Summertime pillow

How-to get different underlay settings in a single letter shape

When digitizing letters, sometimes we get wrapped around the thought that a letter, such as the Letter S, should be one object.  Its easy to visualize that the Letter A would be 3 objects – one for each leg and one for the center bar across.  But the letter S…. when we look at this shape, we really want it to be one object.  This blog post is going to talk about a couple of the reasons why any letter could be made up of more than the expected number of objects.

This letter S has artistic loops in it – areas of stitching that would cross over each other each other sort of like an intertwined monogram.  Think of how you would create this swirly S shape using a piece of ribbon.  Embroidery is more dimensional than a printed graphic which would look the same no matter how it was drawn or filled in, so the ribbon analogy is something that I think about when I work with shapes that loop like this one.

Breaking apart this object into 3 allows me to set the stitching order so that the two blue sections stitch before the orange section.  The colors blue and orange show you my thought process – when the design is complete, they will all be the same color.

If I were digitizing this as a 4×4 design, these would have been the only three objects in this letter.  Digitizing at the intended stitched size is very important, because at the 6×10 size, the fat sections of this object were over 8mm wide.  That really is too wide for a satin stitch and the type of underlay needed for these wide areas was different than what would be required for the thinner sections.

If you look at the picture to the left, you can see that the areas pointed to in the purple would be fabulous with the standard edge run and parallel underlay settings.  They are not too wide and won’t be pulled and distorted by the strong satins.  The wider areas in green would need the extra foundation or underlay stitches to stabilize and support the top stitches.

When you digitize and create your objects, each one has stitch properties.  One top stitch property, One color, One type of underlay, One entry and One exit for each object. You can’t set multiple underlay styles for one object.  Maybe I could have fiddled more and done more test sews to find a happy balance of underlay and top stitch style, but I thought that it would be easier to simply break up this letter into more connected objects.

Here is a video that shows how I created the smaller connected objects by using the Break Across function as well as adding and cutting at the breaklines which is a StitchArtist Level 3 function.  You will also see how a simple traveling run stitch keeps the layers intact for our looped ribbon look.

When my satin stitches become longer than 6mm, I don’t like to deal with loops and snags and loose stitches. It never fail, they get caught on everything all the time.  This is why I chose to have the reverse pattern of my satin be an anchor style stitch.  This is a personal preference and I may fiddle with the settings based upon the results of my test sew.  There is no blanket one size fits all setting 🙂  For the technical explanation of the settings in any of the stitch type properties, please refer to the program manual which can be found on the Embriliance website.

As I have said many, many, times, the life of a digitizer revolves around the test sew.

I hope that you have found this information helpful – I certainly enjoyed creating this design and sharing this information with you!  If you are looking to purchase any of the Embrilliance programs, I would certainly appreciate it it if you used my affiliate link to do so.  Just click below to go to the Embrilliance website and then click on Purchase at the top of the page to get to the webstore.

Lisa’s Embrilliance Link

It does not cost you any extra – in fact sometimes I have a discount coupon in my newsletter that you can use so you save  money 🙂 But when you purchase using my link, this tells the folks at Embrilliance that you appreciated my blog/video education and I get a small commission which will encourage me to write more posts about my projects and machine embroidery adventures!

Happy Stitching until next time!  Lisa


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