As I began exploring this aspect of My Design Center on the Brother Luminaire this morning, I quickly came to this realization: the potential here is vast. Not really a new revelation, but add that to my initial lack of familiarity to all its nuances, I kinda felt overwhelmed. There’s so much I can do, so many creative directions I can take – and all that was running around my head was, “how do I distill it all into a thousand words (more or less) and a few pictures?” Well… I won’t. I’ll encourage you to pick a couple of things, and learn them. Then pick a couple more, and so on. Let’s dive right in…
So I played, and I learned (undo is your friend), and I discovered it wasn’t really all as new as I’d thought – the stuff we’d practiced yesterday and the last few days contributed to a surprising amount of fluency in My Design Center. So… only a bit of today is actually new, and I’m counting on you having already worked through my previous posts on My Design Center, so we can really get into the new stuff.
Let’s start with the easy stuff: adding some pre-fab shapes. I’ve got My Design Center open already. Select the Shapes tool and choose and OK the horizontal rounded-rectangle; then touch Size. Using the proportionate down-size, reduce it to 5½” wide (the bottom measure). Then, reduce the height only to 3½” and touch OK. The next bit is repetition for emphasis (ok, for design, but it’s good practise!). Select Shapes again, grab the square and size it to 5” high x 7” wide. OK, and then go back into Shapes a third time. This time, I want a shape from the second tab up top; touch it and then the heart in the middle. Size that one down to about 1¼”. Getting good at that, aren’t I? By now I have three shapes on my screen, and the heart is still active (has a red outline); drag the little heart into to the bottom right corner as in my picture. TIP Open the Size tool and use the arrow keys in there to fine-tune placement.
Wanna try drawing your own shapes now? Oh, goody! Make it easier by zooming in to 400%, and then use the Pan (hand) tool to drag the design so the heart is on the right, as in my pic below. Touch Line Properties, and make sure to choose the Closed Shape option. Don’t bother with the stitch type and color selection right now; I’ll address them later. OK out of this window and touch the Line Drawing tool.
Now slowly (you get smoother curves if you go slow) draw a leaf shape beside the heart – try to make it look kinda like mine. If you don’t like yours, touch undo and try again until you get one you do like. You’ll notice this shape doesn’t auto-select (so the editing tools are greyed out and unavailable) – and because it’s on top of another shape, I can’t easily select it to make any edits. So… let’s try something just a little different for the next leaf. Pan your design over towards the left, and then draw another, vertical leaf (copycat me!) off to the side.
Now touch the Select key and drag diagonally across the new leaf – make sure to grab all of it – to highlight it. Now the editing tools are all available. I can mirror image it, size, rotate, etc. I used all three to tweak it ‘just so’. So, to reiterate: draw the objects away from other objects, so it is easily selected, tweak and then move it into place.
Now, you may see five objects on screen (two rectangles, a heart and two leaves), but My Design Center sees eight – each of those lines through the heart and leaves create another region to consider. Instead, I want to erase those lines. Zoom into 800% and select the eraser tool. Feel free to adjust the eraser size as you wish, and begin “rubbing out” the frame lines from within the heart and leaves. Get really close, but don’t leave any gaps in the outlines or the area won’t fill right. And don’t try to erase too much at once – if you slip and have to undo, you’ll have a lot to try to redo.
You’ll notice in my previous posts, I simply used my finger on screen. The stuff I’m doing today needs a bit more precision, and, while the stylus isn’t necessarily more precise than my finger, I can see past it better than I can see around my hand.
Now it’s time to assign our fills and outlines. Touch the Region bucket, then Region Properties icon and make sure a regular fill stitch and red are selected, then touch inside the heart. Back into properties for a dark green, and touch inside each of the leaves. Once more into Properties and this time I’ll choose a Decorative Pattern Fill – I think #28 would look great. Pick a different green than the leaves (I didn’t,and then had to get creative with the sewing order while stitching) Touch between the two frames.
Now for the outlines: touch the Outline bucket, then Properties, and the color black. Touch the heart, and all lines touching it will accept the assignment. Now grab another color – any color – because I just want to force a stop between colors during sew-out, and then touch the outermost outline.
Does yours look like mine?
Now add a finishing touch: some veins in the leaves. Open Line Properties again, select the Open Line, a triple stitch, and a nice dark green. Zoom in and draw a jagged line inside each of the leaves. Remember, you can undo and retry until you get the hang of it, and yes, it took me a few tries before I had something I was happy with…
Time to hit Next and fine-tune our stitch details. Actually, there are just two I want to adjust; the Decorative fill – make it 50% size and 45°, and then arrow to the outermost outline and increase its width to 0.16”.
Save it to memory (did you know I can come back and make some edits?), and then hit Set. Time to sew!
I hooped some heavy tearaway and topped it with felt and started stitching. I skipped past the third color with intent to come back to it as my last color. Just before sewing it, I taped a second piece of felt to the back of the hoop, just a little lower than the top satin stitch; like this:
Then I stitched the ‘third’ color last. Not confusing, right? When it was done, I carefully sliced away the top layer of felt from within the inside border. Now it’s a cute little picture frame!
It didn’t take much effort for me to get used to the tools in My Design Center. Overwhelmed quickly turned to intrigued, with what-ifs and I wonder whizzing through my mind. I’m a huge fan of in-the-hoop projects, which are all about layers and sequencing, so creating this little picture frame was right up my alley.
While this post concludes my series on My Design Center on the Brother Luminaire, I hope you are as inspired as I am to continue to explore My Design Center on your own, and of course, feel free to share your ideas and questions below. Thanks so much for joining me!