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.

A Little Hatch Embroidery Inspiration

I do spend quite a bit of time working on videos, blogs and answering tons and tons of questions.   I am absolutely not complaining, I do all of these things because I want to, not because I have to or that its my job.  I already have a full time + job making patches.  Embroidery has always been a passion of mine, and I am always happy to share my experiences as much as possible.

I really do appreciate all of the likes and subscribers on Youtube – that keeps me going!  Not to mention all of the likes, shares and thank you notes on Facebook – that also keeps me going too and I love it all!!  I would like to have 10 zillion subscribers and 10 zillion likes, LOL.  OK, well 10 zillion is a big number – but I plan on doing something grand if we ever reach 10,000 likes or subscribers.  I like to think BIG.

Every once in a while someone will share their story.  As you all know by now, here at OML Embroidery we are all about embroidery and the different software that we use.  I do like them all, but the newest one Hatch has my attention for a few reasons – its a very powerful program, its easy to use and its not missing any big things in it – everything you need is right there – to name a few reasons.  Most of all, I think Hatch will open the doors for embroiderers – all embroiderers from beginner to advanced – because of its brilliant user interface and its powerful program. And I like new doors being opened – opened doors lead to opportunities!

So here is the inspiration for the weekend.  This person has been reading my blog and following along with all of the writing, videos and information on Hatch.  Although they have 2 other embroidery programs that they have struggled with for years, Hatch was the program that “opened the embroidery door” for them:

“Thanks for your insightful comments. I’ve been struggling with Embird for years and with Brother PES software for many years prior to that. I’ve been a home, hobby embroiderer since the first home machines came out but just couldn’t make the digitizing software do what I wanted. That changed when you posted your new Wilcom Hatch tutorials. I downloaded the 30 day trial as you suggested and have successfully created, converted, and sewn out several simple, but original designs. I’m thrilled and can’t thank you enough! I wouldn’t have taken this step without your tutorials and encouragement. After playing with Hatch for several days I knew I’d found what I’ve been searching for all these years and bought the digitizer package last night. Hatch makes sense to me in ways Embird and PES never have. And the tools and functions are so darn much fun I can’t wait to get back in and play some more! I’m in love and so grateful that you introduced this to your readers. Please keep the hatch videos coming. Wilcom has some nice tutorials but I like yours much better. Your explanations are clear and concise and your enthusiasm is contagious! Thanks again. OML and Hatch ROCK!”

What a wonderful success story!

Here is what you can take from this story:  Never give up.  Do not be afraid to try something new, take a different approach or learn something new – you never know what is going to happen!

I have said this in a few videos and blogs – if you are not happy with your current software, are struggling or are not able to get the results you want – then why are you using it?  TRY SOMETHING NEW.  You never know what will happen!  You have nothing to lose – Hatch is free for 30 days – and you have lots to gain:  confidence, happiness, a sense of accomplishment and a nice path on your way to better digitizing to name a few! 

Don’t forget to join our Facebook group:  Wilcom Hatch Tips and Tricks  so you can share your accomplishments and your progress with Hatch.  We love to see your work!!

And for everyone out there that is  using  Wilcom Hatch and loves it as much as we all do – then SHARE – get the word out everywhere and anywhere – like things, subscribe, share posts, share videos SHARE – and maybe you will help someone else!  Make your voice heard -shout it out – be passionate and enthusiastic about Hatch – you never know who is listening!!

Happy Digitizing everyone, and have a great weekend. I am going to finish work and spend some of my weekend “off time” digitizing.

More Hatch videos on Monday 🙂

 

 

 

Wilcom Hatch: Priced Right

I know we have been talking about Wilcom Hatch a lot lately, but I am still so excited about this program!

Although we do have a commercial level embroidery digitizing program, I have always wanted Wilcom software – the commercial software!  Every few months I go to Wilcom’s site to see if somehow, some way we can manage to get our hands on the software.  The last time I checked, I saw a picture of WILCOM HATCH.  HATCH?  what the heck is Hatch?  so i clicked on the picture and smiled.  Finally, Wilcom that I can afford!!  Woohoo!  And its all in one package, everything I need.  That is how I found out about Wilcom Hatch and it has been non stop Hatch ever since!

I wondered, as I was downloading the free trial, that is actually free and is fully functional – so you can test stitch the designs that you digitize in Hatch – is Hatch going to be as powerful and as good as Wilcom?  And the answer is YES.  Although I still don’t have the Wilcom commercial software to compare to, I do have other embroidery software that I can use as a comparison, including commercial software.  And Hatch pretty much beats them all – its powerful, everything works, its fast and it has all the tools you will need.

I think a lot of people just see “Wilcom” and immediately think that they can’t afford it, so why bother.  Its Wilcom, we all know it is the best software out there, but only commercial big companies can afford to use it.  Not any more.  Hatch comes along and changes everything.   Every day so far I say ” I am happy to have a piece of the Wilcom Pie”  meaning that I am happy to have ANY Wilcom software!!  And it’s true, I am happy!!

