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New filled versions of the rodeo horse applique and embroidery design

Rodeo guy on horse - filled design.
Rodeo guy on horse – filled design.

One of my most popular designs on my Etsy store is my rodeo guy on horse that was inspired by the iconic character on Wyoming’s license plate. I made this design as a triple stitch applique design because of all of the jaggedy edges. The satin stitch works fine at a larger size but once it gets smaller the satin stitch is too thick to accurately reflect the shape.

Recently, however, I received a request for this design as a filled embroidery design. Why it didn’t occur to me to make this a filled design…. I have no idea.   So – I went ahead and did it – and stiched it out as a little test.

Here are five suggestions as to where you could stitch out this design.

1) a mens tie (maybe with some initials?)2) on the breast of a polo shirt
3) a wallet
4) a lunch box (with a name)
5) a detail on a quilt

Or maybe you have better ideas?  Hopefully now that I have the filled versions integrated into my offerings on my Etsy listing, the customer will purchase it and let me know how she is using it.

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Why won’t the PES file that I created open on my customer’s embroidery machine?

Since I started digitizing I have gotten no complaints regarding any of the files I created. But if I had – I figured I would simply refund the customer’s money or figure out the solution to make it right.  I just had my first experience in trying to make it right for the customer.

Yesterday I received an email from a customer who purchased my tarantula embroidery file. Initially I had just set up the tarantula design to work in a larger hoop, however this customer needed the tarantula at a size that would fit in her 4″ x 4″ hoop. I gladly obliged, and set up a smaller version of the tarantula file and added it to my listing. She then purchased the design.

This transaction occurred a few weeks ago and I heard nothing from the customer sense. But yesterday she contacted me informing me that the tarantula PES file would not open on her machine. I racked my brain trying to figure out what might be going wrong. My first thought was that perhaps the version of PES file that my Bernina Artista software was creating was potentially incompatible with her machine. So I re-exported the file from my conversion software – thinking it would create a different (hopefully more compatible) version of PES file, and sent it to my customer. Unfortunately this did not fix the problem.

I turned to my embroidery Facebook groups to request their advice on the situation. Within an hour I had at least five responses saying that the reason why the machine wouldn’t open the file was because was most likely due to the fact that that design was scaled too large. If you want a design to fit in a 4″ x 4″ hoop, you actually need to make it slightly smaller than 4 inches. My Facebook friends recommended making the design no larger than 3.93″ So I scaled the design down a bit and sent the file back to my customer.  Once again – no luck.  But it seemed like we were getting closer.  It showed up on the machine but would not load.

Back to Facebook.  Someone suggested that maybe the design was not properly centered.  It turns out that the tarantula was actually not centered! The trick was to figure out how to fix it. After futzing around in my software I discovered that if i made the starting point in the center the PES version of the design would be centered.

Fortunately – the design finally worked for my customer!  Yay!  Now I need to go back into all of my designs and make sure the small PES versions are centered and no larger then that 3.93″ maximum in any direction.  I especially need to check the Varsity Numbers appliqué designs as I will be sending this file to my customer as a token of my appreciation of her patience!

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Funny cartoon face appliqué designs

Funny, cartoon face appliqué designs
Funny, cartoon face appliqué designs

It’s a pretty exciting day for a digitizer like me when you get a request to put one of your embroidery or appliqué designs on your Etsy store so that someone can buy it. But – that is exactly what happened today. So I happily obliged.

I am a member of four or five Facebook groups pertaining to machine embroidery and appliqué.  If I create a project that I think is relevant and of interest to one of my groups then I post a link to my blog where I discuss the project. The feedback that I have gotten from my friends on my Facebook groups have been amazing. From my Facebook groups I have learned appliqué, embroidery and digitizing tips and gotten tons of feedback on my designs –  both good and bad. My Facebook groups have been an invaluable resource for me.

But a request to post a design in my Etsy store that came from a project that I blogged about was a first, and it completely made my day. The project and I’m referring to is the funny face appliqué design that I created last week for my son’s birthday party favors.  I set up four different cartoon funny faces and stitched them out on neon t-shirts.  I made sure to use different thread colors on each design so that no shirt was exactly the same.  When I set up the design to sell on my Etsy store, I wanted to ensure that people limited to smaller 4″ x 4″ hoops would be able to use this design, so I set up all four faces at a smaller scale in order to fit in a 4″ x 4″ hoop.

I hope you enjoy these designs and thank you thank you for the feedback!  Check out the Funny Faces appliqué designs on my Etsy store.

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Copyright issues with embroidery typefaces

If you have been reading this blog for a few months, you probably know that I embroidered a lot of straw hats this summer. For most of the hats that I made, I used a monogram typeface that I digitized based on a truetype typeface that I downloaded from

Because I like to stitch out names in different styles, I download a lot of typefaces. Sometimes I use them, sometimes I don’t. When I download a typeface I normally don’t give a lot of thought about copyright issues because I am using them for personal use.

To make the monograms for the straw hats I made this summer, I simply downloaded and installed the typeface I wanted to use and worked with it in my embroidery software which allows me to create a stitch file based on installed typefaces. Once I made all my hats and got so much positive feedback, I thought it might be a good idea to render out all of the letters as separate stitch files so that anyone could build a monogram for a straw hat the way I had – even if they didn’t have embroidery software.

Big mistake.

After I had my file up on my Etsy store for about a week, I got contacted by the creator of the typeface, who basically ripped me a new one. She was completely justified in her frustration because I had completely disregarded her copyright. By setting up the typeface as an embroidery file and selling it on my store I was no longer using this typeface for personal use; I was profiting off of her creative work.

