Embroidery… so much to learn, so much to know. But where do you start, and how do you continue learning on your embroidery journey?
We are all here because we have one thing in common, we want to know more about embroidery, have fun with it, and make beautiful things. Then reality hits, and we feel like we are rocketed back to Junior High with all the insecurity, excitement, and dread at the same time. Do you know how we learn as adults and why it is better (and worse) than a child?
We don’t like making mistakes as adults; it means we are defective and not perfect. To learn this new skill, you will have to let go of some of the egos that whisper in the back of your head “this looks horrible,” “you will never get this,” “that other person’s stitch-out/digitizing looks so much better than mine,” “This is hopeless” or the worst place to go, “I’m so stupid.”
You will learn this new skill in a way unique to you, and in the time it takes you to do it. It would be best to commit to the time it takes to master digitizing and work on embroidery from concept to stitch out. It will not happen overnight, but when you get to the point where you can push that button without saying magical incantations, the success will be yours, and we will be the first to cheer you on!
Learning embroidery is not like learning multiplication tables or history dates. You are learning a skill that requires reasoning, planning, and analysis, and the actual knowledge of how embroidery works and the program and machine you use to create it.
Learning as an adult is not the same as a child because children’s brains are designed to soak up information. As adults, we take this stored information and add reason, analysis, and like experience to the mix, and at the end, we have skills.
However, it can be so frustrating to learn as an adult. Embarrassing, slow, frustrating, and costly. We forget one step, and there goes another shirt! Digitize too dense of a design, and we break needles. We analyze our work and do not give ourselves a break for trying to learn something new. We look online and compare our work with others and feel inadequate. We want instant results.
We’re here to tell you that learning does not have to take a toll on you, your wallet, or your self-esteem! There are benefits to being an adult, and we are going to make use of these!
- Adults have a higher sense of self-direction and motivation. We want to learn because we see the benefit of learning and are not doing it because we are told to. However, just because we have motivation does not mean it will always come quickly.
- We use our life experiences to make sense of what we are learning. Since we all have different experiences, we benefit from comparing our understanding to others.
- Adults focused on achieving goals. Being goal-oriented can really work in your favor! It pushes you on and gives you the ability to get over the mistakes and the bumps in the road. We can see the light at the end of the embroidery hoop and how we can use our learning. A most important factor is setting reasonable goals that can be hard when you “want to learn it all,” but we can harness this energy to achieve more since we see the benefit.
- We need to know why this information is important. One of the things we highlight in much of our teaching is why you don’t use all curved nodes. Why do you digitize at 6:1 etc. Just telling you to do something will never stay with you, but telling you why you need to do something in a particular way will lock that knowledge in.
- We are practical people. We learn things quickly and then apply them right away and build on them. It may seem boring at first, but if we work the lessons in the way they are presented, we will take a skill from the first and add it to the next. So remember, just because lesson one seems really easy, it is there for a reason.
- Adults are looking for help and mentorship. Here at Embroidery Legacy, the bar is set high for a reason. We have the experience and resources to guide learners to the best possible result and understand your learning needs. We offer support in many ways well beyond the end of your lesson.
- Adults are open to modern ways of learning! Sometimes, we are not very flexible as adults, but we are when we see that it benefits us. We also can combine different types to get us where we need to be.
Different Methods of Learning Machine Embroidery and Digitizing
We get to choose how we learn. We are not all round pegs; we come in every shape and size, and we want to tailor our learning to us! What works for you doesn’t work for everyone, so it is important to try everything at least once and give it a chance.
There are several ways of learning, with no one method being the right way for everyone! Below are five methods we suggest trying to see what works best for you:
- Learning embroidery online
- Live embroidery webinars
- Live embroidery events
- Reading; Digitizing Made Easy Book
- Embroidery and social media groups
1. Learning Embroidery Digitizing Online
As we discussed above, one of the ways we learn is by being motivated and by goals. Online learning, especially after COVID, has really taken off and, if approached in the right way, is a fantastic way to learn embroidery!