So what about pricing for Hatch?  In this video, I take you to the Hatch website and show you all around, show you the prices, the three modules, the add-ons and where to start.  Personally, I got the advanced digitizing level because I need every tool that they have to offer!  Plus, who can live without their layouts module?  Not me, that’s for sure.

Do yourself a favor and check out this quick minute video on Wilcom Hatch:  Priced just right and see the website and prices for yourself.  You will be impressed!

 

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

GRADIENT FILLS

Gradient fills are awesome – and generally difficult to accomplish.  And if you can do them correctly, they are hard to see on screen.  Wilcom Hatch has all of this covered, and more.

I have had a bit of a hard time with gradient fills in other software – they are usually a bit complicated and I don’t get the results that I want – I can handle complicated and I can figure it all out – but when its all said and done, its not enough of a gradient to blend the thread colors like I wanted to.  Also, I don’t always want a gradient going from top to bottom, I want the gradient from side to side, and even at an angle.

If you have not used gradient fills in your embroidery, now is the time using Wilcom Hatch.  I get the exact results that I wanted, plus its easy to make changes with the gradient – lots of stitch control as well as the angle of the fill can be changed too!  If you don’t know what a gradient fill is, here is a screen shot of the one I was working on for the video:

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 2.21.26 PM.png

You can see by the picture that the top and the bottom of the square is darker than the rest:  thats a gradient – you could say that its almost a shading fill!  The top and the bottom parts are more dense – that means that there are more stitches closer together in the top and the bottom, and the density gradually gets thinner or less dense – and then in the middle the density is pretty open – a nice light and airy stitching in the middle.  The again the stitches gradually gets thicker, until the bottom part is the normal density.  It is a great effect to use on just about any design – of course, make sure that your gradient section is large enough for the gradient to actually show – the bigger the better for this one – the larger object will show the gradual stepping of the density much better.

Thats quick and easy to do.  The next problem is – what if you don’t want the gradient to go top and bottom?  I guess you could rotate the shape and mess around like that, but really if you rotate this shape its going to be different – longer top and bottom rather than side to side- so then you will have to change some nodes to make the shape the same.  Nah, I can’t be bothered to have to do all of that.  Wilcom Hatch has a great solution – change the angle lines to change the gradient.  Just like that, and I love gradients again!Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 2.21.10 PM.png

BOOM!  THERE IT IS.  the angle line is shown with nodes outside the object itself, so you can easily move stuff around to get the look that you want.  That is an amazing amount of stitch control – and I like it!!

So there you have it GRADIENT FILLS that are easy to do, and completely custom, too!  If you would like step by step instructions, check out my quick tip video below.

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!

RIPPLE STITCH IN WILCOM HATCH

YES.  THE RIPPLE STITCH IS IN WILCOM HATCH.  The ripple stitch is one of the most requested stitches- for a good reason – its truly that amazing!  While you can reproduce this sitch manually in some programs, it doesn’t look as good and is generally quite difficult to accomplish.  NOT ANY MORE!  YOU CAN DO THE RIPPLE STITCH IN ONE CLICK.   Oh, I know that everyone is going to love this one – its not just me being super enthusiastic about a stitch effect, this is a big one!

What is the ripple stitch?  It is similar to the contour stitch, in that it stays with the contour of the object that you are using, but it spirals out from the centre of the object in a way that makes the final design have amazing depth and shape – and is really cool to see, too.  It is a nice line stitch, but with a few different elements to it – it follows along the contour, changes spacing and gives an effect that you will love!  In a basic style with no changes – this is what the ripple stitch does to a basic flower shape:

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 2.57.00 PM

WOW.

Look at the contours, look at the different density and the different stitch widths – all from one click.  Now this example is just from a simple flower design that we made using an oval shape and the Circle copy in the layout tab.  We merged all the shapes together and then clicked on the ripple stitch – and this is what Wilcom Hatch does with it.  Wow.

Here is the same design, zoomed in a little bit more, so you can see the detail of the lines and density:

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 3.04.32 PM

I don’t know about you, but I can think of a million times that this would have added the wow-factor to some simple designs!!  It looks great,even on a simple design like this basic flower.  I keep thinking about Halloween designs – this effect would look awesome on a skull or a pumpkin.  How about different threads?  you could use variegated threads – the design works it way out from the centre, so i think variegated thread would add something even more to this design.  Can you imagine??  I can’t wait to stitch this out on my machine.  And Christmas designs??  The fun we are going to have with Wilcom Hatch for the holidays!!

So the possibilities are endless – the ripple stitch s the stitch of the year – and everyone wants this stitch – its that good.  Check out this quick tip video to see exactly how the ripple stitch is created, and how you make make adjustments quickly and easily:

WILCOM HATCH: FLORENTINE STITCH EFFECT

Stitch effects are quick and easy in Wilcom Hatch!  Some effects add interest in dimension to your embroidery, but also add a wow factor to your designs.  The florentine effect adds so much to your embroidery work – its an amazing stitch effect that can be created quickly and easily.

