I must be jinxed

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

 

 

 

 

Well, let’s get started!

I see that when I wrote my post in December 2015 I mentioned the ability in Embird to save SVG files (and JPG files) so that you could use them with your Silhouette Cameo.

I am going to chat a little about that to you today.

I have the original Silhouette Cameo 1 and since I bought it there have been two new Cameo machines. There’s both a 2 and a 3 now – but I have stuck with my original Cameo as its still working fine and does all I need. So anything I write here will be with me using the Cameo 1. There are, of course other little Silhouette machines as well but I have not had anything to do with them – I haven’t even seen them. So no questions please about the Cameo 2 and 3 or the other machines – unless its something easy that I can answer. I’ll try my best but cannot guarantee that I’ll no the answer. AND, please bear in mind that I am still learning the Silhouette Studio software as well. There might be other ways of doing what I show you – even easier ways – but as these lessons are coming to you free I figure that you get what you pay for. LOL!!!

If you are going to use Embird Studio to create any SVG files and export them into Silhouette Studio (all these Studio names gets confusing doesn’t it?) then you will need to buy the licence for the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition. Its just a code that you need to enter into the Silhouette software and well worth the money. I have gone one step further and bought the code yesterday for the Designer Plus version of Silhouette Studio as that allows you to open some embroidery file formats. (That will be interesting too but as I only got that yesterday you’re going to have to wait until I get that figured out). I will keep my brain active with scheming about all the things we might be able to do.

You might not have a Silhouette machine but I can highly recommend them – they’re so much fun and you can do such a lot on them. Not only cutting vinyl for t-shirts but you can use outdoor vinyl for decorating lots of stuff – like your car, coffee mugs, wine glasses – almost you name it and you can do it. You’ll end up like you were when you first started embroidery – everything will be covered in it. However there’s even more stuff that you can do – not only vinyl – you can cut applique shapes to use with your embroidery machine using Embird and the Cameo and you can even cut your fabric pieces and then vinyl the edges without using your embroidery machine. You can use vinyl edges instead and attach them with your domestic iron or a heat press if you have one. A friend of mine makes the most beautiful cards and decorations using her Cameo. I will add a photo here of some flowers that she has made just to whet your appetite and give you some ideas.

IMG_8513 Barbara makes exquisite items with her Cameo. She is very much into Card Making and other beautiful things whereas I’m a bit boring and just make things like images to put on my grandchildren’s clothing. There are loads of SVG designs around that you can use with your Cameo – just like there are loads of free and purchasable embroidery designs. But as you know, there’s always the time when you cannot find what you want as a design and you have to resort to creating it yourself. And that’s where making your own SVG designs in Embird Studio comes to the fore.

Here’s a couple of my designs I’ve used and then you can see how different mine are to Barbara’s.

Here’s Eevee – a little Pokémon character. Yes, I know that she is a licenced character but I am NOT selling these designs or the clothing that they are on. They are for my Pokémon crazy grandchildren and I’ve never found clothing with these more obscure characters on anyway. The same goes for the sports logo that I created. The hoodies cost over $150 NZD here and for me to make my basketball crazy grandson one cost me $25 for the hoodie and my time and vinyl for the design. I will never sell the design or the clothing if they are licenced. Its all for purely personal use.

eevee

Breakers

I used a JPG in Embird Studio, created the shapes and saved it as an eof file (a must if you want to use it again) and then exported it as an SVG and opened it in the Silhouette software.

Personally I find the Silhouette Studio software not so great if you wish to create your own design – its a bit clunky – and that’s when I use the easy option and pop back into Embird Studio and create my design there. I have written a tutorial about how to create designs into Embird Studio before and how to save them as an SVG. Its available at Secrets of Embroidery. The Silhouette software is great for lots of other things like preparation of your design etc, etc but actually creating your own design in there isn’t as intuitive as Embird Studio.

When you open an image in the Silhouette Studio software you must “Trace” it first to convert it to lines for the Cameo to use as a guide for the blade to cut. Basic shapes are really easy to trace but when you come to a file with outlines then its not quite as simple and even though I have checked a lot of information I have yet to find any information about how to “Trace” a design with an outline and get a good trace. Maybe I’ve not been looking in the right place – and maybe you can point me in the right direction but I’m going to show you how to work in Silhouette Studio – primarily using Embird Studio to create your design in the first place.

