The life of a digitizer revolves around the test sew. You’ve heard me say this often, and this can use alot of materials and hooping time especially when you are working on smaller items. I thought I would share one of my “machine tips” that I try to make use of when possible.
Combining multiples in one hoop is easy to do when you have finished items to stitch, but what do you do when you want to save time hooping and be frugal with your materials when testing designs you are digitizing? The purpose of testing your digitizing is to create in software, stitch what you create, analyze what the stitches look like, go back to software to adjust and continue the process. With a little bit of luck, you may not need alot of test sews, but there are times when you will need to do more than one, as in my testing of this lettering design I am working on. I find that with “simple” designs, flaws or things I don’t like show up like a big zit on your nose – everyone can relate to that visual 🙂
For this design, I will have to use a 5×7 hoop for the final design – but while I’m testing, I can save myself some hooping time and material by using the design area efficiently. This dawned on me when I sent the design to the machine the first time and saw all the extra white space. I moved the BRONCOS to the top of the hoop and did my first test sew. I didn’t want to have to “guess” where the second test would stitch, so I set up my layout in my software to match what was currently in my hoop and then added the second one right below it.
I selected my first design, copied and pasted it below. Now I went into create mode and adjusted the second. I look at what is stitched in the hoop, zoomed in on the stitches of the previous and made small adjustments to what would now be sent to the machine. BUT before I go to the machine, I need to “lock” the design to the hoop so that I don’t have to move anything at the machine. I just want to load the design and hit start.
The machine will ALWAYS load the design centered in the hoop. There are a very few exceptions to this rule – like less than 1% of all machine models do not center by default and if your machine is one of those exceptions, it will tell you this in your machine manual.
So to save myself time, I need to lock the stitches to a particular location in the hoop. You do this by “tricking” the machine into thinking that you are loading a design that is as big as your hoop! I have Embrilliance Enthusiast which has a “Baste Hoop” function under the Utility menu. If you have Essentials you can choose Baste Design and then resize the basting box as shown in Quick Tip video #4. If you have StitchArtist, you would simply draw a rectangle (bring in a library shape), make it as big as your hoop and set it to a single run with a longer stitch length. So many ways to accomplish this!
This basting box has a job – in this situation, it tells the machine that the “design” is centered, so everything inside the big box will stitch exactly where you put it. You don’t have stitch the box – it just has to be in the design to “lock” the contents in the box to where you put them.
Now, for this project, right before I save my stitch file to go to the machine, I delete the previous version from the hoop. It did not stitch nicely. I’m not experimenting. I’m fixing things that I do not like. If there was a reason I might want to keep these earlier versions, I might change their colors so that I could simply skip ahead of them at the machine. But for this situation, I don’t want the previous version so I select it, delete it, save my working file (Command or CTRL +S) and then go to File > Save Stitch file and save the PES file to my floppy dsk to put into my embroidery machine. At the machine, I skip color #1 which is my baste hoop. I skip color #2 which is my baste design. I stitch color #3 which is what I am testing.
The baste design – is this necessary? For me it is because it is a visual guide. I have a tendency of adjusting things bigger. A small design can end up twice the size. I know this about myself. Yes, I have the grid on, but sometimes I am zoomed in very close and actually get so into the digitizing that I don’t pay attention to the grid. Bad habit. So the basting box is just another double check for me so I don’t get into trouble. I also don’t want to forget to add the basting box to the final version – because when I’m using this BIG hoop for this small design in the final stitchout, I want to make sure that I secure my item into place so that this design is stitched exactly where it needs to be – no shifting!
I hope that this post was helpful! I so appreciate all of you that have purchased the Embrilliance software using my affiliate link. It does not cost you anything more, but I do make a small commission when you use my link to purchase. This does encourage me to write more posts like this showing you fun things to do in your Embrilliance software. Thank you and ENJOY!