For this months videos I have chosen to look at Traditional folk embroidery, it offers simple shapes, a multitude of colour palletes from monochrome to garish. Folk embroidery also allows us the freedom to experiment with fills, techniques and functions so is the perfect medium to hone our digitising skills. We can never achieve an identical look by using digitising software, the software lacks the visual accuity or manual dexterity a hand embroider enjoys, but we can via our software get a fair facsimile of what a hand embroiderer can achieve. When I created my first embroidery design I was shocked at how heavy the result was, it could have been used as armour plating on a tank, so I sat inspecting it, used a magnifying glass to see how many stitches there were in a centimetre square, threaded a needle with embroidery floss and filled a centimetre square with stitches, I had made less than the number the software had made amost 50 per cent less. Unfortunately I knew nothing about density settings, even less about stabilisers, so I went back to free motion and hand embroidery. My eyes told me if I was over cramming stitches, my hands told me if I was tugging the threads too tight. It wasn't until I purchased my Janome software and Embird that I started to read every possible thing about digitising with embroidery software. I scoured the web, downloaded so many articles my head span, most of it made no sense but I stuck at it and eventually after doing hundreds of test stitches for underlays and densities, various stabilisers,  I began to make sense of what I had read and continued to read. It didn't happen overnight, I still have an enormous amount to learn, I purchase designs, not to stitch but to dissect, watch endless slow redraws to learn, make walloping mistakes, but it is through those mistakes that I analyse, question the variables then ask what could I do to progress, then try again.

I deliberately did not video myself digitising a complete design, why? because like myself you need to test your densities, your fabrics, I recently discovered with my cranes, 100 percent cotton needle cord and slubbed cotton (linen look)don't like being subjected to large numbers of needle penetrations, and as I have 3x5metre lengths of the linen look cotton and 7 metres of the needle cord, which I wanted to use embroidery on, I have to find the perfect marriage of design, stabiliser and thread for those two fabrics.

These videos form the basis for the next group challenge, please watch them all, mainly so you clearly understand the challenge and also to see how I've used various tools, functions to create different elements in the overall design. Do not be tempted to use my settings, test your own, I haven't had an opportunity yet to stitch the design so don't know yet if my settings are viable or not.

Videos 4 July 1
Videos 4 July 2
Videos 4 July 3

Videos 4 July 4a
Videos 4 July 4b
Videos 4 July 5

Videos 4 July 6
Videos 4 July 7
Videos 4 July 8

Videos 4 July 9
Videos 4 July 10
Videos 4 July 11a

Videos 4 July 11b
Videos 4 July 12
Videos 4 July graphics and design files