The Thrill of Digitry and the Agony of the Foot



It seems like I’ve been away for a long time, even though it’s only been a couple of weeks since I’ve written. So, so much has happened. First of all, July-August is our family’s big birthday season. We have a couple of stragglers, the twins in October and the baby in December but, for the most part, summer feels like a celebration around here. I now have 3 teenage grandchildren, two of whom are . . . driving! Pictured above are the two oldest, born on August 13th, a year apart. I realize that the birthday was a month ago, but aren’t those two kids gorgeous? I couldn’t resist sharing. I’ve scrapped a page about them here.


On to the Olympics

Well, the 17 days of sport are gone and almost forgotten now. Oprah had all the USA athletes on her show Monday and that did bring back some of the memories. The opening ceremonies were, of course, spectacular. I ordered a DVD of them from NBC. I’m saying I ordered it for my oldest grandson, who plans to go into lighting and sound engineering, but, really, I just wanted to watch it again. I had damp eyes through many of the events, but the ones that required a tissue were:

  • when the torch came into the arena. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing and don’t know why I always cry at that moment in every Olympics.
  • almost every time they showed Michael Phelps’ mother in the stands, especially the time she thought the relay team had come in second and it turned out that they won the gold
  • Nastia Liukin flying into her father’s arms when she completed the floor exercise portion of the all around competition, securing her place on the podium


Something’s afoot

I’m doing fine, thank you for your prayers and good thoughts. I had heard so many horror stories (some from a few of you) that it was with a great deal of trepidation that I went into this surgery. While it’s true that the first three days were agony it’s been pretty much of a breeze since them. After the first week the huge bandage was removed and, even though I could hobble around fairly pain-free I was instructed to continue to use my crutches. After the second week the stitches were removed and I was told that the crutches were now optional. My next appointment isn’t for another five weeks and I’ve been instructed to wear the surgical boot until then. Fortunately I have a pair of black sandals that sort of resemble the boot so I don’t look TOO lopsided. I’m dying for a pedicure, though.

Things I learned while recovering:

  • It is 37 steps from the couch in my living room to the bathroom.
  • I f you have to wrap your foot in plastic before taking a shower, put a towel on the floor of the shower so you don’t slip around.
  • And speaking of the shower, use a bath gel rather than a slippery bar of soap, which really hurts when it hits your foot.
  • When you’re on crutches, be careful when you go around corners. It’s hard to keep a Band-aid on your elbow.
  • When walking on crutches you can’t carry anything. Maybe you can manage to carry your empty coffee mug into the kitchen, but you can’t carry a full one back to your nest on the couch.
  • The intercom on your home telephone is a life saver. You can call your husband/nurse whenever you need something. Who knew?

To jump or not to jump, that is the dilemma

You can eliminate all of the jump stitches some of the time, and you can eliminate some of the jump stitches all of the time, but you can’t eliminate all of the jump stitches all of the time. I want you do download and stitch out the design pictured above. You'll find it on the second page of Patriotic designs in the Free Designs section. The design is for a 5’ x 7’ hoop or larger. If you have only a 4” x 4” hoop, follow along with these illustrations.

The design illustrates a lot of digitizing techniques. For example:

  • It’s best to digitize from the back of the design to the front. That is why you’ll see that white is the first, and also the eighth, thread and black is the fourth and also the eleventh thread.
  • If a jump stitch will be covered with other stitches it should be as short as possible but, if the jump stitch must be clipped, it should be a long as possible. That is why, in this design, the black stitching with the fourth thread jumps back and forth between the two faces.
  • Even though your machine, like my Innvo-is 4000D,  may clip threads for you, it’s still faster to stitch from one section of a design to another than to have the machine stop, clip the thread, and then go on. And most home embroidery machines don’t clip jump stitches.
  • Stitches running between parts of a design are called pathing. When you’re digitizing pathing, run it just on the inside of the edge of the part of the design that it’s pathing through. You’ll see good examples of that when you look at the frames of the individual threads at the right. (Sorry about the scrolling!)
  • When punching* your outline lay your stitches just to the inside of the borders of the design so the stitches will have something to grab on to. If you lay the stitches just to the outside of the borders the design will pull away from the outline and leave a space.
  • While this isn’t a trick or tip, while you watch this design stitch you’ll see a good example of basket underlay.


 I hope this has given you enough to chew on for a while, because I can’t think of much else to tell you about digitizing for embroidery!





Seven years ago today went dark for the first and only time. I was so distressed that the site seemed, on that day, more frivolous than I could bear. I had a hard time getting over that day, as I’m sure many of you did. I think I stayed in my pajamas on the couch for nearly a week. Of course we’ve all gone on since that terrible day, but I’m sure the memory of it lies like a cold stone in your hearts as it does in mine.




