Sunday, January 15, 2017


I always wanted to take my love of machine embroidery to the next level.... DIGITIZING. But what caught my eye about digitizing was taking a photograph and combining fabric and stitches to create a piece of artwork from that photograph. I studied a lot of paper piecing designs to get the feel of doing this. Its a cool affect....combining the right fabrics to get the right subtleties of the photograph.

I am using Stitch Artist by Embrilliance for digitizing.  Its one of the most user friendly programs and there are many many Stitch Artist Videos to help you get started.  The online PDF manual is full of great instruction.

For my fabric piecing project I used Stitch Artist Level 1. The whole project is done in applique pieces (except the eyes, collar and highlighting details)   Stitch Artist Level 1, Controls Part 3, Applique video is a good reference in working with applique.  I will cover the eyes in a later blog.

As you can see my subject is my sweet 9 1/2 month old Lab mix puppy, Maybelle.

I opened Stitch Artist and brought in this photo of Maybelle by selecting the Image button. Clicking the Image button brings up a dialogue box to locate your image.  I have Level 3 of Stitch Artist so I might have more buttons than those you have in Level 1.  Once the image is brought into Stitch Artist, I resized the image to the size I wanted. I then changed the transparency to 50%.  Maybelle is very dark and this helped me get more definition on the image.

When I start, I usually start with the larger pieces first.  Head, ears body. Then go back to do the smaller pieces...nose, eyes, muzzle and collar.  I use Draw with points. I don't worry about order right now....

I can tweak the actual shapes later.  The body will go first then the head and then the ears.  Now we will zoom in to put in the details.  

Again, the shapes of the details can be tweaked later as you zoom in to catch the subtleties of the image.

The stitch I like to use on my fabric piecing is ZigZag at 3.2 mm. I started with 2mm and it was too small and for me left too many ragged edges. 

Of course the eyes are not applique....but that will be covered in another blog.  Eyes can be very tricky and I am still learning how to digitize them.  I did do a pair of dog eyes for an earlier project and I imported them into this project.  

To help me visualize each piece....I used different colors for each makes for a very colorful doggie,  Trying to do it in shades of blacks and grays only made it confusing and hard to work with.  When I do stitch this out, I will use all black thread and shades of black and gray fabric (accept for the collar) as the zigzag stitches don't completely cover the position and material stitches.  

After I place all the applique pieces, I go back and start to fill in the subtleties for the lighting under the eyes, the white streak on her chest and the metal on the collar....Again this is rough and will be tweaked and adjusted later.

I will add more detail to the collar, adjust the pieces on the ears, face and body.  I will modify the nose and work on the eyes.  Have to put her tag in.... I may will probably add more layers of applique to get more definition of her coat.

This is very rough and a work in progress.  TO BE CONTINUED......


Judith Culham Elsdon said...

wow thank you for this looking forward to trying it x

Mary said...

How big does your project finish? I look forward to seeing how you make out with this process.
I just finished a 60x60, but it was all 2" squares. I have had a lot of comments on a post I made recently ( ) asking for specifics on the process. Because I learned to do this project in a class, I refer everyone to the teacher.

Margie said...

Mary, I have ever done a mosaic, but your cat looks awesome. The mosaic process takes much more time than my project as you are using 2 x 2 pieces. My finished project was done in a 8 x 12 hoop and was done on an embroidery machine. I digitized each piece as an applique.

Mary said...

Thanks for your comments. I am now wishing for a bigger hoop (4x4 currently ) when I saw this awesome project

Falcon Embroidery said...

I prefer the look of the stitch worked in more rather than less strands when using six-stranded cotton thread. I’ve used all six strands for this tutorial and it gives a nice, chunky line of stitching – good for insect bodies (dragonflies in particular), filling in areas of embroidery and for substantial borders, as the name suggests. Embroidery Digitizing