Saturday, May 26, 2012

High-Tech Quilting: Editing a Digitized Quilting Motif with Artista Embroidery Software

Bernina Artista v6 Embroidery Software
Well, I finished my last mastery class today for the Bernina Artista version 6 embroidery design software.  Today's class went over the quilt design program within the embroidery software.  I don't think it's as powerful as the Electric Quilt 7 software, but the Artista quilting program would be a good "test drive" to see if I like designing quilts on the computer.

The embroidery software is really cool, and does so much more than I'll ever use it for.  We really just got an overview of the software in the mastery classes.  Bernie printed out the 586 page PDF online help manual for me, and I know I'll be marking it up with notes and referring to it often.  The most immediate benefit I got out of taking these embroidery software classes right now was that I figured out how to delete half of a professionally digitized quilt motif so I can use it on the half blocks at the edges of Lars's Drunken Dragons quilt.

The design I selected for the center of the circles on this quilt is from from retired OESD Collection 788, Quilting Inspirations by Keryn Emmerson, and I've enlarged it to completely fill the width of my largest embroidery hoop.  Then I edited the design, deleting everything on the right half, one node at a time:

Deleting the unwanted portion of the design in my Artista software, one node at a time

This is what I ended up with:

Ta Da!  Half Design Completed
As you can see, the design has a heavy vertical line at what is now the right edge.  That's because the design consisted of closed objects that wanted to remain closed objects.  I went in and deleted lots of individual stitches, so now that heavy line is more like long jump stitches that I'll be able to trim as I go.  If everything is positioned correctly, the quilt binding should line right up at the edge of this design.

Sample Stitched in Invisible Nylon Monofilament
I saved the designs to a USB stick, plugged it into my sewing machine, and stitched out both versions, the full circle and the half circle.  (I used the ugliest fabric in my stash, John Deere Tractors from Lars's preschool tractor phase).  Both versions stitched out beautifully with the needle tension reduced to 1.5 for the monofilament nylon thread in the needle.  Here's the thing, though -- it was so disappointing to have the design stitch perfectly on my sample, and only be able to SEE it on the BACK! 

Same Sample, Back Side Showing 60 wt Cotton Bobbin Thread
I'm now considering using one of my pretty variegated quilting threads in the needle for the quilting inside the circles, staying with the 60 weight cotton Mettler embroidery thread in the bobbin that I've been using all along.  I'll have to stitch some more samples and play around with that before I start stitching this design on the quilt, one circle at a time.  The variegated threads come in 40 weight, which is a lot heavier than the 60 weight thread in my bobbin.  I could just use a pretty blue or orange solid thread in the needle instead, to reduce potential tension issues.  Since this portion of the quilting process is going to be completely computerized, there shouldn't be any "oopses" that need to be hidden with invisible thread.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

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