Digitising an image to stitch

I’m working on some new ideas, digitising drawings based on some prints I made, and I hoped you might enjoy seeing the process of taking that image through the software to turn it into stitches.

For the digitising I’m using mySewnet and I’m stitching it out on a Husqvarna Viking Epic.



So I’ve drawn an image of an eye in Procreate on my iPad. I’m working from a print that I made a few months ago. This is just one way to make an image for digitising, there are lots more.

So let me take you on a little walk through of the process. (Please note I’m working with mySewnet on a Mac. If you’re on a Windows PC then the layout of some screens might look slightly different, but the process is the same as far as I am aware.)

First up, we open the mySewnet Embroidery module and you’ll see it has project wizards to guide you. I’m going to choose Express Design. This is what you’ll want to use when you have an image that you want to turn into stitch.

As you can see, the wizard takes you through the process step-by-step with each screen. Here I’m choosing Create Express Embroidery. The choices are pretty self-explanatory, but the wizard provides some notes on what each function does as you can see.

Obviously we need an image to digitise. I’m going to work with this eye image that I’ve been working with. This has been drawn in Procreate on my iPad, but you could equally use something that you’ve drawn on paper, or a copyright free image from the internet. There’s lots of scope and potential with generating material for digitising, that’ll have to be for another day!

Once imported, the next screen gives you the opportunity to crop and rotate. Mine doesn’t need either so I can just click Continue.

On the next screen we can alter the size that the image is going to be digitised at. Bear in mind the hoop sizes that you have – it’s easier to stitch if the design fits into a hoop without having to be split. I have a favourite hoop which is 360mm x 260mm and I usually design to fit that one. I find it suits the work I do very well.

Next the software is going to analyse the image you’ve uploaded and look for the colours. I tried to draw this image with just black and white, but in the process of doing it I’ve introduced some greys. The software has identified ten thread colours present in the image. I want to simplify the design, so I’m going to reduce that number here. It’s also automatically removed the background colour (which is white in this instance), you can tell it not to do that if you prefer to keep the background.

When I said I wanted it simple I really mean it – I’ve reduced the number of thread colours down to two. The preview screen will show you how this is affecting the stitched outcome so if you’re losing too much detail and interest you can always increase the thread colours again. If you compare this image with the one above you’ll see the difference that’s made by reducing the threads, basically in this design with fewer colours allows more background to show which is what I want for this particular project.

Here are the final options: You can specify the fabric you’re working on, and the stitch type. I’m going to up the level of satin in this to about six. You’ll also notice this screen gives you a little update on how many thread changes there are, size of the embroidery and total number of stitches. This one by the way is pretty massive in terms of stitch count. It’s going to take ages to stitch out!

That’s the wizard finished and my design is created. The wizard takes you back to the main Embroidery screen and places the design you’ve made into the hoop. There’s lots you can do here if you want to – move its position in the hoop, scale up or down, rotate, add other embroidery components to the design, add text, frames etc. etc.

You can click to hide the hoop and grid guidelines for a clearer view of your design if you want to.

You can also select a preview where you can rotate the project to see a fairly realistic impression of how it’ll look when it’s stitched.

When you’re happy with the design, the only job left is to save and export it. If you have an enabled machine you can send it directly to the machine, or otherwise to your Cloud account. I love being able to do this – there’s no need for USB sticks (which I always misplace in the studio).

Here you can see the design on the screen of my sewing machine ready to stitch out. There is still opportunity to make some adjustments such as position and scale if required.

Now it’s time to stitch it out and see how it looks. In spite of the clear previews on the screen, there’s still nothing like seeing a design stitch out for real for the first time. I defy you not to watch it! That said, this one is going to take hours, so I’m going to just keep half an eye on it while I do something else in the studio.

In this photo you can see it’s done the first amount of white, and is working on the underlay to the black areas.

And here is the completed embroidery. I’m pleased with how this has turned out, I might make a few small adjustments and then experiment with combining this motif with some others.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing how I convert an image into a stitch design.

Thanks for reading,

(I’m an ambassador for Husqvarna Viking and have been using their software and machines with pleasure for years.)

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