So what are florentine stitches?  Florentine stitches are similar to contour stitches, but you can use different stitch types to get the same effect – so you can use embossed fill, motif fill and many other stitches to get this awesome effect.  The effect is that you can contour the stitches along a guideline – for example a plain circle – and add some special effects.  You can even modify or change the curve of the florentine stitches quickly and easily using the reshape tool!  You can reshape the curve to get exactly the effect that you are looking for quickly and easily.  So what do florentine stitches look like?  here is an example using the embossed stitches:

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If you look closely at the embossed design, the florentine effect is shaping the design in a couple of ways – first it is changing the size of the design from the top to the bottom – the circles on the top portion of the embroidery are larger and wider than the stitches at the bottom.  Also the embroidery has a contour curve to the design too.  So two elements make this stitch effect really incredible!  Here is another example using a motif stitch:

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The motif stitch is not up and down and straight across the circle:  it bends around in a curve giving it depth and dimension and the size of the motif stitches change as well – the ones farther away from the beginning of the effect are larger, and the ones at the bottom are smaller  – so this effect works two ways, even on motif stitches.  Some of the motif stitches have a better, more dramatic effect with the florentine effect added, so do try some different motif stitches and embossed stitches until you get a stitch style that gets your attention!

Remember of course that will all motif stitches and embossed stitches, you have to make the design large enough for the differences in size to show up – if you don’t see the above effect very well, then just try re-sizing your design element and see if it shows up more.

check out this quit tip video and see the florentine effect in action!!

WILCOM HATCH: STITCH EFFECTS

TODAY IS ALL ABOUT STITCHES AND STITCH EFFECTS!   And we are going to talk about some really cool stitch effects that are available in Wilcom Hatch – they are quick and easy to use and adjust, you just have to  use them in day to day embroidery!

CONTOUR STITCH:  This is the first stitch effect that we are talking about today (and there are more blog posts to come with different stitch effects).  The contour stitch is an amazing effect that gives your embroidery shape, depth and interest and looks more complicated than it is to create!  It certainly adds a wow factor to a simple plain circle!   Here in Wilcom Hatch, you have a plain circle – yes, anyone can create a plain circle, its not that hard:

embroidery circle with plain fill stitch

Yes, its a circle – and thats about all you need to say about that – its nothing fancy and is lacking in WOW.

What if you could make one click and have something interesting, with dimension and includes Wow?  Something like this:

welcome hatch

NOW THAT IS MUCH BETTER!  With the simple addition of the contour stitch, you can add depth and dimension and shading – it makes the circle look a little more 3D and have some dimension to it.  And it is so easy to do!  Just a few simple clicks takes your embroidery up a few levels – from blah and ordinary to WOW, that is a cool effect!  The contour stitches are light and airy, not too dense and sets the focus of your eyes – the contour stitches are directional and contour the shape that you are working on.  It just can’t get any easier than that!  Pick up a FREE demo copy of Wilcom Hatch today from Wilcom’s website:  WILCOM HATCH and start improving your embroidery skills and working with the contour stitch.

Check out this quick tip video and see how easy the contour stitch is to use in every day embroidery:

Wilcom Hatch: Layout features are incredible

At OML we are all about embroidery – and digitizing – and different embroidery software programs that accomplish this. If I could have every embroidery program, I would own all of them!! While I do understand that I am enthusiastic and passionate about digitizing to say the least, I am also always up for new things – especially in embroidery software.  I am not paid by any company to work with their software, I do this all on my own and at my own expense, so I have no loyalty or bias to any digitizing software company.

And of course, before I use or review or even do videos on any software, I work very very hard with it on a daily basis to see what that software can do!  I do many different designs, bring in pictures, complicated designs and typography too  – and put the software to the test!  I do spend lots of time working with the software so I know all of its capabilities and faults.  I am here to highlight my findings on the best parts of the software – I am testing and working with them out so you don’t have to!

Enter Wilcom Hatch.

Wilcom Hatch is a brand new embroidery software program that has been released just this year. Don’t make the mistake that its super expensive and out of your range:  it is not the same as the Wilcom E3 program that has huge functionality at a professional level, and also the professional level price tag, but it has all the power of Wilcom in a simple to use program for every day digitizers and embroidery. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that Hatch is a “simple” embroidery program – Wilcom Hatch is very powerful and can accomplish just about any task! The “simple” in the above sentence means that it is very user friendly and very easy to use.

I can’t really hide my enthusiasm with this software – I think Wilcom has come up with a program that is going to change embroidery digitizing for everyone. Hatch has it all there, right in front of you – and at a price you can afford (personally I would love to have Wilcom E3 as well). That being said, here is one of the most amazing embroidery features that I have seen in a long time.

Wilcom Hatch: Layout Module.

You have to check out the video to really understand what the Layout Module can do. Its super easy and puts the fun back into embroidery. You won’t believe what you can do with this software – this is only one feature! In Layout, you can mirror copy Horizontal, mirror copy vertical, mirror-copy both and of course the amazing and super fun circle layout!! These are just words, you need to see it in action. Its a game changer.

Take 5 minutes to see what layout can do for you: