In this article I’m focusing primarily on Designer’s Gallery Creator 3, which is the software that we use with our embroidery machine, but I expect other digitizing programs will at least behave similarly.
I went back and was looking at some of the earliest projects I made with our software, and as I was somewhat green, there were some obvious (at least now) things that would make the output much more clean. When you draw an area and close the outline, if you choose any option that creates stitches (line, fill, satin column, …) a green bow-tie (begin point) and a red bow-tie (end point) are automatically generated by the software. What is the relevance of these two points? Lets look at a flower (looks like something a 1st grader might draw, but I wanted to make this simple) that I just quickly drew for this discussion.
In the screen capture above, there are red dashed lines (indication of jump stitches) between the petals. The first petal that will stitch out is the upper left (which is controllable by the designer), leading around the petals clockwise. After the upper left petal is stitched (filled by control), the machine will leap from to the upper right petal, and begin stitching the second petal. The thread between the petals is still connected (unless you have one of the newer embroidery machines, that will clip the jump stitches for you), even though not stitched into the fabric between the petals. The red and green bow-ties I mentioned earlier are about to make more sense.
In the screen capture above, I clicked onto the upper left petal object, and it shows additional details, including the red and green bow-ties, even though they are a bit difficult to see when on top of each other.
Above you can see that I moved the red bow-tie to the small tip of the upper left petal, and by doing this, the red dashed line that was originally showing from the upper part of the left petal, is now drawn from the red bow-tie’s new location. So, the red bow-tie is important as this is where the machine shifts from the completed upper left petal, to the upper right petal (or whatever is next in your design). Now lets see what we can do to completely eliminate the red dashed line from the first petal to the second.
Ok, so by moving the green bow-tie on the upper right petal, down to the narrow tip of this petal, with it’s location basically against the red bow-tie of the first petal, there is no longer a jump stitch between these two petals.
Notice by moving the red bow-tie from the second petal down to the narrow point of it’s petal, we are prepping to remove the next jump stitch, which is going to the lower right petal. To finish the changes to the flower, so there are no jump stitches which looks better and requires less work to clean up, I moved the two bow-ties for the remaining petals so they were at the narrow point for their respective sections. This will allow the machine to stitch most efficiently, flowing from petal to petal, with no unnecessary movements or extra thread used.
The capture above is of a perfectly clean design, where there are no jump stitches. If you plan the order of what you are stitching, and utilize your control of the two bow-ties, you can make your projects as nice as possible. Just so you know, you can’t always get rid of every jump stitch, unless you change threads between every object! (Some newer embroidery machines can cut a jump thread, but I’ve not yet used one and can’t provide any direct info on them.)
Additionally, planning the order you stitch, when you have multiple objects with the same color, can save you a lot of thread changes, and time.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments. Thank you for stopping by.
We own Designer’s Gallery Creator 3, which is a fairly new software we use to digitize what we want to embroider on our machine. We have a Baby Lock embroidery machine, but this software can save files in a range of formats, suitable for a wide audience of machines.
I have used graphics design programs for a very long time, and my first really good one that we purchased was Photoshop 2.5 (yep, it was current when we purchased it, so it’s been a long time). In many ways the new Creator software felt comfortable very quickly, as it almost seemed I was using some features from graphics design.
Ok, so I just wanted to lay a little background, but I’ll get on with the specifics. Recently, I was asked to create a couple of designs, and besides the graphical nature, also had some text that followed a curve. Creator has some built-in fonts (not including the True Type fonts that are also used by the rest of the computer), with a number of features to help the designer make some cool products, including text on a curve.
The fonts in this section of the program stitch out beautifully, but each has size restraints. Some may not work below 25mm, while another may go down to 7mm or even 5mm, as it’s smallest. Unfortunately, the font I chose, based on the size of my design, wouldn’t follow as tight of a curve as I needed.
