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Embroidery Advice - Before You Digitize

May 7, 2008
I own a website extolling the virtues of embroidery and know a lot of people that use an embroidery machine. I also know that, without exception, they love to embroider. Some even say that it seems that embroidery has taken over their lives as they spend so much time in front of their machine. I agree that it is rather addictive and enjoyable. Does this rather sound like you?

Through much correspondence I have learnt that there is something that they certainly don't all share, and that something is digitizing. Some digitize their own designs but the majority do not. Some just don't want to or feel the need to, some have tried and just can't get the hang of it and some are seriously considering it. If you are one of those that are seriously considering taking the plunge there are certain things that I believe you really should consider first.

The first thing you should think about has to be do you REALLY have a need for digitizing software. Digitizing software can be very expensive so can the expense be justified? Also, will you actually use it? This sounds like a strange thing to ask, but beware. I know that I have many software programs that I have never used so this concern should be taken seriously. Another point to consider is do you have the time and resources to invest in learning how to use the software?

You must remember that there are other options available such as hiring someone to do it for you. Most commercial embroiderers would rather do this which gives them more time for embroidering and marketing their products. The hobbyist may feel that this is the way to go too if they only need an occasional design digitizing.

There are a multitude of digitizing software programs to choose from. However, they all do basically the same thing in that they allow you to convert graphics into embroidery stitches. The difficulty and functionality is of course determined by the price. One function that you will see offered by some programs is the Auto Digitizing function. Although this function of the program may sound useful, it is rarely going to be used as the graphic needs to be exceptionally clean for it to work to an acceptable standard.

If you do decide to buy a digitizing software program, remember that you will need to learn how to manually punch designs. Every tool that comes with the program will need to be mastered. The tools to master are many including stitch types, stitch angles, in and out points and compensation among others. Even when these are mastered, it is almost guaranteed that you will want to make changes to the results of the digitizing program.

This article is not intended to discourage you from digitizing, rather it is trying to make you aware of what is involved. The learning curve is steep and frustrating, but the rewards can be great. And remember, practice makes perfect.
About the Author
The author is an article writer of many interests. You can find him at his site: Machine Embroidery Designs and http://www.squidoo.com/machineembroiderydesignsstore
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