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.

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.

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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.

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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!

Embrilliance QT: Stitch Artist 3: Cool letters

New quick tip video just released: Stitch Artist Level3: creating awesome lettering with groovy outlines. Kick your embroidery skills up a notch and add some outlines (and fun) and interest to your simple lettering. Even if you don’t have Stitch Artist Level 3, you need to check out this video and see what Embrilliance can do for your embroidery.

In this video, we add some lettering and centre it on the page.  After change the lettering to what we want (OML of course) and make a few adjustments and then use some quick and easy tools to add some automatic outlines that fit neatly around the fancy lettering in just one click!  After that, we inflate the outlines so they have a cool look to your lettering design. So check out this video even if you don’t have Stitch Artist Level 3 – you will find out how easy it is to make your embroidery lettering look better and more interesting.

Embrilliance Quick Tip: Auto Outline and Inflate Object

New Embrilliance Quick Tip video uploaded today.

Take a few minutes to check this on out!  Its showing off a few features of Embrilliance Stitch Artist Level 3 – auto outline and inflate objects – two really cool tools – especially when used together with union.

Even if you don’t have Stitch Artist level 3 yet, check out the video and see what these two tools can do!

With the click of one tool button, you can auto outline quickly and perfectly.  You can auto outline just about any object or lettering.  Once you have added the outline, then you can assign stitches – run, satin, backstitch to name a few.

Once you have completed the outline, then you can make the outline bigger using the second tool – inflate object – and do a few more things with the outline – ignore holes if you are not doing lettering or any design with a hole, and make softer – so that the lines get softer, less sharp and look better.

Once you complete these two steps, you can assign more stitches and change the design once again.

So use a few awesome tools and create some cool embroidery designs quickly and easily in Embrilliance.

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 #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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Embird Quick Tip: Mask

We have learned how to merge two embroidery designs in Embird Manager, and then smart color sort to make the two designs into one, merging all of the colors for an easier read out on the machine. But what if you want to overlap the designs? How do you do this correctly? You can take both designs into Embird Studio and fix the stitches OR you can do this Embird Quick tip and use the Mask tool to quickly and easily merge the designs with no overlapping stitches for a cleaner and more efficient stitch out. Watch the newest quick tip video and learn how to digitize like a pro!

Introduction to Embird:

Here is the first part of the video series, an Introduction to Embird – a beginners tutorial explaining how to use Embird.

Don’t have Embird?  Go to Embird.com and download the free 30 day trial and get started digitizing today!