Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to School bags

I took this picture Sunday night before going to sleep, all of our bags packed and ready for the first day of school!
Annaliese's backpack from last year (errr, two years ago!)  is still holding up, so I didn't have any monogramming to do for her.
Dashiell picked out this Spider-man backpack and lunchbox set. I knew I'd make a keychain type tag for his lunchbox.
We debated (at great length) WHERE the monogram should go on his backpack. Front and center didn't work because it would cover up the spider symbol.  He nixed every suggestion I made, and I physically couldn't do his suggestions. Boy, he was getting frustrated. Finally he said, "can you put it here?" and pointed to the little plastic sleeve for contact info. I said, "sure!"
NO JOKE this took less than five minutes. I hooped tearaway, sprayed adhesive, laid down a piece of black vinyl, stitched the monogram, trimmed the rectangle to proper size and slid it in. EASIEST bag monogramming job ever!

I was going to use ribbon for the tag on his lunchbox but realized the vinyl would be super cool. I just monogrammed a strip, folded it in half around a D-ring, and stitched it up on my sewing machine! We used 8CP Spidey font for his monogram
As I have done in the past, I bought a couple Publix shopping bags and monogrammed them to deliver school supplies in. I picked I2S Box Font Applique for the big monograms which made it easy to cover the printed logo. To make things simpler, I skipped the satin stitches and just made the applique raggy (yes, I admit I was doing this at 9pm on Sunday night). I love this print with the tiny owls!
I used Cinnamon Cake to add Mrs. Harvey's name:
And I used Jelly Bean to add Ms. Sperling's name:
I thought they turned out cute!

If you don't own the Box Font alphabet set or number set,  they are on sale until Friday morning! You can read all the details on the I2S Facebook page, but in short -- it's because they are my favorite and we are celebrating my 1 year anniversary with I2S :) ENJOY!

Monday, August 18, 2014

First Day of School 2014

Well, the day finally arrived... my little man is in kindergarten, and my big girl is in fifth grade! How did this happen?!?
This is the one year that they will be at the same school, Dashiell's first year as a Springwood Owl, and Annaliese's last. I am so incredibly blessed that not only do they want to wear applique shirts to school, but they genuinely want to MATCH! Mommy is soaking it in and taking advantage as long as possible. :)
I knew I wanted to use owls, so when I saw Beau Mitchell Boutique's scholar owls at the beginning of summer, I knew they were it!  I added the text with I2S's Covered by Your Grace.
I used the Owl Scholar for Dashiell:
Out of all my aqua fabrics, he picked the chevron! I was surprised...
And the Owl Girl Scholar for Annaliese:
 I didn't really give Annaliese much of a choice on fabric, so thankfully she agreed with my vision, ha!
Here they are, ready to walk to their classrooms! They got lots of compliments on their shirts :)
They had a great first day and we anticipate an awesome year!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Expert Editing and More! (AG 2014 Part 2)

In my last blog post about Applique Getaway 2014, I mentioned that I taught a class, FONTastic! Expert Editing and More! It was a really fun experience. I said I would share some of what I taught in a second blog post. I cannot type word for word what I covered, but I will hit the highlights to show off this cute custom birthday shirt I made:
using elements from these designs from the Itch 2 Stitch:
I walked through the design editing process in both Embird Editor and Embrilliance Essentials, not only to help those who already own one of the programs, but to show their different strengths for those who want to purchase software so they could make a more informed decision. I picked these two programs because they are comparable in price AND they are the only two I am familiar with. Ha!
Spoiler alert: I love both programs for different reasons and can't really recommend one over the other -- I'm glad I have both! :)

I will briefly describe my process in each program, then at the end you can download my handout that goes into a bit more details. This is NOT an exhaustive review of everything these programs are capable of. I simply created a project to walk through that shows off the features I use the most. I also have several disclosures/disclaimers that I will put in detail at the bottom (I don't work for either Embird or Embrilliance, read and follow the Terms of Use for the designs you purchase, do not share your merged design files with other embroiderers, edit at your own risk). Ok, here we go!

