If you have been embroidering for more than 90 days, like the rest of you, you may have had a fantastic design seriously pucker and/or not meet our expectations. In the embroidery nomenclature, it is called 'cast iron embroidery' or 'bullet proof embroidery.'
In addition to the pucker of the century, the needle was laboring to get through the layers of fabric, underlay and stitching that is very close and dense. This is often the bane of designs that are truly detailed. Those details and the way the threads lay to catch the light are a major contributor to the heavy stitching.
I personally had a machine similar to this one as a child. It know that it worked and regret that I don't still have it. Collectibles are not for the money - at least for me - they are for the joy and beauty of something of a by gone era.
But, getting back to Cast Iron embroidery. If you have done your 'due diligence' for embroidery, aka sewout or discovery sew, you will know that you may need to change the density of the stitching. One thing that you need to keep in mind is that the design may well have VARYING DENSITY all through it. One area may sew easily and another area will be pounding and possibly broken threads or needles. Let me show you what I mean.
I know this design is too dense in several areas. Each picture is just an enlargement of the stitches. The first photo has about 25,400 stitches. The second photo is density reduction from 4.0 to 4.5 and has 24,300 stitches. The third photo is what is known as (in my software) 'tidy up small stitches' and I have removed each stitch that is less than .5mm* which I personally consider to be a 'hole.' (This is one of the main reasons why I use the metric system when embroidering. Things are so much easier to change when you are working with 1's 10's and 100's). So, the third photo is the original 25,400 stitches and deleting the .5mm stitching, it comes to 24,000 stitches.
These items are hard to see so I have made them larger than normal. I tried to make them the areas the same so you could see the adjustments and their affect. I do promise, the photos are different.
The third idea I have for adjustment of this issue is to use a lighter weight thread. I have 60 weight available. It will make a very nice difference but could be too lean in some areas. Density - what a thick problem. . . .
Some of the more sophisticated programs may be able to let you select a color and then adjust. I really don't know all the programs available.
Your software may have the 'tidy' up feature. If you are like most people, you may not even know where it is. Most of us have software that we are only using a portion of what is available. Check out your (any/all) programs for something that can be a 'hidden gem.'
Perhaps finding another suitable design may be an answer as well.
Incidentally, some sites indicate that they DO NOT use more than a single sheet of stabilizer. I personally have used up to 3 sheets of stabilizer to circumvent the puckering. It worked for me.
If you have a method that you use to work with a dense design, I hope you can share it with all of us. Short of doing your own digitizing, I am not sure how to make it right.
* Refresher on metric versus English -
- There are 25.4mm to an inch - it is rounded off to 25mm
- There are 2.54cm to an inch - it is rounded off to 2.5cm
- 1/2" is equal to 13mm
- 1/4" is equal to 6.5mm
It was surprising (to me) that using these metric numbers was easier than I originally thought. When I wanted to 'clean' up those stitches that were extremely small, .5mm makes more sense to me than 1/50" does. However, be careful about removing small stitches. You may be removing too many detail points, therefore, be sure to do your 'discovery sew' or 'sewout.' Nothing takes the place of a 'prototype' when working with details!!