE!!!https://www.shop.dzgns.com/products/embroiderers-compass?_pos=1&_sid=d65fb1234&_ss=r

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.

SO MANY EMBROIDERY QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED WITH THIS EMBROIDERY TOOL.

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)

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

Buyer Beware! Embroidery Machine Scams on Facebook

Protect yourself from online embroidery scams! If it seems to good to be true, it probably is!! The embroidery machine is the most expensive embroidery investment, so be careful out there!

Can you really find a cheap embroidery machine? what is a good price? does a $66 embroidery machine really true? I can save so much money on machine embroidery if I get a cheap embroidery machine. Let’s face it. You purchase embroidery designs, in the hoop embroidery designs, thread, stabilizer and of course fabric. What are you missing? AN EMBROIDERY MACHINE. Before you purchase one, you need to ask: is this too good to be true? Can you go onto eBay and get a $2k 10 needle embroidery machine? Probably not. To purchase an embroidery machine, you need to be able to see the embroidery machine in action. That means that you need to stitch something on that machine to make sure that it works. New machines right from the dealer are great but can be expensive. If you want to save money, purchase a used machine! But, be careful about it! we have sourced out some amazing deals on newish embroidery machines. We find the machine, ask a few questions and drive out to see the machine. We start the machine. We stitch an embroidery design that is built into the machine. We check it’s service status. Then and only then do we consider purchasing it. Although we would love to think that the world of embroidery is a safe place, there are scammers out there that will play on your desperation for an embroidery machine at a cheap price that you can afford. But $66 is not a reasonable price – that’s shipping, not that machine. It is said that people take advantage of other people like this, but it happens all the time. Be careful with your money – when you pay for something, make sure you are walking out with something. Be safe out there!

Do you have tension issues?

Tension issues and how to solve them!

Do you have Tension issues?  The very first things you need to do are: Clean your bobbin, clean and rethread your upper thread(s) and do the I-test

The I-test sounds like it should go along with your iPhone and iMac or testing your eyes,  but don’t worry, it’s completely different and has to do with your embroidery machine!

I have noticed a growing trend on Facebook – tension issue posts.  Not everyone knows what causes tension issues or how to fix them, but tension issues can be a big problem and can ruin your embroidery.  Tension issues can “pop up” in the middle of embroidery, at the end or at the beginning of a new project – your machine can be perfectly tensioned and then the next stitch it out and you have white bobbin showing through. It can happen at any time and it can happen to you.

What are tension issues?  Tension issues have to do with either the top or bobbin thread.  If your bobbin tension is too loose, the bobbin thread will come up and show up in your work.  If your top tension is too tight, you will probably have a lot of broken or shredded threads.  What happens if your top tension is too loose?  Birds nest are a possibility, as well as loopy and messy embroidery.    The I test is to help with the top thread tension, and I would suggest that every few months, or if you change thread brands you should run an I test. Remember that tension is a balancing act – and your goal is to fix the balance so your machine stitches properly.

Most of the time when your bobbin is showing through to the top, it is bobbin tension.

It sounds complicated, and sometimes it can be a bit of work to figure out what is going on, especially if you have a multi needle machine!  All you need is a place to start to become a good “tension Detective”.  You need to figure out the tension issues and get your machine back into balance.   Here are a few suggestions, the first step we take is looking and analyzing the issue – loops, bobbin thread showing, threads breaking, etc. Once you understand what the issue is, you can then move on to the solution and get back to embroidery!

What is the I  test?  It’s actually really easy to do on your machine.  If you have a multi-needle machine, you will have answers for each needle regarding tension.  Newer machines actually have the I test in the built-in designs!   Look for a series of capital letter “I” in a row, and that is your eye test.  If you don’t have it built into your machine, you can use your software to stitch out a few I’s to make this work – the idea is one capital letter I for each needle and thread color.   Then all you have to do is stitch them out and get your detective boots on and analyze the results!

