A pocket-depth, bite-size review of Stitch Era Universal !
I promised, so here it is - but bear in mind, I've barely scratched the surface of what Stitch Era can do. I haven't worked half the tutorials, either video or PDF, and there's whole areas I haven't explored yet. Not to mention the confusion and frustration about having to pay a rather high premium for 'free' software. But I owe it to everyone here to write up what I've discovered, so you can better decide if having this (wonderful, easy) program is worth the price.
If I had to sum up the program, it'd be with one word : Incredible. I still can't believe I didn't pay over a hundred bucks for this. If I had to sum up what I think of their distribution channel, it'd be with another word I don't wanna use here, much less on a Sunday. So we move on.
The Cd-rom comes wrapped in a piece of paper with the supposed installation directions on it, inside a cardboard envelope. In the States, it's shipped with PayPal shipping via US Postal Service first class mail. The distributor only ships on Saturdays, no matter when you order. I got mine on Thursday (OH to OK), and it may have arrived by Wednesday, but the post office said the mail was missent. The distributor said she had another shipment get the same message. But it arrived safe and sound and unscratched.
I say the installation directions were supposed - not one of the 'automatic' functions worked, I had to manually go in and start it. When I finally got to the 'click here to finish' window, I sat around for ten minutes, then went in m'self and found the boot part of the program, and put in a Windows Desktop icon m'self, too. Thought you should be aware.
But it worked fine, and while it takes a while to boot up on my system (I meet all the minimum system configs, but not all the recommended ones), it works faithfully. I've only had one lockup, and that was due to my system having too much running, not the program. It uses ads to subsidize on the right quarter of the working window, but three of the four are for Sierra, the program's manufacturer. They're very inobtrusive, but require a permanent internet connection, like cable or DSL.
The main window opens with four tutorials that use WinExplorer to run Adobe Reader. And more 'helpful sites' i.e., ads. The first 'tute' is a basic 'how to use lettering' one, and it's thorough and easy. You may wanna have a notebook handy - I've taken a few pages of notes for later. If you can use it, you can use *any* True Type font on your computer... and there are thousands of free downloadable ones. They, and a hefty amount of provided fonts, are available without you doing a thing. All my fonts installed automatically. Here's a stitch-out of my name, using an old Star Wars knockoff font I've had since '03 - As you can see, it did pretty well ! Forgive the slight puckering, I was excited and didn't hoop the slippery polyester scrap very well. There's many shapes there for your text to follow, and you can design your own 'ribbon' for your letters to flow on.
The second 'tute' is one on Stitch Editing, and I played with removing stitches from designs for a while, and adding some. There's also numerous duplication and repeat functions, like circles and kaleidoscope functions. Didn't stitch out any, but it was fun to play with.
The last thing I've done is auto-digitizing. SEU makes it very simple. If you have an image in .bmp, you can open it in SEU, 'vectorize' it, then hit one more button, the 'Art to Stitch' and you have a fully-done embroidery design, ready to go. You can change colors or add them by using the Edit Objects functions - choose 'Select Object', click on the area you wanna change, then select a new color.
Even better, if you change the color *before* you bring it to SEU, it'll assign it a stop automatically. I'd altered the right curls' color in PaintShopPro, when it was still a .bmp, so in this stitch-out, there was a stop for 'em, so they wouldn't blend in with the bulk of the design. Very nice ! You can see the original free vector graphic I used to begin with. It's from http://garcya.us/blog/category/vector-graphics/ , and I've asked if I can share the design file here. Just waiting for a reply back. It lost a lot of detail, sure, but there's a 'digitize by hand' function I've not begun to explore yet. Exported it as a .pes, neat as a pin, to my design folder on the ole hard drive. Ambassador saw it, no problem, and it has all the usual machine embroidery extensions -.hus, .art, .dst, etc.
Honestly, just being able to use my True Type fonts to stitch with is worth the $9. to $15. asked for Stitch Era Universal. But being able to create my own stuff -admittedly simplified, but that took all of five minutes - is priceless. It's nowhere near as hard to use as Explorations Sizer. I'd put it at about PaintShopPro, there's a learning curve, but most stuff's intuitive, and you can noodle around and have fun with it.
So, while I still have much to learn, I know that SEU has much, soo very much, to offer for not a lot of cash. At least if you're in the States. I hate how overseas is always such a tangle...
I give SEU a few hundred stars for ease of use, dependable results, and gentling the learning curve as much as they possibly can. I'd drop off a few for current distribution, but it is still a new program. Maybe Hobby Lobby or JoAnn's will notice and pick up a distributorship soon ! In the meanwhile, if you're curious about digitizing or being able to word out whatever *you* want, but don't wanna lay out a couple hundred bucks, consider Stitch Era Universal. You can always spend more later (goss knows there's plenty of ads for Stitch Era Liberty on this thing !).
