How I develop my digitizing plan – the story

ALSYes, this blog post is about machine embroidery, but I first wanted to share with you my story on how this came about.

Before July 20, 2015, my knowledge of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) went as far as Stephen Hawking – a brilliant scientist who has been living with this disease for decades.  It attacked his body but not his mind, and that was pretty much all I knew about ALS.  The annual Ice Bucket Challenge in August was in my peripheral edges of my world, but little did I know how much it and the money raised for ALS research would be part of my life.  In the past year, I have learned so much about this atrocious disease, and am doing my small part to raise awareness.

On July 20, 2015, I found out that my sister-in-law Pattie was “officially diagnosed” with ALS – they had ruled out everything else. For some, the disease hits slowly with symptoms developing and progressing over a couple years, but we have not been as fortunate. There is always hope and everyone that is affected by ALS is very aware of the finite aspect of life and hope for a cure.  May 10 has been designated by The ALS Association as NATIONAL ALS ADVOCACY DAY.  The previous links provide information on the disease and the organization that is working towards creating a world without ALS.

I have nothing to contribute as far as scientific knowledge, but I thought I would create this blog post in support of all of those who are affected by ALS. I would like to promote awareness of ALS by using my knowledge of machine embroidery to teach those interested in how I develop my plan for creating a machine embroidery design that I wear in support of my sister and all of those that are affected by ALS.

The ALS ribbon is blue and white striped and I am going to show you my thought process for creating a free standing design that can be worn as a pin or used as an ornament. The following video walks you through my thought process – how I go from an idea to an embroidery stitch file.  As you will see, I do alot of the planning outside of the computer.  Once I have my plan, using the tools in StitchArtist to accomplish the plan is almost as easy as following the directions on the box to make brownies.

So, there you have it – its not a cookie cutter set of steps of how to digitize every single design.  Is this the ONLY way?  Of course not!  It is, however, a way to start thinking about how the design could stitch before you even start creating the stitches.  If you are reading this for information on digitizing, maybe this will help you develop YOUR plan – what works for you!  Does this sound like extra work? maybe – but you can see that I already created two designs that I didn’t like.  They had a few issues like overlapping stitches I didn’t take into account and because I didn’t have a plan, I ended up doing extra work that could have been avoided – and you know me – I like to be lazy!  I didn’t really think about what I wanted the resulting stitch file to look like before I started.

My awareness of ALS and those that it has affected has exploded in this past year.  Social media is probably my biggest source of news (to further research) as well as reading the stories of those that have been touched by this disease. My heart and thoughts go out to all that are affected by it.  I hope that they will soon find a cure.  For those interested in more information or to make a charitable donation, please visit

Enjoy each day – – and YES,….you guessed it, next up, we take my finished plan to the software and create the embroidery design file for stitching.

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5 Responses to “How I develop my digitizing plan – the story”

  1. Cindy Tiberio
    Cindy Tiberio May 10, 2016 at 8:33 am Permalink

    Lisa, In November my dear cousin, friend and confidant lost her brave battle to ALS. It was so difficult to just helplessly watch as the disease took over her body. The worst part was her difficulty communicating what was going on in her brilliant mind. I miss her like crazy, but, she’s still always on my mind. I even have a photo of her (and a quilt that I made for her) that comes up on my embroidery machine when I power on. Thank you for caring, for bringing attention to this devastating disease and thank you for your wonderful blog & videos!

  2. Georgann Haley
    Georgann Haley June 20, 2016 at 7:48 am Permalink

    Hi, Lisa. Enjoy your videos. Did you ever make the one where you took your finished plan for ALS ribbon to the software to create embroidery design file for stitching? If so, I can’t seem to find it. Have learned so much about digitizing from your videos and Brian’s. Thanks for making them. Georgann Haley

    • Lisa Shaw
      Lisa Shaw July 16, 2016 at 8:35 am Permalink

      I need to finish editing and post soon. My dear sister in law passed away and it’s been hard for me to get back to this project.

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