I opened the 2 from the Football Varsity Applique Numbers set. I deleted the white stripes and laces
  • Embird: right click the white color box and select "delete" color
  • Embrilliance: expand the design, highlight the white step and delete
I merged in the Fishing Puppy Applique Design, then deleted the pole, string, and hook.
  • Embird: you can do the same as above, but with a multistep design if you aren't sure which color stops are which, you can right click a color box, select "separate all colors" to break the design into multiple elements. Then the thumbnails will make it clear what colors you should delete. Delete the pole/string/hook. Select all and rejoin those items back together. 
  • Embrilliance: expand the design, highlight the three steps and delete
I merged in the Birthday Dino Box Applique to borrow his party hat! Use the same steps as above to remove everything from the design EXCEPT the placement/tackdown/satin/dot for the hat. 

I moved the hat over on top of the puppy and rotated it
  • Embird: select the "rotate mode" button in left toolbar to free rotate the object
  • Embrilliance: click on the little blue dot in the upper right corner of selected object and drag it to rotate
In Embird only, I adjusted the pull compensation of the puppy so the satin stitch width of the puppy matched the satin stitch width of the hat. I separated all colors of the puppy, selected just the satin stitch steps and went up to Edit -> Pull Compensation. Entering positive values increases pull compensation (makes it thicker) and negative values makes it thinner. I usually start with something like 0.2 or 0.3, undoing and trying again until it looks just right!
(It is my understanding you can adjust pull compensation in Embrilliance, but you have to own Enthusiast, too, which I do not have at this time) 

To make the puppy a bit more girly I added a heart to the collar. I first merged in the Love Bug Ladybug Applique then deleted everything but one little heart
  • Embird: select the love bug design. Then down in the lower right panel, click on one of the pink pink elements. In the workspace the item selected will turn red. I checked to make sure I had the right cheek heart highlighted, then right-click and select "delete all items except this one". BOOM the whole design is gone except for that little heart! 
  • Embrilliance: expand the design, highlight the pink step that contains two hearts and copy/paste. Now deleted the entire ladybug design, what you will have left is a new object that is just the hearts. To separate the hearts, you will watch it in stitch simulator, and add a color stop between the hearts. Then you can delete the left heart leaving behind the right heart. 
I reflected the heart so it was tilting the way I wanted
  • Embird: click the "mirror horizontally" button
  • Embrilliance: click the "flip horizontally" button
I removed the overlapped satin stitches from the designs elements that were being covered by a different applique design. 
  • Embird: I started with the dog/hat first. We do NOT want to mess with the placement and tackdown stitches, so on the bottom object click on the satin stitch step and select "hide all colors except this one". Then select the two overlapped applique objects and go to Edit -> Mask. This will remove the satin stitches that are under other stitches, but now we want to remove the stitches that will also be covered by fabric. Hide all colors of the top design, and then use the Freehand Select Mode to lasso the unwanted stitches. Click the split button, which will break those stitches out into it's own object, and delete it. Now join everything together and your little dog will have a fun party hat attached!
    Put the dog where you want on top of  the applique 2 and do that process of removing overlapped stitches again. 
  • Embrilliance: Position the dog/hat/heart exactly where you want on top of the 2. Assign "applique position" or "applique material" to each color of the placement/tackdown steps of all the applique elements. Then click the "remove hidden stitches" button and BOOM they are gone! Watch this Embrilliance video to see it in action: Remove Hidden Stitches
I recolored the design so my preview image in software would match as best as possible the threads I would actually choose at the machine. 
  • Embird: right click a color box in the upper right panel for a whole bunch of options, but most likely you will "select color from catalog" to change each color as needed
  • Embrilliance: click the color box in the lower right panel to select a new color. 
Last, I added the name using the 1.5" size of Twinkle Star
  • Embird: merge in the individual letter files. I rearranged the stitch order of the letters as needed by dragging and dropping them in the upper right hand panel. I roughly placed them where I wanted in a straight line, selected them all and used the "align" button to make more exact changes (align bottoms so they are perfectly straight, with the exception of the y that dangles below the baseline -- in that case you select a different letter like the n and the y, and align tops). Select all the letters, join them, then drag into position. 
  • Embrilliance: install the BX file that comes in the zip (assuming the digitizer includes it). Click the A button to create a lettering object, type the name, select the font and BOOM there it is! Drag into position.
In both cases since it was the same font/name/hoop, the name was too wide for the hoop, so I had to resize. Both programs you can either drag the design to the final size you want, you can adjust the size by typing in a percentage change, or adjust size by typing in an exact dimension. In Embird it is very important that if you attempt to resize and do not like the results, UNDO and try again from the original. Embird recalculates stitches with each change you make, and that can introduce errors with a cumulative negative effect. (Embrilliance does not recalculate stitches until you save, so you can play until your heart's content.)

