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Friday, October 10, 2014

EQStitch Tutorial - Seasonal Design - Halloween Theme: Witches Hat and Text

For those that love EQ Software, as well as those that enjoy machine embroidery, today I want to show how easy the new EQStitch software is to use to create machine embroidery designs.  Before I begin with a tutorial, I want to clarify EQStitch is an add-on software package for EQ7 and allows users to digitize text, clipart, quilting motifs, and more for embroidery machines.  You may also want to read my review for EQStitch, for more insights.

While EQStitch comes with several video tutorials, six step-by-step tutorials, 12 How do I? topics and  robust online help files, I've decided to write a series of EQStitch Tutorials and this is the first, with a seasonal theme.    For those that use EQStitch, I'm hope you'll go thru this tutorial and give feedback to help make it easier to follow, as well as to influence my future tutorials planned for EQStitch.

EQStitch is really so easy to use that you may not need this tutorial.  Of course, I'd love your feedback either way.  As such, I've also created a group on Flicker named EQStitch that you may want to join and post photos to share, as well as use for Q&A.  

This tutorial in my first Seasonal Tutorial for EQStitch users and it will be released in two parts.  Part 1 will create a witch hat that is a filled design (vs applique’), where you will learn how to import an image, trace your image, set a fill pattern, set colors, create a custom library, export your design to your machine and more!  In Part 2 we will play with various fonts and to learn about how to add text, as well as combine designs.

If you are an EQStitch user,   I hope you will follow along with my new series of EQStitch tutorials and have fun,  Feel free to leave a comment or email me if you have any questions, or feedback on this tutorial.  I’m also interested in hearing if you prefer very brief, step by step tutorials, or tutorials with details that provide insight on what you are doing and why.


Note:  Before you begin this tutorial, download the artwork from Google docs at:  http://tinyurl.com/pzndcs3 Download this image to your desktop for temporary use while you are working with this tutorial and will remember to delete it once you have completed this exercise.

STEP 1: Restore Default Settings
Open EQStitch

Reset your EQStitch settings to default settings, to ensure we are using the same settings in our software:

Cancel any prompts that may ask you to create a new file, or open an existing file.

Click FILE > PREFERENCES>RESTORE and click the RESTORE DEFAULT SETTINGS button.  This will result in prompting you to close and restart EQStitch.  Click OK to confirm.

STEP 2: Create a new project file

Open EQStitch:  Double click the EQStitch icon on your desktop.  The Tip of the Day box will appear, but click CLOSE, as appropriate.

In the Project Helper box, click the CREATE A NEW PROJECT tab and type:  LESSON WITCHES HAT  

Click OK.

STEP 3: Define your Drawing Board and Hoop parameters
On the top toolbar, click the WORK ON STITCHING button.    

Click STITCHING>NEW DESIGN>EMBROIDERY.  You will see three tabs along the bottom of the screen:  Tracing Image tab is for creating designs traced from an image (e.g. clipart, photo, scan of your drawing, etc).  The Artwork tab is where the drawing of your design will occur. You will select thread color and stitch properties on the Stitch tab. 

On the top menu bar, click on STITCHING=>DRAWINGBOARD AND HOOP SETUP.  Or on the Precision Bar,  click the last button on the right, which is for More Drawing Board Options.  

In the General options, the Hoop Size box will allow you to select the brand of embroidery machine and hoop size you will use for your machine and hoops.  If your hoop size is not included in one of the Standard Hoop Size options, you can define your hoop size using the Custom Hoop Size option.  For oval hoops, you’ll simply need to define an area that can be stitched within your hoop size.  To verify, you can print the design and then place the printout inside of your actual hoop that you plan to use.   

Note:  The hoop size you select will become the area you can use to draw your design in using EQStitch.  It helps you to size your design to the actual hoop size you may wish to stitch it out in. But as you save files to a Custom Library, for future use, you will once again be able to quickly adjust the size of your design for your hoop size.  Just remember that it is always best to set  your hoop size at the beginning of any project vs after digitizing it, as changing a hoop size can change the size of your design (and may need to manually make changes to the size again).

