Underlay- Why you should learn to LOVE IT

Underlay- Why you should learn to LOVE IT

Underlay- Why you should learn to LOVE IT

Underlay is one of the most important foundations of embroidery digitizing”. However, it lacks excitement, fun, and it’s just difficult to communicate without the need to take a nap in between sentences.
That is not saying much! (I am sure somewhere in a marketing book, it says “you should not put your readers to sleep”)

So, let me try and explain underlay and why you need it.
Have you ever heard of Spanx? They were designed as an undergarment to hold things in place and to provide a smooth look under your attire.

Well, there you go!
That is the function of Underlay in our digitized designs. So when we stitch our designs out it holds the stitches, fabric, and stabilizer in place and makes your design look smooth when finished.
1.) Underlay binds your fabric to your stabilizer.
2.) Minimizes puckering
3.) Assist in Density – by providing foundation coverage.
4.) Underlay keeps all of your digitized objects well defined.

How to choose the “Right Underlay Stitching”
Let’s use the Spanx analogy again.
1.) Center Run- well we are all aware of the muffin top issues. Well, that is what happens when you use only the center run stitch on a large column satin or fill- it does provide a foundation. However, the edge of your design spills out the sides, creating a jagged/rough edge. We don’t want that. The only time we use a standalone center run is on VERY small columns. Say from 1.0-2.0 mm column.
2.) Edge Run – Edge Walk- is a running stitch- placed around the edges just a few 0.3-0.4 mm away from the edge of our fill or satin stitch. Providing the nice clean, crisp look. The underlay edge run creates a structure that will stop the top stitch from pulling in.
3.) Zig Zag – Double Zig Zag- Both Zig Zag- Double Zig Zag can be used to provide thorough underlay, or where raising satin stitches columns are needed to prevent the stitches from “sinking” (terry cloth, fleece, etc).
4.) Parallel- are used in complex Fill areas. Usually with angles either diagonal or perpendicular to the direction of the stitches in the main fill area. Parallel Underlay, provides the means to properly stabilize stitch intense areas, particularly large fill areas.
5.) Edge Run – Edge Walk &Zig Zag- This type of underlay is the result of combining an Edge Run-Edgewalk with a Zig Zag. The benefits are used to provide support for satin stitches as well as satin columns to prevent sinking with (terry cloth, fleece, etc). The Edge Run-Edge Walk provides a great foundation for stitch intense areas.
6.) Edge Run-Edge Walk & Parallel underlay- are used in complex fill areas. By combining the Edge Run-Edge Walk & Parallel underlay, it prevents the jagged, sawtooth, rough edges. Very desirable in fill areas using knit and other stretchy type fabrics.

So now that we have a basic understanding of Underlay Stitches, we can see why it is one of the most important aspects of digitizing great designs.

As Marilyn Monroe once said, “Give a girl the right pair of shoes, and she can conquer the world”. Well… in digitizing, “Give a girl the right underlay, and she can conquer any design”.

Worth noting… successful embroidery starts with a solid foundation that the only underlay can provide.

So, I hope I didn’t bore you too much… This is really a subject we discussing a lot more in depth. But, this will provide you an area to start researching.


Fun on the homestead author -

Underlay- Why you should learn to LOVE IT

What is Push and Pull Compensation in Machine Embroidery Digitizing

What is Push and Pull Compensation in Machine Embroidery Digitizing:

Embroidery is an Art of Distortion.
Let’s first discuss what Distortion is in Machine Embroidery.
What is the cause of Push and Pull Distortion?

Push and Pull distortion, occur when the stitches are placed on the fabric, creating tension on the fabric creating a push and pulling effect on your design.

How to identify push and pull distortion in my stitch out?
When a gap forms between a satin stitch and an outline. When elements of your design don’t line up. Here is a great example of a design that was posted in our Facebook Group of push and pull effect on machine embroidery. This design was purchased from an ETSY shop that the digitizer clearly did not understand the basic foundations of digitizing. Understanding distortion and the effect of push and pull on design.

How do you fix push and pull compensation?
With correct underlay and adding pull compensation.

Pull compensation in your software, overthrows the width of the column. Factors to consider, are the wider the column stitch, the more pull compensation you need to apply. Why is this? Because the wider the stitch is, the more tension of the top and bottom threads will increase to create a flat stitch on the fabric.

The “pulling” effect is causing a shortening effect when the stitch direction reverses. Conversely, stitches are “pushed” out along the length. However, these are not equal, opposing forces. This is also referred to as registration issues in your stitch outs.

