Sunday, April 10, 2016

Adventures with Stitch Artist: A Stylized Cat from a Dingbat



I love dingbats! I use them repeatedly in my scrapbooking and my paper crafting. So, why should I not try to use them in StitchArtist (SA)? Plus, it is just plain fun to go "shopping"!

Speaking of "shopping"....There are many sites that offer free fonts. Two that I have frequented for year and find reliable are Dingbatdepot and Dafont. Lettering Delights has their own line of dingbats called "Doodlebats" for a reasonable price.

With no real plan, except to show how to use dingbats with the True Type font function of SA, I went shopping.....


I found "Founa!" I could see stylized embroidery! SOLD! 

Before I proceed, I am using StitchArtist 3; you will see a lot of buttons! True Type Fonts are also available beginning with StitchArtist 1. 

Downloaded and installed on my Mac, I was ready to go.....or so I thought. I opened my Embrilliance software. I selected CREATE DESIGN from the toolbar. From the TOOLPANE, I selected the TT FONT. (If the names are confusing you can find them in the Embrilliance manual p. 10.)

 

The FONT WINDOW opened and I clicked on the down arrow under "family" to look for my font. 


Uh oh! The font was not listed. What did I do? 


I had never noticed the "wheel" at the top of the FONT box (1). I selected it and a menu opened! 


I thought MANAGE FONTS would allow me to select what font appeared in SA. Instead, it took me to the listing of fonts installed on my computer. "Founa" was right where it should be! 


Drat! I really want to use it....Maybe, just maybe, there is something wrong with the font itself....Off to Pages (comparable to Word) to see!

 

Odd, not listed there either! Now I was on a mission....to be able to use this dingbat font in my SA. It WILL work; I am stubborn. And, I have several softwares that may help me out! First my Silhouette Studio....not there. On to Inkscape...



There it was! I really need to learn more about Inkscape. But I think I can at least get a graphic for my embroidery project.
 
Before I go on, a couple of things about dingbats...when the plan works, that is! Dingbats open a whole new world of creativity. Each character in the "alphabet" is associated with a keystroke---they are typed. This is easy and quick, but can be interesting when choosing one character. Most downloadable files include a "character map" allowing you to see which key is associated with which character. I keep this in a NOTE in my Notes App.


I see that the cat is the letter "d". I'll start there!

Have I said that I really need to learn more about Inkscape? But that's another story. After much trial and error---seriously several hours worth--I had an SVG file to open in SA!
And here's where the SA adventure begins!




In the video (and on my stitchout) I kept the cat in one color. Changing colors gives this guy a bit of a different look!

In the end, when I stitched C is for .... I sized the cat down. I lost some of the fine detail of the satin, but it still stitched flawlessly! While you are here....take a close look at the shading stitch. If it is too open for you, decrease the density a little; this takes some practice, but you will soon know what you like!

In summary, the features of StitchArtist that I used:
DRAW WITH POINTS
SATIN BORDER
CLOSE AREA
FILL


Thank you for joining me on this "dingy" adventure! I cannot wait until next time!


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Adventures with Stitch Artist: Scribbled Flowers

Embroidery that is light and airy (like a coloring book image) is fascinating. I have been playing with shading for a while now....let it suffice to say I remember why I gave up coloring! But, in my efforts to educate myself, I have seen images that have a "sketched" or "scribbled" look. Guess what? I can do that!

The flowers that you see on the apron I made for my granddaughter were created using tools available in StitchArtist Level 1. They stitch quickly because the density is very light. The shapes are from the  Outline Library.  I finished the purchased apron with stitches found on my Janome 15000.


Join me as I share my latest Stitch Artist Adventure with you!


Confession time. When stitching this design the first time I had a problem. In spite of selecting "travel on edge" my fill would stitch minimally and then would skip to a different location. It looked like this:

In the software, when I ran the stitch simulator, these areas were joined by running stitches. Where did they go? This had happened to me before and I wasn't very happy! Then I realized something....