After you make your selection, click OK.  While these selections vary, based on your machine and hoops that you may have, for this exercise, here are my settings that will work on my Bernina:

WARNING:  Changing your hoop size after you have created your design can change the size of your design.   Also, items that may be copied to your clipboard are erased when you change your hoop size, so it is best to make these changes at the start of your project. There are steps you can take to ensure this does not cause a problem with how you may wish to stitch out a design, but it is best to initially setup your Drawing Board and Hoop Setup options before you begin creating your design in EQStitch.

While on the Drawing Board and Hoop Setup, click on EMBROIDERY EDGE SETTINGS and select RUN STITCH for the Edge Style.  Set Edge Length to 2.5 vs the 3.0 default.   

While still on the Drawing Board and Hoop Setup, click on the EMBROIDERY FILL SETTINGS and select BRICK WALL for the Fill Settings.

Click OK.

STEP 4: Import your Image for Tracing

Note:  File formats that EQStitch can import are:  JPEG (.jpg), TIFF (.tif), PNG (.png), GIF (.gif), and BMP (.bmp). I prefer to use JPG.

Click on the Work on Stitching button


Click on the tab for “Tracing Image” 

Click on the icon to import your image.

 Use the Import Image browser to find the image provided for this design that you previously copied to your desktop (EQStitch Lesson Witches Hat). 

Look on your desktop for the Witches Hat images, that you downloaded before you started this tutorial.  Click on the “Witches Hat” file and then click the Open button.

 A Crop Image menu will appear, but we will not need to use this feature for this tutorial. But this feature allows you to crop an image to select the portion of an image that you want to digitize. Whenever you need to crop an image, you would type in your size parameters in the four available fields (left, width, top, height) and a box would show you a preliminary view of what you are about to crop.  Once you have the crop size set the way you wish, you would simply click OK

Click OK.

A prompt will appear that shows the following message:
“Click = inside fit
Shift+click = outside fit
Or drag to place image”.

Click anywhere on your Tracing tab menu and click once. This image will now appear on your TRACING tab.

If prompted to turn off autofill, click no for this project.

STEP 5: Trace the Image
Click on the ARTWORK TAB. 

Use the zoom tools to zoom in/out on the witches hat, as appropriate.  Play now, by clicking on each of these buttons to Zoom In, Zoom Out, Refresh, and Fit to Worktable, to simply understand how these tools change the view of the daisy on your Artwork tab.

We will use the drawing tools to trace the witches hat, starting with the purple band, followed by the top of the hat and then the bottom of the hat, to create three separate shapes that can be filled with thread (or applique’).


The Line tool is used to draw straight line segments.  Position your mouse where you want your line to begin.  Click, hold and drag to draw your line.  Release the mouse to finish your line.  Use the Shape tool to edit the location of end nodes and the line segment.

The Bezier tool is used to draw curves, such as on a leaf or the curve at the ends of the flower petal, as well as curves for the brim of a hat! Click on the Artwork worktable where you want to start your curve to begin. Click, hold and drag to draw this curved line. Release your mouse to finish your curved line.  Use the Shape tool to edit the location, as well as grabbing the “handles” to change the shape of the curve.

The Freehand drawing tool is used to trace designs or to draw freehand.  To draw a line or a curve, position your mouse where you want to start drawing.  Click, hold and drag your mouse to draw your shape. Release the mouse as you finish your drawing. 

Use the Shape tool to edit the location, or to grab the nodes and change the shape.

While our ability to trace or freehand draw a shape in EQStitch does not always create the desired shape with our first attempt. Thus, these tools are helpful to edit our shape to achieve the design we ultimately want.   Over time, you’ll learn that the more detail you can create with these tools the more detailed your ultimate machine embroidery design will be.

Before we begin to digitize our witches hat, we need to understand closed vs open designs. In EQStitch, as with applique’ in EQ7, if your shape is not connected you are not able to fill this design with fabric or stitching,  as the software sees your design as an open shape and can only be digitized as a line.   If the three core shapes of the hat (top, band, brim of hat) are not individually connected, that shape can not be filled with fabric or thread and would be treated as a line that will be stitched vs filled.