Are you interested in learning more about embroidery and digitizing? If you’re just starting your digitizing journey, I highly suggest you check out our free Digitizing Challenge by clicking here. If you’re more advanced and looking to increase your skills, click here to check out our advanced embroidery digitizing lesson. We have lessons for every level of embroiderer!
Here are some things to keep in mind when you take that first click!
- Watch the video first! Just watch. If you need a bowl of popcorn, we like extra butter…. We know you want to get right in there and create amazing designs, but to be successful, take time to watch the video and not be distracted by going back and forth between the lesson and your project. It is amazing how much you can miss in even one sentence.
- Please work the classes in order. Above, we talked about building on previous learning. To develop a new skill, you need to start with the basics and add to them. We often see questions in the group from members in online training who jumped ahead and were a bit lost. The lessons are your roadmap to success.
- Take as much time as you need to complete the lesson. For some, it takes a little time; for others, it takes longer. This is not a competition. Whatever it takes you is how long you need so don’t waste time comparing yourself to anyone else. Do the lesson 1, 2, 16 times if you like! You will only get better with practice. Remember, even a year later, a visit back to your roots is a great idea.
- Please make mistakes! It sounds strange but every time you make a mistake, give a little thanks! After the embarrassment passes, look at it as an opportunity to learn, and don’t worry! Mistakes are nature’s little way of teaching us.
- Please Ask questions! Our two Facebook groups Wilcom Hatch Embroidery Facts, explores the Wilcom Hatch program and how to use it, and the Machine Embroidery and Digitizing Made Easy group, a more general discussion of embroidery the teaching at the Deer’s Embroidery Legacy. There are embroiderers of every level and experience who have been there and can help.
- Make sure to stitch out the lessons. Simply seeing them on the screen looks gorgeous but seeing how they stitch out and the order they stitch out will teach you so much! This is where you will find out where the design needs to be fine-tuned.
- Make use of the Machine Files that are provided. Using the stitch player in your Wilcom Hatch program and looking at the sequence of the objects in your provided stitch file will act as an aid for you to check your work.
Another way to enhance your learning from the Deer’s Embroidery Legacy is to subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here! We come out with new video content weekly, ranging from embroidering to digitizing, so you don’t want to miss it! Also, check out our Machine Embroidery for Beginners series by clicking here.
2. Live Embroidery Digitizing Webinars
Be sure to sign up for our newsletter so that you do not miss any live webinars. If you have not seen one, webinars are seminars held on the web. Our webinars present shorter topics like puffy foam, including replays available for a week or longer by purchasing our “unlimited replays” option.
Are you interested in learning more about embroidery and digitizing? If so, you’re in luck! Our 2 fan-favorite live workshops are back with new dates!
If you’re new to digitizing or have tried it but didn’t get far, we’d like to help you create and edit your own unique embroidery designs. Click here for more on Embroidery Digitizing for Beginner’s Workshop, where we help you fast-track your results using our proven system. Or maybe you’re more experienced but want to make your embroidery pop, literally. Click here for more on our 3D Puffy Foam Digitizing Webinar where John shares his secret receipts on how to create embroidery designs that demand attention with dimension!
Webinars are not as much a lesson but a discussion about a topic, including input from the audience and the panelists. We offer replays of webinars on our Youtube channel for most webinars. Here are some things to keep in mind with webinars:
- Sit and listen. Enjoy the experience. Imagine yourself in the audience of a talk show about a topic you love (embroidery!) with friends. Like the classes above- just listen and have fun. You are welcome to take notes and welcome to ask questions that can be submitted through the chatbox, and a moderator will pass it on. If your question was missed or needed further answers, your next stop is the Facebook group.
- Reduce distractions Don’t try to work on projects while you are watching; you may miss something big! Webinars often have giveaways and fun things, but they have a lot of information!
3. Live Embroidery Digitizing Events
Covid has been frustrating for a lot of people, and embroiderers are no exception. At the Deer’s Embroidery Legacy, a highlight for us is getting out to events, meeting you all, learning and laughing together, and sharing our passion. The live events have been put on hold but when that time comes that we see you again, here are things to remember:
- Attend all the classes you are able to. It can get tiring to be in classes all day but do not forget that even when you think your brain cannot hold one more thing… you are still learning. Adults are very good at passive learning, and we don’t have to “feel the brain engaged” to benefit.