We just bought a new machine and fixed another one, so before we do any work on either of those machines, we do an I test on each.  Here are the results:

Fig 1 (10 needle)

This is the back of the embroidery, so we can see the balance between the bobbin thread and the top thread.  The perfect balance is for the white bobbin thread to be through the middle and be taking up about 1/3 of the space, and each side has the top color, taking up 1/3 each side.  You don’t have to be precise, but you can see in the first image of the 10 needle I-test, we have some issues!   Needle number 1 in red looks great – a nice balance between the two, although I would still adjust the top tension a little bit because it is not quite 1/3 at the sides.  However, I don’t think you would have any issues with stitching using this tension.  If you look at the silver thread (needle 5) you can see that the bobbin thread down the middle is really small – not close enough to the 1/3 measurement that we want.  That means that the top tension is too loose, and we need to tighten that one up a bit. You can see that the other ones are just about right, and the balance of 1/3 is good for the bobbin and top thread.

If you did an I test, and each needle has too much bobbin thread showing down the middle, I would adjust the bobbin – you can clean the bobbin case and slightly adjust the bobbin tension – if it is on every needle every time, then it is bobbin.  Once you make that bobbin adjustment, then run the test again and you can start working on the top tension.

Let’s look at Figure 2, the 6 needle machine that just got it’s motor fixed.  Yep, wow, that tension is out on just about every needle!

Figure 2, 6 needle

Needle number 1 (silver) has the start of a birds nest and some loops of the top thread that completely covers up the bobbin thread.  Yes, that one needs to be fixed before we do any more stitching.  Because that one has so much thread showing, I would completely unthread that needle, right back to the thread spool, and clean the thread path with a small soft brush or possibly some canned air if it is really bad.  I would double check the tensioners, and then re-thread – and then check the pathway again.  Turns out that there was a small mistake in threading and we missed one path of the thread – and it made that big of a difference!  Without making any tension adjustments, we stitched the I on that needle again, and it was perfect!  So before messing with the tensioners, make sure that your thread path is clean, and that you have followed the path properly – I have been threading machines for 15 years, and it is pretty easy to miss one of the tiny steps that the thread takes on the multi-needle machines!

Let’s look at needle 3, brown.  Oh, that tension is a bit off too – there is not nearly enough bobbin showing on that one – we need to adjust so that we can get back to the 1/3 measurement.  When you are making tension adjustments, I would advise some baby steps!  For my 6-needle, the tensioners are all marked off in increments – even though this needle is quite off, I would not do a full turn of the tensioner, I would do maybe a ¼ turn and see how that worked first.  If it is not quite there, then I would do another ¼ turn and then stitch it again until it is perfect.  It is easier to tell which way to go (tighter or looser) when you are only working in small steps – if the next ¼ turn is too much, then all you have to do is put it back ¼ turn and you know you have it exactly where you want it.  If you were to make a full turn, then you would still have no idea where the perfect mark is, and you will take more time to figure it out.  Baby steps!

I would also like to point out that each tensioner is probably set differently.  What I mean is that you can’t just set one up perfectly (if there were numbers, say tension number 12) and do that for each needle – set each to 12 and have them all work fine – you have to do each needle separately, one at a time.   Chances are the tension settings will be similar, but each one will be different.  There is no room for shortcuts when it comes to the tension!

Tension issues can happen at any time!  Keep an eye on your work – and if you see some loose threads or the bobbin showing, you need to make some adjustments – the tension is not going to fix itself.

Keep in mind, there are some quick fixes that will work to help your tension issues – if you have a tension problem, you don’t always have to stop what you are doing and immediately do an I test.  The I test is for maintenance, to fine tune your tension.

One of the biggest issues of tension is fluff.  Fluffy stuff building up in your bobbin case or a tiny piece of fluff in your tensioner.  It really does not take much to throw your machine off tension!  And yes, it can happen any time – you could be in the middle of an embroidery project and see bobbin thread coming up.  Yucch!  Immediately stop your machine and have a quick look at your bobbin.  If you have a multi needle machine, I would carefully take a thick piece of paper or business card corner, and slide it under the tension part of the bobbin to clean out that fluff!  Then pop it back into your machine and keep stitching.  If you have a single needle machine stop your machine, take the hoop off, take out the bobbin and grab that tiny brush and remove all of the fluff that is in there.  Yucch again – I bet you will find more than you thought you would!   Once you have removed all of that fluff, your bobbin tension should be back on track.