After she pointed out my mistake, I felt horrible about what I had done and immediately wanted to make a wrong right. I removed the file from my Etsy store, and apologized profusely. I had only sold one copy of the monogram embroidery file on my store, but I offered to pay her royalties on the sale.

She responded that instead of a royalty she would prefer if I made a donation to a local animal shelter. If I did this, she would allow me to sell my embroidery file again. Well, I am still waiting to hear back about what our arrangement will be. Hopefully we will work something out and I will be able to sell the monogram file again, and in turn raise a little bit of money for any animal shelter. Whatever happens, I’ve definitely learned my lesson and will never make the same mistake again.

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I think my instinct about adding value to the embroidery files was spot on!

Wyoming guy on horse appliqué design in two sizes now.
Wyoming guy on horse appliqué design in two sizes now.

Two days ago I wrote a post about my peace sign appliqué design that comes in two different styles (satin stitch and triple stitch) that I have for sale on the Machine Embroidery Geek store. Personally I think it is a great design – but it rarely sells. Maybe there are just too many other peace signs out there. Or maybe the size of my appliqué is just too large for most people (those with only 4″ x 4″ hoops) to use. To test my theory – I went back into the file and exported both versions at a size that would fit into a 4″ x 4″ hoop.

Well – the peace sign applique design package still hasn’t sold, but I did get some verification that adding more sizes to my designs was the right thing to do. Last night I received a conversation request via Etsy from a potential customer wanting to know if my Wyoming icon – guy on the bucking horse – came in a smaller size. Well… after a little bit of time on my computer… now it does!

It’s great to receive validation on a hunch. Now I am on a mission to put even more value into each of my designs. Thanks for the feedback new Etsy friend!

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My copycat big sister is all over my my new fish skeleton applique design

My sister's execution of my appliqué designs.
My sister’s execution of my appliqué designs.

Here’s the thing about big sisters… it takes A LOT for them to admit that they like something that their little sister produced.  I speak from years of experience being a little sister and now even more years of experience as a mother of two girls.

My sister has an embroidery machine like me, but has never ventured into appliqué until she saw the nautical dress I appliquéd with my groovy flower initial design.  When I saw her this weekend, she had used the flower appliqué design twice and was swooning over my new fish skeleton design.  So I sent her a bunch of the files I created to try out.

This morning I received the following text:

Love, love, love the fishbone!!! How cute did these turn out? So much fun.

Followed by a request for more designs:

So… Juan Carlos and Liliana came by with their apron design… they want that black bull on a red apron.  I have an image for you to use.  Can you digitize it?

Ha.  Isn’t this interesting?  I guess I will be creating a bull design next, which may actually be pretty cool, and actually pretty easy to do.

Here’s the hard part.  Getting used to admiration from my big sister.  It’s turning my world upside down – but I’m going with it.


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Machine embroidered skirt I made for my friend, Julie

Julie in the embroidered skirt I made for her
Julie in the embroidered skirt I made for her

My friend, Julie Smith, had a birthday this week and I knew exactly what to make for her. She has not been subtle about her infatuation with the Thailand flower design I digitized while ago which was inspired by a graphic on a wall in Thailand. She absolutely covets my denim skirt that I embroidered with a design I created

Obviously for her birthday I needed to make her a skirt like mine, but I was out of town all weekend and had a super busy day on Monday. But, believe it or not, this whole project came together before her birthday gathering on Monday night. To make this happen, my first stop was the clearance rack at Old Navy where I found some great gray pencil skirts made out of thick cotton jersey. These skirts were begging to be embroidered. (Actually now that I think about it I need to go back and get some more.)

Like the skirt I made for myself, I planned to stitch out three instances of the flower – two smaller ones and one larger one. But instead of making all the flowers the same, I rotated the colors and I think I might like her skirt a little better.  I was able to plan the placement of the flowers by drawing circles in corresponding sizes on the front of the skirt with a washable marking pen.

Thailand flower machine embroidery design
Thailand flower machine embroidery design

Julie went bananas when she saw her new skirt.  I think like I hit a home run.

Like the design? Or want to make a friend as happy as Julie?  The Thailand flower design is on the Machine Embroidery Geek Etsy store.  You, too, can have a skirt like me and Julie.

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Feedback on the retro martini and branch embroidery designs

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I have become a member of a few Facebook groups dedicated to machine embroidery. These groups have been incredibly informative, and fun to be a part of, albeit a bit time consuming!  I have posted questions to the group about embroidering techniques, thread preferences, stabilizer, digitizing… you name it, and someone always chimes in with a helpful suggestion.

Anyway – I have begun to post some of my designs on Facebook and asked if anyone would be willing to stitch out the designs, and guess what… I have some volunteers!  These sweet group members have stitched out my files on their embroidery machines and have sent me feedback and pictures!!!

Here’s what they are saying about the retro branch machine embroidery design:

Here are the retro branches, they are beautiful & stitched out so nicely!!  — Louise

[The retro branch design] stitches out beautifully. — Rita


And about the retro martini machine embroidery design:

[The large martini] stitched our beautifully. [The small martini design] also stitched out beautifully!!  — Louise

Retro Martini Design - stitched by one of my Facebook friends in .PES format
Retro Martini Design – stitched by one of my Facebook friends in .PES format
Retro Branch Design - stitched by one of my Facebook friends in .PES format
Retro Branch Design – stitched by one of my Facebook friends in .PES format

Thank you, ladies! You are giving me encouragement to KEEP ON DIGITIZING!!!

These designs are now available on the Machine Embroidery Geek Store