- Meet and Greet Make friends and meet new people- this is your chance to build friendships and network for more information!
- Handouts and flyers You may not use that business card or flyer right now but take it! To remember why you have it, you can make a note to jog your memory when you sit down with a tote bag full of info!
- Be prepared! Make sure that you are not losing out on valuable information because you did not have your program installed or you were able to log in. Preparedness will get you far.
- Don’t compare yourself! Don’t worry about what others are doing; concentrate on your work and not worry if your tree looks as good as the person in the front row.
- Get rest! Make sure you are rested and ready to go! Sitting up until 3 am with your new friends around the pool sounds great but is a bit hard on the brain at 9 am the next morning.
- Take pictures! Whether you and your new friends by the pool or the amazing tote bag you saw, take tons of pictures. People, things, ideas, “how-to photos.” You can make videos or voice memos to keep your mind fresh.
4. Digitizing Made Easy Book
Initially published in 2008 and including a CD, John’s book “Digitizing Made Easy” has been reissued and is still a hit! Digitizing Made Easy is for every embroidery machine user and commercial machine embroiderer looking to better understand and utilize digitizing software. John’s time-tested method, demonstrated in 250 step-by-step color photos, will help you better identify modern digitizing tools and the best processes with which to use them.
With chapters covering artwork, auto-digitizing, stitch types, mapping, and sequencing, underlay, and blending, readers will quickly develop a solid foundation to explore the endless possibilities of digitizing.
The re-release of the book on Amazon does not have a design CD, but this will not stop you from getting the best designs at www.digitizingmadeeasy.com. The Original CD will not function with current operating systems.
5. Embroidery and Social Media Digitizing Groups
Joining social media groups is a great way to keep up with new tips, tricks, and tutorials. It can also be useful as other members may have a question that you may not have known you needed to learn too!
We have 2 Facebook groups. We have a Machine Embroidery and Digitizing Made Easy group; click here to join. In this group, we discuss embroidery-related content, provide tutorials, and share new content available daily. We also offer contests and ways to win free prizes (and who doesn’t like free!).
We also have a Wilcom Hatch Embroidery Facts group; click here to join. We explore all options of the Wilcom Hatch program and how to use the program. We also offer a member favorite, Friday Try Day, every Friday, where we offer you a free PDF tutorial to try out a new digitizing skill and then give you a chance to win a free ESA font! What’s better than free digitizing tutorials and being rewarded for it!
If you want to belong to a welcoming embroidery family, we’d be happy to have you join us at The Deers Embroidery Legacy!
Conclusion: Learning Embroidery Is A Never Ending Journey
We covered a lot, haven’t we? There is so much to learn in the embroidery world, and we do hope you find a learning home with us as we love teaching you. Here are some of the things we talked about:
- Approach learning with an open mind.
- Make mistakes! They are great learning tools.
- When learning online:
- Watch the video first
- Redo the lesson as many times as you need!
- Work the classes in order
- Reduce distractions.
- When learning in Webinars
- Sit back and listen!
- Don’t try to work on your projects during the webinars; you can miss things
- Make sure to replay during the week or purchase our “unlimited replays” option to view the webinar as many times as you like
- Reduce distractions
- Learning in person
- Be ready and be prepared, including loading software
- Attend all the classes you can
- Get plenty of rest
- Take pictures, notes, and contact info
At the Deer’s Embroidery Legacy, we genuinely want you to have a positive and productive learning experience. We offer many types of learning and support to get you digitizing and stitching your own beautiful designs.
So get out there, do us proud, watch a video, submit a Friday Try Day, and help another member master a skill you learned. Most of all? Have fun!
Until next time, happy stitching! The next step of your embroidery legacy, starts with ours.
P.S. Don’t forget to try our free Digitizing Challenge by clicking here or subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here for new video content weekly so we can join and guide you on your embroidery journey.