There are many more things that can affect thread tension – changing brands of thread, humidity and sometimes temperature can change the “elasticity” of your thread and throw your machine off tension balance.  With regular cleaning and checking your thread path, as well and keeping your machine well oiled and keeping your bobbin case clean, you can keep your machine running in tip-top tension and have beautiful, sharp and clear embroidery each time.

Until next time,

Happy Digitizing,

Sue B

Anita Goodesign ITH in the hoop drawstring bags!

Have you ever tried to stitch an in the hoop drawstring bag? If you have not tried yet, then you need to add this to your ITH creation list! These bags are finished completely in the hoop in two simple hoopings, and look amazing!

To get this gorgeous design, check out Anita Goodesign’s website: https://www.anitagoodesign.com/product/anitas-wonderland/ The drawstring bag is part of Anita’s Wonderland Premium collection so you don’t have to stop at one bag! The collection is full of matching placemats, table runners, free-motion blocks and scalloped blogs, plus so much more!! You can even stitch a matching coffee cozy!!

check out this video and follow along with me!

Selling Embroidery on Facebook? Don’t make these mistakes!!!

Selling Embroidery on Facebook? Don’t make these mistakes!

IN MY OPINION,

Things have changed over the years, and social media is one of them.  Social media now is one of the main ways to get your name out there and get yourself known.    I am constantly on social media, I belong to quite a few embroidery groups, and I see time and time again, daily, the same mistakes made over and over again.

If you want to start a business, or if you want to get your business moving along, here are a few helpful tips to keep things going.  I will try not to rant too much!

The first one is a biggie, and I have encountered it many times – personally as well, and it always makes me laugh.   Yes, I laugh at the way people behave because it is not professional.  That is the BIGGEST thing to remember, ACT PROFESSIONAL AT ALL TIMES IN ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING YOU DO.  If you say something derogatory or mean or anything else, people will remember your name, but not in a good way.  Children act like this – negative attention is still attention – but that will not get you the attention that you want for your business.  Seriously – stop being rude, stop being mean, stop picking fights.  You have the right to your opinion, and you may feel like your criticism of someone’s work is helpful, but really it isn’t.  It is better to simply walk away from it.   If someone in a group is posting a picture of their “newbie” work, why would you not be positive?  why would posting a response “you need to do more work on this, it is not good enough” help them out any?  Being positive is the most help you can give them.  If they are asking “what did I do wrong?”  then you can point out some helpful hints in a positive way.   Be helpful, not negative.  That is a great place to start.

Acting professionally in EVERY post in EVERY group on EVERY forum (including facebook, twitter, Instagram, etc) is the only way to go.  Some people think they can get away from this and there is no connection.  I beg to differ, there is a big connection.  You can open up facebook and type in a name, and you can see every post that person has made!  And if someone is being mean or negative to other people, are you really going to buy their designs?  NO.  You will move on to someone that deserves the sale, right?  Well, think of that when you are posting, that thousands of people can see you, listen to you and decide in an instant if they are going to purchase anything from you.  If they don’t like you, they will not buy anything.

For clarity, posting a customer’s personalized item, or conversation in a closed group is absolutely NOT PROFESSIONAL.  I have seen in more than one group, someone posts a screenshot of the conversation that they had with a particularly difficult customer.  Really?  It is pretty darn easy for that customer to find out about that – and wow, talk about embarrassing!  Do you really want to “shame” your customer or potential customer in a group?  What do you think the people in the group think of your actions? Do you expect to get more business this way?  A closed group doesn’t mean that people can’t see your posts, all they have to do is join the group!  They will see it, and you will have lost a customer for sure, but many customers!  When they tell everyone they know, or in other groups, you have lost all of that word of mouth customers, too.

Posting your work is kind of a gray area:  if you do something for a customer, and then make a “show off” post in a group, is it right?  I don’t think so – if you really must post your customer’s design or child’s name publicly in a group, I think you should take a few moments to ask permission and keep everything at a professional level.

