Fay, Fay, go away!

and take your wind and rain with you! Although we havent had any flooding as some of our Central Florida Embroiderers have suffered, or gale force winds, the constant rain and wind for 5 days has my brain jumbled and I'm ready to tear my hair out. But, as far as I know, all of us embroiderers here in Florda are fine, so keep your fingers crossed that it stays that way.

Digitizing tips, as promised. I can’t teach you how to digitize in my blog. I can’t even teach you how to digitize in a classroom. What I can do is to help you along with some basic tips and techniques.. If you’re serious about digitizing, and you’re prepared to spend a bit of time learning and practicing, I recommend my friend and colleague John Deer’s Basic Digitizing Made Easy. John’s instructions are generic, not tied to any particular software product, so they’re good to go for everyone. If you get a chance to take a class with John, do it. He’s not only talented and knowledgeable, but very cute.


I think I’ve learned more about digitizing from watching designs run than from any other source. That means sitting and watching every stitch. One time I was stitching a strawberry, one of the very few free designs that used to be available to us. As I watched I had one of those “aha!” moments. The first thing to stitch was a bunch of black blobs. Then the red strawberry stitched, leaving little holes that allowed tiny bits of the black blobs to show through. I was so excited by this technique for eliminating short, difficult to clip jump stitches that I’ve used it many times since I first saw it.


This is how I did it for flowers on a band. I did this in PE-Design. I don’t know how you would accomplish “hole sewing” with your particular software. You’ll have to consult the dreaded manual for that, but I'm sure it's something simple.


  • First I drew 3 circles with no stitch data.
  • Then I duplicated the circles, added stitch data and made them larger.
  • Next I drew the flowers with no stitch data."
  • Then I duplicated the flowers, added stitch data and made them larger.
  • Then I drew the rectangle (with stitch data).

In order to be able to grab hold of each of the individual parts I pulled them apart and arranged them on my workspace. The circles and flowers without stitch data are the “holes.” They’re smaller than the same shapes with stitch data so no empty space will show when the design is assembled.

  • Now I pulled the round holes onto the flowers and applied hole sewing.
  • Then I pulled the flower holes onto the rectangle and applied hole sewing.
  • Next I arranged the pink flowers under the holes in the rectangle.
  • Then I arranged the yellow flower centers under the holes in the flowers.
  • Last I checked my stitching order to be sure that the centers would sew first, the flowers second and the rectangle last.

And this is the finished product. It’s just a rough, poorly drawn design for demonstrating the technique. In real life I would do a more precise job with different kinds of stitches and, of course, so would you. But give it a try and once you’ve mastered the process go ahead and digitize something pretty!


Don’t feel bad if you have no interest in doing this exercise. Not everyone who embroiders needs to be a digitizer. In fact, if there were as many moderately priced designs available when I first started out as there are now, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into digitizing at all. Most of us use our digitizing software mainly for editing designs, combining designs and adding text.  

French Bath. We were off to Normandy for our D-Day tour.  When we stopped for petrol and potty I had a small but long lasting incident in the ladies’ room.  I guess we must have been in Belgium because the signs outside were in Dutch while inside everything was in French. To get on with the story, when I went to wash my hands I squirted soap on them from the dispenser right above the sink.  OH, NO!  It wasn’t soap, but toilet water! I guess the joke about a “French bath” is more fact than fiction. Scrubbing as hard as I could with soap from the correct dispenser, I couldn’t get the smell out off my hands. Four people were trapped in an enclosed car with that scent for most of the day. Well, at least we had chocolate. Lots of chocolate. And here's the scrapbook page.



I think that's it for me today. I'm having surgery on my left foot in the morning and I expect that I'll be "out of it" through the week-end. Stay dry, my friends in Florida! TTFN


Comments (14) -

travelbug1237 8/22/2008 12:48:04 PM

Wow and Double Wow....Yikes & Double Yikes.....So that is how it's done!!???!!!! Well, thanks for sharing! I am sure some of your readers will be excited to try digitizing! You did a REALLY nice job illustrating and describing each step you took.....My goodness, Ann. I am just amazed at the time and patience you must have used& had  to get your designs created!!! SOOOOO impressive!!! Holy Cow!   All hats off to each & everyone of you digitizers!!!

   Glad to hear you are fine storm-wise...well except for the constant rain and wind for 5 days. I'm so happy to hear you didn't suffer any damage!!!

( Major ooooops on the 'Belgium water" experience ..???!!!)

   Sorry though you have hand surgery tomorrow!!! Take care !!!


