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Learning machine embroidery techniques with Designer EPIC 2

Learning machine embroidery techniques with Designer EPIC 2

by Elaine Theriault

While in a stay-at-home mode, remote learning is the perfect thing to occupy our mind and our time. 

The number of ways to learn about the Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC 2 is impressive. With so much information built into the sewing and embroidery machine, there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

Today, I’m using the JoyOS Advisor to learn some new machine embroidery techniques.

Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC 2 sewing and embroidery machine

Built-in Accessory Guide

Before I start learning new embroidery techniques, I wanted to explore another section of the JoyOS Advisor. I’m looking at the Accessory Guide in The Knowledge Center.

The Knowledge Center is where I can learn about new accessories as they become available for the Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC 2. I’ve got the Multi-Function Foot Control highlighted, so if I want to learn more about that foot control, I can open the tab to get the information on what that accessory is and how to use it.

That’s very impressive. So, if you’ve purchased a quilting accessory, like the Quilt Binder or Inspira ruler templates, a specialty embroidery hoop or you have the Multi-Function Foot Control and not sure how to use them, you’ll get step by step instructions in this section. Remember, entering one of the Project files will set up the Designer Epic 2 to help you perform the task.

You’ll also find information about these accessories in the User Accessory Guide that I talked about earlier in the week.

Accessories for the Designer EPIC 2 menu in the JoyOS Advisor

I can access the specialty hoops for embroidery in this section of The Knowledge Center. If I want to access all the embroidery techniques, and there are lots of them, I can access them in the Embroidery topic.

And that’s where I’m spending the rest of today.

Machine Embroidery Techniques

Let’s move to the machine embroidery section of the JoyOS Advisor. Under Embroidery, there are ten embroidery technique categories, and within each category, the embroidery techniques are grouped into sub-categories.

Did you know that there are a total of 31 different techniques for machine embroidery incorporated in Designer EPIC 2? I did not know that. Exploring each of the embroidery techniques and focusing on one technique at a time, will make easy work of using the more than 750 built-in embroidery designs. That makes learning a new technique super easy.

The menu options for Applique Embroidery

In the screenshot below, I’ve hidden the blog window so I can see more of the techniques on the screen.

The Sampler Book which I mentioned on Monday, contains a colored diagram of all the built-in embroidery and lettering designs, as well as the thread changes for each embroidery design. This information is also accessible within each embroidery design file, and the information will appear on the embroidery Stitch Out screen when the file is selected.

The embroidery designs are sorted into Menus in The Sampler Book, and while I’m sure there’s a good reason for the way it’s laid out, it’s not working for me. What I love is all of the information is available in multiple locations. So if one learning style doesn’t work for you – there’s another one to try.

For me, this is where the JoyOS Advisor comes to the rescue. Exploring the embroidery designs by technique is brilliant and is an excellent tool for learning.

The blog has been hidden to make more room to explore the Embroidery technique menus

I selected the Free Standing Embroidery technique and picked the Pop-Up designs. Hmm – what’s a pop-up embroidery?

As I’ve shown in the other areas of the JoyOS Advisor, when a technique is selected, a Project file opens, giving information about the embroidery technique, the supplies needed, and the steps to complete the technique.

Below, you can see that there are 23 steps to creating the pop-up embroidery technique. The first step provides a definition of the embroidery style.

But what’s even better is that all of the Free Standing Pop-up embroidery files from the 740 built-in embroidery designs will appear on the interactive touch screen.

Isn’t that the best? I can see the Project file and evaluate which design I want right on the same screen. Who needs the Sampler Book when you’ve got the JoyOS Advisor?

The menu for the Free Standing Pop-Up embroidery designs

As usual, there’s a list of materials required for the project. Once again, I’m recommending you collect all the tools and supplies before you get started. Otherwise, you’re running around trying to find something, you get distracted, and hours later, your embroidery project still isn’t finished.

Gather everything, and then it won’t take long to finish the project. Remember, we’re letting the Designer EPIC 2 teach us something, and even though it won’t complain, it’s probably a good thing to give the lesson our undivided attention, so we understand the technique.

After I hooped the Inspira Aqua Magic stabilizer (remember, I can use the Stabilizer Guide in the JoyOS Advisor if I’m not sure which stabilizer to use), I started by stitching the outline for the bow.

I don’t have to figure these steps out by myself. I’m following along the Step by Step instructions in the project file. How easy is that!

The outline for the bow has been stitched onto the hooped water-soluble stabilizer

Then I tacked the fabric in place and cut around it with my Inspira applique scissors. Remember, I’m not figuring this out as I go – I’m merely following the clear and concise instructions in the Project File displayed on the Interactive Touch Screen.

The excess fabric has been cut away from the applique shape

Step 11 will stitch the satin stitch and other decorative stitches to finish off this part of the embroidery design. The next step instructs me to remove the project from the hoop and cut away the stabilizer.

See how clear and concise the instructions are. That makes it super easy to learn this new technique.

