I think I finally figured out why people steer away from computers and of the brandy-new shiny embroidery machines they just bought... I sorted this one out in front of my embroidery machine as I was trying something new for my next Advanced Embroidery Class I am teaching in 2 weeks...
It's not because the machine costs a bundle, well yes, it partially is...but not really...
Do you want to know what I know???? Yes? It actually all comes down to FEAR of being ALONE.
As usual, I was pushing the limits of my 730 Bernina, and I thought to myself, "What if this goes wrong and...Well, silly you can just have your boss fix it." Sound familiar? When you broke something and couldn't figure out how to fix it you ran screaming to Mom or Dad and said, "Fix!"
I am very ashamed to say that I do that with Cathy, but in all honesty it has made me a better embroiderer.
Just like a kid, I know I will get an ear full if I do something wrong (Lord knows I did the last time, when I couldn't figure out why my machine was skipping stitches and when we pulled the cover off the cats had tossed a pin in the uptake hook....cringe...). Yes, the cats "help" me embroider, and oh boy did they EVER help that time. I had absent mindlessly placed a pin on the machine and when I came back from getting a cup of coffee, my cat was in my chair and my pin was no where to be found... I thought I was loosing it...until a little later when saw the results...
But anyway I do digress. Look, kids do this all the time, they try stuff out, fall down get up again and try again. And if they really get stuck doesn't work they go for support... They have a GREAT support system around them. Its called Mom and Dad. They are NEVER alone when it comes to stuff that goes wrong.
When I was embroidering on what I will LOOSELY call "fabric" for the upcoming class, I was petrified of debris or other stuff getting into the hook system...then I realized I had support. I was NOT alone! This is what a dealer with an ONSITE technician will give you...My dealer just happens to be my boss. You will be so much better off if you buy a machine from a dealer that has a good on site tech that may give you a dope slap but will help you get out of a sticky problem.
Computers are the same... folks, I know that these things are scary. Honestly, these machines are more and more touchy as the years roll on. My new MacBook Pro does the oddest things when I inadvertently hit the touch pad mouse... but when it is all said and done I have some kick butt support at Apple and I will not hesitate to call them if I need to.
I may not longer be a "kid", but having the right support around me allows me to grow and learn faster than those that surround themselves with fear.
Moral of this blog? Get a computer that has a good support contract, and then PLAY! Buy your embroidery machine from a dealer CLOSE TO YOU that has a TECHNICIAN onsite and that you can talk to then try different materials like balsa wood or burlap to have fun with!
The sky is the limit for those of us with support!
Now, go create something fabulous!!!
The Charlton Sewing Center is now *THE* dealer for Pfaff at the Worcester Sewing and Quilting Expo this April! So Melinda, Denise and I all came down here to Nashville, TN to get some great training from Pfaff corporate! We had a great time and I am really looking forward to being in the booth and in the classrooms at the Expo!
Being the first week of December, thoughts turn to gift giving and making! I could insert a shameless plug here about one of my kits or patterns, but I am not. What I do want to talk about is the act itself of making a gift for someone. We do this for quite a few reasons: to save money, to make something that fits, to give something that is of better quality than that you can buy, or to give something hand made rather than store bought. What ever reason you make a gift rather than buying one, I wish you a lot of fun in the process!
Often I talk about software and the goodies in the embroidery world. Today I thought I would tell you about a great experience I had…and how it has made me reconsider what I will buy for my next computer.
I am a Mac girl. Most of my friends, clients and students know that. Ever since Apple rolled out a real honest to goodness retail store, where you could walk in and get real help, I advocated and evangelized the purchase of these wonderful machines. I mean, I have loved Macs for years, but it was always the "odd machine" out. Once the Apple retail stores came in to Massachusetts, I was sold. I went so far to spend more than I should have on a top of the line 17" MacBook Pro 5 years ago. The fee based Apple Care, although an additional expense, it was a godsend. Walking in with an appointment , you could place your computer down on the Genius Bar, and having a tech look at what you were looking at right infront of you. It was a huge relief after having to remove chunks of hair in frustration trying to work someone via phone in a foreign country for any type of support. The only draw back I could see were the limited number of Apple stores in the Worcester area. Choices for stores were all an hour or more away from where I live in Northern Worcester County.
Enter Staples. That's right…the paperclip folks. For years they have been selling technology. In the early days, it seemed like they were selling slightly lower end machines, or older models. Employees hadn't a clue when you asked them if it had an Intel processor or an AMD one (which was comically followed by them asking "What is AMD? And then me then having a facepalm moment ).
In the year of our tech gods 2011, that is not the case any more. The latest and greatest machines line computer isle and helpful employees jump to talk to you (and wow you with their endless knowledge) at the slightest inkling of your interest in the silicon bling! At first, these repurposed associates were a bit suffocating.
