Digitizing is one of those skills that definitely gets better with time and practice. If you are reading this and are a complete beginner, you may not want to hear that. I remember just starting out and thinking I had to know everything all at one time. If I took a class or watched videos I sometimes came away with feelings of being so far behind and never being able to catch up. Sound familiar? Well guess what? I have been digitizing for several years now and I still feel that way sometimes. There will always be someone out there who has more skills or more expensive equipment. So how can you move forward? Get friendly with your software of choice and tools available to you at this moment. Then, if you want to learn more or buy better, you can. ALSO remember, there are a multitude of ways to do machine embroidery. So be careful of thinking one way is the CORRECT way. Tools, techniques and products have a way of coming around in circular patterns. It may look like a brand new thing or the latest buzz but they might just be old school reimagined. Keep an open mind and be ready to experiment. I thought I would show you some easy ways to digitize a cute design with built in software shapes. My latest design releasing today is Red Nosed Reindeer in honor of our holiday season and I used only ready made shapes that are in my program. No artwork necessary. Just playing with those shapes to see what I could come up with. This way of creating machine embroidery should be able to be used with any digitizing software as they usually include built in designs to help you.
Here is the reindeer portion of my design. If you will notice when I originally digitized it, I was working in a 4x4 size hoop you can see in the picture. I added text later and moved it to a 5x7 hoop with that addition. In my software (Hatch by Wilcom) you can see all of the shapes listed on the right side of the screen by color. When you look at this Objects view, it really does keep it simple so you can sort everything. I like to do this to make sure I keep my color changes to a minimum.
In Hatch by Wilcom, when you click on Digitize it will open up and you will see a Standard Shapes option. This is where all of those choices open up to you.
Here is the shape I used for the collar. Also I wanted to keep my stitch count lower so I chose a cross stitch fill pattern for most of the shapes. That choice is available when you click on the shape and on the Fill choices at the right side of the screen. Remember these options may not look exactly the same in your software, but similar choices should be available.
Each cross stitch shape was also outlined with a bean or triple stitch. That can be done by making sure you have clicked on the shape and choosing create layout on the left side of the screen below digitize. A flyout will open and you can add any type of outline listed as well as the color choice.
I used a border shape that looks like a shield for the face.
How about this shape for the ears? Once they were added I just rotated them and moved into place. You could also create the first one, duplicate it then mirror so they are the same size.
A heart shape works well for the muzzle of the reindeer. Just rotate and move onto the face.
Antlers might sound tricky but check out this banner shape. Again create one resize it so it is the size you need, duplicate and mirror.
A circle shape can be used for the nose and then a tatami stitch is used for the fill so it really stands out.
A star shape is filled with cross stitch and then outlined like the other shapes.
Circles for the whites and pupils of the eyes. Then a satin fill is chosen for them.
So far most of the shapes are easy to add and put in place. You may have some parts that include trims that you don't want. That is when you may need to add some travel stitches in between the objects like the ones circled in red. These are just stitches that will keep your machine from trimming when you have the same thread color on objects. You can see these trims when you look at the design with True View unclicked. You will need to digitize a single stitch line. Start at the trim from one object then continue to the start area of the second object. In Hatch by Wilcom you can also click on objects you want to Join using the control key and then press the letter J. This is a hotkey that joins the objects and will hopefully remove trims between them if they are close enough and the same color. Any small triangles will denote trims. In this picture all of the trims have been removed from the brown objects.
Here is that area mentioned earlier where you can create outlines for each shape if you want to. Click select on the object, create outlines and offsets. The shape will be outlined exactly on the edge and will usually be placed right behind the object in the stitch order for better stitch registration. I think it just gives it a better finish on those cross stitch fills. I didn't outline the shapes with Tatami or Satin Fills to keep the stitch count down.
I used fonts built into the Hatch by Wilcom software for the Merry Christmas words. This did increase my design and a 5x7 hoop was used for the stitch out. Normally you want to know your design size from the beginning but I didn't resize the reindeer. I simply added the text underneath and it no longer fit into a 4x4 hoop. Finally, all items were grouped together and then moved to the hoop center in the software before saving. If you don't have digitizing software, I do have this Red Nosed Reindeer Design available in my store here. How about some ideas for last minute Christmas gifts?
A bag for that ultimate lover of the season. Notice the text colors were changed on this one and others below so they stand out more.
A onesie for a little cutie.
Or a Bib?
An apron for Christmas morning when you are baking those world famous Cinnamon Rolls?
A Holiday Tea Towel for kitchen or bath?
A warm sweatshirt to wear for that Holiday gathering? So many ideas and there is still time to do some creating before the big day.
So why am I showing you how to digitize when I sell designs myself? I want you to be successful whether you buy my designs or create them yourself. If you are reading this article, you love machine embroidery and are my kind of people. When I started trying to learn how to do machine embroidery, there were only a couple of professional industry people that were openly generous with digitizing information. I am forever grateful to them because my digitizing craft has brought me forward in life. It is always here when I am ready and sits back quietly when I am otherwise busy. I want to pay it forward to someone out there like I was helped. So, are you getting excited to try using built in shapes in your digitizing software? I think you could do an infinity of embroidery designs using this technique. That would be a real confidence booster for you in your stitching journey. Or maybe this has inspired you to try machine embroidery again and you need some inspiration? If so, try my Free Designs Page. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
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Lagniappe Peddler believes that the process of working with our hands can be one of the best forms of healing the hurts in our lives and welcomes all who visit this safe little corner of the world.
What is a Lagniappe Peddler?
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift
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