Cathy in Oregon

jalcumbrack 8/22/2008 12:51:47 PM

Thanks Ann for the wonderful easy as always, to understand instructions for digitizing. I actually think I get it now,why does the book make it so difficult to understand and follow? Mine reads like stereo instructions!

I also love the story about the French Bath. Oh my! I love your stories you make them so fun and interesting,it is almost like being there!

Sorry to hear about your foot surgery! I wish you a speedy recovery,take care of that foot, and just relax and take it easy for a few days,sip iced tea and watch movies.


I do look forward to Friday's blogs for fun and interesting things to read.  Your blogs are so full of . . .  all sorts of things including sometimes a REALLY BIG LAUGH!  I am not sure if I want to shake your hand now.  LOL

Your explaination of digitizing clears up a lot of questions for me.  I understand your layering and why, and that is a big step for me.  I am not sure about digitizing because of all the information you need to understand.  But, not I think I can see (watch as it sews out) a good digitizer from a beginner.

Stay dry and take care of yourself.  Best wishes for a safe surgery and speedy recovery.


Unfortunately, digitizing is all "Greek" to me.  I even had to think twice to spell it.  But is it nice to read about something understandable about a computer program.  They are so seldom understandable to me.

Keep the rain off your sore foot.  Maybe it will stop before you get home.

Stitches , ,



Thanks for taking us back to the basics of digitizing. I'm sure it's difficult to explain, but you did an exceptional job! Can you inport a picture into the program & work from there? I'm sorry to say, I'm not a good artist.

Love your travel stories! Your scrapbook pages are the best I've seen. Mine are too simple, but others I've seen put WAY too much on the page. Yours are absolutely perfect . . .interesting to look at.

Batten down the hatches & stay off your feet!


littersister2 8/23/2008 7:18:42 PM

Hi Ann, I haveing been sewing for very long. In 2006 my mother had 4 strokes, thank  God she still with us. Me and my sister take of her 24/7  so when she sleeps my sister tought me how to sew. That She should me Embroidery Machine I was hooked from then on. We have a lot of memorerys we are making with Mom. she is left side pearlized.so we have to do everything for ,she can feed herself. I wouldn't trade any on the memoreys we are making . we have good days and bad days, But GOD LEAD US TO IT HE WILL GET US THROUGH IT.   I love to embroidery. have a good day Bonnie

Thanks for the tips on digitizing, wish I had more time to play around with it.  Maybe this winter.  

Wishing you well with your foot surgery, that's never fun.  Stay dry!  Sandy

That was so helpful!!! could you teach us more?

                                thanks Hattongirl

Thisis the first time I've seen such useful information on hole sewing in PE Design.  I'll have a go, I am only a very minor digitizer but find it fascinating.  Thank you very much.

jalcumbrack 8/25/2008 6:06:13 AM

Yes Ann,now we want more!! I am so interested in learning this,as it  is the one thing I have had a struggle with. I will take all the lessons on this you can type out! Thanks so much for making them so understandable for us!


Hi Ann,

this is the first time I  have left a comment on your blog.  I am pretty good with the computer, and expert seamstress, and a fairly good embroiderer.  I like to try new things even though I am 69 years old.  I think if you keep your mind busy you will less likely get alzheimers.  [although I do have a pretty good case of "old timers"]  I had foot surgery a few years back and am still having problems with that foot.  Turns out I don't have a foot problem, I have a back problem.  Now back to digitizing.  I am a novice at this and any simple instructions are always welcomed.  You did a great job of illustrating.  stay dry and prayers for your foot surgery and a speedy recovery.

I love to read your blog about your adventures and all that you have to share about embroidery. I love the story about that you shared about France.  

I have not figured out digitizing  yet but  hope to some day. I have had the pleasure of meeting John Deer and taking a digitizing class from him at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, WA that is the first week of March each year ( or the last week of Feb if it falls that way on the calendar).

I am president of the Bend,OR American Sewing Guild chapter and I had the pleasure of rooming with the president of the Orlando chapter at the ASG conference in July and she raved about you and what a lovely lady you are. I look forward to meeting you some day.

You are in my prayers for a speedy recovery from your foot surgery.

Laurie in Oregon

serenemachine2 9/11/2008 4:01:03 PM

Okay, and the surgey went how?   No new about your recovery.  How are you doing?

Dear Ann

It most been  Belgium . I remember France with 2 footprints on the floor and a hole. A little hard to go potty if you are unstable on your feet . Needless to say it was easier to go behind a bush........ROFLOL when I think about the smell...

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