Needlepoint is a form of counted thread embroidery in which yarn is stitched through a stiffopen weave canvas. Most needlepoint designs completely cover the canvas. Although needlepoint may be worked in a variety of stitches, many needlepoint designs use only a simple tent stitchand rely upon color changes in the yarn to construct the pattern.
The degree of detail in needlepoint depends on the thread count of the underlying mesh fabric. Needlepoint worked on fine canvas is known as petit point. Due to the inherent stiffness of needlepoint, common uses include wall hangings, pillows, upholstery, holiday ornaments, purses and eyeglass cases.
Digitized embroidery design files can be either purchased or created with industry-specific embroidery digitizing software. Embroidery file formats broadly fall into two categories. The first, source formats, are specific to the software used to create the design. For these formats, the digitizer keeps the original file for the purposes of editing. The second, machine formats, are specific to a particular brand of embroidery machine. Here, the files are available for use with particular embroidery machines and are not easily edited or scaled.
Embroidery machines generally have one or more machine formats specific to their brand. However, some formats such as Tajima’s .dst, Melco’s .exp/.cnd and Barudan’s .fdr have become so prevalent that they have effectively become industry standards and are often supported by machines built by rival companies.
Machine formats generally contain primarily stitch data (offsets) and machine functions (trims, jumps, etc.) and are thus not easily scaled or edited without extensive manual work.
Many embroidery designs can be downloaded in popular machine formats from embroidery web sites. However, since not all designs are available for every machine’s specific format, some machine embroiderers use conversion programs to convert from one machine’s format file to another, with various degrees of reliability.
A person who creates a design is known as an embroidery digitizer or puncher. A digitizer uses software to create an object-based embroidery design, which can be easily reshaped and edited. These files retain important information such as object outlines, thread colors, and original artwork used to punch the designs. When the file is converted to a stitch file, it loses much of this information, rendering editing difficult or impossible.
Software vendors often advertise auto-punching or auto-digitizing capabilities. However, if high quality embroidery is essential, then industry experts highly recommend either purchasing solid designs from reputable digitizers or obtaining training on solid digitization techniques.
Much contemporary embroidery is stitched with a computerized embroidery machine using patterns “digitized” with embroidery software. In machine embroidery, different types of “fills” add texture and design to the finished work. Machine embroidery is used to add logos and monograms to business shirts or jackets, gifts, and team apparel as well as to decorate household linens, draperies, and decorator fabrics that mimic the elaborate hand embroidery of the past.
There are a number of brands available on the market; the top two are Tajima and Barudan, followed by Toyota & SWF
Industrial embroidery machines
Most modern embroidery machines are computer controlled and specifically engineered for embroidery. Industrial and commercial embroidery machines and combination sewing-embroidery machines have a hooping or framing system that holds the framed area of fabric taut under the sewing needle and moves it automatically to create a design from a pre-programmed digital embroidery pattern.
Depending on its capabilities, the machine will require varying degrees of user input to read and sew embroidery designs. Sewing-embroidery machines generally have only one needle and require the user to change thread colors during the embroidery process. Multi-needle industrial machines are generally threaded prior to running the design and do not require re-threading. These machines require the user to input the correct color change sequence before beginning to embroider. Some can trim and change colors automatically.
A multi-needle machine may consist of multiple sewing heads, each of which can sew the same design onto a separate garment concurrently. Such a machine might have 20 or more heads, each consisting of 15 or more needles. A head is usually capable of producing many special fabric effects, including
satin stitch embroidery
, chain stitch embroidery, sequins, appliqué, and cutwork.
In free-motion machine embroidery, embroidered designs are created by using a basic zigzag sewing machine. As it is used primarily for tailoring, this type of machine lacks the automated features of a specialized machine.