To combat this, I ended up creating and rotating each letter, so it looked as if the text was just following the curve in my design. This is not a hard thing to accomplish, but can be a bit tedious. I’ve had more than a couple times where I got close to the end of the text, only to find the text going beyond the cutoff point. Then all of the letters must be shifted and adjusted, to again follow the curve of the design.
**Tip: During the above work, I got through about 8 – 10 letters and noticed each new letter had a more rough outline, compared to the original refined look when I started. I started digging in the setting to see if there was something I’d accidentally done to cause this issue. After going back and forth a couple times, I noticed one setting, Satin Density, was different on the beginning smooth letters compared to the most recent.
I decided to change the Satin Density setting from 9 to 4 on one of the rough letters, and sure enough, the letter was again the beautiful looking font. I went back through all of the text, and I noticed the first couple of letters had the Satin Density set at 4, where the next few were set at 5, and so on until it reached 9. As far as I know, I didn’t change any settings that would cause the non-static value in this field.
When I first noticed the difference in what I was seeing on the computer screen, I thought it might just be the software displaying a lower resolution version to save resources. After I found the changing values for the Satin Density, I was glad I hadn’t spent the time to stitch out the design, only to see a range of differing letter refinement.
If you have Creator, and use the built-in fonts (or add-ins that you’ve purchased), keep an eye on the basic look of the chosen font, just in case this isn’t an isolated issue. It took a little extra time to go back into each letter and adjust this setting, but I’d much rather do that rather than spin my wheels generating a design I can’t use, wasting thread and whatever fabric/item on which you are embroidering.
I hope this article is helpful and might save you some time. Thanks for stopping by, and please let me know if you have any question or comments.
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A couple of weeks ago I was going through some stuff in my shop and I found an older style Hock iron (O-1 steel) that I purchased around 1990. I was still really green relating to hand planes at that point, but I knew I wanted to learn how to both sharpen well and setup a plane to work like I’d seen from some experienced guys. I hadn’t ever used any of the Hock tools before, at the time when I purchased the iron, but there was something about their products that led me to believe it was a good buy. Boy, I was a good judge of character (at least about the Hock tools, lol)!
Ok, fast forward some 26 years later and I was completely surprised that I still had that iron. For some reason I thought I’d sold one of my old planes, with that iron in it, and that it was long gone! What a nice surprise it was still around.
I checked the edge on the Hock iron and it wasn’t even close to being sharp, so I used my usual sharpening techniques, with my 1000-grit Shapton Glass-stone and my 8000-grit Norton water-stone. A couple of minutes later (O-1 is one of the fastest steels to sharpen, yet this iron holds it’s edge a long time) it was razor sharp, and ready to take it’s rightful place in my oldest Bailey #3 hand plane.
The iron that I’ve had in the old Bailey was from 1892, and was a laminated piece. It always held an edge extremely well, which satisfied me greatly. After swapping the old Stanley iron for this much younger, but older-styled Hock iron, I of course had to test the replacement and see how it compared.
In the last 26 years, I’ve made a number of wooden hand planes, and purchased all of their irons from Hock. Each of these thicker irons performed exceptionally well, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to notice much of a difference between the two irons for my #3. I took some shavings on a number of different boards, from hard Maple, Purple Heart, Cherry, Oak… and I was truly amazed at the superior surface the Hock iron provided.
I was totally blown away! I’ve always thought the old laminated Stanley irons were as good or better than anything else out there, but it is obvious my perception was a bit off.
I felt the need to share my results with anyone who might be interested in reading it, so others could also benefit from my experiment. Of course, this was not conducted in a true scientific environment, or using scientific protocols, nor does it indicate all others will get the same results as I did. Even though the new products Hock is currently making may be slightly different than the older version I posses, Hock’s quality control is good, and will still present you with an equally high quality O-1 iron.
You can check out quite a few of the Hock lineup of irons and other tools, if you click on the Highland Woodworking link on my page.
Thank you for stopping by to check out this article. I hope this information is beneficial. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.