Getting ready to stitch the final stitches on the fabric bow

Here’s my bow removed from the hoop. I’ll cut the excess stabilizer away and soak the free-standing piece in warm water to remove the remainder of the water-soluble stabilizer.

I did have a bit of downtime as I waited for this piece to dry. While I waited, I started on the second part of the free-standing embroidery design.

The red fabric bow is ready to be trimmed from the water-soluble stabilizer

Step 14 tells me to select the second design file. The free-standing pop-up embroidery technique means one or more parts of a design will not be stitched on the base fabric. As I’ve done in this sample and was instructed to do so from the Project file instructions, always choose the free-standing design first so it can be drying while you work on the second step.

In my case, the first file was the bow, and the second is the elephant’s face. All these design files are in the Sampler Book, so if you’re not sure, you can always have a peek to see a picture of the finished design.

Choosing the second part of the embroidery design

Remember, the other day that when I entered the Embroidery Stitch Out, I lost my Project File on the screen. Ack – where did my instructions go?

The embroidery design is loaded, but the Project file instructions are gone

It’s super simple to touch the Project File icon in the middle along the bottom of the screen to reopen the Project file. It’s open in the exact spot it was before I moved into Embroidery Stitchout.

See the Project File icon is now blue to show it’s activated.

The Project file instructions are back on the screen as the project folder function is active

I chose a lovely bright green for the background of the elephant. I’ve hooped the fabric using the Inspira Tear-A-Way stabilizer underneath my background fabric.

My background fabric is hooped

If I want to see the Color Block List (which shows all the color changes), that’s easy enough to open on the Interactive Touch Screen. I don’t need to see my embroidery design at the moment, but if I do, it’s so easy to close, open, or reposition those windows.

The Project file on the left and the Color Block List on the right with the embroidery design peeking in the background

I’m stitching out the adorable elephant head on the green background fabric.

I should mention the elephant head is a machine embroidery applique. Ack! How do I do that? Nothing to worry about I just followed the steps in the Project file. That was too easy!!

Stitching out the elephant head on the green fabric

Here comes the scary part. I have to attach the free-standing fabric bow to the elephant with the Designer EPIC 2. An outline of where the knot is to be positioned has been stitched onto the base fabric.

Remember, all these steps are part of the embroidery design. I just have to follow the instructions.

An outline has been stitched to show the placement for the free-standing pop-up fabric bow

You’ll notice while there’s a beautiful satin stitch finish to the edges of the bow, there is nothing in the area where the knot will be. Just wait!

The stitching on the knot is absent – by design

I’m placing the free-standing bow on the base fabric, with the knot sitting directly on the placement outline.

Now, here’s another scary part. When I touch START, the Designer EPIC 2 sewing machine is going to go fast. I know I won’t be able to hold the bow in place, and it means I’ll have to rip! Help! I could reduce the speed on the Designer EPIC 2 sewing machine, but I have a better solution.

For delicate placement situations like this, use your foot control (or the optional Multi-Function Food Control) to operate the embroidery machine. I used the foot control to stitch around the bow, and once I was confident it was in the proper position, I resumed the embroidery stitch-out using the START/STOP function.

The foot control can be used to stitch machine embroidery

The stitching on the knot is absent – by design

Here’s my finished Free-standing Pop-Up embroidery elephant. It’s adorable!

OK – that was so easy using the Project file in the JoyOS Advisor. I followed the clear and concise instructions step by step. Now that was super easy, and I learned something new!  I love it.

My completed Free-Standing Pop-Up embroidery sample

Other embroidery types

The JoyOS Advisor is a super tool to learn different embroidery techniques. It seriously doesn’t get any easier than opening up the JoyOS Advisor, selecting an embroidery technique, and following the step-by-step instructions. The hardest part is choosing which of the designs to stitch out!

I couldn’t help myself, so I decided to try a few of the other techniques.

This first sample is the Standard Embroidery technique.

A selection of standard embroidery designs opens up in the Project file embroidery design window. I already knew how to do standard embroidery, but it doesn’t hurt to follow the instructions in case there was a trick I could have added to my knowledge of machine embroidery.

An example of a standard embroidery design

This next technique is called Applique – Covered Edge. I had previously embroidered a larger design on the background and then appliqued the flower petals on top.

It’s a design I created in Embroidery Edit, and used the same appliqued petal six times and added a standard embroidery for the center.

An example of Applique – Covered Edge machine embroidery technique

Remember, these designs are built into the Designer EPIC 2 and readily accessible by category through the JoyOS Advisor.

The next design was also in the Applique – Covered Edge technique folder. However, I modified it slightly by not using an applique fabric. It was easy to bypass the outline and tack down steps and then proceed with the standard embroidery as usual.

This monster is so cute, and what a great way to dress up a zippered pouch.

A monster design motif embroidered on a zippered pouch

The mask is from the Free-standing Designs – with Fabric category. A water-soluble stabilizer was used to hoop the project. This particular design has a backing and stiff interfacing in the middle to give it some shape.

