Learning as a lifelong adventure-Summer Time Tip

When I hear kids say "just 2 more months of school" or "just one more year of school" I laugh to myself because I know a lot better.  You all know what I mean, learning is not 9 months a year (antiquated as that is) or just a few years, learning is a lifelong journey of discovery and - if you are open to it - an awesome journey.  When I taught Microsoft Software, I often told my adult students that if they were not in this class, or one like it, they were not just standing still, they would be losing ground. 

That is enough about structured education.  My point today is that not only is learning a lifelong journey, it is also everywhere around us.  Most people understand learning from a well educated and knowledgeable people.  BUT, have you considered the opposite of that coin, learning from a less educated or less successful people/projects/ideas around us?

How do we know who is the knowledgeable versus the one who you believe to be all knowing?  How do we discern the difference between a real leader and a "I believe I am a" leader?

My point here is knowledgeable people can be wrong from time to time.  Conversely, someone who is lacking in formal education or knowledge can have a totally brilliant moment, day or life.

I have wanted to learn to digitize for a long time.  I see digitizing as a creative form of art that has many facets to it.  Once a site puts a vendor's design on their sales page, that site owner is saying that they believe in the vendor's ability to create a perfect design every time.  While that may be a little naive, it is a must for doing business.  That is one of the reasons that sellers must have some sort of return policy. 

In the case of the design I am highlighting today, the vendor is a very well known site for designs.  They have quality, interesting designs and a very good client base.  So, this issue that I am discussing will remain anonymous because, they normally have much deserved reputation and they are allowed to be wrong once in a while. 

I really love this design and on my sales site, it is VERY popular.  Therefore, I have done it probably 20 or more times.  When you have done a design that many times, you really get to know each stitch.  Furthermore, this has over 50,000 stitches, it is not a quick one to complete.  It has 12 color changes as well.  It is also 'cast iron' to sew. 

My Embird software allows the viewing of the stitches in a density format.  This is a little section showing 'normal' density.  In this case, I say normal loosely.  In some cases, you will want the density to be light.  An example would be if you want some of the background to show through.  A more dense example might be if you are trying for a more three dimensional look.


The focus is naturally blurry to show the areas as they blend together.  Incidentally, the dots of orange are the very dense areas.

Here is the photo of the density map of the design. 

There is one point of red, extremely dense and the lines are all orange, very dense.  The remaining stitches have a small smattering of green, normal, in them. 

I have already reduced the density and removed any small stitches that were less than .7 mm.  This is the after picture.  I always hear my machine pounding in the stitches.

Part of the problem is that few openings are left for the next layer of detail. 

Believe me, the design is beautiful and very detailed.  But I use a fresh needle at the beginning and around the midpoint (26K stitches), I put in a new one. Breaking needles is dangerous.

Another issue is the jump stitches.  I have asked digitizers about this issue and they all say that short jumps tend to pucker the design, so they may opt to make a jump go in a different direction to prevent the squeeze from creating a divot or poof. 

The grid in the background is 1" square.  The jumps crisscross and this particular thread is the last one of the design.  So these jumps are not under all the design, they are on top.

I can vouch for small jumps being tight.  In my hankies, between words there are jump stitches.  Each time I cut those jumps, I can actually feel the release of the pull.

Lastly, I have been using 4 layers of heavy duty cut-away AnnTheGran Stabilizer and still get the puckering on the sides of the design. BTW, I only use 60 weight thread on this design.

While you cannot see these sorts of issues before you buy a design, it is always a good idea to check out their 'freebies' so that you can check their work.  Don't forget to test that design and take a good look at it.

Learning to spot a bit of trouble before you purchase it can help save your sanity.  It is part of the learning curve of embroidery.


Nothing says Summer more than watermelon (unless it is corn on the cob and barbecued chicken).  Here is a fun trick to make watermelon cubes!

First, quarter your melon. Then, make slices straight down the melon.

Next, slice at desired spacing from right to left.

Turn your watermelon to the opposite side and do the same cut as above.  Your cubes will start to fall out of the melon.

Cut the cubes away from the rind and enjoy.  This will work for cantaloupe, zucchini, tomatoes and other soft fruits or vegetables.  Toss them all into a great salad and you have a HIT!


I always love Audrey Hepburn - Katherine as well.

Comments (5) -

Pat,  I do designs with over 60,000 stitches and 20 or more color changes and I use only 1 layer of nylon mesh cutaway and float 1 piece of medium weight tearaway and never, never and any puckering.  Also I never hoop anything but the stabilizer.  Try it and let me know what happened.

Marsuz - I took your advise and guess what????  It worked.

The reason that I was hooping was because I was concerned about the registration going out the window with so many stitches.

This is an interesting (sorta) contradiction.  It would seem to be a good idea to keep this nailed down, yet floating actually does a better job.

It is these types of exchanges of ideas that make this site a great place to visit.  

BTW, I did not put all of the jumps that have to be removed and are crisscrossing the design.  Of course, we all have to deal with jumps, but this design is a barrage of jumps that are more than 5 to 7cm (about 2 to 3").  

I am hoping that someone can give me a logical reason that some jumps must form an "M".

Pat, The Avid Embroiderer

That last sentence should say "form an "X".

Pat, The Avid Embroiderer

I would like to hear more from Marsuz regarding her techniques.

Pattiann, I have asked Marsuz multiple times to just put together a little of her thoughts.  Give her an email to see if you can convince her!

Pat, The Avid Embroiderer

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