Lace Patches

I’m pinning sleeves at Pinterest because I think that’s one of the easiest ways to add interest to a basic pattern. I do love how our home embroidery machines can make beautiful lace and was struck by various lace “Cold Shoulders” such as this:

I’ve got to say,  ‘cold shoulders’ leave me cold.  I wear a long sleeve because I want warmth.  The idea of running around with a big ol’ hole  leaves me saying “but why?” However, I do like the lace insert when placed a little lower and found this sleeve treatment inspiring.

Except I thought I might have the pieces for the first shoulder. I looked into my files and sure enough, I had a design that reminded me of the top sleeve

Not the same, but open, lacy.

Digging further I found a lace design that works as a base

I merged these in Embird Editor. Then dropped into Embird Studio.  From the ShapesTab I selected a circle. Edited the shape into an oval and changed the circle’s stitch from a satin to a rope stitch

So all this takes time. Finding the designs I wanted to use took hours. Furthermore, I can’t tell you who digitized the first 2 designs.  I’ve had them forever. They could have been free. May have been collected from some of my memberships. I’m almost positive they are 15+ years old and when I downloaded them, I had no idea what I where/when I was going to use, just that they were my style of embroidery. After locating the designs in my library, all it took was assembling in Editor in the order I wanted them to stitch out.  Change all the colors to one and boom, my file was ready:

I made 2, one for each sleeve. I set up Ruby’s largest hoop with a sandwich of WSS, 2 layers of black tulle (because I never trust FSL), and another layer of WSS.  Installed a new needle, black bobbin thread and black upper thread. I rarely let Ruby stitch at full speed. She will. But if she makes errors, she makes big errors in a short period of time. I knocked the speed down to medium and pushed go with total confidence that Ruby would stitch out all 58,048 stitches without a hitch. She did but it took a while.

When the stitching was finished, I rough cut the patches from the tulle and soaked in warm water. I did not want to remove all the WSS yet. Even though stiff and maybe a little scratchy, I knew from past experience that these lace patches would be easier to handle if they weren’t limp.

After removing most of the WSS by soaking and then pressing between two towels, I allowed it to dry.  When dry, I pressed lightly. Just enough to smooth any wrinkles or bubbling that occurred.  Next I trimmed closely with my shears around the outside edge.

It’s a delicate job but not terribly time-consuming.  I followed that step by burning any pokies with my wood burning tool:

I tried wood burning about 35 years ago. After my first few projects, the tool went into hibernation.  At one point I thought of donating or otherwise disposing of the tool when FSL came into my life. My wood burner has been repurposed as a tulle trimmer. I run the tip back and forth along the edge until all the pokies have melted down.  When done, I have a lovely lace item ready for use:


An New to Me Digitizer

Our lovely Pina at SG is always sharing free embroidery designs. Recently she shared a new-to-me digitizer who’s style looked familiar.  I was just sure this was a digitizer I had followed long ago but lost track of when I retired. I love the Mid Eastern style of embroidery and eagerly downloaded a free neckline design.  Quickly I could tell this was not the same digitizer.  Although the designs may be similar, the tools may be the same and training equally in-depth, each digitizer develops their own way of digitizing that is as distinct as the curvilinear shapes written on a check.  They develop a signature style of digitizing. I was devoted to the previously mentioned because the designs contained tens of thousands of stitches, yet few jump stitches or trims were needed and those were nearly always occurred due to  color changes.

Embird is my program of choice. I run a new design (regardless of digitizer) through the sew-simulator and also look at it in X-Ray view.  This tells me several things and yes quickly told me I was looking at the work of an unknown digitizer. When unpacked gro12.rar (the downloaded file), contained 7 designs. Six were in EMB and DST formats. The 7th was only in EMB format. I am able to convert EMB with another program but I chose to work with 56.DST to see how well it would stitch out. Perhaps later I will convert the EMB file.


In Embird Manger, it is a single file with a single jump stitch at the beginning. This bodes well, as (on my direction) Embird always shows the first jump stitch. This makes me long for a hoop of sufficient size (12″x14″). I cannot simply put this in my Ruby’s hoop (7.87X14.17″) and push go. Also Embird’s Sew Simulator reveals that there are a couple of “after thought” or “I forgot” additions and running stitches back and forth that are hidden by the final U-neckline satin stitch. Even if I had a hoop big enough,I’d probably  still want to clean those up.  My Ruby doesn’t always read the ‘trim’ instruction. Also converting between file types can introduce, well ‘things’. Like 50 stitch tie-offs without a trim or even odd stitches here and there.  Not entirely sure why these occur, but other long-time machine embroider’s just shrug them off as typical.

