Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas To All

It is time to say Merry Christmas to my many customers and get the stockings hung here. In just 4 hours, Christmas Eve is upon us here in Brisbane, Australia and we always start Christmas off on Christmas Eve with a church service followed by Christmas Eve dinner at my parents place. Our daughter is struggling to go to sleep with excitement.

I can not help but sit back and wonder where all of December went - each year it seems to go in the blink of an eye, though it is little wonder it speeds by with school Christmas events, the end of our school year and the commencement of the long summer holidays, Christmas preparations, Quentin also going on holidays, Christmas shopping - all on top of running an international business - it is exhausting looking back on the last month. But I am also excited to see a new year approaching with which I hold much motivation.

Anyhow, I would like to just take this moment to thank you all for your support over the last year, and to wish you all the merriest of Christmases. I am blessed to be able to run Bunnycup Embroidery and do something I love so very dearly and it is made possible by my wonderful customers and followers. So with this thought, I breathe a contented sigh and sign off for a couple of festive family days. Love to all, and merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

When Something Goes Wrong

Embroidery is such a complex hobby and with it so many things can wrong. There are so many inputs that go into stitching a design, from the embroidery design itself, the download process, the embroiderers knowledge of computers and embroidery and embroidery machines, the software an embroiderer may use, the machine itself, the computer mechanics of a machine, the thread, the material, the hoop, stabilizer, stabilization technique, tension, bobbin thread, needle etc. There is a seemingly endless number of inputs into stitching a design resulting in a lot of different areas where something can go wrong.

We get emails every day where someone has a problem with their stitching of an embroidery design. Almost always, it is nothing to do with the embroidery design, rather something in the computer or stitching environment to which we have no control or influence over. So I would like to take a moment to explain some of the most common problems encountered by customers:

1) Corrupted Downloads – This is probably the most common problem we encounter. When a customer downloads their designs, the data is copied over from our server to the customer’s computer. From time to time that data may get corrupted or scrambled in the transfer process. What can result is variable, but it can be as minor as an outline or part of the design being misplaced in the file to being as significant as the file not opening. The solution is to simply redownload the designs from your download link email to your computer.

2) Files are not unzipped before opening – Digitizers compress the files to be able to be downloaded more easily. This reduces the file size of the download which can minimize download corruptions and reduces the time it takes to download the actual file. To be able to read the files, you must unzip the zip file so that the files inside the zip file are no longer compressed. If you do not know how to do this, do not be afraid to email as we do have written instructions on how to download and unzip files.

3) Machine Process Hang – Embroidery machines have computerized mechanisms in them. They are similar to computers and from time to time a process in the machine may hang. Again, this can do very peculiar things to a design such as misplace sections of the design and stitch out sections in places they should not. The solution to this is to turn off your machine for a good 30 seconds and restart the machine.

4) Can not open a file – if you can not open a file either on your machine or on your computer, there are a number of reasons why which include opening the wrong format for your machine or software, your machine or software is not updated with its recent updates meaning it can not read the version of design, you do not have an embroidery software on your computer, your file is corrupted, your machine or software may not have started up correctly or has a hung process (restart your machine or software). The things to check here is that your file is unzipped and in a compatible format to your machine or software, that you have an embroidery software (if you wish to open them on your computer), turn off and restart your computer or machine and to make sure your software and machine have been updated for the most recent services packs and to check that the version of software is compatible with the version of the design.

5) Outlines are off – There are two common reasons for this – one is a corrupted download as described above and the second is the stabilization process the embroider uses. Stabilization process and the effects of on outlines is addressed on the Bunnycup Embroidery Tips page at http://www.bunnycup.com/tips.aspx

Another reason outlines can be off in designs is that the outlines do not consider the push and pull of the design or the design is poorly digitized. At Bunnycup Embroidery, we test every single design at least once, if not more before release. We do not release the design if we can not stitch it out with the outlines being correctly in place. So we can assure you if an outline is off, it is not in the digitized file but will be a result of probably a corrupted download or insufficient stabilization.

6) Stitching Environment – When stitching a design, I personally call the machine, the hoop, fabric, tension, needle, and the area directly surrounding the machine the stitching environment. This environment can directly affect how a design stitches out. Plenty of different things can go amiss in this area from a bump in the machine hoop, to tension not being set correctly, to the machine needing to rethreaded among many other things. If a design does not stitch out how you expect it and you know it is not stabilization things to check are that there is nothing obstructing the hoop, change the needle, clean out your bobbin cage, rethread the machine including the bobbin and the hoop is closed and secured properly.

There are a multitude of things that can wrong and we have only listed some of the most commonly occurring ones. It is important to remember that the digitizer has no control over each of these factors and almost always, if the digitizer is professional and experienced and performed adequate quality control procedures such as testing the design before release, that the problem is not in the design itself or something the digitizer has control over. We take great pride in our work and want our customers to have the most perfect and detailed design and want our customers to have a wonderful experience with our designs. We like to help our customers through these problems, but being impatient, frustrated or blaming the design and digitizer is not necessarily going to help you fix the problem that you are encountering and is not necessarily fair to the digitizer who probably produced a perfect design but can not control all the inputs into your embroidery. Also remember that a digitizer is not sitting with you and can not see what is happening so be patient, explain what is happening clearly and concisely. The digitizer will have to ask questions to understand what is happening and pinpoint your issue and is doing so using your eyes and words. Often, the digitizer may not be able to identify your problem and you may have to take the problem to your dealer who can see what is happening and identify it and assist you in your issue. So be patient, and help the digitizer help you.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sneak Peek - Christmas Applique

Oh dear! The last month has been so very busy with trying to complete the last of our christmas sets, getting our own personal Christmas preparations ready before our long Summer school holidays start that I have not updated the blog in awhile. I promise to bring lots more new posts to the blog in the the new year once routine settles back down again.

In the mean time, here is a sneak peek of what is coming up this week! Christmas Applique is the full size applique version of our Christmas Minis Three set. Once this last Christmas set is out I will start putting our minds to Valentines and Spring themes!

If I do not get back to the blog before Christmas - but I hope I do, Merry Christmas to one and to all!