September 20, 2013
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Last night I was watching the Million Second Quiz on television. One of the questions, which the contestant missed by the way, was which one of several brands was not named for an actual person. The answer was Betty Crocker. That got me to wondering if AnnTheGran had been one of the choices, how many of you newer visitors to the AnnTheGran web site would know that there really is an AnnTheGran. That would be me. AnnTheGran will be 17 years old next month. If you haven’t been around since the beginning, let me tell you how it all started.
Once upon a time, when computers had 500 megabyte hard drives, 2 megabytes of RAM and a DOS prompt and embroidery sewing machines had little 100 cm (4 inch), square hoops there was an online message board called the BBD. That stood for Bernina, Babylock and Brother, three brands using a common file platform. There were about 50 of us in the group (which later numbered several hundreds). At that time the only way to get embroidery designs for our machines was with expensive little dedicated cards. Eventually there was a little scanner which enabled us to clumsily create original designs. It was a complicated process involving dots and pens and, well, lots of effort for a small reward. We had heard that were was software in the offing that would allow us to create designs and we all hungrily awaited its arrival. We traded rumors and wishes for months. Finally the software, PE-Design for my Brother machine and other titles for the other brands, became available at our local dealerships and, by ones and twos, we joyfully brought it home.
A few of us took to it immediately and we joyfully posted to the message board when we had created a design. Requests would go out to share the designs and the designers would email the files to those who had requested them. After a while this became a huge undertaking. Lots of people were creating designs and everyone was requesting them. One day I posted to the board something like, “AOL gives me 10 megabytes of internet space. How about you all send the designs to me and I’ll put them on a web site and then everyone who wants them can download them?” So that’s what I did. The site was accessed through my AOL sign-in, I’ll bet you can guess, “annthegran” and grew into AnnTheGran’s Design Exchange.
Over the years the Exchange became a more than full time job for me and I was grateful when someone came along to take over. We no longer have to buy expensive embroidery cards to get designs. We can purchase professionally digitized individual designs or sets of designs at reasonable prices and download free professionally digitized designs here at AnnTheGran. The Design Exchange I created is no longer needed. I hope that the community that grew up around AnnTheGran will continue to be helpful and supportive and a place to show off what we’ve been up to.
Why “annthegran” and how I managed that first tiny site are other stories for another time. Now, ya’ll turn off your computers and go sew something!
Ann (AnnTheGran) Cobb