Olympic Rings, Cartoons, Questions and Paris!


8/08/08 is a date that comes up only once in every century and it’s upon us as I write.  This time the date is even more special because it’s the date on which the Summer Olympics begins. I LOVE the Olympics, both Winter and Summer, and I’m so glad they they’ve split the two so I have to wait only 2 years between my Olympic TV feast. You’ll find lots of good sports designs in both our Free Designs and designs for sale sections. What you won’t find, however, is a design of the Olympic rings and why I’ve illustrated this paragraph with a mock set of rings made from the numbers of the date. The reason is that the Olympic rings are a copyrighted and trademarked symbol and the Olympic committee is very aggressive about policing their use.


All of which brings me to what I really want to talk about. We all love our copyrighted characters, like Mickey Mouse, Hello Kitty, Precious Moments, Garfield, Betty Boop, etc. Some embroidery design companies have licensed these characters and brought out sets of designs using them. If we purchase these designs we are free to use them on items for ourselves and as gifts to others. We’re not permitted to use them on items we for sale On the other hand, the question of whether we are permitted to digitize these characters for our own personal use, items for ourselves and as gifts for others, is somewhat of a gray area. I have several transfer books with copyrighted characters and their use for embroidery is specifically addressed in either their instructions or copyright statements. In that case it’s fairly black and white; yes, you may. The gray area is whether you can draw the characters yourself or get clip art on line or in books and digitize from there.  The legal answer is, “no,” So why is this a gray area? It’s a gray area because you don’t know any better, you’re not doing it for profit and, well, how would anyone know?

So why am I mentioning this here, on my blog? I’m not the copyright police and what you do in the privacy of your home is none of my business. However, I’ve found a few mentions in the forums here of copyrighted characters that were digitized by some of us talented MEers with offers to share them with others. While you’re more than welcome to share any of your original digitizing (After all, that’s the reason AnnTheGran came into existence in the first place.) here in the forums, I have to ask you to not write about or share designs of copyrighted characters that you’ve digitized yourself. I’ve nurtured annthegran.com since I first created it nearly 12 years ago and I’m very protective of both the good name and the integrity of the site. Believe it or not, there are some individuals out there in the wild, wicked world of the Internet who would like to see annthegran.com go down in flames. A copyright violation is just the kind of thing they’re looking for.

Please, please know that I’m not upset or angry or accusing anyone. I know that if anyone has done this it’s been in innocence and an attempt to be helpful and friendly. Those of us who have been enjoying this wonderful hobby for many years and have participated in online discussion groups, already know this. But so many are excitedly discovering machine embroidery and AnnTheGran every day and I know that copyrights and trademarks are the furthest things from their minds. I hope you’ll take this gentle reminder in the grandmotherly spirit in which it was written. ‘Nuff said.


Letters! We get letters!
Okay. We don’t really get letters, but we do get email and comments on the blogs and in the forums. I’m going to address just a few of them here.

katydid says, “I leave too much space between letters, What is the rule of thumb?” Keep in mind that embroidery designs “draw up” when they stitch. This is particularly true with lettering. I snug my letters up pretty close to each other so there’s the correct amount of space between them when they’re stitched. See the sample on the left, showing lettering both on my computer screen and actually stitched out.

bunny has a Singer Futura 350 and wants to know how she can use the PES format designs  she has downloaded. I think your machine needs files in SEW format. Catalog XPress will convert the PES files to SEW for you.

karana says that her needle sometimes gets gummed up when she’s using “sticky” stabilizer. This sometimes happens to me, too. I have 2 solutions that I use. The first is a little bottle of silicone lubricant. I put a drop on a cotton swab and wipe the needle down with it. The second is the same, only using alcohol. I have a bottle of alcohol that I use for cleaning the bobbin case so it’s near the machine.

altslady has Catalog XPress and says she has to have her designs in a separate file in order to use them with her software. I’m not sure what’s going on here, but I want to mention that if you double click on a design in your catalog the design will open in the software you designated when you installed Catalog XPress. You can open a design in any program you choose, however, by right clicking on it and choosing “Open with.” A window will open asking what software program you want to use.

edithspain  has installed Catalog Xpress on a new computer and is upset that the program has been “switched off” on her old computer. It sounds like what you’ve done is transfer your license from one computer to the other. This will “switch off” the program from which you’ve transferred the license. However, it’s not necessary to transfer the license simply to install the program on another computer. Simply install it and use the registration number you already have to activate it.

Something else about moving to a new computer and having to leave behind all the work you’ve done sorting those thousands of designs. Remember that CatXP is a data base. It doesn’t know where your designs are until you tell it. Make sure that you put your designs in exactly the same place on the new computer as they were on the old computer and then copy the file edb.mdb from the old program and paste it into the new installation. That’s the file that has all your personal information in it.

And last, but not least, para ayiyai: ¡Bienvenido, Gladys de Chile! Estoy feliz que usted tiene gusto de me Web site. Espero que pueda visitar Chile alguna día. Lo siento que hablo español solamente un poco y no muy bien. Hablé español cuando era una niña, pero olvidé mucho.

The last time I saw Paris . . .
When I asked what things you’d like me to talk about, the only one who answered was Pat, and she asked for travel stories. This one’s for you, Pat!