Use the zoom tool (plus sign) to zoom in around the image for this project.   Simply click the zoom in tool  and then use your mouse to draw a box around the purple band of the witches hat.  Use your mouse to click and drag nodes to connect, as well as to alter the shape.

Use the Straight Line drawing tool to draw the left and right sides of the purple band.

Simply click on the Straight line drawing tool.  Click on one end of the straight line and hold the left side of your mouse down while you drag your mouse to the end of the straight line that you want to draw.  Release your mouse buttons. Repeat this step for the other side of the purple band. 

Use the Bezier Curve tool   to draw the top and lower curves of the purple band and be sure to connect all of the lines which you draw to ensure the purple band is a closed object.  It works similar to the Straight Line tool (e.g. Use your mouse to click one end of the curve, hold the left side of your mouse down while you drag your mouse to the other end of the curve which you wish to draw and release your mouse. )  You may notice that while you trace over the purpleband, the end result may not reflect the curve that you wanted.   

We can now use the Shape tool to better refine our trace. Click the SHAPE tool 

Now click on the area of the tracing that you want to edit.  You’ll notice there are nodes where curves and lines are connected.  You can now click on these nodes and drag to move, releasing your mouse when the node is in the place that you want it to be. 

You will also notice that nodes on corners have handles.  You can click and hold your mouse on these handles, dragging them to change the length (shorter or longer) or angle (away from your traced drawing or closer to it), to be able to alter the shape of your traced image.    But move the handles slowly until you get the hang of it.

Don’t be afraid to zoom in to better edit.  And if handles or nodes do not appear use your mouse to click on the area that you wish to edit, after you have clicked on the Shape Tool and then clicked on your tracing.  If you have problems use the Zoom tool to fit to screen and then use the zoom in tool to select a different perspective of the area you want to edit (e.g. larger, maybe more rectangular vs square).

If the tracing of your design isn’t a closed shape EQStitch will treat your drawing as a line or curve shape, but not a shape which you will be able to fill with stitching.  You need to connect the edit nodes around the shape, to create an enclosed shape.  For this project, the three separate shapes that need to be individually connected are: 1) top of hat, 2) band  and 3) brim of hat.

To further edit,  click on the Shape Tool    and click on an area that you traced and would like to change.  Now you can click, hold and drag to change the shape, use the handles to change the shape of a curve, etc.. But don’t forget the benefit of the zoom tools when fine tuning a trace.

Tip:  Use the Hide and Show Image button to help when you are editing. 
This tool can help to let you better see where your tracing may be, with respect to your design.  Toggling the Hide/Show Image may prove helpful as you edit.

Click the Fit to Worktable button
 to confirm you have a good trace where you can proceed.  If not, continue to use the drawing tools and zoom tools till you have traced hat band, as appropriate.. 

Click on the Pick Tool
 and then click and hold on the hat band while using your mouse to drag the hat band trace off to the side of your Artwork Table.

Now using the same tools and techniques, which you used to draw the witches hat band, trace the top of the hat.  Then trace the bottom of the hat, aka the brim of the hat.

Now move the hat band into position, between the top of the hat shape and the brim of the hat shape.

And use the zoom tools, along with the pick tool and shape tool to fine tune your trace, as necessary.

STEP 6: Set Edge Properties

We set the default for our Edge Properties when we initialized our file, by way of editing our Drawing Board and Hoop Settings., but they can be changed at this time. For purposes of learning this feature, which is very handy when you want to set a variety of Edge Properties in your design file, here are the steps you would use if you wanted to change the Edge Properties of your design:

Use the Zoom tool for FIT TO SCREEN
, to be able to see your complete design.

Click on the STITCH tab where we will change the edge stitching.  It may take a few seconds for your computer memory to display the design on this tab.

Click on the SET EDGE STITCH  
.   The Edge Properties menu will now appear and this will be where you define what Edge Properties you want to use next (overrides default settings, or settings you may have made previously in your Drawing Board and Hoop Settings.

Adjust Style:  There are four types of Edge Stitches that are built in to this software (Run Stitch, Bean Stitch, Double Run Stitch and Steil or Satin Stitch).   You can also change the length of the stitch, the width, as well as density (applies to the Steil Stitch).  Simply  click on any of these choices after you have checked the Adjust Style box, then click on the edge of your design to change the style of your Edge Stitch.  But for purposes of this project, be sure to set it back to the Run Stitch .  Be sure there is a check in the box for Adjust Style and click on the RUN STITCH button. 