A mask created from the Free-Standing Designs – with Fabric category

I was on a roll. What other techniques can I learn? Let’s try Free-Standing Design – Thread only. This one is created by hooping a water-soluble stabilizer and using the same color thread in the top and bottom. I”ve been using Inspire Aqua-Magic for all my water-soluble stabilizers.

Stitching out a sample of the Free-Standing Design – Thread only technique

Here’s the final motif. I haven’t removed it from the water-soluble stabilizer yet. When stitching this kind of design, you’ll want to fill the hoop with as many motifs as you can.

The stabilizer needs to be trimmed away and soaked in warm water. If I make multiple of these little motifs, they would be great to use as a decorative element on a garment, a headband, a bag, a quilt, or anything else. Oh – the possibilities. And if I change the thread color……………

Here’s a tip. In this case, I chose black thread, and it’s easy to get black bobbin thread. However, if you were using orange thread on top and you have no orange bobbin thread, then use the same rayon or polyester embroidery thread in the bobbin. Did you know you could do that??

The completed black thread only embroidered motif

The next sample is Applique – Raw Edge. OH MY GOSH – I adore this bright, cheery flower. It’s gorgeous in the picture but even more impressive in real life. And it was so easy to do.

All I had to do was follow along with the instructions in the Project file. The hardest decision was which fabrics to use!

A sample of the Applique – Raw Edge embroidery technique

I was opening all the machine embroidery technique folders in the JoyOS Advisor. I want to do them all. Since there isn’t time at the moment for that pleasure, I randomly chose a couple more techniques.

This next one is from the Yarn Embellished Embroidery category, and I chose Yarn Couching – Free Standing. I attached the Yarn Couching Feet set, which is an accessory you can purchase. I loaded white thread on the top and in the bobbin. The trick to this one is to make sure your yarn is FREE-FLOWING at all times. If it gets caught – well, it won’t work. Ask me how I know that!

I did this on a water-soluble stabilizer as well, but it could be done on a fabric base if you wanted.

The key to all this – learn the basic techniques and then – well, let your mind loose!

An example of the Yarn Couching – Free Sample machine embroidery technique

This next technique is from the Surfaced Embroidery category and is called Thread Velvet. It’s a wee bit hard to see in the photo, but you stitch one color on those petals. And then you stitch a second color over the first. I used two similar in value threads, so when I sliced open the top part of the petal, the underneath color doesn’t show through as much as I would like.

I want to remake this sample. Oh – my mind is racing!

In this case, I combined four single designs to create a larger pinwheel shape.

An example of the Thread Velvet machine embroidery technique

These last two machine embroidery techniques were selected from the Specialty Hoop Embroidery category. The techniques in this category require you to purchase the appropriate, optional embroidery hoops necessary for each style in this category of machine embroidery techniques.

This first example uses the DESIGNER Majestic embroidery hoop. This the largest Husqvarna Viking embroidery hoop with an embroidery area of 360mm x 350mm. It’s a turnable hoop. Once you have stitched one half of the design, you rotate the hoop and stitch the other half.

A sample of an embroidery design stitched in the DESIGNER Majestic hoop

This last sample was created using the Texture Hoop. There are embroidery designs built into the Designer EPIC 2 that use the Texture Hoop; however, this design came as a Project File from the mySewnet blog. You can find more information on how I created this project in this previous QUILTsocial post How to make an embroidered mug rug using mySewnet news-feed.

The hoop allows you to position ribbons and cords on your base fabric and then embroider a design on top that incorporates the ribbons and cords into the design.

A machine embroidery sample using the Texture Hoop

Oh my gosh — this was so exciting! As I was working, I decided that I want to try all the techniques. I’m picking a small sample of each. Now, what to do with those samples, so they don’t get lost or damaged? I’ll practice lettering in the embroidery edit screen and stitch a title for each of the sample techniques.

Then I’ll add some stiffener to the inside of the pieces or quilt them. I think I’ll make flashcards of all the embroidery samples. I can’t wait to try them all. They are beautiful and will become a fantastic reference.

Isn’t that just the best way to learn? I could have attended a class and had someone teach me those techniques. But at the end of a day-long session, my brain would have been overloaded, and I wouldn’t have remembered which technique was which.

If I do one sample a day, then I can be sure I grasp the technique. I can take it slow, choose my fabric and threads according to each technique, and have all my tools and supplies at my fingertips.

I can’t wait to get back to the rest of the samples.

There’s still so much to share with you, and tomorrow is Friday!

I’ve left the best learning practice to the end. I’ll be learning by doing (on our own!) Be sure to come back tomorrow to see how I put the skills I’ve learned this week using the Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC 2 to the test.

Have a super day!


This is part 4 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 3: Easy! Make and learn with Designer EPIC 2

Go to part 5: 5 key tips for learning about the Designer EPIC 2 by MAKING


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