• A few words about the rules of creating monograms for machine embroidery

    Original text by Marina Belova 
    Monograms are stylized initials of somebody’s name, surname or patronym. A monogram is a personal logo of sorts. Known since the 4th century BCE, monograms have a very long history.

    Embroidering a monogram is an excellent and popular way of creating a personalized gift. You can embroider on anything, including bath and kitchen towels, clothes, bed linen, handkerchiefs, pillows, lambrequins, bags and toys. These are just a few of the things that can be given as gifts.
    A thought struck me just now that there are common traditions one must stick to in order to avoid making a blunder. It turned out, there exists a monogram creation and usage etiquette. According to it, you need to know for whom the monogram is intended and to separate a person from a couple, a man from a woman, a kid from the betrothed. This knowledge will define the typography. In every case, there are nuances. Everybody knows, for instance, that monograms are always read from left to right and from top to bottom.
    A traditional way of creating monograms
    Choosing a font
    According to the tradition, all the letters in a monogram are capital and should be of the same type.
    Square letters are for men, slant handwritten letters – for women and married couples, and calligraphic script is for women only. You can read more on the topic in my article about Fonts. Types of monograms.
    The outer look
    In a woman’s monogram the first initial is a name, a small letter. The second is a surname. This is the biggest letter in the monogram. And the third initial is a patronym, again, a small letter. In a man’s monogram, the order is the same, but all the letters are equal in size. It is possible to omit the patronym in a monogram. If that’s the case, you first write the name, then the surname, the initials being equal in size.
    As a rule, a child’s monogram consists of only 1 letter.

    In a monogram for a married couple, the first, small, initial belongs to the wife. A big initial denoting a surname follows, then comes the husband’s initial – again, small. The levels at which the letters are placed, may be different.

    If a couple has double surname, these 2 initials are made big and positioned in the center. For household use, you might employ just one letter in a monogram – a surname.
    Naturally, there exist simple monograms, consisting of separate letters, and also of linked ones.

    Monograms usage
    If a monogram contains several letters, it is intended for official use. One letter is for unofficial cases.
    A modern way of creating monograms
    It’s XXI century now, many things have been changed and simplified, so now we have an opportunity of using any style we like, even the most bizarre. Yes, the way you like, not the conventional way.
    Choosing a font
    There is a great variety of fonts that can be used in monograms. Traditional types with serifs are still popular, but there are also the ones without; fancy fonts with excessive decoration in the form of flowers, leaves, berries in a so called “French style” are very common. And of course, one cannot forget to mention the convoluted calligraphic script, which is widely used to this very day. Men’s and women’s preferences in the character style have changed as well. Nowadays women prefer simple elegant fonts. One multicharacter monogram may contain fonts of different styles, in order to reflect the personality of its owner.
    The outer look
    Many women’s monograms of today consist of just 1 letter (denoting either a name or a surname), and men’s still have 3.

    If all 3 of the letters are of equal size, their sequence is changed: first comes the name, then the patronym, and the surname is the last.
    Personal monograms of 2 letters (name and surname initials) are possible. Both 2-letter (two names) and 4-letter (two names, two surnames) monograms can be used for the betrothed. The sequence of letters is not fundamental as it used to be. But those in the know advise following the tradition when creating monograms for bed linen, decorations and silverware. Monograms are often fit into a geometrical figure: a circle, an oval, a diamond, etc.


    Garlands of flowers, crests, crowns and wreaths of various kinds may be used as well.

    Apart from the initials, an entire name is often embroidered today – one should keep this in mind.
    The collection of ancient monograms, now in public domain, can be found on the Web and used as a starting point for your own creative effort. The only thing you’ll need to do is to follow the rules above.
    There is a huge variety of the already existing monogram templates. They can be incorporated into the average embroidery software.
    Some editors are even tooled for the creation of monograms only. Here you can find free monograms from the (Stitch Era Universal). You can see similar ones in any other editor, only chances are that there will be more of them there than coming from a free source.

    Well, they’re not the sharpest tools in the shed, but these monograms are better than nothing if you need to create a present.
    Read here how the embroidery designs, monograms included, are usually positioned on an item.
    So, if you cannot draw or don’t like what you see in the free circulation, you can turn to a professional that creates various monograms to order. And if you need something simple to embroider it on an item, you can use a very handy application that has a built-in set of various fonts, vignettes, monograms, emblems and crowns.

    Where the embroidery thread can go wrong

    Original text by: Marina Belova 
    With ever increasing frequency I now become aware of the fact that there are no insignificant things in machine embroidery. Just overlook this or miss that, and hello, an inexplicable trouble, which you don't quite know how to handle. In support of this conjecture is a very interesting blog post by Embroidery Professor about the ways in which the thread should come off the spool/cone, which I found recently. 
    One would think, what's the fuss about how one should position a spool, horizontally or vertically? But it is not so simple. It turns out that one should not change the way the thread comes off the spool/cone based on wind. It will lead to the twisting of the thread, which may cause several problems, especially on high speeds: 
    Frequent thread breakage.  'Bird nesting' on the wrong side of the embroidery.  There are 2 ways of thread winding. As I don't know the right terms for them, I'll call them in my own way and show how they look like on the photos: 
    Straight winding. 
    Cross winding. 
    One of the easiest ways of avoiding the aforementioned problems is to position the spools so that the thread will not twist when unwinding. As for the ways of achieving that, everybody should find their own, according to their situation and possibilities. But you should do the following: 
    In case of a straight wound spool, the thread should come off across its central axis, like on the photo below: 

    As for the cross wound spool, it should come off along the central axis: 

    That's all there is to it. 

