Wednesday, 20 April 2016

A steep learning curve

Digitising and multi hooping are definitely not for the faint hearted. Between now and my last post, I've been struggling to make the second lace panel seamlessly join the first panel, seen on the left of the image below.

However it's not all doom and gloom, I did work out a way to stop having so many floating threads that I ended up with a 'bird's nest', quite a common problem with beginner digitisers apparently.

Having copied the next part of the design to fit the shape of the hoop, and follow on from the first panel, I then decided to break it down into sections and digitise (drawing over the design with the freehand tool on screen using Bernina Designer Plus version 6 software) and using a different colour for each section.

I used the method of drawing where you don't take the pencil off the paper until you've finished the drawing. This meant that there were no breaks in the whole section therefore no float thread as the machine moves from one section to another. It also meant that the start and end points of each section could be placed close to the next section and therefore creating a very short float thread.

It was pure joy to watch the machine stitch each section as a whole with no breaks.

Unfortunately my joy was short lived as I started to work out how I could multi hoop both lace panels together to achieve the first part of the design.

The first surprised was that the software decided that the hooping sequence need to be horizontal, I think it has something to do with the fact that there are several areas where the pattern of the lace is horizontal, and it can be matched up more easily if the hoops are placed in the same direction. 

This is just a guess on my part, if the hooping is good the colour will change to green.

Sometimes more tweaking is required as the software tries to organise a good match and this is when another tool has to be used (the splitting tool) to break up the design and move it slightly to get a better match, I think.

So far this is all experimental as you might have gathered, but I did get the design to go green in the end.

The pink lines are where the software has split the design.

So now I thought I was ready for the first part of the design to be stitched in the correct place, marked out for the sail shape, the blue part of the design.

So far so good, but when it to came to matching up for the second hooping that's where it all went pear shaped. Not only did I hoop up the wrong way round, i.e. the design should stitch from left to right and I hooped up from right to left! I then started with another colour so it would cover over my false start, but I still didn't have a perfect join horizontally for both hoopings.

Finally I managed to stitch the two panels but there is a lot of mismatch here. However the good news is that I've worked out that you have to be scrupulously accurate when butting up each hoop to the previous one, using the registration marks that the software provides.

For me it's definitely worth pursuing because it means I can accurately copy quite loose designs and they will stitch out exactly as I've drawn them. I can't do this with Free machine embroidery as there is always a variation of the design unless you have extreme control over the needle placement. Also there is no need to copy the design onto the fabric, which could be detrimental on silk organza, my choice for the final piece.

There is also the other advantage that the designs are repeatable, which does prove very useful in some elements of my design work.



  1. Sounds soooo technical Sharon. Not that I'm adverse to learning and such but wondering how does this all compare with doing it freehand on the machine?

  2. I am completely in awe! I know it's just like learning anything new... it's just that with most of the new things I've tried you can gradually work up to greater complexity, whereas this seems to require that you get there all in one go! Or perhaps it just reflects the nature of the design that you're asking the machine to create.

    Anyway, it sounds like you're learning more and more, and the final result will be magnificent!

  3. Amazing! This looks so complex.
    Have a nice Sunday!

  4. I might have missed this somewhere but.....your initial designs are works of art in their own right too. I hope you are preserving those, building a collection, a library, a reference....