Saturday, February 26, 2011

Machine embroidery, starting over, again

I had forgotten how much I had learned before and it had to be relearned. I got my embroidery machine in 2002 and had a great time with it, but didn't use it from 2005 to 2009. My friend Sam wanted a special embroidery job on his new lab coat, and I was glad to help. But Murphy assisted in the design of this one. He wanted the snake on a stick portion of the paramedics' symbol, but all the designs I found had the star of life with it. He picked a good one and I was able to edit out the star, then put his lettering around the stick. As it turned out, he liked the star but the lettering wasn't what he envisioned. We worked up a sample piece with brief lettering and I decided we needed to use my computer to adjust the lettering, rather than rely on the built-in letters on the machine. You can never tell on the machine how the kerning is going to work without actually stitching it out first.

I only had one font on my software, so I went to the website that sells them, thinking it would be a simple operation to add a couple of fonts. HA! Not so fast sister. The version of software I had was the 2004 version and I needed to upgrade before anything else could happen. So I did, and $235 and an hour of fussing with the installation later we were designing the lettering. Sam did most of the adjusting because he knew exactly what he wanted. How fast he picked up how to run Embird was amazing.

The embroidery machine uses a memory card that is similar in size to a Compact Flash card, but wider and flatter. The card can only hold 6 designs at a time, even though each one averages about 50 kb each. That's KB, not MB. Wow. That's how designs get from my computer to my machine.

The card reader/writer has a usb connection but I can't just use Windows to copy the files over because Windows does not recognize this device as a drive. So it requires proprietary software to do the actual transfer. But, the software does not recognize sub-directories (how primitive is that?) so designs have to go in a top level of c: or in the top level of a jump drive before I can even put them on the machine's card.

This is one of the main parts I forget each and every time. Oh, and the card reader with the card in it has to be plugged into the computer BEFORE the computer is booted up, or it chokes on a com connection which it doesn't even have. So after 9 YEARS I got smart and wrote these things on top of the Amazing Box. That's it's name, really!

We worked over 6 hours on this, and it looks great! But friends and family, know this, I will NEVER do this for money. It's so slow for me I could never make a profit! Plus, as everyone might guess, once you have to do it, it's no longer fun. This was fun, thanks for a great afternoon, Sam!


Becky said...

It looks good! That sounds way complicated. :-)

Embroidery said...

Well it was really nice.....I like its concept and simplicity.....