Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dabbling with Densities

There are two factors that you want to keep in mind when you are trying to create a naturalistic blending of two or more colors.
In the example above the main color was digitized using a .40 mm or 4 embroidery points space between stitches, on the overlapping colors we increased the space to
.90 mm which decreased the density by more than half. This creates a smoother transition and keeps the combination of densities from getting too dense.
You also want to make sure that you keep all of your stitches as parallel as possible so that the colors will blend together and not appear to be separate shapes or objects.
Blending colors together to increase the three dimensionality of your designs is easy if you just stick to these two factors; density and direction.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Create Your Own Custom Font

In addition to creating your own fill patterns and motifs KPD compositions also allows you to create your own custom fonts. you can use an existing true Type font or create your own font from scratch. All you need to do is to save all of your letters (named to correspond to their Character Map name as 1=0031)in a folder called whatever you wish the font to be called. Save them as .lbf format files, then place the folder on your c drive in programs/KPD/fonts/characters.
You can then press shift+ctrl=F and generate the font. Now you are able to use it just as you would any other font in your program.
This is a great way to increase you available font selection at your leisure and all it costs is a little of your time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fun with Fills

As with the other two stitch types, runs and satins, fill stitches may be manipulated very easily to create exciting new textures and effects.
Standard Fill
When you choose fill stitch you will automatically be in standard fill mode, this is the most popular fill style used. It consists of a pattern of parallel running stitches that are alternated in a predetermined pattern based upon the offset of each row of stitches to the preceding row. It is calculated in a similar fashion to laying rows of bricks. This stitch type allows you to change the density and stitch length to vary the look of the fill
Emboss Fill
The emboss fill derives it's pattern from a shape that is essentially embossed into the fill. Wherever the running stitches in the fill intersect with the image transposed onto it the needle will come down and make a stitch, so this fill pattern consists of many different stitch lengths based upon where the image and running stitches meet.
Motif Fill
The motif fill replaces the running stitches in the fill with a digitized design, which can consist of running or satin stitches. This is a great way to add a lacy effect to your designs and at the same time reduce your stitch count.
Please be aware that you can create your own patterns for both the emboss and motif fills so that you can customize them with the texture or even logo you are digitizing.
Fill stitches, of course, are used predominantly to fill large area of stitching in your designs, so why not take advantage of this large portion of your designs, by experimenting with all of the textures and effects that can be achieved by manipulating your fill properties.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Satin Stitch Options

Satin stitches are, in my mind, the most versatile of stitch types at an embroidery designer's disposal. They can be one throw across, patterned, or be converted to a contour stitch. The nicest feature of this stitch type is that you can control and manipulate the stitch directions throughout the shape to add more life and movement.
The most impact is achieved with a true single throw satin stitch, as this will reflect the most amount of light and truly stand out against the rest of the stitch types in a designs. Sometimes however the area you need to cover is wider than a single throw will practically reach, so you really have to divide up the stitches, and you have many choices as to how you do that.
Standard pattern
The simplest way to divide up the stitches in your satin column is to apply a pattern, this can include something as simple as a random fill to the more defines corn row pattern. You can also make the stitching in each one of the patterns longer to impart more sheen or shorter to make the pattern more pronounced.
Embossed pattern
If you choose an embossed pattern you can give it a more defined texture, you can even choose your own motif to carve out of the pattern.
Opting for a contour fill can totally change the entire personality of the stitch. You can transform a silky satin stitch to a very patterned and snaky combination of undulating running stitches.
Whatever you choose be aware that you can apply just about any personality to a simple satin stitch, with the switch of a few property options.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Digitizing Tidbits and Random Thoughts

We all know that you can choose to digitize a design either automatically, semi-automatically or choose to tackle the design manually, but did you know that there are a lot more decisions, some obvious and some a little more subtle. I figured that I would jot some down, and share them with you.
Here they are in no particular order.

Minimizing the details
You can only put so much detail in a design before it becomes indistinguishable.
Also including too many details will also cause thread breaks and bird nesting, because there is a limit as to how many stitches can be placed in any given area.
To pare down details try tracing the details on tracing paper with a pencil. The width of an unsharpened pencil will roughly equal the width of a bean stitch.
In the very least turn 3-D view on and view it at 1:1 ratio before you sew it out, if the detail looks good you are fairly safe that the design will also. Another thing to look for is short stitches, they are also a source of thread breaks.

Overcoming fabric types,textures and patterns
Use underlay to stabilize the design, always start with an overall running stitch underlay on stretch or slippery fabrics.

To use underlay to flatten the texture of knits such as pique, place a zig zag underlay under satins and a lattice underlay under fills.
Also use lattice underlay under fills when sewing on velvet, corduroy, and fleece.
Use edge walk running stitches under columns when sewing on twill
When sewing on caps, start in the middle and work our way out alternately from side to side. Place your underlay as you digitize each piece.
Always overlap the first color and then place the second color on the dividing line. If you rely on pull compensation to make your stitches overlap you lose control of the exact point where they meet.
You can either choose to blend colors by using a gradient density or by overlapping fills or satin stitches.
When using either of these methods you want to keep the stitches as close to parallel as possible, so they will blend and not separate.
Lettering for foam
By placing satin stitch at the end of each column, you can be assured that the ends of the column stitches will be perforated and the edges will be hidden.
The few random thoughts were meant to get you to think about why some embroidery problems occur and to help cut them off at the pass.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Auto-digitizing Embroidery

You can use autodigitizing either alone or in conjunction with your editing fuctions to create great embroidered designs with no additional effort, if you start with the appropriate artwork.
If you are using bitmap artwork it should ideally be 300 dpi and should be either the smae size or larger than your embroidered design. If you are using vector artwork, the results are even better.
Another advantage you gain when using KPD Compositions is that you can edit your artwork within the autodigitizing wizard, which saves you time and allows you to try out many different variations before finalizing you choice and outputting your design.
Autodigitizing is often dismissed as unprofessional and for beginners only, but there are many situations where autodigitizing is definately the ovoius choice for speed, accuracy and quality.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

We all know that we use underlay to attach the base fabric to the backing so that the garment will not move within the hoop during the embroidery process, but did you know that there are a lot more reasons, some obvious and some a little more subtle.
They are:
To overcome fabric textures and patterns
To flatten the fabrics surface
To compensate for a loose top density
To create a 3-D effect

Standard underlay
Used to attach base fabric to backing
.1 to .25 in. column stitches use center run stitch
.25 and up add parallel satin
For fill stitches use lattice underlay

To compensate for patterned fabric surfaces
Edge walk adds structure to satins on fabrics with a surface texture such as twill, pique and birds eye knits, this will serve as a base for the top stitching and keep the stitches from following the grain of the fabric and causing a stepped look.

To flatten the nap of a fabric
Terry, corduroy, velvet and any other fabric with a nap require a cross satin underlay to flatten out fibers before you embroider your design to avoid fibers showing through the stitching
A water or heat soluble topping also helps avoid this problem.

To compensate for a loose density
Leather, sheer fabrics, lame and other delicate fabric can not support a normal density without tearing.

To create a 3-D look
To get coverage without raising your density place an inset satin underlay.
Multiple layers of satin stitch underlays can be used to give your embroidery a more 3-dimensional look
Start with a narrow satin and make each subsequent layer a little wider, usually three layers is sufficient.

You are only going to reap the full benefit of underlay if you first understand why we use underlay and which type is appropriate fr your particular situation.