Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Comparing Hatch Embroidery to Embird

Monday, October 16th, 2017

During a trip to Australia to an Echidna embroidery convention in Melbourne two years ago, I was introduced to the Hatch Embroidery software by John Deer. Even though I have been a dedicated user of Embird for well over 18 years, I was fascinated by the Hatch program.

Now as most of you are aware, I have written extensive tutorials for Embird and it’s add-ons for as many years as I care to remember! I have lived and breathed Embird for many years and my tutorials and lessons would number in the hundreds.  I have also dabbled in other programs, and written quite a number of tutorials for the Brother/Babylock PE Design software. I own and still use the Husqvarna and Bernina Artista software.  So you can see that I love embroidery programs and really enjoy seeing how they work!

As I was following the introduction to Hatch in Melbourne I realised that I really did like this software. The program has been created by Wilcom who are well known for their great software programs. As well as their own commercial digitizing program (Embroidery Studio) they currently create embroidery software for brands such as Bernina and Janome.  They have become the world’s favourite embroidery software for quality, ease-of-use and service.  And now their latest baby has arrived for the home embroiderer – Hatch.

Because of their introductory offer I decided to buy Hatch and try it out.  I had been a little disappointed that Embird weren’t appearing to keep up to date with the changes in the embroidery world. Too many of their updates were just tinkering around the edges instead of giving us something great and new. For a number of years, for instance, I had been asking for a decent stippling to be added to Embird Studio which would be wonderful for those wishing to do their quilt tops combined with embroidery designs. My guess is that I probably asked for this feature about eight years ago. They promised they would but, no, never delivered. And now Embird is starting to look a bit tired. So don’t get me wrong, I still use Embird because I know it so well and I have more to learn in Hatch. 

Another good thing about Hatch is that you can purchase it in four different modules according to the type of embroidery editing/designing that you wish to do. There are upgrades between each module so that you can move up to the next level when you are ready.

The four different levels are:

  • Basics. You can open your designs, convert, change colours, manage design files and save, print and write your design to your machine.
  • Customizer. The next  up which includes all the above as well as the ability create monograms, add lettering, edit or reshape letters, the ability to use True Type Fonts which also includes 60 pre-digitised fonts as well.
  • Creator. Creator is the next level up again and includes all the above as well the ability to use the Multi hooping feature, edit your designs (as in adjust stitches, shapes, add stitches etc) and change the stitching order. Creator also includes auto-digitising as well, which is a great plus for those quick designs.
  • Digitiser. Digitiser also includes all the above as well as the ability manually digitise, it includes multiple fills and shapes and also the ability to create your own appliqué. You can also create your own unique borders and patterns. 

See the handy chart at this link to compare the features of all levels.

I purchased the complete program on the spot as I wanted to be able to use everything.  There is a free 30 Day Trial available  that is the full version, which is a great place to start. It’s fully functional so you can edit an existing design – change colors, edit objects, resize, add lettering etc or digitize your own embroidery designs from scratch.

Another thing I really like about Hatch is that you don’t have to purchase anything other than Customizer (2nd level) if you want to create lettering. Customizer accesses all the True Type Fonts that are installed on your computer and as well has 60 pre-digitised fonts available as well. Think how much Font Engine is alone in Embird and in Hatch it’s all included!

The lettering is really awesome – as is the whole program.

One thing Hatch does not have is a Cross Stitch add on as Embird does, nor does it have a Photo Embroidery program (yet) like Sfumato.

I feel that the program is really great value for money and I am very comfortable using it. It has such lovely features that I did not upgrade from Version 7 Bernina Artista to Version 8 as all the new features in the Bernina upgrade were already in the Hatch program. (The engine of both being made by the same parent company – Wilcom.) I already had the new stuff – why would I pay dearly for it all over again from Bernina?

Oh, and it has automatic stippling – YES!!!!