In Embird Studio today, lets just create a simple shape and save it as an SVG for cutting.

Open Embird Studio and go to Shape/From Library/Basic and choose the Heart1.eof.

Click Open.

22-05-2017 3-40-32 PMSelect and Delete the Outline shape so that only the Heart fill remains.

Generate the stitches.

22-05-2017 3-42-37 PMGo to Design/Save As and save firstly as an EOF file. If you don’t do this your file will only save as the SVG and if you need to return and edit it as we often do, then you wont have an EOF to open as you didn’t save as that format.

Now go to Design/Export and Save in your preferred folder as an SVG file.

Great! Got that! Now open your Silhouette Studio Software. This only works if you have the Designer Edition upwards, remember – but well worth the upgrade fee (around $30- $50 I think)

Go to File/Open and move to the folder where you sabed the SVG file.

Select it and click OK. The SVG file will be on your Design Page

22-05-2017 3-50-41 PM

Select the image using  the Select Tool and move to the right side and click on the Color Palette icon. 22-05-2017 3-56-00 PMClick on the Black color and the heart will change to black. This is necessary to get a good trace for cutting.

Move to the right of the screen (I’m using the newer version 4 just released) and click on the Trace Tool 22-05-2017 3-52-57 PMThe Trace screen opens. Click on Select Trace Area and, holding down your left mouse button drag over the heart on the Design Page. The Heart should turn Yellow. This is what you want.

This is just a quick and simple intro to creating your own design, please bear in mind. I’m not going into too many details here today.

22-05-2017 3-58-39 PM

Once the design/heart is completely filled – as above – click on Solid Fill in the Trace screen and then click Trace near the bottom of the Trace Screen. You could also click on Trace and Detach seeing as you don’t need the original heart any longer.

Your file is now ready for your cameo to cut. You can select and right mouse click and delete the black fill if you used the Trace only option but if you used the Trace and Detach option then the file is now a Cut file. I only delete the black fill when I use Trace just to confirm that the cut lines are there. Your choice! 22-05-2017 4-04-56 PMNow move to the Send screen, choose your fabric/vinyl etc, select your blade settings, decide if you need a Test Cut, load your media and/or mat and click Send.

22-05-2017 4-06-51 PM

My Cameo wasn’t turned on so I have an error message on the screen saying it wasn’t connected but as I am only writing this and not cutting I don’t need the Cameo on.

Depending on what media you’re using you may have to flip your image. If you’re use Heat Transfer Vinyl for clothing then you need to flip. If you’re using Oracal 651 Outdoor Vinyl then you don’t as you use a transfer tape to attached it to your objects. For fabric (applique) then your design doesn’t need flipped if the fabric is right side up.

This is just a wee taste of how to create your design from Embird Studio and get it to cut in the Silhouette software. I will do some further wee lessons as I go. I cannot promise when but I will as I find the time. This is something else that you can get addicted too……

 

I hope that you enjoyed my come-back! I will write as and when I can. There’s so much more to show you all.

Take care for now.

Carolyn

Embird and Cut files and my nine lives

A month or so ago Embird released its latest version (a free update for Embird 2015 users) that now creates cut files for the Cameo Silhouette (svg files) and the Brother Scan and Cut so that you can send those files to your machine and have them cut the files. I haven’t had a chance to play with this new command yet but I have heard that there are still little glitches with it. Like anything it takes time for something new to run smoothly. As soon as I can I will have a play and see how I get on with it. However for those interested I do have a lesson available at Secrets of Embroidery that shows you how to use the Silhouette Cameo in both Embird Editor and Embird Studio that will create the correct files for you. I wrote this lesson last year before the latest release of Embird and this method still applies.

Now, here is the reason that I have not had time to play with the latest version of Embird. On April 1st (Aprils Fools Day) 2015 I suffered a stroke. I will not forget Aprils Fools Day ever. It certainly was no joke! I had been out to dinner with my hubby and we walked home – about 500 meters – and when I reached home I didn’t feel well at all. I thought I’d got food poisoning as I had a stinking headache and felt really sick. My neck was aching and I couldn’t stand the lights on in the house nor any noise. I went to bed but got up again and started vomiting. This happened again during the night and the next morning, when my headache hadn’t gone away (I don’t generally suffer from headaches) I decided to check it out with my doctor as we were about to go away for two weeks holiday. I walked to the doctors surgery and didn’t come home for two weeks. The doctor checked me over and called an ambulance. I was rushed to hospital, had an MRI and then operated on the next day. It was a subarachnoid haemorrhage. The surgeon told us that approximately 50% of people do not survive. I had a lot of people praying for me and I am sure that’s why I made it through.  And of course, the surgeons skills.