Remember that everything that you write is PUBLIC, even in closed groups.  Everything public can be shared or have a screenshot made in about 2 seconds, and then posted elsewhere.   Each and every time you post on Facebook, it is a PUBLIC post and can be used against you at any time.  Did you know that generally Facebook posts can be submitted in court?  Think of that next time you call someone out or post something that you should not post.  Same goes for posting other people’s pictures – I see that all of the time – they post a picture of the finished product and ask questions about how it was done.  My mind screams COPY – you want to copy someone’s work, do you?  I think you should learn how to do your own…when people start copying your work, you will have something to say about it, I am sure.  So stop trying to copy!

Picking fights, or entering into fights on facebook.  Oh my!  I see this all the time.  Yes, you are entitled to your opinion, of course, but getting into a heated discussion on copyright issues is not going to help you further your business.

PICTURES:  Selling embroidery designs takes a ton of time.  If you are lazy, you are not going to make sales.  And by lazy, I mean not taking the time to make great professional pictures of your work!  Why would you ever post the digital image of your design?  We all know that the stitched out design, on pretty material, with an interesting background with a watermark is going to take you way further than a screenshot of your work.  Take the time to do professional pictures, with a good camera (your phone is a good camera), great lighting, and beautiful embroidery.   We take quite a bit of time outside, or in the inside studio to make our pictures look professional – we use 4 lights (from around the house), a nice camera and props too!

This is a key fob I made for a friend of mine – the item is completely finished, neat and clean, cut out carefully and most importantly in focus, with the focal point on the embroidery.  The background is some roses for props that I bought at a craft store.  This is the style that you want.  Add a watermark, and now you have a professional presentation for your beautiful embroidery!

Excessive use of hashtags:  please stop using so many hashtags when you post your work, or anything, especially in groups.  While you may think that using #Hatchembroidery or #machine embroidery will work and get you business, it will not.  Someone using # HatchEmbroidery is looking for Hatch embroidery software, not the work you did in embroidery.  They may look at your work, but they will not buy it.  Using #machineembroidery will get you zero too.  Why?  BECAUSE EVERYONE USES IT and there will be thousands upon thousands of pictures with that hashtag.  Do some research, find one or two hashtags that will work – and do some research in how to use hashtags properly – it will take you further in the long run.

Spamming.  Oh yes, this one.  I see it all the time too.  If you do a pretty design, take some good pictures, and then proceed to post it in every single embroidery group that you are in, you are spamming.  Not officially spamming, but spamming still.  You must realize that most of the same people are in the same groups – Hatch people are also in machine embroidery groups, and quilting groups, machine specific groups….  And then they see your stuff posted again and again and again all over the place – they will get annoyed.  I would also suggest that posting your work daily is also spamming.   If you MUST post a design daily, then post it in one group, then your next design in another group.  Posting your designs daily in 20 groups is not going to get your name out there.  Please stop.  Show off your work a little bit, but stop with the overkill.

Trying to add your business name in your profile, or tag, or anything.  Well, that is against the rules, too.  You can’t have your profile name with the name of your business.  Facebook doesn’t like that.  If you have a facebook page for your business, that is the way to go – however, tagging your business facebook page in all of your posts is not.   And believe it or not, it makes you look bad.  And people don’t like it.  Joining a group with your facebook business page, or making posts with that page is not professional either.   If you are doing this, again you are spamming people with your business name, and frankly, you are trying to hard.  Rome was not built in a day, right?  Neither is your business.  It is going to take years of hard work to make any money, so don’t start the long journey by spamming potential customers.  Have some confidence, hold your head up high and trust that your professional level work will carry you the distance!

Back to the professional level idea, and here are some more suggestions for you every single time you post.  Spelling and grammar count.  Oh, yes it does.  If you don’t spell things correctly on your posts or use the correct grammar on any post, then customers are going to think that you will make those mistakes in your work.  Please know the difference between “your” and “you’re” and use them correctly!  I have seen people posting their work with grammar errors!!  This will not get you any business either!  Be careful and check your work, and check every single post.

