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Digitizing words in a foreign language for machine embroidery

Last year my husband and I went to Thailand, which was incredible… so culturally different from anywhere I have ever been. All of the vibrant colors and patterns in Thailand provided a lot of inspiration for machine embroidery designs. In fact, a few weeks ago I digitized an abstract modern flower that was inspired by a graphic I saw on a hotel wall and stitched it out on a denim skirt (which I have worn several times since I posted a few weeks back).

While we were there, we were intrigued by the Thai writing. The letterforms have such a bold unusual graphic shape.  There is something whimsical and innately appealing about the Thai writing and we wanted to remember it.  So, we bought many books and t-shirts to bring home and show the lettering style to our kids.  (Unfortunately some of the Thai to English translation in the dual language books is a bit questionable… so it makes it hard to enjoy the stories…)

Nevertheless – I thought it would be fun to try to digitize some Thai writing so I went to an online translation site to translate the word “Thailand” into Thai.  I then created a screen shot of the resulting Thai characters so that I could import it into my digitizing software.  Then I stitched it out.  I think that the resulting embroidery does a good job of capturing the spirit of the writing.  Now the question is – where should I use it?

"Thailand" in Thai - digitized and embroidered
“Thailand” in Thai – digitized and embroidered

I finally printed out several pictures from the trip and being that the Thailand trip provided so much inspiration for my machine embroidery – I thought it would be appropriate to make a custom embroidered photo album from the trip.  Now that I have some Thai words digitized – that project will come along soon.



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How do I change the start and end points of an object when digitizing an embroidery design and why does it matter?

I was studying the one and only book about digitizing I could find…. (Digitizing Made Easy: Create Custom Embroidery Designs Like a Pro by John Deer) and got to the section about filling an object and specifying the order in which you would like an object filled. In this book, Deer uses the metaphor of vacuuming to describe how a design should be stitched out. He explains that like vacuuming you want to back out of each room while creating the shortest connection strings between each object.

In my early digitizing attempts I have noticed that the way in which the machine stitches out the design is kind of odd. It would fill in one area then jump to another area and then meet back up with that other segment. The problem that arises when the stitching is done in this fashion is that a gap is created.

Setting the start and end points when digitizing an object
Don't force your stiching to end with a gap

Well, as of today, I think I know how to fix this problem. In my Bernina software, I learned that there is a reshape tool. Once you digitize an object, you can use the reshape tool to change the stitching start and end point on each object. By strategically selecting these points you can prevent the phenomenon I was describing earlier where the two parts of a shape don’t quite meet up. I also discovered that via the reshape tool, you can also dynamically change the stitch angle which is A LOT quicker than going to the object properties dialog box every time you want to change the stitch angle.

Having a better understanding of this tool should lead to improved designs when digitizing.

In the Bernina Embroidery software, the reshape tool allows you to change the start and end points of an object you are embroidering as well dynamically modify the stitch angle.