Machine Embroidery Digitizing - What Youll Need Besides the
You've purchased an embroidery machine, practiced the designs
that were included in the package, maybe even bought a disc of
designs or downloaded a few designs off the Internet to stitch
out. Now you're thinking about investing in digitizing software
and taking your embroidery to the next level. But the digitizing
program is just a part of what you'll need before entering the
creative world of embroidery digitizing.
Choosing the Hardware
An embroidery digitizing program is image editing software
capable of converting a digital picture to stitches and saving it
in a format that can be read by your embroidery machine. And,
like any robust image editor, a digitizing program is resource
intensive. The program's packaging will state the manufacturer's
recommended minimum computer system specifications to operate the
software. Let's take a look at just such a recommendation and see
how the 'minimums' stack up. (I won't mention the program or the
manufacturer but these are actual recommendations from a popular
digitizing software. Yours may vary but probably not by
Manufacturer recommends: IBM-PC or compatible computer
originally equipped with a USB port.
I recommend: The same.
Manufacturer recommends: Windows(R) 98, ME, XP or 2000.
I recommend: Windows(R) XP Pro with the latest Service Pack and
updates. You might be able to get by with an antiquated operating
system but not for long.
Manufacturer recommends: N/A
I recommend: Any comfortable, optical, non-rollerball mouse.
When doing imaging you cannot attain the precision you need with
a rollerball. And an optical mouse means there is no ball on the
bottom to catch or jerk at a critical time.
Manufacturer recommends: Pentium 500 MHz or higher.
I recommend: Pentium class 1 GB or higher. The faster the
processor the better. We're imaging, not typing a letter.
Manufacturer recommends: Minimum 64 MB (256 MB or higher is
I recommend: Minimum 512 MB. Memory is cheap and more is
always better. You can never have too much.
Hard Disk Free Space
Manufacturer recommends: Minimum 100 MB
I recommend: You'll need 100 MB free to install the software
but you're going to need a lot more than that to store your
creations. Purchase a hard drive with a minimum of 40 GB, 80 GB
or higher is better. A hard disk is like a garage: It collects
junk and you rarely clean it out. Give yourself plenty of room
Manufacturer recommends: SVGA (800x600), 16-bit color or
I recommend: 17" SVGA (1024x768), 32-bit color. You're going
to appreciate the extra screen real estate from a large monitor,
and you'll need to be able to easily differentiate your thread
Manufacturer recommends: USB Ver. 1.1 or higher.
I recommend: USB Ver. 1.1 or higher, 2 or more. Some programs
will run only if a card reader/writer is installed. That's one
port taken. If your machine accepts input directly from your
computer you'll need another port available to send your finished
file to your machine.
Manufacturer recommends: A graphic printer that is supported
by your system (only if you want to print your images).
I recommend: A graphic printer. You will want to print your
images and the associated thread color data. As a side note: I'm
not sure why anyone would have a printer that was not supported
by their system.
Manufacturer recommends: Required for installation
I recommend: The same, but with a minimum twenty-four-speed
(24x) drive speed. A higher speed drive is fine, it transfers
data faster but it's also a little noisier.
CD-ROM Recorder Drive (RW)
Manufacturer recommends: N/A
I recommend: Once a year or so when you're in the cleaning
mood, you'll want to burn your images to CD to reduce clutter on
your hard drive and reorganize.
Deciding to purchase machine embroidery digitizing software is
just the first step to truly creative embroidery with a personal
touch. Get the most out of it by making sure it is happy in its
Digitizer Deb Schneider offers her machine embroidery designs
on her website, WindstarEmbroidery.com.
You'll also find Embroidery
Thread Conversion Charts and information about
You can email Deb at: dschneider(at)windstarembroidery.com
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