I opened the PREFERENCES (circled) window.

At some point I had selected the indicated option (arrow). I was running the working file...it was perfect;  the JEF (sewing) file however had been adjusted. The "travel on edge" lay under many layers of outline; considered 'overlap" it was removed! 
 

I deselected "Remove overlaps...." and tried again. My travel on edge stitches were there and my machine was no longer jumping from area to area, but stitching smoothly once again! 

Thanks for sharing this adventure with me! I am off to begin another StitchArtist adventure. Until next time! 




Saturday, March 12, 2016

Embrilliance and Cricut Explore Sizes Up Quite nicely!

If you didn't know, Cricut Design Space allows uploading of SVG files, and guess what is Embrilliance writes for applique? SVGs! It is a match made in heaven as far as I am concerned. My Cricut Explore cuts fabric beautifully and my Embrilliance Software allows me to be creative with the embroidery. But as in all good relationships, there is a little getting to know each other that has to happen.

First, you have to be familiar with what your version of Embrilliance does. I started with StitchArtist 3, but now own Embriliance as well. I can edit and combine in Embrilliance; I can create new designs in StitchArtist. And I can save cut files to an electronic cutter with both!

But, it is very important to be familiar with the cutter software. I think the Cricut Design Space is clean and staight forward! I can upload a large number of graphic formats, including SVG. For reasons I do not know, I have found that the SVG files do not import at the correct size. The fix is easy.

Join me as I share how I size SVG files for use in the Cricut Design Space Software!



If you would like a PDF of the basic steps click on the Link below:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/1zqtoibns7ghzbe/Sizing%20Embrilliance%20to%20Cricut%20DS.pdf?dl=0


Friday, March 11, 2016

Adventures in StitchArtist: Creating an Easter Bunny

The library of shapes in SA gives this program so much versatility. Add Pinterest and the sky is the limit! My granddaughter wanted an Easter bunny on a shirt and I could find none in my personal embroidery files. But, SA gives me shapes....so a search began!

I have discovered that the more specific I am when searching, the greater the chance of finding what I want! In Pinterest, I typed in "punch shapes for Easter." Oh my! I got lost in the looking, but found so many cute ideas and all with basic shapes!


My granddaughter really like this one so I set out to make it happen:

The first step is to analyze the bunny's shape (that sounds a little ominous!)
What do you see? I saw 2 hearts, some circles and some straight lines.
Hmm...the bow is cute but adding a real bow would give some texture to the embroidery.

Next I did a screen capture of the bunny pin.
I won't use it for digitizng,
but I will use it as a reference for the proportions as I add my own shapes to the design. 


In the StitchArtist3 embroidery window I selected IMAGE > my screen capture. 
I then slid it to the side so I could reference it. I am ready to add my shapes!


From the toolbar I selected MERGE DESIGNS FROM LIBRARY.
In SA be sure that EMBRILLIANCE OUTLINES shows in the drop down menu.



Using the left sidebar, there are several shape libraries.
From the noted libraries I chose these shapes:
Hearts Folder: Heart 1
Shapes 1 Folder: circle and oval
Shapes 2 Folder: the egg


With all the shapes on my screen I am ready to play!

The first shape I chose to manipulate was the heart.
I needed to size it and mirror it! 
So, I changed to the CREATE menu (same toggle as CREATE DESIGN)


I used the corner handle and sized the heart to 3 5/16 wide and 3" tall.
(This may change, but it works for now!
With the heart selected I clicked on the MIRROR VERTICALLY (circled).
What will be the head is done!

Now for the ears!


Using the EGG shape, I sized it to 1 5/8 x 3".
(The picture to the side looks like the ears are close to the same height as the heart.)

Using the blue dot in the upper right corner of the design,
I rotated my "ear" as shown.
 I now have two options:
create a second ear
or place the outline for the pink inner ear.
As I thought about it, I realized that if I created the pink "inner" ear at this point,
I could save myself multiple steps in the end.

