When I first learned to embroider, I used a needle and embroidery floss. I learned to do counted cross stitch and to follow the pattern printed on a piece of fabric.
If you walk into a needlepoint area of a craft store now, most of what you see is counted cross stitch. You won’t find many patterns calling for a satin stitch or French knot. If you want something more detailed than you can get with a counted cross stitch kit, you are severely limited to what you can find for patterns.
When embroidery machines came out, at first they were too expensive for a hobbyist to own. Businesses had them and would sell either pre-embroidered items or they would embroider items to order. With the cost of the machines going down, now you can buy an embroidery machine for home use. Though chances are, you’ll want to sell the results of your work. With these machines, you are only limited by your imagination. You can get results similar to what you would buy in the store, ‘Grandma shirts’ with your children’s or grandchildren’s names, an afghan with flowers or other design and your wedding date, or the date of your child’s birth. Or maybe you want your company’s logo on a cap or shirt pocket. Maybe you want a bag with an embroidered dog or cat, a pumpkin for Halloween, a Menorah for Hanukah or a Christmas tree for Christmas. You can embroider a tablecloth and napkins to surprise someone for a wedding or anniversary.
With an embroidery machine, you get to see the pattern take shape before your eyes. Seeing it go from a clipart picture to a file on a computer to an result that you can touch is thrilling. Watching your pattern form as quickly as a machine will embroider is truly rewarding. It won’t take days or even weeks to get the results that you have planned. You can get your project done in minutes to hours depending on how much there is to the pattern and how many items you are doing.
With an embroidery machine, you get to choose what you want to embroider. If you can’t find the digital file for it either online or in a store, you can have the file specially made for you or you can digitize your own embroidery pattern.
Even with the steep learning curve of digitizing, the challenge of digitizing your own embroidery pattern can be as addictive as watching your embroidery take shape. Knowing that you made a project from start to finish will leave you with a feeling of accomplishment. All you need is a plan for what you are wanting to do, and an embroidery machine to start you off in the right direction.