In 2006 Bill and I were traveling with our travel buddies, Loes and Theo, following Bill’s WWII march from Utah Beach in Normandy to the Ardennes Forest in Belgium, Theo detoured through Paris because I had never been there. Theo pulled up to the curb in front of the Eiffel Tower and we all jumped out of the car. Theo grabbed his camera and Loes stood guard over the car so the French parking police wouldn’t ticket it. Bill and I stood in fromt of the Tower while Theo snapped off a couple of shots. Then we all ran back to the car and continued on our way. So I can say that I’ve visited Paris and no one (but you) has to know that it was for only 15 minutes. Click here for the scrapbook page.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. I'm off to veg in front of the games! TTYL



Comments (13) -

jalcumbrack 8/8/2008 11:00:40 AM

Very Cool Ann! I love the way they are intertwined. I was just reading on the internet about all the folks getting married today for the date. It would be easy to remember,and be a special date because of the Qlympics,and the fact it will only happen once in a while.I would like to hear more travel stories as well,you have been to places I will only see in my dreams. I'm still working on Hubby about going to Hawaii(not going to happen in this life for sure)

I would also like to hear more about digitizing.Things like how you decide which underlays to use,how to get a 3 dimensional affect,blending for shading on things like flowers ect., animals as well.There is still so much for me to learn. I really want to learn how to do these things.I still have my software program that is useable on my computer,can't stand to see it just sit there so I am going to learn to use it, instead of starting canvas painting again.It will be a great thing for me to be able to take my art and put it to use for my addiction,LOL.

I personally would like to Thank you and all of the staff for providing us with this forum to discuss ME. There is no other quite like it for sure.

jalcumbrack 8/8/2008 11:02:58 AM

Oh my, I forgot to say that is how I visited California,I was there long enough to snap a photo and gone! LOL

cherrylmaree 8/8/2008 11:08:02 PM

Thankyou Ann, I have wondered about the copyright situation..and thankyou for the tips for CatalogXpress, very helpful...I've just started to scrapbook and your page has given me more great ideas...visiting your site is always a 'breath of fresh air'. best wishes Cherrylmaree

Dear Ann,

Thanks for the great blog! Your blog came just in the nick of time! I do actually have a  ME design of the olympic rings. At first when I got it I thought I'll never use this, then just today someone asked me to make a shirt with the designs to wear during the entire season of this years Olympics.

Thanks for your travel memoires! We are really getting to know this AnnTheGran! She's one terrific lady!


travelbug1237 8/9/2008 1:29:07 AM

HH Ann,

   I'm taping the Olympics tonight (so I can skip adverstisments), so I have a few minutes here to read and write you a thank you for helping us beginners know 'right from wrong' when we really start embroidering up a storm for family and friends.

  Thanks again for all you do for us.



Geeze-When I glanced at the title of this blog, I thought it said "Onion Rings. . . "  I got hungry and ran off to get some onion rings and I am now back.  (They were good!)

What a clever 5 ring design you have!  I thought it was cleverly done by the Olympic Committee!  It has great imagination and flair.  I love it.

Thanks for the Paris story, and the laugh.  That scenario you described sounds like something from National Lampoon's Vacation movies and just as funny!

I am making a new request...How about telling us about digitizing.  I can see learning digitizing is easy, what really counts is mastering the real underpinnings that make for excellence in digitizing.  I have seen the difference, but not what and how of the digitizing.

Thanks for a great place to play, learn and share!  Twelve years in computer terms is an eternity, so you are a real pioneer.



Thanks for the copyright education. I'm sure it's helpful to everyone.

Love your Paris story. . . . you've been there 15 min longer than I have!

I'm going to 2nd the vote for digitizing instructions. How about starting from the beginning.

Thanks for everything. . .  especially for the wonderful website to meet new friends and share ideas.


Interesting note:

My husband tells me he read that in the Chinese culture the number eight is a "lucky" number, so the games were set to begin on 8/08/08 at 8:08 pm.

Fun design, Ann!

alssweetheart 8/9/2008 11:13:34 PM

What a great design for the olympics! I'll have to sew that out for my Mom. Her Birthday is 08-08-08 this year, she loves the olympics and life, she just turned 85, you would never believe it. She has an embroidery machine but it doesn't have a usb port, it was purchased back in 1987. Like the Chinese we believe we are pretty lucky, to have Mom. Back in 1988 she had another cool date for her Birthday 08-08-88.

Please share and teach us about digitizing!!! It is such a wonderful craft to learn. It would be great to turn out some nice designs.

Thanks for all the wonderful stories!!! And all the great Blogs that you have on your webpages!!!

Thanks, alssweetheart

Dear Ann,

  great to read your story about Paris and also fun to read

what other people have to say.

  Your newsletter and website are great and I look at it

regularly, I'll keep ie short, you're a busy girl.

                 Love Emma

The 'copyright police' is so true. My mom told me about  a lady in her home town that Emb. with copyright stuff and sold them. The individual that did that sold to the wrong person. Needless to say, they came and took all her machines and designs.  Please, please becareful everyone. I would hate for this to happen to anyone.  My family just 'share' our stuff. Happy stitching!!

Hi Ann

I love your forum. I have been gone a while and it is taking me forever to catch up. yes, I think there are a lot of us who want help digitizing. I have tried my hand at it and it seems to take me fooor eeevvvvvver. Is that the way it supposed to be? I would also like to know about splitting designs if your don't have a machine that does it. I know either the 4000 or the 4500 Brothers can do split designs, but alas, my 2500D does not.

Keep the blog going.


serenemachine2 8/21/2008 1:11:53 AM

Another great blo!  Thank ou!  Digitizing will drive us newbies crazy, but go for it!!!

Thanks, again

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