I also really like the editing side of Hatch. The stitches are clear to see and to edit. Here is an example of what I mean:

I had purchased a design as I liked the lettering shape but when I stitched it the serifs were just too narrow as I was stitching on a fine knit. I needed to adjust the shape and make the swirls wider (wider satin stitch.) In the image below the top design is the original and the bottom is the design after I adjusted it in Hatch. Notice that the letter L is wider in places. It now stitches beautifully.

All I had to do was Select the object, select Reshape and adjust the stitch nodes. Very simple.

This is just one example of how Hatch impresses me.   There are many more examples– too many to list here.

An important thing to mention is the huge amount of support available from Wilcom.  There are free designs and projects to help you learn Hatch, and loads of great videos.  Wilcom is the industry leader, and a very solid company that provides a ton of resources

So I will be writing about Hatch on my Hooplah blog, and doing short lessons if you would like to follow my learning curve!  I will still be writing about Embird as well, for those of you who decide to stay on with Embird.   

I’m  just adding another feather to my bow – here is the link to the Free Trial if you want to come along for the ride!

 

Carolyn

 

Finding Dropbox in Embird

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

If you’re anything like me and have a Dropbox account and save a lot of your designs in a Dropbox folder then you’ll want to know how to access them once you’re in Embird and want to use that design that you purchased.

I have both a laptop and a Desktop. My laptop is upstairs in my Living area so that I can use it at night while the TV is on in the background and my Desktop is downstairs in my office. Of course in the evenings I like cruising the internet and making all sorts of plans about what I am going to embroider next. And sometimes I even buy embroidery designs rather than buy my own as they are pretty cheap when you compare how long it takes to make some. When I’m upstairs in the evening and buy a design and download it then if I save it to my laptop I would have to email the design to myself so that I can get it onto my Desktop – or I’d have to use a USB stick or – rada-rada-rada!! You get the idea.

So I have a Dropbox account. For those that don’t know – it’s free – for up to 2GB of data storage  (don’t quote me, but I think that’s correct). You just need Dropbox set up on both/all devices/pc’s.  Anyway, I buy stuff (!!!) and save it in my Dropbox so that I can access it from my Desktop the next day. But here comes the tricky bit! When you open Embird Editor and go to select Dropbox – it’s not an option in the Embird drop down box.

Aha…but yes it is – it’s just hiding. I’ll show you how to get to it (and your Desktop – same method)

Now, I am assuming you’ve got a Dropbox account and you’ve saved your newly purchased design in a Dropbox folder for your Embroidery and you’re ready to embroider……….

  •  Open Embird
  • Open Embird Editor
  • Go to File/Open or use the shortcut
  • Click on the dropdown box and choose the C Drive

  • Move from C down to Users and double click on it to open

 

You’ll see another folder called users

  • Double click on this folder and you’ll see those hidden folders that you were looking for.

Hooray…..

  • Double click on Dropbox and inside in the folder that you saved your embroidery designs in will be your files.
  • Now just select the file required and click Open.

Easy As!  The same method applies to files that you save to your Desktop on your computer while you’re on it. However you need a Cloud based program if you wish to access files between two different computers. And not only are you able to access them from your computer anywhere, it is also a great way of having a backup of your files. I’m aware that Embird has a “Cloud” too but I’ve never bothered with that. Too much fuss for me….I prefer Dropbox.

I hope that is a useful little titbit for someone – just in case you didn’t know.

Bye for now…

Carolyn

A very brief blog with some exciting news!

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

This is the news that you all have been waiting for, for such a long time. And no, its not that I have been in hospital again….haha! It’s not that at all…

A new beta version of Embird has been released to the beta testers of which I am one.

One of the new features that have been included is under the Insert Menu – Insert/Effect. This new feature allows you to have a design on the Design page in Embird Editor and you can create a shape around the design and fill that shape with Motif stitches. I am going to have a play with it and see what I can come up with. Previously we only had the choice of using Motif stitches in Embird Studio, I think. I do not think they were under Parameters in Editor but I’ll check all that out as well. I do have a little issue with Embird’s motif stitches though. Personally I think they are a little linear. They are patterns that follow a straight line. Years ago I asked them to allow us to fill a shape with stitches like stipple etc as I thought that would be great when you are quilting in the hoop and you add your design and you can add stippling all around it. A lot of programs have that feature these days but for some reason Embird have never added it. I think I might rattle their cages again. What do you reckon? Is that something you’d like to see? Is that a Yes Please???