I remained in hospital for two weeks while they waited for the danger period to pass. It was so nice to go home after I was released. But I was told not to drive my car for six months and I have to have another MRI after six months as well. My mother, her cousin and her cousins mother also had the same condition so it is apparently hereditary and now my children need to be screened as well to see if they have the same condition. Genetics, eh?

Anyway I was very fortunate as I had no signs of  any long lasting effect. No speech problems or any paralysis at all. Very lucky. I have 23cm of coils in my head to clip off the blood vessels to prevent any further bleeding from that area and I’ve also got to have a 30 minute nap every day to refresh my brain. I think I escaped very lightly and now that I’m in “the system” I will be checked regularly for further problems. Its taking me a while to get going and working on the computer is a bit tiring but I’m doing my best.

Keep me in your prayers please. I really appreciate your prayers and kind wishes.

On a lighter note I’m down to seven lives now as I’ve lost two of my nine lives so far. After escaping that rock fall last year while walking and now the stroke this year I’m down two lives. But I figured that two down after 65 years I should make it through okay. 🙂

 

Take care everyone –

 

Learning Bernina Cutwork

Well, I decided that seeing as I had purcased the Bernina Cutwrk software some time ago that I had better sit down and have a serious attempt at learning it again. I have sat and dabbled with it from time to time but have made no great progress. I have managed to create and stitch out some designs previously but I didn’t really know what I was doing. It was more good luck than good design! But in the last two days I have made a concentrated effort to learn the program. Having been so used to Embird I struggled to get my head around a completely different software. But in the last two days I have had a bit of peace and quiet and some valuable time to myself so it was time to put the old brain into action.

I have finally mastered the software. I don’t say that I am any great shakes at it but at least this time I sort of know what I am doing. I started by scanning a Accuquilt Go Cutter shape so that I could just add the applique stitches in the Cutwork software. I have to say that my biggest problem was the scanning. Do you think I could get the image to scan at the correct size! Well, after asking for some help on the Cutwork list I found that I was “over-thinking” the scanning. All I had to do was leave most of the settings at the defaults and all would be okay. Well almost!

Here is my first stitch-out. This is the Accuquilt Hearts die. I used variegated thread in the smaller heart so it looks a little patchy in the photo but it isn’t in “real” life.

I used the three sizes of hearts from the Hearts die. I used the large one and the small one in the same design and then used the medium heart of its own. Due to the accuracy of the scan the appliqué outline sits perfectly on the shapes. This makes life easy! I was pretty pleased with this effort. And the bonus is that there are so many choices of outline and fancy satin stitches in the Cutwork software which you can decorate the designs with….the mind boggles with choices….

Next I went back and played some more and when DH came home from golf he was checking out what I was doing. He liked the hearts but being a “boy” he said he would like me to make something a bit less pretty. He suggested a Maori tiki. I checked the internet and there is a web-site for free Maori clipart so I downloaded a Tiki image for him and opened it in the software. This time I used the “cut” file as well as creating an appliqué edge for the Tiki. I haven’t had the cutwork “blades” on my machine for ages and watching the Tiki cut out was a bit freaky as some of the areas didn’t have much room around them and I thought that the machine was going to lift the shape out of the hoop at one stage. But I managed to finish it in one piece and then started on the appliqué part of the design. I stitched out the placement line and then carefully removed the backing from the fabric and ironed it in place. Once the design was in place the rest was a breeze…..

Now that I have stitched the Tiki it is not going into my cupboard never to be seen again. I think I’ll make DH a placemat out  of it. All that stitching may as well serve some purpose….

