For Christmas, my mom and my husband got together on a surprise gift for me. The last gift I opened was a box of about 6 spools of thread with a note that had a picture stapled to it. As I moved aside the thread and started to read the note, I knew what it was. They had decided to buy me an embroidery machine! I cried (partly because I'm pregnant, partly because I was so touched!). My husband and I had said how cool it would be if I could get one to use and make more products and my products faster/neater. But they are expensive, especially since I'd need software to create my own embroidery files. I figured it would cost around 1500$. That is a lot of money to spend on something that has most of its use in a hobby of mine.
But the two of them got together and decided to get me one! We looked around after Christmas at shops. I knew very little of embroidery machines and so did my mom and my husband. After one day of looking, we were much more informed, but still spent a few more weeks researching and thinking about it. Then, the day before the Superbowl, we visited one of the shops we origianlly went to for help, and purchased me a Brother PE-750D. It's an embroidery only machine that can connect to my computer via USB cable. Which is a feature I felt I needed.
That Monday I played around with it. Basically I just set it up and embroidered my Etsy shop name on some scrap fabric.
Now the hard part became finding a software that could take the images I currently have as vector images and automatically digitize them. Without spending 1000$. I tried free programs like SofieSew and Mad Punch, but they were not very easy to use and didn't look like they would do what I want. I don't actually know if they can because I got too frustrated trying to use the programs to find out. So I downloaded the trial of Embird. But you can't trail the vector import/autodigitizing with the demo of Studio and you can't save. Plus the program would still cost me almost 500$. Still a lot of money.
Then my husband found Stitch Era Universal. It's "free" and pretty easy to use. We installed it on my computer last night and successfully imported a .emf file, had it auto-digitize and then cleaned it up a little. After an export, plugging it into my machine and clicking a few buttons, we ended up with one of my first embroidered pieces!
I placed the fabric in the hoop the wrong way, so I can't turn this into a coffee cozy as I'd planned, but I will still do something with it. But isn't that neat! It's a completely original design from start to almost-finish in less than one evening (thanks to my husband)!
Also, the ugly green "cozy" to the right of the embroidered piece is a trial product. The way I currently make cozies, they have an elastic loop with a button to hold them shut. Yes this works, but it seems bulky. So I've been trying to create a less bulky design. This green one is it, just in really ugly fashion. The final product would use nicer fabric, and be stitched much neater.
But its wonderful fun! I wish I had more time in a day to sit and create patterns then watch the machine do it's magic!