Dealing with Density
The Embroidery Library has the largest exclusive collection of designs.
We've been making designs since 1998, and over the years have drawn and
digitized more than 80,000 designs.
As you can imagine, the range of styles and subject matter in the design
collection is vast. Some designs use only one color of thread; some
designs have more than 130 color changes. Some designs have less than
1000 stitches, others have more than 150,000 stitches.
As well as being known for having the largest exclusive collection of
original and unique art, Embroidery Library is also known for having
designs with the most realistic detail. Many of our floral and wildlife
designs are nearly photorealistic, and we take care in all steps of the
creation process to get every detail exactly right.
When working with complex designs that have a high stitch count, you may
be concerned about density. Density is generally considered to be the
amount of stitches in a given space. Realistic designs that have
highlighting, shading, and blending, will have a higher stitch density
than other designs.
Take a look at a couple of examples.
This Bald Eagle design is
considered "realistic." Note the colors used in the
feathers; there are several shades of brown. This shading
mimics the effect of sun and shadows on the eagle.
Note the smooth, sleek feathers. These are composed of satin
stitches. When working with designs that have satin
stitches, you'll notice more stitches, or "density." It
takes more satin stitches to cover an area of fabric than
other types of stitches. This is considered a "complex"
Also, look at the fine detail in the eye.
The pupil is just a few stitches, but necessary in order to give "life"
to the bird. And, light grey is used on the white feathers, and in the
stripes of the flag, to give depth and dimension.
All of these things are necessary in order to get an excellent-quality
Compare the above design with this eagle, in a very different style.
This damask eagle has less
density than the above. It's stylized, not realistic, so
does not require the highlighting, blending, and shading
that the above design requires. And, there is more negative
space (open areas) in the design. This is considered a
Next, consider another example -- daisies.
This daisy design, called
"Blooms in a Boot," has shading primarily on the boot. Note
the different shades of brown that are used to demonstrate
that the boot is old and weathered.
The flowers are composed of satin stitches (again, those
will have higher density), and there's teeny-tiny detail in
the wings of the butterfly. This is considered a "complex"
Compare the above example
with this design, a stylized or simple daisy. There is no
highlighting, or color-on-color work here. There are no
The fills are solid, but simple. Satin stitches are delicate
around the petals, and the border. This is considered a
When working with complex, dense designs,
consider the following:
**Use a sturdy fabric. Most designs can be stitched on any type of
fabric, as long
as you use the proper stabilizer, but for best results with complex,
use a sturdy low-stretch or no-stretch fabric.
**Use cutaway stabilizer. Complex designs have a lot of stitches, and if
tear-away stabilizer, the needle perforations will disintegrate the
through embroidering, leaving nothing behind to support the fabric.
**Use a sharp needle (not an embroidery needle). Complex designs often
of thread colors. A small, sharp needle will do a great job when your
stitching one color over another.
**Hoop the fabric with the stabilizer, tightly. Using a spray adhesive
and stabilizer works very well to keep a tight bond. Also, review these
Hooping tips -- especially the one about using rubberized shelf
liner to get an
**Do not resize the design. Resizing designs on a machine or with an
editing program can cause other problems, such as altered fills, gapping,
Many embroiderers are drawn to complex
designs because of their intricacy and beauty. And, many embroiderers
enjoy spending a week or longer on one project, because of the rewarding
feeling that comes from tackling something so advanced.
Other embroiderers prefer quick, fast, and simple designs. They enjoy
completing many different projects in a short time, and like the feeling
of diversity and variety.
Because Embroidery Library has more than 80,000 designs to choose from,
we have the variety to please and satisfy everyone!
If you enjoy working with complex designs, follow the above tips, and
contact us with any questions before, during, or after your project.
If you enjoy working with simpler designs, choose simpler ones as you
browse the website. We know you'll find many, many things that are
suitable to your taste!
Some embroiderers use editing software to remove stitches, or increase
the size of the design while keeping the stitch count the same.
Embroidery Library does not put any restrictions on editing -- you are
free to edit designs as you wish. However, we do not recommend removing
stitches or increasing the size of the design, as the quality of the
design can suffer greatly.
If you have problems when stitching a complex design, please send an email to
**Your order number
**Name of the design
**A description of the problem
**Type of fabric (if applicable) and stabilizer that you are using
Include all of the above information.