I ended up by telling one of them to back off as I was Ex-Cisco and having a CCSI meant I could figure out what kind of machine I needed all on my own (I was looking for a AMD Vision laptop one day as Electric Quilt 7 hated VMware. Must keep the money in the family you know!). In recent months, they have achieved a zen like balance of customers service and sales. Instead of hounding customers for "What kind of computing do you do", they quietly come up, ask if you would like help, and either go away with your response of, "I am just browsing" or really dig in when you say: "well, you know I am a graphics nut…".
It seems like Staples has put quite a bit of intelligent thought into what works and what people are really looking for: Customer Service. Its the kind you really REALLY want, not what THEY think you need. With the introduction of "Easy Tech", their version of Apple's "Genius Bar", the service has reached such a high level that Apple I think is going to have some real trouble with these guys.
This new service going to make my next computer purchase a thought process. Do I go for Apple and buy something I have to drive an hour out of my way to get help for?…Or do I buy a PC (any OEM with a Vision cpu/apu) and have service down the street or in any three of the surrounding towns around me? I don't need to make an appointment for these folks. I walk in put a computer down on the counter, pull out my paper work and I get instant assistance less than 15 minutes in almost any direction I drive.
I recently had this experience as I had to bring in a client's computer in for service as they had just bought it at Staples and had indeed purchased the Easy Tech service. The turnaround time was less than 24 hours (Had to leave it with them for a virus issue that my trusty latest virus removal software knew nothing about).
As far as I can see Apple's loosing ground with some significant mile stones: The Ipad 3 is already being panned in favor of the Samsung Galaxy Tablet, Amazon's Kindle Fire having a killer low price tag with a new epicness of content to draw from, and let us not forget visionary Steve Jobs leaving the company. And to really put the screws to them, Staples is now a true threat to their cutting edge service model.
There will be some tough competition for my next purchase… and now I really have a true choice for both support and computers. I couldn't be happier!
Now if we could only get the PC operating system programmers to make a better OS…
Oh wait, Windows 8 is coming out….
As my computer chip verification engineer husband just said with a confident look on his face "8 will be different"
"Yeah", I replied. "So was Vista".
Ha! Twice in one week! How about that! For me, I think it is a blogging record!My latest post is courtesy of Mark J., who let me know this past weekend about the inroads that have been made for the mac enthusiasts with embroidery. The .exp files for a long while have been associated with
another file in the world of Apple... Now you can view .exp and all other files by BriTon Leap Inc, in their Embrilliance program! With Embrilliance you can edit motifs, do lettering and much more in BOTH PC and MAC platforms!Check it out:
- Merge embroidery designs in almost any format, even while they are in .ZIPs.
- Resize, with stitch recalculation.
- Convert Thread Brands on your designs.
- Add lettering in Multi-Line, Monogram and Circle modes. You can even spiral text or make really LARGE letters.
- Save in your machine’s format.
- Save working files so that you can edit text later.
- Overlap designs and have significant understitching removed.
- Run a simulator to show how your designs will sew out.
- Group/ Ungroup
- Change or remove individual colors in a design.
- Have many chances to Undo your work.
They also have a program that is similar to Embird's Iconizer that is called Thumbnailer. This program allows you to see a mini image of your motif as you browse your files in your computer! The price point of this software is generously under the $500 line, which for me makes it a great affordable option to play with! I have not downloaded it as of yet, but I will keep you posted as
I explore this piece of software!
Check them out at http://embrilliance.com/
As ever, it takes me a while to get back here and to write...and every time I promise it won't be so long until I write again. My life has gotten crazy and I do apologize! Hopefully going forward I will be more regular about adding information.
I am still testing out Pattern-File. They have made great progress on a mobile app and are almost ready to release it! Unfortunately, I have a first rev of an iphone...so I will not be getting the pattern-file mobile until I upgrade. Hopefully soon I will be able to so I can give you my 2 cents!
Will keep you posted!
First of all ... Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!
I have had a chance to use Pattern-File over the past few weeks...and it has turned out better than what I had hoped. I did indeed select the subscription service. Not really all that happy about shelling out money every month for this thing, but when I saw what it did... I am now actually OK with it...well, sort of. I would prefer an annual fee like my GPS sticks me with for my iphone for MotionX (that is $20 a year) but I do digress.
My use of this software was to enter about 20+ patterns the other day...some of them 5 years old and younger.
The slightly older ones, when "searching" for the pattern, came up with a mention of "out of print". However, the graphic for the envelope was still there. The pre-fill for the back of the envelope graphic (yardage, measurements, etc) for an "out of print" pattern was a bit hit and miss. Burda and New Look are the worst ones to resolve in a prefill at this point. BUT as of today, they have added new pre-fills: Amy Butler, Colette, AND Folkwear! (Diva does the happy dance!!!)