The other new feature that we are to test is also under the Insert Menu. Insert Basting stitches. Now, I know that you already can add basting stitches, but now you can add basting stitches in a number of shapes such as circle, star etc. This I’ll need to explore more as it looks interesting. More to come as I “discover” it…..

The beta version was only released yesterday and I haven’t had time to play yet as my mother-in-law died on Friday last and we had her funeral yesterday. So sad to lose such a great lady however the blessing was that my hubby (her son), myself and Julie were with her and holding her hands when she died.

Ruby Keber

1924-2017

RIP

Embird Studio Applique explanation

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

Hi everyone,

This is just a quick little explanation about the Applique Tool and the Line Tool using the Applique Parameters. I was asked a question about this today and seeing as I did a quick little lesson to them to explain, I thought I would expand on my email a little and create a small blog post about it. This is not the blog post that I was talking about in the last post – that one is still to come when I have completed it to my satisfaction. If I cannot do that then I’ll bin it out of frustration.

This is an Embird Studio lesson. –

 

In Embird Studio if you wish to use the Applique Tool you need to remember that it is only useful when creating closed shapes like the image below.

So you need to use the Appliqué Tool in the same manner as the Column Tool  where you have 3 options of how you create the first side. A B or C. The only difference is that the Appliqué tool automatically adds the different stops that are required for appliqué.

You cannot create a shape like this where the end does not join to the start.

Otherwise this is what happens when you Finish it –

The beginning automatically attaches itself to the end. No way around it. So the Appliqué tool  is only useful for enclosed shapes. But you can use the Outline Tool/Line Tool and choose Appliqué in the Parameters on the right of the screen and you can then create open shapes.

Like the following –

So, if you wish to create an Applique object with an open shape – say for instance if you were creating a fairy as in the image below ( not my picture) and you needed the skirt or the wings to be applique and then the rest to be embroidery fill you would only be able to use the Line Tool set to Applique in the Parameters screen to create the shape around the edges as they are open shapes – not closed ones like a circle or square.

That’s why when I create applique I very rarely, if ever, use the actual Applique Tool. Too limited for my designs. I always use the Line Tool and choose the Applique setting.

I thought you might like a quick little look at this. Hopefully you might find this of some use.

A little Embird trick

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

Hi everyone,

I’m currently writing another Hooplah post but it is bogging me down a little as I keep having a few hiccups with it so I thought I would save a draft of that post and come back to it later after I have written this shorter post. If I don’t write something soon you’ll think that I have disappeared off the face of the earth again! I haven’t had the best of years but more about that after this…..

While I was fiddling about with my post that I have currently put on the back burner I found an easy way to get a design into Embird. It’s an old trick but I had never tried it before in Embird. You probably already know it but I will show it just in case it helps someone. And it’s quick and easy.

If you use File Explorer in Windows, as I do, to look through your designs I ( know that you can do it in Embird Manager too) then you can locate a design and drag it onto an open Embird Editor page.

Open Embird and move to Embird Editor. Set your preferred Hoop size.

Open File Explorer through the Windows Start menu

Minimise both screens so that both are visible. They don’t have to be fully visible – as long as you can see part of the Embird Editor screen. I have a 17″ laptop so I have enough room to view them both.

Then move to the folder where your designs are saved.

Go to View on the Menu Bar in File Explorer and change the View to Large Icons or even Extra Large Icons, Shown below is the Large Icons view.

Select the design that you wish to use from File Explorer

Hold down the left mouse button on the selected design and drag it from the File Explorer screen across onto the Embird Editor screen. Release the mouse button.

The design is now on your Editor design page. You can repeat this trick to add more designs if you wish or just close the File Explorer screen and carry on in Editor as usual.

I know that there are other ways of getting your designs into Editor but this is another little trick for you to try.

