Order of Operations

No, I’m not going to torture you with more math.

In creating an embroidery design, it’s important to think in layers. For example, a person’s face and neck might need to be stitched before his shirt. Fortunately, Generations allows you to rearrange things in the Stitch Sequence if you have them out of order.

This can apply to fonts as well. The letter A in the Sofia font has two places where lines cross. Since embroidery is three-dimensional, it’s necessary to decide which line is on top at each crossing. If I were drawing this letter by hand, I’d probably do the left stroke first, following the blue arrows, and then add the right stroke in the direction of the red arrow. This means that horizontal line is on top on the left but underneath on the right. It also means that the two strokes should be divided at the top.

Sofia A showing stroke order

This all sounds good until you look at the rest of the alphabet. Many of the letters have one stroke that’s stronger than the rest of the lines. If I were writing the B, I would do the strong stroke first and the curved lines would be on top of it. This is the opposite of the A. So is it better to pick something and stick to it, or to follow the natural flow of the writing?

Sofia B

What about ins and outs? If I were making a particular word, I could just digitize it so that the ins and outs were in the best possible place for that particular combination of letters, but that doesn’t work for an entire font. Is it better to keep the in at the point farthest to the left and the out farthest to the right or should I keep them left and right, but move them as close to the baseline of the letter as possible?

Some of the letters in this font are meant to connect while others are not. It looks like the lower case s might overlap the preceding letter slightly if the two letters are joined.

Sofia is beautiful, showing some letters joined.assist me showing overlapping s

Fonts are more complicated than I thought.

Applique Shamrock and the word

Clipartopolis is a site where digitizers can purchase artwork. They offer free files every week, with permission to digitize and sell them. This is from a St. Patrick’s Day set they shared a few weeks ago.  It’s sized for a 4×4 hoop. The shamrock is appliqué.

You are welcome to use these files to make objects for personal use or for sale. You may not resell or distribute the embroidery files. Be sure to test first.


Dropbox may ask you to create an account or sign in, but there’s a ‘no thanks’ link that will let you proceed to the download.

If you are having trouble downloading the files, please read Downloading Files, which is listed in the menu at the top of the page. (On a mobile device, you may have to click Menu to see it.)

Categories: Misc. Free Files, Working with objects

Tags: , , ,

2 replies

  1. Looks like you have been working hard! Thank-you!


  2. I have ordered my digitizing tablet and am sitting on pins and needles til it comes. Should be here next week. Also been working on learning my digitizing software. But I have not seen anything about how to do redwork. I have made several sunbonnet sue and sam applique files though. Hope you are doing well. Debby


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