Then I entered several patterns that were 5 years old, that I thought were going to be out of print (and they were), but had no graphic at all, could not prefill the pattern info, or had other numbers associated with the pattern (major pattern manufactures reuse numbers all the time... so this is -so- not Pattern-File's fault).
They are working on trying to tap into the older pattern info for the future however. I can wait. I am putting those that don't prefill in a pile right now, and maybe I can find the time to enter them manually...or before the planets align again for me to have "free time", they will have hooked into this information stream.
What I would like to see going forward is a lesser subscription fee/schedule. This is going to cost me $60 a year when all is said and done. I know these guys are small, and their overhead must be a bit more killer as they have less clout to negotiate with (as they are just getting their feet wet,) I do hope to see this more like $35 for the year when they can take on the big pattern manufacturers.
I would also like to see is more customizable dropdown fields. Currently, you can alter the drop down contents, but not the drop down field and what it says. I would like to have a record of what I paid for them, and that would be a bonus when I am tracking what I have turned around to sell on Ebay.
Also in the vein of tracking stuff... I would like an option to export all of my information into a csv file. I know that this is a "cloud" app... but they did have a hiccup the other day for the subscription service. It went down for a period of time. I would simply like the option to protect my information off line, incase they all hit the lottery and pull the plug on this project and retire to Tahiti or something.
So my verdict on this...This for me is 3.5 out of 5 stars...
They are NOW offering a 10 day trial! Which is a step forward in mybook! I think I would have bought it after 2 days of eval, as it is the best thing I have seen yet!!! And the promise of the iphone app is going to make me bump this to 4 out of 5 stars when it comes out!
I have been searching for the holy grail of creative textile software: A dynamic pattern library index or database.
Like many of you, I have tons of patterns that are piled up in pattern mountains or squirreled away in boxes and bins....and because I don't know WHAT I have, I have a BAD habit of repurchasing ones I do have!
For many many months, I have been hoping and drooling over the thought of one day not only having something native on my mac (as lots are pc centric), but also on my iphone... I have downloaded pattern packages such as Pattern Organizer 1.0, Bento (essentially Access for Mac) with a template for pattern org, and then lastly Pattern Pal. All of these seem to do a decent job of cataloging information, to a point....then my need for more speed, back ups, and flexibility exceeds their parameters and my hopes are dashed.
Today I downloaded Pattern File from Pattern-File.com. Although I am not hot on the idea of a monthly subscription, which can get kind of pricey....it does give me the speed of typing in a pattern number and the software PRE-FILLING all of the info...PLUS the images of the pattern AND the back side pattern info! I am able to also edit some of the drop down boxes AND adding searchable tags (that make sense to ME!!)!
This is going to save me a TON of time!
Now I do need this to be mobile for me, to go on my iphone or what ever smart phone I currently own in the future. Right now, there is no corresponding mobile app... ***BUT*** they have a release date set for the summer for one that is currently in development! For this level of ease of use and speed... I can wait a little longer for the iphone app to appear!
I see the light over the piles of patterns I own folks...and I have hope!!!
Check out Pattern-File.com for screenshots and pricing info!
I will keep you posted as to my findings with this and other cataloging programs out there!
Sorry it has taken me a while to post another blog. As I do the support and online social marketing as well as teaching for the Charlton Sewing Center, my blog seems to be the LAST thing I get around to!
Just so you know, you can follow me on Twitter, under my childhood nickname of "Rourri". The Charlton Sewing Center now has a twitter presence (CharltonSewing) and we are on facebook as "The Charlton Sewing Center" .
We are gearing up to teach classes on EQ7 here shortly! Please check www.charltonsewingcenter.com for all the latest classes!
Ok folks... this is something that should be noted.... when you install the v6 update for editor or designer, the software does a brain drain on your dongle FIRST.
If there is some sort of problem with the install (such as your computer system not having the bare minimum requirements...like 1gig of ram) you will not be able to "roll" back the update. The new dongle will be live. What does this mean... well, XP and Win7 can roll back the software, but the Aladdin hasp dongle, is not part of the rollback safety net.
So lesson to learn, before you go to v6, make darn sure that you have 30 gig of space on your hard drive, 1 gig worth of ram,Windows XP SP2, and a single core 1ghz processor.
So where do you find all this good info?
Go to your START>CONTROLPANEL>SYSTEM.
The window that opens will show you all of the relevant info on your machine.
So take care when you update, and look at what you have on your machine BEFORE you run the install! If not, you may be looking at buying a new pc or updating your ram, or hard drive, or other system upgrade!