Grouping Objects

I was hanging out on Facebook this evening and came across someone who said that she had sent a file to be digitized and they had taken her money and not provided a file, putting her in a bind. She posted a picture of the design she needed and it looked like a good exercise for me.

My first instinct was to immediately offer to do the design for her, but it occurred to me that I didn’t know where that graphic came from and if she had the right to use it. I’m very conscious of copyright issues. It was the thing my Junior High computer students had the most trouble understanding when I was in the classroom. Even so, I almost jumped right in there without thinking about it.

Earlier in the week, someone wanted a photo of her dog digitized. Since it was obviously a family photograph, I didn’t even ask if she had the rights to it, but maybe I should have. Something to think about, anyway. (I let Generations automatically create the design from the photo. It did a surprisingly good job. I think someone with more experience and time could have improved on it quite a bit, but the person was happy to get the file and it took me less than 20 minutes to do it.)

Back to the topic at hand — the person needed an applique file made from a fairly simple design. I outlined each shape with a double run for the placement stitch, then copied and pasted for the tack down, which I like to do as a triple run. Then I copied and pasted again and changed it to a satin border with a width of 2 mm. Since I had been careful when I outlined my shapes, the satin border looked very nice. If anything had been off, I would have adjusted the outline. The error that I’ve found that gives the most trouble with satin borders is overlapping the ends of the line so the first point extends past the last point. Having a bobble or backtrack in your line also causes issues.

I rearranged everything. (Placement A, tack down A, Placement B, tack down B, … followed by all the satin stitches in that color.

A few of the pieces needed to be resized slightly. I wanted to make sure I didn’t get the three parts separated from each other, so I stopped to group each set of three stitches. This is where I ran into trouble.


Grouping 1For example, to group the circled object (remember, there are three layers of stitches here so I can’t just click on it) I had to drag a box around it. This was difficult to do. Sometimes I didn’t get the box big enough and it didn’t select anything, sometimes my cursor picked up another object and moved it instead of drawing the box, and sometimes the box entirely enclosed more than one object so they were all selected.

Here’s what I finally figured out.

  1. Only fully enclosed objects will be selected. If an object isn’t entirely enclosed in the box, it won’t be selected. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. In the graphic, only the blue objects would be selected because they are the only ones completely enclosed by the rectangle. (Pretend the top of the rectangle is there. I got a little carried away with the cropping.)
  2. Turn on the grid to more easily find a starting point and ending point for the rectangle so it encloses what you want.
  3. If other objects are being moved instead of a rectangle forming, start your rectangle in an area completely outside the design. This may result in unwanted objects being selected (see item 4).
  4. After you have drawn your rectangle, hold the ctrl key while you left-click any unwanted objects. This will deselect them.

Selecting an object For example. to select the blue object, I would start at the dark blue dot because it is away from all the other objects. If I start on any of the other corners, I’ll just wind up moving one of the other objects. I used the grid lines to see where to start and how far I needed to go in each direction in order to completely enclose the object.

If I wanted to select the smaller object just above and to the left of the blue one, I’d probably still start down below the blue object. This might selected an unwanted object or two, but it’s easy to remove them.

Happy digitizing!


Categories: Applique, Copyright Issues, Working with objects

Tags: , , , , ,

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