Dorrie, heading back to SEU for another tutorial. Hope this helped ! I'll answer any questions I can.
Last edited by DorrieBelle; August 2nd, 2009 at 05:36 PM.
Reason: I keep remembering stuff I shoulda added to this !
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Thanks for the input, it doesn't sound like something I'd use. I don't like having to be on the internet to use it.
Thanks, Dorrie. My copy will come while I'm gone. I will be anxious to get it loaded and see what all it can do. I'm hoping it will compliment my HV 3D Studio.
Never give up, never surrender.
Thanks Dorrie! I also love this program! Havent gotten around to digitizing yet. Dont know when I will as that wasnt really the bread and butter of why I wanted it. I wanted something I could do names and words withoutout having to line up each individual letter and this does the job beautifully! In case you missed it in the other thread, I posted a pic of my name in cross stitch. I did it with a ttf called embroidery Pretty cool! I did run into a couple of my ttf's that gave me an error message but with as many fonts as I have I can live with not being able to use a few. All in all without even doing anything other than text Im in love with this program
Next paycheck, I'm buying this! Sounds great.
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This sounds great where can I buy this at? It would be a nice addition to my basic embird. I wanted the font engine with it but can't afford it right now. If this works then I wouldn't have to spend all that money.
you made it sound so good. BUT i am on dial-up, so i don't think it would work on my comp, as i don't have a dedicated line. And i had my credit card out and all ready to go... lol.
Heres are the links Dorrie posted in another thread
Originally Posted by ccbear66
http://www.freesierrasoftware.com/st..._universal.asp - Sierra site
http://www.lorileedesigns.com/SEU.html -LoriLee Designs, the sole US provider
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiaXFluYTGs - Intro Stitch Era video
Oh, d#%*! Why didn't I wait a bit longer?
I wonder if there is any way I can cancel my order?
Never give up, never surrender.
It'd be great if he does, CutiePie - we need another distributor, one that's not on a power trip ! Here's hoping - and thanks for bringing SEU to his attention. It's a great program, I just hate to see my friends taken advantage of by...her.
Originally Posted by Cutiepie
(ahem) I looked up SEU on Google, and this site is the fourth link ! Folk over at SewForum had similar questions, so I posted a link to this review over there, just so ya know. Maybe we'll get some new friends from there, and hopefully, lots of new design set orders, too !
They don't get my usual non-sequitur sign-off, though - that's just for ya'll.
Thanks again, CutiePie, for all you do for us.
Dorrie, ready to hit the shower - it won't do to be 'weekend dirty' when I go grocery shopping !
Last edited by DorrieBelle; August 3rd, 2009 at 12:16 PM.
Way to go, Dorrie! (According to USPS tracking info, my copy should arrive in today's mail.)
Originally Posted by DorrieBelle
Never give up, never surrender.
Patience usually isn't one of my virtues - but I'll give it a shot !!
I've been interested in digitizing. This sounds good but I have dial-up. Though I can go to the library, which has free wifi. I wonder if it would work then? And I wonder, do you still keep the rights of any designs you do. I need to look into it more.
I'm having trouble getting Stitch Era Universal figured out...It's been very frustrating. I watched the YouTube video but had trouble seeing what buttons were being clicked. I tried bringing up one of the guides and it wouldn't come up (it said I needed Adobe Reader, which I have!) I will try downloading the new version of Adobe Reader and see if that will work (my version is older). I wish there was a print manual. I didn't have this much trouble figuring out PE Design.
Stitch Era Univ - adobe reader problem and review
I, too, can't see to make it understand that I have the latest update of Adobe Reader and it should read them. I've checked configurations and settings and haven't been able to use this part of the program... but...
So far, I have been really happy with the use of SEU. My daughter who is graphic designer sent me a vectorized Illustrator file and I digitized it easily. I love being able to add the lettering on so easily, too. I know I will get a LOT of use out of SEU. I'd love to upgrade someday, but can't justify the expense right now.
If anyone finds out how to make SEU realize you have Adobe Reader, please let me know! thanks
Baby Lock Ellure
Looks very interesting. Thanks for taking the time to review it for us. Will have to think about it (aka, wait till money comes in, LOL)
brenda in MI
Free Sierra Software
Sounds great, I've been waiting for someone to get the cd and find out what it's all about.
Question, with Sierra, can you resize existing designs that you might have in a file on your pc. and can you change the format: say from .dst to .pes ?
I'm using a trial version of embird 2008, but I'm unhappy that I can't trial other options ie: fonts, studio, etc. (for free) with the free trial.
take care, thanks for sharing, deb (derusso)
Found out how to get the manual to load! Click on the little question mark in the upper right-hand corner.
Stitch Era Universal WILL work with dial-up! I just got through trying it out on my dial-up connection...it is very slow to load, took about five minutes or so for the program to load, but once loaded, went at a decent speed.
I'm still having trouble getting it figured out, though...got to keep working on that!