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Technology Talk


Read Please:  These tips are original and exclusive to OPW Mall.  Feel free to use them for your personal embroidering and quilting needs, however, it is strictly prohibited to publish them without permission.

Watch for new tips as they are added to the top of this list.

Did you know that you can print directly on fabric using your printer (laser or ink-jet) without pre-treating the fabric?  I use a temporary spray baste to stabilize the fabric with a plain sheet of paper and then feed it through just as I would paper.  After printing, cover with a pressing cloth to protect your iron, and press to heat-set the ink.  With this, you can use our scanner and wrapping paper (or any other pretty paper) to print your own fabric for use with designs or other projects.  (Editor's Note:  NEVER run adhesive spray baste through your printer.  Instead, press your fabric to a sheet of freezer paper, cut to size - 8½"x11" for regular paper size - and run through.  If any wax from the freezer paper happens to get inside the printer, it will act as a lubricant.  Adhesive will gum up the inside of the printer.  My printer tech friend gives you this advice with love!)

Don't wait for an ad to land in your lap to find just the inspiration you're looking for to get you moving again.  Make a separate folder in your internet bookmarks (favorites) for digitizers you love, and a folder for designs you want to go back for when you have the money.  A couple of seconds taken to add to your favorites can save hours of searching for designs you "saw somewhere" later.  When you get several extra minutes at one time, browse your digitizers list for what's new or find a "search for designs" game to lead you to new treasures.

Clean, clean, clean!!!  When you're doing your routine design backup, take an extra moment to really review the samples you've collected for any that you know you'll never use.  Time is so precious to all of us with this hobby, and searching through scores of designs you should have deleted will eat up that treasured stitching time.  Keep tidy, realistically sized collections of designs.

It is very important to know what to do when you get a new computer and your programs that worked perfectly in an earlier version refuse to cooperate with your new operating system.  Before you give up in frustration and haul the computer back to the store, check the program manufacturer's website to see if they have a patch or update and to see if they have instructions for making the program work with the new OS.)

If you are embroidering designs for other people or a job, write down the threads and the design that you used.  When they need additional designs done, you will know the correct shades and the colors you used.

When you are using a new pattern for the first time, trace the pattern on to tracing paper and use this for your pattern.  This way you can adjust the original pattern as needed after you have made your sample.

No matter what time of year it is, doesn't it seem like Christmas - or any holiday - is just around the corner?  As you are sifting through your holiday designs, print your favorite designs on a transparency sheet at their full size.  Display these transparencies in your favorite creative space.  Besides adding a fresh, decorative touch to your space, you can also use these as templates when deciding where to place the designs on your projects.

When making even the simplest alteration or adjustment to a design in your computer software, be sure to use the "Save as" function and just add a simple extension to the original file name - i.e. "Bluebells" to "Bluebells02".  This keeps your original design as it was and makes sure your changes are saved without over-writing the original.

When downloading a new design, especially freebies/samples, don’t be afraid to rename it to something that tells you where it came from.  It never fails that you want to know the terms of use for a particular design, or need some other information, and you can't figure out who it came from or what their terms of use are.

A place for every design and every design in its place!  It doesn't take long for your design archives to get so out of control that you can't remember what you have or where you put it.  Create a new file in My Documents with a simple, generic title like "Designs".  Then, open it and create more category files for your designs like "children", "flowers", "animals", "sports", etc.  As your collection grows, you can even add sub-categories - in "flowers" you can add sub-categories like "daisies", "roses", "bouquets", etc.  Don't be afraid to add a new folder when there's no relevant place to save a new design.  Like a clean office, a filed design is a comfortable, easy and pleasant place to work.  (Editor's Note:  Click here for a free download of pre-made file folders for your use.  Simply download, unzip, and save in your My Documents folder.)

When working with computers, especially online, it is important to remember one word:  SECURITY!  When was the last time you changed a password?  If you haven't been so inspired, imagine a total stranger sitting down at your computer with total access to everything on it.  Did that do it for you?  Now, when you create those new passwords, remember that the best passwords include both numbers and letters - upper and lower case - and symbols where allowed.  You might want to keep a passbook, or journal, of passwords rather than using easy to remember passwords.  (Editor's Note:  NEVER use any type of pop-up or "service" that offers to "remember" your passwords for you.)