Now I’ll be able to go back and work on my other Hooplah post and try and get it ready for you all – as long as I do not succumb to any more health issues this year.

After my last post I have been in hospital again. I am certainly getting my moneys worth out of the Public Heath system this year. I ended up in hospital again because I fell off my bike in the dark going up my steep and narrow driveway. I am on blood thinners for at least six months due to my Pulmonary Embolisms that I had in June. My doctor told me that I had to high tail it to her if I had any bleeds. Well, I had a massive bruise on my leg from the fall so I thought that I had better check it out with her. My doctor wasn’t happy with the bruise so she told me to go to my local hospital ER to have it checked – just to make sure! Of course, you can guess what happened. They admitted me and this time I was in hospital for five days. They were a little concerned that my Embolisms had caused damage to my heart when they passed through it on the way to the lungs. They thought that I may have had a heart attack!! Scary stuff! Anyway after five days of every test known to man and enough blood tests so that I felt like a porcupine I was declared as fit as a fiddle – or almost!

So I was discharged from hospital and then as soon as I got home I got a very bad strain of influenza that is doing the rounds. That set me on my ear for three and a half weeks. In fact this week is the first week that I have been well enough to be able to go out for a walk in all that time. But I survived again!! Obviously can’t kill me off that easily. However, needless to say that I am heartily sick of our winter and this whole year! Roll on some nice warm weather instead of this continuous rain, rain, rain!

Oh, and by the way, I have promised to walk my bike up my driveway in future. I’m too accident prone on our driveway and if you saw it you’d understand why!!

I must be jinxed

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Hi again,

I cannot believe that between the last entry I wrote and today I’ve been rushed to hospital AGAIN by ambulance. I think it must be something to do with writing these blogs…. Just joking!

This time is wasn’t a brain bleed, however it was just as serious, and, as my doctor later told me, I wouldn’t have survived the weekend if I hadn’t sought treatment. Lucky I did eh? I had a Pulmonary Embolism on both my lungs! Caused by DVT sitting in my right calf. It’s been sitting dormant until April when , with an aching leg, the doctor sent me for an ultrasound. They found that I had two large superficial clots in my legs and was given treatment for them. I had Clexane injections daily into my stomach – administered by me!! I think that must have been enough to make my DVT (that I didn’t know I had- although I had had that sore calf for some time) start moving towards my lungs. I couldn’t understand why I was so darned breathless. But I survived after a spell in hospital (obviously) and here I am again! On pretty heavy duty meds for now though and cannot sit too long at one time. And I’ve promised EVERYONE that I will get attention much quicker in the future! Those 9 lives of mine are running down.

But see, I cannot leave this earth yet as I have so much to tell you about in regards to software, Embird, and other great stuff ….

Have any of you got the  Silhouette software yet? Have any of you got a Cameo or similar? I’d like to know please. Please answer in the comments. And please make comments too on what you’re reading here as, unless you do, I don’t know if anyone is reading my blog posts. I’ll get discouraged if you don’t and I’ll hide in the corner and sulk as I’ll think that no-one is interested in what I have to say! ( Can’t figure out how to put smiley faces etc. into this new version of WordPress yet so you’ll just have to believe that I write these posts with a smile on my face!)

I’ll show you another very quick thing about Embird and Silhouette again today. These posts wont always be about Silhouette and Embird. Sometimes I’ll write about just Embird and also, sometimes I’ll write about the Hatch software as well, as I also have that. It’s a software created by Wilcom and I’ll tell you why I have Hatch in another blog post another day.

If you wish to create an svg file in Embird Studio that has more than one object in it and then use that svg file to create a design in Silhouette Studio you will have to do things a little differently in Embird Studio.

For example if I wanted to create this design – a pretty simple design – with the black dots on it I couldn’t just create it as usual and save it as a SVG file. I’d also have to save it as an EOF file first. I’ll show you how…..

Okay let’s open Embird Studio and go to Image/Import.

Select the design you want to use or Copy and Save it from this post and click Image/Import and Import the saved image.

