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
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 AnnTheGran.com 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.”