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

No more Thread Wizardry for Metallic thread. Now Stitching is easy!

SATURDAY SEW ALONG WITH SUE

OCTOBER 26, 2019 AT 10:00 AM EST, on the OML Embroidery youtube channel (link below)

Be there or be scare(d). I don’t have that pun together yet, but I do have it together when it comes to this sew along featuring metallic thread that actually works!! Join me tomorrow for the “seeing is believing” sew along event of the year featuring metallic thread that you can stitch on anything! Seriously, you can even stitch out FSL lace with metallic thread! CAN YOUR METALLIC THREAD DO ALL OF THAT?

NOPE. metallic thread is always a big hassle. It is stiff and all twisted up. You need to be a thread wizard to set the thread in a cup, away from your embroidery machine and make sure it has enough time to unwind before getting to the needle. If you don’t do this, then your metallic thread will break or shred or split and it is horrible looking in your hoop. If you are like me, I LOVE metallic thread, and I have a bunch of different spools from all sorts of different companies that are beautiful on the spool, but used only on the most special occasions.

THIS THREAD BY KINGSTAR IS GOINGTO CHANGE EVERYTHING!

Here are some things that will make your embroidery life easier when you are using metallic thread:

Kingstar Thread does NOT require a special needle

You don’t have to slow down your machine. at all. seriously.

THIS metallic thread will work in multi-needle machines AND single needle machines.

No thread wizardry involving cups, etc. is required: Load your thread the same way as regular thread.

You can use this metallic thread on ANY FABRIC

You can even stitch out intricate lace with this metallic thread.

For single needle embroidery machines, you can top load the thread or you can sideload the thread (the thread is on it’s side at the top of the machine – both will work!!

Don’t believe me? see the Kingstar metallic thread in action – stitching at high speed, small stitches, and a regular needle. Seeing is believing.

See you tomorrow at 10:00 AM EST for this awesome sew along!

Do you want to try this thread yourself?? here is the link to Designs in Machine Embroidery’s website. It’s so worth it! https://www.shop.dzgns.com/collections/specials/products/metallic-thread-pack

Sew Along tomorrow at 10:00 PM EST on the OML Embroidery Youtube channel

Until tomorrow,

Sue Brown

Queen of the Metallic Thread

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!

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!

Presentation is everything!

I am probably an “extra” type of person – I like to do things a bit differently, and usually outside the box. When I do something, I like to do it all the way – including extras that make a big difference and is the final touch for your presentation. Why give an embroidered gift when you can give an embroidered gift with a matching card – and get a lot of WOWs!!

I call this idea, “OML Crafty Extras” – a few extra things you can do to really spiff up your gift presentation. I use my cutter to make these crafty extras. I know not everyone is interested in using the cutters, but more and more people have them for pre-cutting fabric for their applique designs – so why not take it a bit further and create something for your embroidery?

For this crafty extra, I used a piece of plain cardstock, a glitter gel pen and my Cricut Maker! That’s it! It really took 5 minutes to put together and a few more to draw and cut it out. The key to this embroidery gift project is that the design in the card matches the embroidery design. Talk about classy!

The first thing you need to do is open up your embroidery design in your embroidery software. For this project, I used Wilcom E4, my top software. I brought in the embroidery design – a monogram from Shuler Studio that’s gorgeous – and I made a few changes. I didn’t worry about the size, but I did change the motif stitches on one of the letters for a better drawing result. I made the motif stitches simple and clear so that they would draw better.

The next thing you need to do – and you can do it in most embroidery software is to save the embroidery design as an image. In Wilcom E4 you can export the embroidery design in quite a few ways – but exporting the bitmap into a PNG seemed to pick up the detail.

PRO TIP: if you don’t have embroidery software that will allow you to export images of the embroidery, you can always take a screenshot on your computer with free software that comes with Windows 10.