    Why test every machine embroidery design

    Original text by: Marina Belova 
    Why should every new or modified embroidery design be tested? And what's more, tested on the same fabric out of which the item will be made? To avoid mistakes, at least partly, and save yourself a disappointment of embroidering a design that looks splendid on screen and getting a result far from what you have expected on the fabric. 
    When I was working for my current employer's competitors, they did not have a habit of embroidering a full-blown test design before it went into production. Such were the rules in that place. I think it was done so for costs reasons only. Practically all the designs were large-size ones, so trying to embroider them all would take a lot of time and effort. 
    That's why we made a clean copy right away, using the fabric the client had brought. Of course, you had to stand there and keep a watch over the embroidery process so that to stop the machine on time in case there was some mistake in the file. And if it did, to run to the computer to make changes and load the modified design into the machine afterward. To rip off the elements you didn't need right in the hoop and then try to land this particular part of the design in the right place. 
    Imagine how many mistakes, glitches and bugs were there? You could not detect them all when still under development. Besides, some mistakes cannot be corrected after the embroidery is completed. But it's quite an experience! 
    So. What reasons do we have for testing the designs on the machine? 
    We should see: 
    How the design will be embroidered on that kind of fabric  How the design will be embroidered with this type of thread and of this particular brand  How the design will be embroidered with this stabilizer  How the design will be embroidered with these needles  How to adjust the thread tension for this design and this type of thread  Whether the design was digitized correctly:  Is it dense enough  Whether the understitching was done correctly  Whether there is enough compensation  Without this 'integrity test' it is impossible to create a good machine embroidery design. 
    One more poignant question related to the testing of the designs: Who should conduct the tests: a creator of the design or a user? I have a strong opinion that the tests should be conducted by the creators themselves. And not by anyone else. Because otherwise no one will give the creator a good feedback once the tests are completed. 
    Therefore, the embroidery design will not be of a high quality. The creator gains experience not so much from using the software and digitizing designs, as from standing in front of an embroidery machine and keeping an eye on the embroidery process. Only in that way can he or she understand the causal connection between what was done on the computer and the resulting embroidery.

    Color in machine embroidery. Basics

    Original text by Marina Belova 
    I wonder if anyone will ever argue that blending thread colors in machine embroidery is slightly different from blending printing colors or paints? But then again, even in painting, there have long been attempts to prove I.Newton’s classic theory of colors wrong. For those who are interested, there’s a book by Michael Wilcox called Blue and Yellow Don’t Make Green – go and read it.
    But let’s get back to the topic. All guides, books, and other information materials on color formation in machine embroidery are nevertheless based on Newton’s classic color wheel. For the sheer reason that you have nothing except them and your own experience to rely upon. Besides, choosing a right color with the help of the color wheel is much better than without it. Especially for the neophytes.
    That’s why I will take the liberty of touching on the subject of color in a machine embroidery design.
    Colors can be divided into 2 groups:
    Chromatic – the colors of the spectrum. Achromatic – white, black and all shades of gray. Let’s look at the canonical 12-part color wheel made of chromatic colors:

    It’s basis is formed by just 3 colors: yellow, red and blue (marked “I” in the photo). These are called primary colors, as they cannot be obtained by mixing other colors together.
    Secondary colors result from the intemingling of the two primary colors. In the photo, they are marked “II”. These are orange, green and purple.
    Tertiary colors are made by mixing two of the secondary colors (marked “III” in the photo). These are yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green and yellow-green.
    Also, there are such concepts as:
    Color hue – a property of color that defines its tone; we usually have separate names for them (lilac, magenta, etc.).
    Lightness – the shade of lightness/darkness. To get a shade you add some white or black to your source color. A mixture of color with white is called tint, and a mixture of color with black is shade.
    Saturation is the degree of intensity and purity of the color.
    Color temperature is connected to the idea of colors being “cool” or “warm”. On the basis of this idea, all colors are divided into warm, cool and neutral.
    There are several ways of creating harmonious color schemes, containing 2–4 colors, with the help of the wheel. For example:
    Mono – includes one color in different values. In this case, we only add shades and tints.

    Complementary – mixing of 2 (contrasting) colors on the opposite sides of the diagonal.

    Triadic – mixing of 3 colors that are located at the corners of the equilateral triangle:

    Mixing 3 analogous colors: Analogous colors are those that follow each other on the color wheel.

    Split-complementary: mixing 3 colors – two analogous and one contrasting.