Select everything and be sure it is centered in your hoop and still fits the hoop dimensions.
FINALLY Save As a new design name! Now sew!

One thing I wanted to point out at my machine -- remember how we did not change the placement and tackdown stitches and only deleted the overlapped satin stitches? Well this is what it looks like at the machine when you finish the 2: 
Trim those jumps and then run the placement stitch for the dog: 
The fabric is going to overlap. Sometimes that is ok sometimes, not. For example, when I laid the yellow fabric on top, the stripes show through!
I did not want stripes running through my dog, so I carefully trimmed away the parts of the 2 that would be covered by the dog fabric: 
And now I'm ready to continue on. That added extra step at the machine really helps the overall product look like it was digitized that way instead of merged. 
Special thanks to Whimsical Fabric for donating the lovely fabrics I used on this shirt! 

I *think* that accurately summarizes everything, but it is very hard to type it all out. I hope someday to record some new how-to videos, but that is still a ways off as I transition to a new computer. 

You can download a pdf of the handout we distributed at AG. Again, it is not word for word, but it does include images of the buttons I clicked for each step of the process.

And lastly, my disclosures/disclaimers:
I bought Embird Editor myself 7 years ago because my mother-in-law basically required me to before she gave me my embroidery machine, and I have used it basically every day since. Embrilliance Essentials and AlphaTricks Publisher were complimentary (as an employee of The Itch 2 Stitch) so I could create BX files for our fonts, and I've used it for 6 months. I am not an employee of either Embird or Embrilliance and I did not receiving kickbacks from either for teaching the class. I'm simply a fellow embroiderer showing off what you can do with good editing software. 

I used I2S designs and fonts in my class... and that's primarily because I was at AG with my boss! But I also have her permission to pick apart her designs to come up with something new. And that brings me to my first disclaimer -- please read the terms of use for the designs you buy and be sure to follow them. For the most part digitizers don't mind if you do design editing for personal use. But there are some who explicitly state "You may not use our designs or any parts of our designs to create a new design  for your own use."  Make sure you can abide by the TOU before purchasing. 

Assume the TOU for the original designs allow you to sell final products, then you could do something like take an apple from one digitizer's designs, borrow some eyes from a second design, pluck some sunglasses off of a third design and add "School is Cool" using a font to make a custom design to stitch on a shirt for your kid or for a customer. But you CANNOT share or sell that design file to another embroiderer. You did not digitize any part of that merged design, and therefore do not have the rights to distribute the design to anyone else. If a friend a couple states away wants to make one too... she would have to buy all the designs and merge it herself. 

And finally... as soon as you open a design in software to resize, rearrange stitch order, delete elements, add elements, adjust pull compensation... you have basically voided the warranty so to speak. A digitizer cannot guarantee a proper stitchout once you have modified the original file. So edit at your own risk!! I am very confident in Embird's abilities to edit designs, but that's because I have put it to the test and been pleased with the results. Do not take my word for it! Test your first merge jobs on scraps before putting it on a valuable blank. 

Ok, now, go have fun! 





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