I am all for saving time and work! So....
I copied the ear (CMD C on a Mac/CTRL C on a PC) the outer ear
and pasted it (CMD V/CTRL V).
When pasted, the shape lies over the original.

While in the CREATE OPTION
I made sure the pasted ear was selected and
I sized it using the black handles  to 1 1/4 x 1 3/4. 


Don't worry! I will be giving this little guy a second ear soon! 
But first, a nose and a pink cheek. 

The nose....remember that circle? 
 I pulled it down to the approximate location 
and sized it as indicated: 11/16" x 11/16".


For the cheek: I copied the nose, pasted and sized it to 3/4" x 3/4." 


I think I'm ready to add stitches.....

Change to the CREATE DESIGN page

With the drawn object, SA allows me to create what I want.
 How I love that! 
For my granddaughter's shirt I want an embroidered design, not applique. 
However, This bunny would be really cute as an applique! 
By saving the working (BE file) and the stitch file I can have the best of both worlds.
Pretty cool!
 For now, I will fill this bunny with stitches!

Before I begin to lay my fills...I checked out the object menu. 

I could not figure out what was what based on the names of the objects. 
So, I changed their names by double clicking on the object 
and typing the new name in the box (after identifying the part, that is!)


Now I can select the exact object I choose. 
Oh by the way, I don't remember why I brought in an oval 
but it can be deleted in the end! 

On to adding stitches. 
I know! He looks a little lopsided. 
Trust me -- that is just for now!


For the next few steps I used the fill option from the stitch menu:


First, I selected the inverted heart outline,
I then clicked on the FILL STITCH.


My stitch of choice is TATAMI, at the default density and length. 


My plan is to stitch this on a stabilized fabric. 
So, I decreased the amount of underlay stitching this design would use. 
I chose to use only PERPENDICULAR at a density of 26PT.



I also desired to tie my object at the entry and exit. 


I repeated the same steps for the outside ear (the larger oval) using the same settings. 
Right now this ear lies on top of the head, but that is okay. It will change.

My changes were getting a little tough to see...so I changed colors. 
Now to create the inner ear.


I selected the inner ear and applied the TATAMI at the above settings. 
What I am hoping for is a light, slightly transparent pink inner ear. 
A couple of things occurred to me: 
this inner ear lies on top of other stitches 
and 
the more transparent look will let the underlay show through. 
There is really no need for underaly---
so I decided to remove all underlay.
 

Now to tie off the segment:

But I wanted the inner ear to look fuzzy. So, I chose to use the FEATHER the FILL toggle.

My settings are strictly personal preference! 
But I love the look!


The next thing is to remove that pesky line running down the middle of the pink part! 

Thinking this through...
The GREEN bowtie is the beginning of the stitching; 
the RED is the end. 
This object begins at the GREEN
stitches the fill 
and then travels back to the RED to end the fill. 


There is no real need to return to the start;
 I hovered my mouse until the RED bowtie appeared next to my cursor,
grabbed it and slid it into position opposite.


I use the same steps to fill the rabbit's cheek. 
In the end, 
I decided to rotate the cheek 
(using the blue dot in the upper right corner)
so that the inclination of the stitches was about 45 degrees (note the red arrow).


Now the nose....Again the fill with no underlay, but adding ties to beginning and end.

He needed a nose! 
Again using the fill, I adjusted the stitch properties as indicated.


One of my favorite SA3 features is the add outline:

This outline will give the perfect pop to the bunny's nose! So, 
with the nose selected I clicked on this tool. 

Here's what I have so far...


I decided that it was time to give this guy two ears and two cheeks. 
Copy and paste, my heroes! 

I return to the CREATE menu, it just seems easier for me!

From the OBJECTS menu, I click on and select the objects to duplicate: 
the outer ear, the inner ear and the cheek.