*This image that I’ve used can be emailed to you upon request.

Click on Open.

Click Yes by default for now. The image will open onto your screen in the size of Hoop or Design Page that you had previously set.

Select the Fill Tool and place your nodes around the tree shape

Adjust the shape of the nodes and Finish the object.

 

Now to Create the inner circles

Using the command Shape/From Library/Basic select the circle shape.

Delete the satin outline when showing in the Object Order screen.

With just the Circle fill remaining select and resize the circle. Then select, right mouse click and choose Duplicate (or Copy and Paste) as many times as needed to create the remainder of the circles needed. Resize each as needed.

Generate the stitches

Select all the objects, right mouse click and choose Group1

Save as an EOF file – Design/Save As

 

Now go to Design/Export/and Save in your preferred folder as an SVG. You’re finished in Embird Studio so you can close the program for now.

Open Silhouette Studio. (I’m using V4 if your screen looks different)

  • I strongly advise updating to Version 4 (it’s free) otherwise you will not have the commands that I am about to show you. They were not in V3.

 

Go to File/Open and find the folder where your Tree SVG file is saved, select the file and click OK

 

Select the Trace ToolSelect the Trace by Color icon. (only found in V4)

Click on the Trace by Color box as shown above.

The cursor will change to a picker.

Move to the image and left mouse click on one of the red dots.

The file will now be showing a selection box and the red dots will appear as yellow. That’s what you want. The dots must be fully yellow as the Silhouette software will trace around the edges of the any yellow on the screen.

If they are not shaped as you want you would have to adjust the Tolerance slider in the Trace window.

If you’re happy with the formation of the yellow dots then click the Trace button at the bottom of the Trace screen.

The cut lines will now be ready on this part of the design.  In the image below I have moved the tree aside so that you can see the cut lines from the dots. You don’t need to do this.

Now for the tree itself.

With the Trace screen still open click on the Trace by Color  box once again and the left mouse click on the blue tree colour.

Click Trace if you’re happy with the yellow coverage.

The trace is now completed for the tree and you have a cut file ready to go.

You can now select the original coloured tree file and delete it.

Save the file.

Now its up to you to decide what you going to use the file for. You could use it for applique, you could create a template and use paint as a media or you could use heat transfer vinyl.

If you wish to cut out the dots in a different colour then you will need to separate the dots from the file and cut them separately.

To separate the dots you need to select the complete  file, right mouse click and choose Release Compound Path. The object will have small squares around each separate object as shown below

Deselect the design by clicking outside the selected object.

Select the tree object and drag it aside so the dots are left on the screen.

Lasso the dots, right mouse click and choose Group. This will group them together so that they won’t move individually on you.

Cut and Paste the dots onto a new Design Page if you’re cutting HTV or Outdoor Vinyl and remember to Flip Horizontally if you’re using HTV.

Return to the previous Design Page, move the tree back on the Design Page and, if using HTV, remember to Flip Horizontally as well.

Save your files.

Now you’re ready to send your cut file to your Cameo.

I won’t cover cutting the files here today as this has been long enough for me. As it is it’s taken me three days to write this! I’d written much more than this but in the meantime discovered the way I’ve shown above and had to go back and edit this post all over again. A bit frustrating but the way I’ve shown you is the better way. As with Embird there are always a number of ways to get to an end result. It doesn’t always matter how you get there but that you’re happy with the final result.

I also haven’t covered adding an Offset for the holes either. Just as you can do this in Embird Studio you can also do this in Silhouette Studio. An Offset will make allowances for any “shrinkage” where there are holes, overlaps etc. I didn’t show these today otherwise I’d be writing forever. But if you want to know about the Offset, for now you could go to Help on the Menu Bar and choose the User Manual. They will explain it in there.

I hope I haven’t made too many mistakes above – seeing as I deleted such a lot to almost start over again. And I hope it encourages you to have fun with both Embird and Silhouette Studio. And get Version 4 – Designer Edition. You’ll need it for these exercises.

Hope to hear from you.

Carolyn

Carolyn Keber