Open up your cutter software and import the image to trace. Depending on your cutter software, there are many ways to do this. In Cricut design space, you import the image, tell Cricut what type of image it is (this one is simple and clean) and then you can make adjustments and save it as a drawing file. bring that into your software mat, and you are good to go! Change the cut to draw, making it the size that you want. You can hop on to the Cricut site to grab a simple card to put around the design – you can change colors and add more designs or a special lettering message if you wish – just to make it even more unique, and then load and send it to your Cricut maker. Draw, score and cut your card out!

That’s pretty much all that you do! Once you do it a few times, it will get faster and easier to set up. Plus, you can be more and more creative with this extra project. Pick paper that matches your design or gift, pick different pen colors and different card shapes. No one says that a card has to be square, right?

Make yourself stand out from the crowd and do a little extra for your machine embroidery – you will love the reactions to being just a little extra crafty!!

The BEST way to hoop!

It’s hoopapalooza month at Designs in Machine Embroidery. It’s all about hooping. I am up for that, I thought. So I went hoop shopping. Oh, so much fun!! If only I had a ton of money, I would have ALL of the magnetic hoops for both of my machines. Well, I guess I had better get saving.

I decided to get the hoop that I use most often, the 8×8 quilt hoop. I do a lot of quilt squares and mug rugs, and other designs of course, and that seems to be my go to hoop, so it made sense to get that one in a magnetic hoop and make everything easier.

YEP. It sure does make everything easier. I do have different magnetic hoops for my 10 needle Brother PR1000E embroidery machine, and while they are easy to use my only issue with them is that the machine doesn’t recognize them and they are often a different size and shape from the standard hoops. Not really a big deal, but usually I am rushing around to get a video going on, and I just seem to opt for the hassle free “never hit the hoop and break your machine” option of the standard hoops.

That has all changed now that I have my hands on this Snap Hoop Monster. Aside from it being magnetic, there is another really really awesome thing with these hoops for the single needle: THE BROTHER DREAM MACHINE 2 RECOGNIZES THE HOOP! It is the exact same size sewing field as the original hoop from Brother. Yeah, I am sooooo happy about that. It means that you can use the snap hoop monster the same way as you would use a regular hoop – the machine will know what hoop you have on, and it will let you know when your design will not fit. I think this is the best part.

With a snap hoop monster you can easily unhoop by lifting the top magnet hoop up, reposition your fabric, and then place the top hoop back on, and voila! you are ready to get stitching again!! This hoop will be amazing for endless hooping, all over hooping and border hooping.

It should be noted that you CAN purchase a bulky border hoop for both the PR1000e and the Dream Machine 2, but they are really pricey and difficult to use. We paid $400 for the larger border frame hoop for the 10 needle brother….and I don’t like it very much. I am not happy with it’s space limitations and how you have to load and move the fabric. Had I known this, I would have purchased a snap hoop monster instead – I could use it for border designs AND anything else I needed. It would have been a great purchase. Honestly I would have done the same with my Dream Machine 2 – I must have all the hoop sizes on a machine (meh, it’s so expensive) so we ordered as many different hoops that we could for my single needle embroidery machine. Yes, they are expensive…I would love to return them all and get the same sizes in snap hoop monster hoops! I wish I had known how awesome the snap hoops are two years ago!!! I would have been much happier with the magnetic hoops.

Check out my video as I unbox the 8×8 Snap hoop monster for McDreamy. Yep. I am happy and I love the hoop.

Take my money, please. LOL

BEVERLEY POTTER: My embroidery story

This is Beverley Potter’s embroidery story. Thanks for sharing with us, Beverley!

If you have an embroidery story that you would like to share, email it to me at sue@omlembroidery.com.

