Machine Embroidery Digitizing — An Experiment

I love machine embroidery.  I love it because of the technology involved.  I love it because it is mesmerizing to watch.  And I love it because I can design and create my own work, and, though I learn from others, the field is wide open to creative possibilities.

But I wanted to try some slightly different things, and have a little fun with my machine and software.

Special thanks to Amanda Whitlatch, Bernina of America Educator, who teaches their Software Sampler webinar. It will be available Jan. 19 to the public.  Find out more here

I was determined to digitize the new 780 machine.  I started by creating a sketch from a decent photograph of the machine. I wanted  something like a mechanical drawing of it, since I knew I also eventually wanted to create a stitched outline (or redwork) of the machine, as well as an overall embroidery.







In the V6 software, I added colors and a store-bought background design (Damask Etchings) for my first attempt.  That design took over 2 hours to stitch out and I learned a great deal about the limits of the software and the limits of my patience.  Still, it stitched out OK and I certainly have a useable design.  If I were to stitch it out again, I would go back into the software and “tweak”.  A lot.







As part of the Software Sampler project, we created a notebook cover for a pad of paper, playing around with different fonts.  But since I wanted to make further use of the machine design, I included the outline design of the machine. As you can see, the front/back cover is linen, while the inside picks up the bright colors.







Finally,  I decided to re-digitize the machine in a little cleaner way and add it to the outline designs to make a tote bag. You can see the result. Here is also a pic of the machine sewing out the embroidery design of itself!







I have so many other ideas of things to digitize, I almost don’t know where to start.  It is somewhat time-consuming, but what craft or skill is not?  I find that as I get excited about a project, the time flies.  Experts would call that “flow,”  that time when you are challenged enough to lose track of all time, yet not so frustrated by the project as to give up.

So many people now have told me that sewing is their therapy.

I hope that you, too, have something in your life that causes you to lose all track of time.

How do you know?

I’m visual. The universe speaks to me in form, shape, color and sometimes font style.  I’d call it a subtext to reality, except that it’s not a subtext.  It’s the headline, the feature show.  And it’s taken me this long in life to realize it.

A few years ago, I took a local class about compelling issues, which included a video presentation during every session.  The video was mainly people talking, expressing their points of view and providing intellectual insights.  For whatever reason, the video director chose to periodically — sometimes in the middle of someone’s sentence — switch to black and white.

Now I’m sure this was done to get our attention and to make sure the audience stayed focused on the content.  However, it had the opposite effect on me. Whenever the screen would switch to black and white, the whole context changed.  For a few minutes afterward, I heard nothing, as the image took over and did all the communicating. I had to physically redirect my attention, and the sentences spoken in the interim were lost to me forever.

You may be visual too.  If you are, you know what it’s like to:

–Purchase a book because you like the font on the pages.

–Recall the sunlight streaming into the church, the look on the pastor’s face, the swaying of the choir, but not a word of the sermon. (Don’t worry, I read it online again later.)

–Know instinctively by the looks on your friends’ faces how things are going.

–Have a desk that’s piled high because out of site means out of mind.

How do you learn?  My husband and son are auditory.  If I ask a question at home, to heads buried in books, computers, TV screens or even conversations, both of them can repeat back my exact words.  They can quote characters from movies and cartoons and real life, having only heard a line spoken once.  Astounding.

Or maybe you are tactile.  I know you well.  I teach sewing and machine embroidery, and believe me, many of you are tactile.  You nod as we speak instructions, you understand when you watch the video. But until you are asked to perform the task yourself, all the effort just goes *poof*.  Performing the task, touching the machine, pushing the buttons, head down, hands working, is the only way to make it stick.

The truth is, we all use various combinations of communication and learning styles.  Most of us need to hear it, see it and do it.

The quilt in this post is a free pattern from Moda Bake Shop, made with Bella solids. I haven’t decided how to quilt it yet, but I’m thinking about a delightful chicklet-colored variegated King Tut from Superior.  I’m not sure yet about the thread.

I’ll know when I see it.