The Whole Story

Back to

Blog Page One

Recent Posts

Working with an Embroidery Machine

Ann Arbor has a terrific business (Makerworks) that rents time on a wide variety of tools and provides training on how to use them. They have an Amaya Embroidery Machine, which is digitally controlled and will produce an embroidery with up to 16 colors. Some months ago I saw this machine on a facility tour, was intrigued, and have been thinking of an appropriate project.

In several quilts and constructions, I have used variations on a theme to develop a design (see Gathering and Rivalry in the Variations portfolio). I planned to do a series of embroidered patches arranged in a grid, using these elements.

jill sketch.png

The shapes would vary by rows and the colors and bars by columns. I could combine elements of shapes, colors, overlapping bars, and added spots. Rows and columns would vary elements of the design. Shapes would vary by row. Colors and bars would vary by column.

Spots would be added to each variation (1 for row 1, 2 for row 2, etc.). Spots could be black or white and round or diamond shaped. A random number table would determine these characteristics. Using the last digit of the item of number table, odd would be black and even would be white. After the color was assigned to each spot, it shape would be determined by another series of numbers. Odd would be round and even would be diamond-shaped. I used the random number table to avoid a pattern in the spots, however unconscious.

So I went off to Makerworks for training on the machine. It is pretty complex to manage. I did sketches of each patch on slips of paper, trying to manage the embroidery work and started to draw the designs in a series of CorelDRAW files, thinking I’d do all the drawings first and then move on to the next step.

There are four major steps to make a patch:

  • Design the patch in CorelDRAW and save as a bitmap file.

  • Using this file and Amaya Design Software, make a file for each embroidery to define the shapes, colors, and stitching order for the machine.

  • With Amaya software, define the stitching pattern.

  • Stitch the patch.

So I started working through Step 1 and tried to move on to Step 2 with one patch and found I was confused about which patch I was working on, because I had made some design changes transferring from sketch to CorelDRAW file. Also I was learning as I went and finding better ways to do things.

STOP! It’s all a jumble. I’ll stop and make an entire design chart. And I think I should work one patch all the way through the process then proceed on to the next one. I’ll probably learn a best way to manage the software and minimize the time I spend correcting my erroneous assumptions.