With these objects selected, Copy (CMD C on a MAC or CTRL C on a PC)
Then, paste (CMD V/ CTRL V)
or from the EDIT MENU:

Again, the objects paste on top of themselves.
In the OBJECTS menu, the pasted objects are the last 3 items in the list.

Do not deselect these objects, yet!

From the TOOLBAR: 
Select FLIP HORIZONTALLY.
The ear parts and the cheek should flip in place....

and grab them and slide them into position! 
This is exciting...it is looking more like a bunny! 

Back to the CREATE DESIGN to do a little clean up and add eyes.
Remember the oval....time to get rid of it!
.
Select and delete. 

Now to reorder the objects. 
Love how the software numbers the order of stitching...
1:1 stitches first, 1:2, 1:3, ending with 1:9. 

I want the ear parts to stitch behind the face. 
To do that, I selected the inner and outer ears and moved them into position.
Here is my final ordering:

I ran the design through the stitch simulator to check

I also wanted to make the entry and exit points to stitch more efficiently. 
I chose the OBJECTS  that I wanted to include. 

Then, I selected MENU: CREATE> AUTO ENTRY AND EXIT.
Done! On to the eyes. 

Oh no!  I had not created an outline for the eye! 
Back into the SHAPES 1 LIBRARY to get a circle. 

I then sized it wayyyyy down to 1/4."
Using FILL, I adjusted  the length of the stitches
and changed the color to black. 

Again COPY and PASTE, for two eyes. 
Select both eyes
and back to the CREATE menu to align them!
Select: ALIGN AND DISTRIBUTE.
From the drop down window: BOTTOM>APPLY. 
The eyes  snap into alignment!


No self-respecting bunny would be without whiskers! 
I think that the easiest way is just to add a few 
runnng stitch lines. 

With these tools selected I went to town.

I inserted the points in the numerical order shown. 
One line with tie off at beginning and end. 

I copied and pasted the whiskers to the other side.
Again, I used the align function and aligned the top of the whiskers.

Almost there....now stitch this guy out! 
I saved him as both BE and JEF files. 
By maintaining the BE file I have a way 
to fix any boo-boos that I find during stitching. 

I sent Mr. Bunny to the machine....uh oh. 

 I had expected the stitches from the red line down 
to disappear as overlap when I saved my design. 
But they were clearly there. 
I took 5 to rethink: 
I have Enthusiast, Essentials, and SA 3.
It works for my applique, why not here?

Back to the Embrilliance Quick Tip 3 on removing hidden stitches. 
A single word jumped out at me....DESIGN. 
Suddenly, it occurred to me that Enthusiast and Essentials 
do not work 
with OBJECTS, but with COMPLETED DESIGNS.
To remove stitches I needed to change the objects of the one design 
into designs in their own right.

At this time, my bunny is one single DESIGN. 

To have the stitches removed, 
I needed to create a second DESIGN containing the inner and outer ears! 
From the menu I chose CREATE> DESIGN> BEGIN NEW DESIGN.

At the bottom of the OBJECTS menu 
a number 2 and a blank line appears. 
I named this EARS since that is what I will put into this DESIGN. 


I selected the 4 objects making up the ears.


I dragged the 4 OBJECTS
to the new DESIGN 2.
 When the line highlighted, 
I dropped them into the DESIGN2.


I then reordered the two designs so that the ears would stitch first
and the face second. 

Keeping my fingers crossed, I clicked on the 
REMOVE HIDDEN STITCHES
preview.

Voila! It worked! 
I am so excited to know this trick; 
so many possibilities!
Just to stitch....

Added some text from Jolson's....Love it!

And the best part! With StitchArtist I am not limited to a stitched design. 
By simply returning to the OUTLINE status (in the BE file) I can reassign 
whatever stitches I choose, perhaps an applique? 
What do you think?

In the end I made a few adjustments to the density and 
the feathered edge. These were totally personal taste. 
I HIGHLY recommend doing a stitch-out prior to the final product...
just in case!

I have so enjoyed sharing this little adventure with you! 
Until next time....