Did you know that you can do Cutwork in Embird Studio? It takes a little more planning than if you had specific cutting software but it can be done. Months ago I asked Dusan to reduce the minimum stitch length for outline stitches so that cutwork designs could be created – and he obliged. The outline stitches minimum length is now small enough to use for Cutwork if you wish. You just have to change the thread colors for each time you change stitch direction so that the machine stops and a different direction “blade” can be inserted. There are four blades if you use the Husqvarna “blades” and one rotating blade in four directions if you use Bernina software so you will only ever use four different stitch directions (colours) if you are planning a cutwork pattern.Just watch a cutwork design stitch out and you’ll see what I mean. And of course you have to remove the thread from your embroidery machine and make sure that you use an appropriate stitch plate on your machine. But it can be done in Embird as well……

Now I had better get back to Casey’s quilt as time is marching on. I feel as if I am procrastinating a little on the quilt. Perhaps I am….   🙂

Every step I make……

Each block that I create for Casey’s quilt takes me quite some time. Probably longer than I expected it to. Before I start stitching I prefer to open the files in Embird and try and reduce the number of hoopings that are required. Each file is designed for a 5×7 hoop and as I am using the Bernina Jumbo Hoop I figure that I can reduce the number of times that I need to re-hoop. Reducing the number of times I have to hoop should also improve my accuracy in lining up the files. I figure that the less I have to re-hoop, the less muck-ups I’ll make.

 

I opened Embird Editor and used the Merge command to open all six files required for this block. Of course there was no way that I would fit all six files into the one hoop. That would be expecting way too much. But I decided that I would see if I could fit the files into two hoopings only. The best way to see if this would work would be to set myself a Custom Hoop under the Custom Hoop TAB in Hoops in Editor. I set my custom hoop for twice the size of my Jumbo Hoop. This made the hoop 520mm x 400mm. Then I set about re-arranging the embroidery files so that they fitted nicely into the hoop. I had to match up all the crosshairs that were included with the files so that all the files sit where they are supposed to do. 

 You can see in the image above that I have matched up all the crosshairs.

No more poetic licence for me – I had enough of that with the first block where I thought I was being clever, only to find that I wasn’t so clever after all when my block didn’t match the cut instructions in the Fairyland quilt book….sigh…I’m not making that mistake again. I will follow the instructions PROPERLY – to the T…….Lesson learnt!

 

In the file – as shown above – there are crosshairs that I will not need. There is no use stitching out unwanted crosshairs. I only need enough crosshairs to enable me to match up the two files that I will stitch. I have managed to reduce the hoopings from six to two so therefore only need two sets of crosshairs to match each file.

Crosshairs are usually placed at the beginning at end of each embroidery file so if I am to reduce the files from six to two files then I can delete a number of crosshairs. Look for the grey or black color boxes at the beginning at end of each of the files in the image.

The best way to find out if those colors are the crosshairs is to left mouse click on each of those grey or black colors, one at a time, on the right of the Design Page, and see if the cross hairs are hidden from view on the Design Page.

 

 

Check the image above and you’ll see most of the first and last colors are hidden from view. The only ones that I wanted to keep are where the left and right side of the files join at the machine. Once you have identified those unwanted crosshairs you can go ahead and delete the colors from the color boxes. I did have to leave three crosshairs in the files I didn’t want as I couldn’t simply delete them as I did for the others as they were part of the bee’s flight tail – the same colour and part of that file. The easiest way to remove those crosshairs was to use Sewing Simulator, select Stop on Jumps, advance to the gray color and press Play.

 

 

Once Sewing Simulator stopped at the first Jump stitch I clicked on Split and those crosshairs split apart from the bee’s flight tail. So easy…thank you Embird. Then just delete those split crosshairs back in Editor. All gone and so quick….

Now all the was needed was to join the first three files, then the second three files, check that they fitted individually in my Jumbo Hoop and then save them as separate file names onto my USB pen drive.

And then to stitch them out…..All in all it takes me a bit of time fluffing around at the computer to set up the files in the first place and then two afternoons to stitch out both files.

 

I’m now over half way as I only have three full blocks to go. I am well on target, so far, to get the quilt done before Christmas – touch wood……

This is how it’s looking so far….excuse my poor photography – too much light!

Footnote: Since I started writing this post (which has been a nightmare to get to upload) I have been to the Stitches and Craft show in Hamilton with my good friend Bryden. Apart from oogling all the new machines and “girls toys” I have come back with some more fat quarters for the quilt. I have stopped adding up what this quilt is costing! I think it is better that I don’t know! After all, if I spend just a little at a time on it – that doesn’t count, does it? And Casey loves it…..Isn’t that all that matters?