I have had occasion as a blogger and business person as well as doing the classes, that people lash out because they are not getting their way on something, or they simply disagree with what I am saying.  It is OK to disagree with me publicly – but you must agree to disagree.  Let me explain.  If I say something is one way, and you think it is another – that’s great, and we can have a healthy and happy professional conversation post about it.  If you disagree and keep insisting that you are right and I am wrong,  and it starts getting nasty – you are only hurting yourself.  If you try and take your opinion to another group and bad mouth someone in another group – and keep going and going – your business is pretty much over.  Nobody is going to deal with you, because wow, you don’t want to disagree, right?  I see people making posts and calling other people names, and basically slandering their business for one reason or another.  Don’t be that person writing the post – it will ruin you in the end.

Another thing that I have a hard time dealing with sometimes is forceful opinionated people that send PM’s to “discuss the matter” privately. I really don’t have time for any of this, and neither should you! I do appreciate people offering ideas – that is fantastic and I wish people would do it more – but you can’t get mad at me if I don’t use the suggestions, right? Right. I love hearing ideas and different ways of doing things, but that does not mean I am going to drop everything and change it your way. Think about it from both sides – on your business page if someone repeatedly “helps” you with suggestions, are you really going to do them? Maybe some, but all? If you are on the other side and offering suggestions, please offer them politely and only once. If the person uses them, GREAT, if not then you still contributed your ideas and that is very helpful. Chill people!

In summary:  if you want to further your business on social networking – BE PROFESSIONAL AT ALL TIMES, IN ALL GROUPS, ON YOUR PERSONAL TIMELINE AND EVERY SINGLE INTERACTION YOU MAKE.  STOP SPAMMING WITH POSTS AND HASHTAGS.  TREAT EVERYONE AT A PROFESSIONAL LEVEL, EVERY SINGLE TIMETake the time to do things right – like pictures, posts and anything else you do.

If all else fails, you have a “magic button” on your mouse to SCROLL ON.  Most of the time, that is the best solution.  If you don’t like it, scroll on by and leave it alone.

And now I await the comments from the people who are sure I am wrong, or have a “good reason” to fight with someone on Facebook. Ha ha ha. I bet it will happen!!! Anyone want to bet?

I will say that my blog posts are meant to be taken lightly. It’s not about YOU, and if you think it is, then you need to have a coffee and chill. I approach my life with humor, and I love to write things that people don’t want to say. Be positive. Take some advice to help you be more professional on social media. Or don’t. It’s all the same to me 🙂

Sassy time is over, back to work making awesome videos!

Until next time

Sue Brown

OML Embroidery

Anita Goodesign Quarter-Turn Quilt with a twist…a Halloween twist!

Think outside the box: OML Embroidery shows you how to make small changes to any embroidery design and create a new looking embroidery design. Anita Goodesign Quarter Turn Quilt from the All Access February 2019 edition. If you don’t have All Access, then you can get this amazing machine embroidery design here: https://www.anitagoodesign.com/produc…

Here is what you need to get started on this machine embroidery project. This is an embroidery design for beginner embroiderers and advanced embroiderers too.

Anita Goodesign Quarter Turn Quilt embroidery pattern , cutaway stabilizer (no show mesh cutaway stabilizer works best for quilting projects), fabric – you can use a layer cake for this project, depending on the size of the embroidery design you select, embroidery thread, tacky spray, quilt batting, duck-billed applique scissors.

The first step in this machine embroidery project is the foundation of the quilt block. Hoop the cutaway stabilizer and then add your quilt batting. Once it is stitched down, you can get your applique scissors out and trim the batting as close to the line as possible. Now you are ready to get stitching some applique in the hoop! Each applique piece has two parts – the first stitch is the placement stitch and then you add your applique fabric, then the second stitch is going to hold down the fabric. Once that has stitched, then you can use your applique scissors to trim the fabric.

In between some of the applique ITH in the hoop pieces, there will be satin stitches to cover up the applique raw edges. The satin stitches should be in a contrasting embroidery thread color so the satin stitches really stand out. Once you have finished all of the applique pieces and have trimmed them all with your applique scissors, then it’s time to sit back and watch the embroidery magic happen with all of the embroidery detail work: embroidered flowers, decorations and quilting detail work to complete the embroidery project.

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!