    Mixing 4 colors: 3 analogous and 1 contrasting.

    Tetrad: mixing 4 colors arranged into two complementary pairs.

    Besides the ones above, there are other color harmonies that can be found in books and on the Web. The only thing left is to do is to practice, and don’t forget that the threads cannot blend together like paints. Also, the stitch types, stitch angles, textures selected will make their not so small impact on the end result.
    I’m curious if any software has algorithms helping to choose threads automatically, on the basis of the existing thread color palette, but using the methods described above?
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    • By embdesigntube in Machine embroidery, digitizing, news, ideas help
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      All in all, you're taking a gander at getting sewing machine surveys a fresh out of the box new sewing machine? It manages without asserting that obviously, you wish to guarantee that you get the best sewing machine for you - the one that is going to suit your prerequisites.
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      To start with - How much would you like to contribute?
      This is a really crucial worry to ask all alone preceding gaining your sewing machine, else you may find yourself escaping in a fantasy universe of sewing open doors and also spending route more prominent than you can figure out how to on your fresh out of the plastic new machine, abandoning you fiscally reached out and also lamenting your buy later on - when the happiness regarding your new toy has slowed down.  Sewing machine rates can vary from as meager as $30 to $1000's contingent on the limits of the machine.
      So pick what is the ideal amount of cash you consent to contribute and afterward find a machine that will unquestionably do precisely what you fancy it to - inside your rate range.
      Second - What are you going to utilize your living arrangement sewing hardware for?
      Why do you crave a sewing machine? Is it only to heal furthermore repair administrations? It is safe to say that you are thinking about doing somewhat standard sewing? On the other hand, would you say you will do a lot of sewing? Making pieces of clothing, doing knitting or specialties?
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    • By Embroidery Bucket in Machine embroidery, digitizing, news, ideas help
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      Embroidery Digitizing is a method to decorate the overall look of the design or material. The methodology starts when the art-piece is turned into a digital format and then the compatible software works on it to enhance the visibility and corporate image. After that, the design is read by the embroidery machine, turned into the graphic format and in the end; the machine embroiders the artwork efficiently. The techniques and methods take whole lot of efforts and expertise to get the job properly done.
      Now comes the question that in which category, does Embroidery Digitizing go to? Well, the simple answer is that it is a mix of both as only one characteristic between these two cannot be used to describe it. As technical as it looks, embroidery digitizing is basically an art as well.
      Embroidery Digitizing as Art:
      This embroidery method is all about understanding and learning about how the artwork is going to be designed and what should be the color combination. The look of “natural flair” is always taken as the priority because just like every art, beauty only shows when the product gives away natural flair. Along with that, the artistic touch and sense are also required when several things are decided, such as the patterns, vectorization and the decision of filling the blank spaces. The appropriate coordination of colors and shades is also important as well.
      Digitizing for embroidery is a kind of art procedure that definitely demands loads of things in terms of expertise of engineering, energy, motivation, material and performing the art in right direction. If it would be all about technical know-how, then it is not important at all to make so much effort to providing the best color schemes and making the designs look natural, which is the basic portion of embroidery digitizing.
      Embroidery Digitizing As Technical Skill:
      Along with being an art, it is a technical skill mainly because of the usage of the digitizing software, which is the most important part of the method. While making the use of the software, the optimum utilization of other tools is also of real importance so to ensure other factors, such as to make a correct number of stitches and not make them too dense etc. All of such considerations definitely need technological skills and understanding. There are times when the exact size and shape is needed, but not provided so the critical skill set is also required there to make sure that the design is made into the right size.
      So now you understand that embroidery digitizing is basically a combination of both art and technology that blend together to provide the high-quality embroidery experience to you & your clients. As stated above, it is both the art and the skill, so if you want any of your art piece embroidered and digitized, make sure that is gets done professionally by the service providers who are already the experts of this business. This work only looks good when it is done in excellence, which can only be achieved if the practitioners stay in business for quite a while.

    • By diver361 in Machine embroidery, digitizing, news, ideas help
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      This step by step instruction for free machine embroidery design 

       
      Hardanger is based exactly on the same principle as cutwork. Hoop the fabric together with the water-soluble stabilizer. 
      With the first color, you embroider the outline to mark the area where the holes will be cut. After that, without making a stop (to avoid extra knots), add a zigzag stitch on top of the outline. Having done that, take the hoop off the machine and cut holes in the outlined area, trying not to damage the stabilizer (Image 1). 

      Second color – a laced net is added in place of the cutouts (Image 2). 

      Third color – it's recommended to use the thread of a matching color here in order to create a drawn fabric effect (Image 3). 

      With the fourth and the fifth colors, the design itself is embroidered, ending in a zigzag border. After that, you need to take the hoop off the machine and trim the fabric along the edges of the embroidery without touching the stabilizer (Image 4). 

      Sixth color – a decorative stitch is stitched along the bottom part of the design (Image 5). 

      Seventh color – lastly, the lips, nose and cap are embroidered (Image 6).