To create free-motion machine embroidery, the embroiderer runs the machine and skillfully moves tightly hooped fabric under the needle to create a design. The operator lowers or covers the “feed dogs” or machine teeth and moves the fabric manually. The operator develops the embroidery manually, using the machine’s settings for running stitch and fancier built-in stitches. In this way, the stitches form an image onto a piece of fabric. An embroiderer can produce a filled-in effect by sewing many parallel rows of straight stitching. A machine’s zigzag stitch can create thicker lines within a design or be used to create a border. Many quilters and fabric artists use a process called thread drawing (or thread painting) to create embellishments on their projects or to create textile art.
Free-motion machine embroidery can be time-consuming. Since a standard sewing machine has only one needle, the operator must stop and re-thread the machine manually for each subsequent color in a multi-color design. He or she must also manually trim and clean up loose or connecting threads after the design is completed.
As this is a manual process rather than a digital reproduction, any pattern created using free-motion machine embroidery is unique and cannot be exactly reproduced, unlike with computerized embroidery.
With the advent of computerized machine embroidery, the main use of manual machine embroidery is in fiber art and quilting projects. Though some manufacturers still use manual embroidery to embellish garments, many prefer computerized embroidery’s ease and reduced costs.
Embroidery is the handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quills, and sequins. Embroidery is most often used on caps, hats, coats, blankets, dress shirts, denim, stockings, and golf shirts. Embroidery is available with a wide variety of thread or yarn color.
An interesting characteristic of embroidery is that the basic techniques or stitches on surviving examples of the earliest embroidery—chain stitch, buttonhole or blanket stitch, running stitch, satin stitch, cross stitch—remain the fundamental techniques of hand embroidery today.
Machine embroidery, which arose in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, mimics hand embroidery, especially in the use of chain stitches, but the “satin stitch” and hemming stitches of machine work rely on the use of multiple threads and resemble hand work in their appearance but not their construction.
Embroidery digitizing is a process of digitizing the designs into a machine recognizable form. There are many techniques to stitch a design with digitizing machines. Implementing several techniques in stitching process will benefit both novice and skilled designers. There are machine specific techniques which can be implemented with certain machines but there are other techniques which can be implemented on all types of machines. Pre installed free embroidery designs in machines can be paired with other designs to create new designs.
When incorporating some stitches you may face few challenges. For example, small stitches will disappear into the fabric textile. Fabric will absorb minute stitches. So it is a challenge to stitch embroidery designs on fabrics like wool or corduroy. You can face the challenge by making adjustments while setting up the design. Adjustments in pull compensation, density and correct scale selection can be made to make good designs which can be readable and small letters in different fonts. Using thin threads like 50 weight threads will prevent thread breakage problems while stitching small letters.
Type of thread and weight of the thread will play an important part in embroidery digitizing. All types of embroidery designs depend on these two factors. The quality of thread like sheen quality or commonly called as reflective quality will help to add depth and dimension to the designs. The reflective quality adds character to any embroidery design. We should be careful in matching the actual thread colors to a computerized chart of colors. Often skilled embroidery designers find it difficult to work with colors. Matching thread colors follows procedures like: Installing the thread comparison chart and locating the thread color name on the installed chart to find a thread color number. This is an extra step in digitizing process but this step will make sure your color matching job is successful.
Stitches often sink into fabrics while digitizing on textiles. This is a common problem and can be avoided with some techniques like controlling the length of stitches underlying. This can be done by using parameters feature tool located in the program. Selecting a zigzag stitch will also prevent the problem of sinking stitches. Stitches also shorten half a millimeter, so you need to adjust the parameter from 1.0 millimeters to 1.5 millimeters to get desired design on the fabric.
Certain machines will not stitch the design as you expected. The machines using the hooping process will frustrate you often. So you need to replace this process with floating process to avoid problems. To use the floating process you need to stabilize the fabric with two stabilizer sheets. The set up follows sticking up a sheet on back side of fabric and setting up another sheet on top of the first stabilizer. Then set the fabric on the machine using only the top hoop frame as the design guide.
All these techniques will help you to solve problems involved in the embroidery digitizing which often makes your design a disaster.