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Gallery Connection July ’08 – HoopWorks Revisited

Some years ago, I think it was 2001, I noticed a trend: People wanted bigger designs from an embroidery machine with a smaller hoop. At the time, software was really just becoming popular and the idea of using software to ‘split’ a big file into smaller ones was not too farfetched. Soon 3-day workshops were being taught and it seemed that the future of embroidery was to be Large.

 I remember having a conversation with a sewer online who said that although she had taken a workshop in splitting files, and she did successfully split one, she would probably not bother doing that again. It was too tedious. The process of splitting a design to stitch in different ‘hoopings’ is a complex task.

 It occurred to me that this was the perfect job to be automated by the computer, and I set out on a mission to make this a possibility. Moreover, my plan was to run this complex task with only one click of the mouse! The result was HoopWorks, and I can tell you that this invention was enough to nearly make the inventor insane. It is a very complex piece of brainwork, and I’m proud to have been the one to come up with it. In fact the patent for it has led the way for others to accomplish this task, and no one has improved the process to this day.

 The machines have since caught up a bunch, but I notice that the hoops are still not big enough for some of you out there. With the latest wave of machines offering super-duper-mega-large hoops, it seems you’re now emboldened to go even bigger! And you quilters have caught the bug too. Big quilt designs are easy to embroider. Hooray!

 Here I’ll describe HoopWorks in brief:

The way HoopWorks ‘thinks’ about hoops is like the older multi-position hoops. Remember those? You connect the hoop to the machine and then slide it into any one of three, or more, positions. That distance between the connections is the ‘extra’ size you get from the hoop. I decided to name this extra hoop size the ‘Separation’. In short, if you need an extra 2” on a design, you need two hoopings, and the distance between the centers of the hoopings is 2”.

How does it work step by step?

  • First, select the design you want to split in Studio or CustomWorks. Then run HoopWorks.
  • When HoopWorks runs, it uses the last hoop you selected and splits the design for it. No clicks or keys are necessary. If you’ve already selected a hoop before, go to the next step. If you need to select a hoop, or make one, click the Hoops button toward the right on the toolbar. Pick your hoop or make one (The Help section has information on this.)
  • The design will split for you! You’ll see a list on the left of the screen showing you the order that the files will stitch into. For instance, “design 1 Top” and “design 2 Bottom”.
  • At this point you can save the files. If you want to view them first, click in the list and you will see the one you’ve clicked on, with the other split files ghosted-out.
  • When you save, by clicking the button with a disk on it, there will be two or more files saved. There may be a text file, which will help you keep the colors correct when you go to sew.
  • When you embroider the files, make sure to use the order that HoopWorks gives you. If you don’t, you’re likely to see layering mistakes.
  • After the first file stitches, it will stitch a basting stitch. This will be used to line up the next file, and that next file starts with an identical basting stitch. Line up the basting stitches by using your machine’s positioning features or by simply adjusting the fabric in the hoop. Once the basting stitches line up, pull them out and continue your embroidery.

When we released HoopWorks 2.0 we added the ability to separate a design into rows and columns. A bit more complicated, but essentially the same.

At this point I should say, “Thank You!” to those who have shown me all the big, bold HoopWorks samples over the years. As you well know: I made this for you!


 Until next time, Happy Embroidering!


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Posted in Brian's Articles and News 11 years, 1 month ago at 12:58 am.

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