And, on that note, I’ll leave you. I think I’ve said all that I can say for the time being. Be well, stay out of the way of the hurricanes’ wrath, enjoy our wonderful, creative hobby and please, turn off your computer and sew something once in a while.  TTYL



*In the early days of commercial machine embroidery, designs were created on long trails of heavy paper, like the old computer punch cards, so digitizing embroidery was called “punching” and digitizers were called “punchers.” One of the greatest compliments I ever had was when a renowned embroidery colleague, said, when introducing me, “She’s another puncher.”

Comments (12) -

jalcumbrack 9/12/2008 3:04:56 PM


As uaual you crack me up. You have such a way with words,as well as discriptive!

I totally am getting the digitizing now that you have explained it in a way we can all understand. It makes sense now to me why I have had such a hard time trying to learn this. I have been doing like you said to do and that is watch the designs sew out,that is when the light went off in my head! Finally!

There is not much worse than a bum foot or knee,( I was on crutches for 6 weeks with a knee injury) I can so relate to the shower thing! Amazing what you can do when you have to!! You are right about the soap by the way! It does hurt!

I am so glad you are recovering well and fast!

The Grand kids are wonderful and adorable! Also gorgous! I bet they are not lacking for friends either,they look happy,healthy and full of life.

Thanks Ann, for talking about digitizing, it really has helped me to fully understand it now! Thank you Thank you!!

I am really looking forward to the next Community Circle,waiting anxiously for the anouncement of it!! ( Along with the guy at the door with the million bucks!! so I can get my new machine!)


travelbug1237 9/12/2008 6:57:40 PM

Ann...So glad you are doing so well & are on the mend!!

And talk about cute.....your grandaughter is GORGEOUS and what a handsome grandson!!!

 Thanks too for the extra clear instructions for digitizing!!! You're ed background is shining bright!


Cathy in Oregon

I think that hearing about your foot surgery is enough for me to pass on any knives near my feet!!   Counting the hopping between two points is a fun sport, maybe it will be in the next summer Olympics!  LOL

I agree with Judy and Cathy, you make digitizing seem so logical.  I would really like to take this up, but where on earth does anyone find the time?

Your grandchildren are handsome, they must take after the "Gran."  Grandchildren are so much fun, and they make your life so much more meaningful.  They are your legacy and I can see how proud you are.


What a great blog.... I love trying to digitize... I have sat and watched my machine do a sewout... my husband said... "why are you watching... isn't it supposed to do it by itself..." Of course I answered him with.. "this is fun, watch it" he took his coffee and left.

I did learn a lot by watching. I understand the need for sewout order.. but there are other things i just don't get.

I am not sure if the programs that let you digitize does that under stitching or do you have to add that yourself? If it does not do it, does it distort the ME?

Keep the information coming. I as well as everyone else here loves to learn more and more from everyone else...


Did I tell you that the granddaughter looks a lot like grandma... what a beauty.

serenemachine2 9/13/2008 3:52:16 PM

Thanks for sharing your footsies!!  And pain in your feet and legs is so awful.  You are a brave soul!!  Glad the recovery is coming along.  I have 4D and just started to look at the creating designs last night.  You must read my mind woman!!  Thank for sharing.

Ann I hope you recover soon . Keep you in my mind and prayers and speedy recovery.

God bless



SO glad you are doing better.  I've taken so many of your hints and tips and thank you for them!

BTW, those are some sexy toes, lady. ;D

Ann, my daughter had the same surgery on both of her feet just a few months ago.  She said the same, that the first few days were very painful, but after that she has done great!  She is doing really really well after just a few months and she said the pain from the surgery was not as bad from the pain in her feet before hand!  Good luck in your healing and take advantage of the help  you have!


Unicow, I was thinking the same thing about those toes!  I think she is a foot model and keeping that info from us!!


dear Ann

I can feel with you.I had my nails on both big toes pulled and have the harderst time since.I think my Dr was a butcher. I been fighting for the last 2 weeks an infection,Since he got always down to the bone.I hope we boths are feeling better soon.

An  n I read your comments about 9-11 and it brought tears to my eyes.  I copied it and sent it to my hubby in Iraq.  He's been in the military for 35 years so far and I cnnnot tell you how negative the comments we have recieved have been.  I was even sat upon recently.  All I could say is "my husband is fighting for your right to do that".   As dependents (and no matter how hard you work or how much you make when you are married to a military person you're a dependent.) we  are not allowed to respond in the way we might choose to do but must take verbal abuse and yes, even that without

respnding in kind.  Most miliary people understand that some may not support what we are doing in Iraq but I do wish people would remember even if we agree wit you we will go, fight, and die for this country.


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