Adjust Width: As the adjustment of width applies only to the Steil Stitch Style, we will not make any adjustments to the width for our tutorial project. 

Adjust Length: The Length of a stitch can be adjusted for the Run, Bean and Double Run styles.  Allowable range is 0.2 – 10.0.  Suggested default is 3.0.  For this project, we’ll use 2.5mm length (set when we initialized the file using drawing board and hoop settings).  

STEP 7: Set Fill Stitch Properties

We set the default for our Fill Stitch Properties when we initialized our file, by way of editing our Drawing Board and Hoop Settings., but they can be changed at this time. For purposes of learning this feature, which is very handy when you want to set a variety of Fill Stitch Properties in your design file, here are the steps you would use if you wanted to change the Fill Stitch Properties of your design:

There are 20 options for Fill Stitch, including a no fill option.

Click on the Corn Row 2 in the Fill Patterns and use your mouse to click on the top part of the hat, where you’ll now see the Fill pattern change.

Click on Weaving in the Fill Patterns and use your mouse to click on the band of the hat, where you’ll now see the Fill Pattern change.

At this point of this tutorial, the design on your STITCH tab should look like the above.

STEP 8:  Set Underlay Properties, as appropriate
We set the default for our Underlay Properties when we initialized our file, by way of editing our Drawing Board and Hoop Settings, but they can be changed at this time. For purposes of learning this feature, which is quite helpful to change based on the fabric you will be stitching your project on, as well as nature of your design.  For those that would want to play with changing their Underlay Properties, here are some steps that you would take:

For this step, we’ll need to customize our Stitch toolbar menu, as we need a tool that is not visible through the default settings.  First, be sure you are on the STITCH tab.

The Underlay Properties feature allows you to change the underlay stitching by: Type (contour, parallel, perpendicular, double zigzag), Density, Length and Inset.  You make changes to this menu bar and then use your mouse to click the area of your design that you want to change.  Using the Simulate Stitching tool you can view these underlay properties stitch out online to see a difference, but the actual stitch out with different Underlay Properties can create an embroidery design that has a very light underlay up to quite a dense underlay.  I will go into more detail on this in future tutorials, but for now you can explore this feature using the EQHelp documentation with the following steps in your current project file:

 Click on a blank space on the Stitch table, to close the view of the Customize toolbar.  The UNDERLAY button should now appear on your Stitch toolbar menu on the right hand side.

Adjust Underlay properties:  Click the UNDERLAY button  to load the EDGE UNDERLAY PROPERTIES PRECISION BAR.  This Precision Bar can also be loaded using the SET EDGE TOOL (insert purple butterfly) on the toolbar.  This tool is not turned on by default, so the Precision Bar is a fast alternative.

To use the Precision Bar for the edge underlay properties:

Click the the area (or draw a box around the entire area) you want to change the Underlay properties for after you’ve made changes to the Underlay properties menu bar.

Adjust Density:  applies only to the Steil Stitch, which we are not using on this design.

STEP 10: Set thread color

Click the Set Thread tool along the right of the screen. The Thread Color palette will display.

The cursor becomes a paintbrush helping to indicate which tool you’re using.  You can now click on any area of your design to specify the color.  To clarify:
·       Click on a strong black color in the Thread Color box and click on the center of the top of the hat and the brim (bottom).
·       Click on a deep purple in the Thread Color box and click on the center of the hat band.
·       Click on a complimentary shade of a lighter black, or lighter purple in the Thread Color box and click on the outline area of the top of the hat, the hat band, as well as the brim of the hat.

STEP 11: - Sort Thread Color

Sorting thread color within EQStitch can help reduce the number of thread changes you make during your stitchout.  For any project, designed in EQStitch, this is always a good step.

While on the STITCHING TAB click the SIMULATE STITCHING tool and then click the SORT THREAD COLOR button.

 STEP 12: - Simulate stitching

Click the SIMULATE STITCHING tool  to preview and fine tune any stitching, before you take your design to your machine.  The SEWING PROPERTIES menu bar will now appear.