It all started several years ago in 1998 after my dad passed away. It was sad losing my dad but he had left me a little sum of money which I didn’t want to waste and have something to remember him by.  I already had an ordinary sewing machine and made clothes for my two daughters and loved the idea of being able to embellish and personalize them more. At the time I was living in England and there was to be a big event in a city near me, a grand expo with all types of glorious sewing equipment, fabrics and notions. It was at this show that I made my purchase of my first embroidery machine a Brother Super Galaxy 2000 which I thought was marvelous. Technology was not so advanced as it is now but to me it was magic. I was able to purchase a couple of different cards with designs on and it came with software PE Designs 2, for the computer which was a 3.11 windows machine which seemed at the time so fast and capable. 

I dabbled a bit trying to do my own simple designs, to a little degree of success, but I used mainly designs on the pre purchased cards.

In 2000 after a year of complex problems we decided to leave England and start a new in France, which was an extreme adventure, living for 12 months in a small caravan then into a bigger building in a barn for three years until our completely renovated longere was finished.  

Everything went on hold, most of our belongings in storage for that time, so, when eventually I managed to get my embroidery machine unpacked and tried to start using it, technology had advanced, computer operating systems changed and unable to use the design software and new software to expensive to purchase I used it very little, unable to get the card reader to connect and communicate no way of transferring designs the machine, it became redundant and only used the sewing machine part when clothes needed mending.  

Fast forward to 2012 when we moved yet again this time to central France, this time our belongings were in storage for a shorter period of time.  By Christmas of 2012 our first granddaughter was born and I had the urge to start making things for her. Taking another look at my old machine sat in the corner not being used to its full advantage. We once again looked into the possibility of getting software to work, updating the software, I was able to get PE Designs 8, solved the problem of getting the designs on to the card reader and designs on to the machine.   The advancement of technology and perhaps the knowledge by the manufactures that there were people out there with perfectly good older models but unable to use them, helped getting the machine back into working order. I was able to produce some lovely items for my granddaughter with some beautiful designs purchased over the internet, being able to download with such ease. but not really got into designing my own designs.  After a couple of years, a couple of things broke on my machine my husband was able to repair and get working but eventually it became harder to get the pieces I needed for that machine to work,  after the speed controller went and a couple of other electronical pieces my embroidery adventure came to an end.

 I had become resigned to the fact that embroidery passion was over as there was no way I could afford a new machine,  But in Jan 2018 I was blessed, lucky to see an advert for a Innovis 4000d for sale in the south of France about a 2 hour drive, It was at a VERY VERY good price. The sewing machine worked but the owner had had a problem with the embroidery unit there was an error which came up and was unable to use the embroidery part of it. I asked several questions over the phone about the problem but the owner wasn’t to clear on the exact problem. She had been told by a local repair agent it would cast more than a new machine to repair and had convinced to her to purchase another newer model which she did. My husband and I took a chance and decided to go look at it even if we couldn’t get the embroidery part working the sewing machine side of it would be better than the other old sewing machine I have. Three hours later we were looking at the machine tried the sewing part good but as the language was in French didn’t fully understand the message showing when plugging in the embroidery unit and the owner didn’t want us to change the language over to English ( we would have put it back to French afterwards), she just wanted rid of it, it was taking up too much space!!. 

We parted with our 200€ and took it away. Another 4 hrs. later in the comfort of our home, Language changed and screwdrivers out my husband dismantled the embroidery arm cleaned it out of fluff and where there was a sensor stuck down, he freed it and its been working perfectly ever since.  Except for operator error of course.

Now I have pe designs 10 software and trying to learn how to digitize and so thankful that I found the OML embroidery university facebook page and the brilliant Videos on You tube. Trying to devote more time to it. As ever, life has its way of turning things upside down and in turmoil, Now entering in to another difficult period, another potential move either back to England, or to another part of France, separation from my husband with hopefully a swift and painless divorce, freedom from mental emotional abuse.  I hope to be able to continue with learning the process of digitizing and be able to be self-sufficient in the future.  I am enjoying being part of the OML family and have to admit I am AN OML video addict watching every video as and when I get the opportunity.   Sue and Don are such an inspiration and just love their   presentations