Musings on digitizing – practice

img_6385I saw a FLURRY of posts on Facebook during December from those using various programs trying to figure out how to digitize stuff for projects they wanted to make for Christmas. We all know that digitizing is NOT something that we learn to do with perfect results over night. It takes playing and practice and checking out what stitched and looking at the file in software and making a change and looking at the new stitched out design to see what that change in the software resulted in.

So, for all new StitchArtist owners and those that are still learning, I challenge you to use your software BEFORE the next holiday crunch when patience is a luxury most of us are not feeling 🙂 I’ve been digitizing for 20 years with dozens of different software programs and I am still learning new things about machine embroidery every day.

I’m going to burst the bubble right now – learning to digitize is all about the test sew and you may have to do 3, 5, 11, 23 test sews for a project to get the resulting stitch file that you want. What you see on the screen in you machine embroidery software may NOT be what you are going to get at the machine. This is the reality. There is not necessarily something wrong with the design when it does not look like the software rendition. Sometimes you make a change in the software and there is no visual difference in the stitchout because of other factors that affect the whole project.

Digitizing is not magic. It is a learned skill and artform that takes practice, observation, and experimentation. For example, you see these hearts. The top 3 I wanted to play with density – first is default 4 the second is 4.6 and third is 5.2 which took a full minute less to stitch than the first. With my needle, thread, fabric, stabilizer, I can’t see a difference in coverage but the time saved and the “less stiff” feeling is significant. Also comparing the screen shot to the stitchouts – you can see a couple visual artifacts that do not show up in the stitching. Again this is not WYSIWYG like vinyl/print graphics.

The second row use the same settings as the top, but I changed the pull compensation to 5% for each just to see what would happen – a visual look in the software vs what stitched out at the machine. On this single object with my choice thread, needle fabric & stabilizer I think the 5% was too high – personally I don’t think I needed to adjust pull compensation at all, but what is interesting to observe is that the software shows a much larger overlap of outline on the fill than what actually stitched.


So I’m going to save these little stitchouts with my notes written on the back side so that I have them to refer to in the future. This was a learning exercise, it was not a waste of time and materials. Are my stitchouts and notes going to do you any good – nope, not really. You’re not using my fabric, my needle, my stabilizer or my thread. You may create these exact same stitchouts and they may look different with your materials. SO – I encourage you to do some test sews like this and show us your test sews. What this teaches each of us, is that there is no universal correct answer or solution. There are so many factors that come into play with machine embroidery.

Enjoy playing in your software and all the learning that goes with!

If you are looking at the Embrilliance StitchArtist software, please consider using my affiliate link to make your purchase.  Yes, I do make a small commission when purchases are made on the Embrilliance website using my link.  Thank you for encouraging me to continue my blogs 🙂

One Response to “Musings on digitizing – practice”

  1. Georgann Haley
    Georgann Haley January 4, 2017 at 4:26 am Permalink

    Thank you for every video, explanation, example… Every time you make a video showing the steps needed to create an object, you add another piece to my digitizing knowledge. I make samples and write on them, too. Love your Craftsy classes.

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