When digitizing an Embroidery Design- Look at your design in your digitizing software

Do all the objects exactly line up no matter what direction the stitches are placed?

Is your running stitch outline placed exactly on the edge of your design?

Do all your letters line up perfectly?

If you answered “Yes” to any of those questions, your design will be a “hot mess” similar to the photo posted earlier. The great news is, it will allow you to identify and learn. This will allow you to see how registration and dancing baselines occur.
Ask yourself, did I take into consideration, push and pull-compensation? Underlay? Stitch direction? Stitch length?

Compensation is one of the harder things to master as a digitizer. You are likely to see more problems when you are a novice designer and free designs from questionable sources. The best control overcompensation is accomplished through a combination of redrawing objects and applying pull compensation settings in the digitizing software. Pull Compensation, must be drawn in when you are digitizing your design— this is a big reason why auto-digitizing software does not always produce the best result.

Can you add in too much compensation?
Too much overlap can cause thick, lumpy areas and can run up stitch count. In some cases, excess compensation can contribute to distortion—which is what proper compensation is trying to correct.
Where do I use Pull Compensation?
In your satin stitches as well as fill stitches.

If you are experiencing Compensation/Registration Issues
Verify you have made the necessary design considerations.
-correct underlay
-correct pull compensation
-correct density
-correct stitch lengths
Stitch your design on a smooth, stable fabric, on the straight of the grain, with a sturdy stabilizer, in the smallest hoop that will accommodate your design. Place the fabric and backing in between the rings of the hoop versus floating.
If you continue to have issues, go back to the digitizing process.


A Homesteaders Life – The Reality of Living on a Homestead

A Homesteaders Life – The Reality of Living on a Homestead

 Homesteaders Life – The Reality of Living on a Homestead

Homesteaders Life - Fun on the Homestead- Winter in Northern Michigan

The reality of living a homesteader’s life is sinking in today as I walk the dogs.   Living off the land, away from crazy neighbors, oh the dream! We scrimped and saved and finally found our little bit of paradise in northern Michigan.  We purchased several homesteading and living off the grid books and magazines. We read everyone of them from front to back. Notebooks full of plans and dreams,we want from our property and just the homestead lifestyle. But, the one thing I did not find in those books or magazines – Was…. What happens if one half of your team suffers a life altering injury and illness.

Will you still be able to carry on with your plans and dreams? What will they look like now? Will you be able to keep up with the homestead on your own? What’s next?

I’ll be honest, living on a catamaran in the sea like Gone with the Wynns, sounds far more appealing. The thought of running out of wood in the middle of February, or making sure that once long driveway, which seemed perfect for remoteness has now become a liability. Will I be able to keep it cleared enough so that we or the ambulance can pass through if we need it.

Our days are filled with physical therapy and cardiac rehab vs clearing the forest.

Our days are now filled with naps and making sure my husband has what he needs before I leave for a bit to run up town.

Is it still the dream? Yes, my husband is alive (which is alot better than he was in early Aug)  

But the realities of a Homesteaders life sure looks a lot different than our notebooks plan and dreams.






The Widowmaker – Heart Attack

The Widowmaker – Heart Attack

The Widowmaker – Heart Attack

It was a Tuesday afternoon – I just left physical therapy – The onset is quick from 0-60 in just a few seconds. It’s like hitting nitrous from the starting line.

Life washed from your face in just seconds, the excruciating pain, the panic inside your head. Just needing some relief.

What is going on?  Deep down you know what is happening -You’ve seen this a hundred times before.

The voices of your spouse talking to 911 and in your head your screaming hurry up! Because you know if you panic, this life as you knew it would end. Trying to regulate your breathing while trying not to throw up. The sweat starting to roll across your forehead, oh the pain, the crushing pain that is radiating down your arm and into your jaw.

Waiting for the paramedics to show up with some nitro and a baby aspirin to hopefully provide some relief from the pain.  It doesn’t!

You’re alive but need to get to the hospital. Two big bore iv’s  placed to push the drugs and the morphine flowing through my veins not even touching the pain.

Full arrest, shocked, and a stint later – I have been granted a new lease on life.


Joe – Full-Time Fire Fighter Paramedic shares his experience of his Widowmaker Heart attack


To quote Sgt. Dave Parnell from the Detroit Fire Department ” I wish my mind could forget what my eyes have seen.” 

Artwork credits go to: https://www.dansungallery.com/



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