March 30, 2021
Yes, my fascination for the art and science of machine embroidery digitizing was actually born in the depths of a warm primordial, well, backyard swimming pool. Better explain that one a bit!
I've always believed learning is a continuous journey where, as one door might close, another often opens! Starting around 2008 I began doing underwater photography, specializing in creating, editing and printing ethereal underwater imagery of ordinary people of all ages. I was self-taught behind the camera and on the computer, particularly involving the challenges of mastering Photoshop from initial concept visualization and actual photo capture through to post-production editing and printing. Lessons learned included considering all aspects of the creative process from A to Z, like being well prepared from the very start, to ensure the most successful final product long after the bathing suits had dried.
So what could underwater photography and embroidery possibly have in common with each other (or me)? A large part my underwater journey included my love of creating my own costuming for my subjects, which harkens back to another love of sewing and hand embroidery going back decades. I started with a single needle Janome MC9700 in 2016, moving up to the Janome 500e in 2017 (‘cause bigger is always better, right?) and ultimately a single-head 16-needle Melco commercial machine in 2018. I also began digitizing using the Wilcom Commerical Designing e4.5 software in late 2020 to step through that open door and push new boundaries with this challenging new passion to digitize embroidery designs.
And just like understanding how to achieve a final framed photographic art piece that I would be proud of, I soon discovered that embroidery itself is not simply a matter of stitching something out, but understanding everything about the design file itself… how it is created, what applications would it best be suited for, what makes a 'good' design, how do the threads and material interact to create the desired results and dimensionality, how thread tension, fabric push and pull, or stabilizer selection can all affect the final product, how to minimize stitch counts or unnecessary trims and jumps, etc. In short, a perfectly digitized design must translate from a two-dimensional computer screen to the 3D world of actual embroidery on an embroidery machine taking into account a myriad of influences.
Which is what I love doing and why Magpie Designs was created. To share my design ideas and quality digitized embroidery design files with you through the launch of my new website, www.magpieembroiderydesigns.com April 1, 2021.
My goal with Magpie Designs is to provide you with well digitized designs and hearing about and seeing your own creations using these designs. I welcome your suggestions for new digitized designs you would like to see in the design library or on a custom request basis. I am excited by all the possibilities we can share together!
I look forward to a long and fulfilling relationship with all lovers of embroidery, whether here in Canada or anywhere around this wonderfully diverse world.
Stay safe and stitch on…