Click the PLAY SEWING FORWARD button, which is the most right arrow on the menu bar.

If by chance you are not happy with the shape of the design, or the order for which things stitch out, this is a good time to go back in this lesson and make changes.

STEP 12: - Create a Custom Library For Seasonal Designs

Custom libraries let you save your designs in a library so you can access them in any EQStitch project file vs just the original file that you created the design in. So far, in this lesson, what we have created has been saved to our Sketchbook and this physical file, but we want to create a custom library for this seasonal project that we can use in our future design files.


To initially create your custom library (A one time step):

Click MY LIBRARY > ADD Library and type “Seasonal Designs” click OK.

To add items to your custom library:

Anything that you have saved to your Sketchbook can be copied to your custom library. 

Click on the item in your Sketchbook that you want to copy to your Custom Library (Seasonal Designs) click COPY

Click the Paste Button

Click the SAVE LIBRARY button

These items are now in your custom library and you should be able to access them from any EQSTITCH file in the future.

You can change the names of folders within your library.  For example, if I wanted to change the name of “Style 3” under my Seasonal Designs library, I would simply right click on the Style 3 line and then click on the “modify style” in the pop up box.  Then you can type in the name you wish to assign and click OK and SAVE Library.

STEP 13:
This is our final step to save our design into a specific file.

To save:  Click your SAVE button 

STEP 14:
To send to your machine:


A box will appear prompting you for information as to where you may want to write this design file, as well as the name and machine file format.  If you are not sure, this is where you may need to pull out your embroidery machine manual.  My personal steps are to save this design file in two places:
1)      first copy I place in the same workgroup that I have for this project on my computer, should I want to make further design changes in the future, incorporate it with other designs, or to simply use it again.  My file path is:  c:\documents\My EQStitch\{project name which I assign}.

2)      USB which I can insert into my embroidery machine.

Again, you need to provide the SAVE IN option the file path where you want to write your file, the FILE NAME, as well as the SAVE AS TYPE that your embroidery machine will need to stitch out the design.  Then click the SAVE option.

For EQStitch users, I also hope you'll go thru this tutorial and have fun learning.  I'd appreciate any feedback that  can help make this tutorial easier to follow.  Simply

Email SewCalGal email address copyif you have questions or feedback.

with your feedback, or share images and details in the Flickr group for these EQStitch Tutorials and I"ll try to get back to you in a timely manner to help you thru the steps.

Next week, I'll share a tutorial that builds on this tutorial, where we'll learn about text, combining designs and more.  But I'd like to hear from EQStitch users as to the amount of detail they want in future tutorials vs writing a tutorial that may assume they already have certain basics.  Essentially, I'm asking for input on what you'd like to learn in EQStitch.

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beaquilter said...

what fun! did you stitch it out? on a bag or pin cushion?

Barb said...

I am amazed at how detailed you are and at the amount of time it took you to do this post. I hope those who have this software take full advantage of your information!!

QuiltLaughLove said...

Thanks so much for putting this together! I need to find time to get to the computer and work through this. I bought EQ stitch when it first came out and am still buying designs from others. Time to make my own!

QuiltLaughLove said...

Just got through the lesson and my hat looks pretty good! Couple of suggestions on your post - since you asked :)

"Click anywhere on your Tracing tab menu and click once" - this step was a little confusing. I thought I was supposed to click on the menu icons but finally just clicked within the ruled area and it worked. It also asked if I wanted to turn off Auto Fill. I didn't know if I wanted to so clicked No.

"Use the zoom tools to zoom in/out on the stem and leaves, as appropriate." - not sure what this means. Maybe you copied content from somewhere else?

Step 8 is very confusing - what properties should be selected here?

Step 11 - I had to click the Stimulate Stitching button to access the Sort Thread Color button.

Thanks again! Now I'm finally back playing with EQ Stitch and ready to try some other things.

SewCalGal said...

Thank you very much to QuiltLaughLove for providing feedback. I have made changes which I hope will help.

Nancy said...

The tutorial is great. I appreciate the step by step as this type of tutorial really helps me follow along and no second guessing involved.