Since I can’t stitch this design with one hooping, I tried some editing. Rotating didn’t entirely solve my problem but I did think I was on the right track. Rotate and split-off  the large medallion seemed to be my best choice. I moved into Embird Studio where I discovered that the large design was several small designs.  I changed colors for each


and discovered I was really close to splitting off the medallion. All I needed was to move the light blue and yellow, then rejoin alll the pieces.  Opps, part of the light blue is connected to light blue motif in the upper left of the neckline.  Run Sew Simulator again and split right where the digitizing runs from the medallion up to that edge and change that motif to a different green color.


… and a few seconds later, I think I’ve got it.  I then move the medallion pieces


Whoa that all fits in one 7.87×11.17 hoop. Just to be sure I’ve not created a bird’s nest, I run the Sew Simulator again. Looking good. I delete the two “after thoughts”.  One is that red dingleberry at the left bottom of the necklace but is yellow on the other side and needs to be split in the Sew Simulator before I can delete it. Actually it takes two runs through the Sew Simulator as I must split before the dingleberry and again after it in order to completely separate it for deleting.

BTW, I have Embird Manager set to show all floating stitches. I do something and then exit Editor to Manager where I check to see what new floating stitch has appeared. I can create a real bird’s nest. Not something I’m fond of.

I check for floating stitches again and then change the medallion to a light blue, the rest of the neckline a dark blue.


There’s a little more trash, er, jump stitches in my version but it is not bad and mostly looks like the result of color changes.  I hold my breath while I open editor again, select my Ruby’s hoop, rotate the design, center and then save as a VP3 i.e. the file Ruby will stitch.


Looks good, so just to sooth my paranoia, I run it through the Sew Simulator a final time before saving it to USB drive and taking it to my Sewing Room for stitching.

I tested another file from this same digitizer but am still not 100% sure of the quality. Not that it is bad, just that I’ve seen digitizers set stitches differently at different times.  I wanted to use this file but didn’t want to ruin my fabric. So I set up my hoop with a layer of WSS, 2 layers of black tulle and another layer of WSS. I was making FSL (well not truly since I have the tulle).  Loaded the bobbin and needle with black thread and pushed GO.

Had to push go one more time before the medallion started stitching. I didn’t mind doing that. To me it was an opportunity to ensure that the WSS/Tulle sandwich was holding firm in the hoop and stitches falling like they should. Also, being a bit of a wuss myself, I set the speed for medium. Which meant that it took hours to stitch out the 60,084 stitches; with me present but busy on another project (the brown jeans). I used 3 full black bobbins. I always start a large project with a full bobbin and change to full bobbins. I think it contributes to a smoother finish. Plus I prefer to avoid removing the hoop from the machine which I think creates an excellent opportunity for shifting the WSS sandwich and ruining the embroidery.

My only pic showing the depth of this embroidery.

When the stitching finished, I roughly cut the 2 pieces from the majority of the WSS.  I did not soak in water. Fragile lace is easier to handle with all that WSS intact. I also applied WSS to the back of my front garment piece so it wouldn’t shift around.  I’m using the Tabula Rasa T and used 2 width of WSS about 18″ long.   I aligned the 2 pieces so the neckline would cover the medallion along its top.


Using both pins and a little stencil glue…

Sorry for fuzzy pic. (unhappy face)

…the two pieces were secured to the garment front.  Using a narrow short zig zag (.5 x 2mm) I slowly appliqued the lace neckline.

It’s really a beautiful piece.


In a way I’m disappointed that the sculpture of the design cannot be seen in the pics.  I love such subtle details but of course they are hard to photograph.

Although he is still new-to-me and I will still run the Sew Simulator before  using one of the other necklines, I would recommend this digitizer without reservation.  The work is beautiful. I invested a lot of additional time and thought not just because because my machine cannot stitch-out such large designs without splitting. I like to retain the integrity of the design and do not trust  mindless programs to split for me. I much prefer splitting along such natural points as I described above.  That takes time and thought which I’m willing to give because I love the results.