I’ve always wanted to have actually-embroidered QRCodes on my p8tches, but commercial embroiderers laugh me off the phone once they learn that each unit has a UNIQUE code. The overhead involved in setting up a design for embroidery is not trivial, and it takes time to stitch each design (commercial embroiderers use fifty-head machines, making fifty of the same thing at once.)
Kate and I went to the Lancaster Quilt Show today, and I stumbled on the booth that sells home embroidery machines (the ones you usually use to make Tigger baby blankets, or whatever.) They also have the digitizing software, which I was very interested to see.
The fellow at the Brubaker’s Sewing booth was REALLY awesome and helpful — he showed me how the digitizing software works It’s kind of a hybrid of Illustrator, PaintShop Pro, and, um… embroidery; there are lots of special commands, like "rotate area fill stitch direction" that don’t have an analogue in other software that I’ve seen.
He also showed me the machines, which as you might expect, are essentially big robotic printers.
Then, he exported it as a .dst file, put it on a thumb drive, and fed it to the machine. The machine dutifully stitched away, until, 19 minutes later, the finished QRcode had been stitched into the muslin.
It was really cool. Now I TOTALLY understand why an embroiderer can’t possibly do a run of 100 p8tches, each with a unique QRCode, and charge me less than an arm and a leg.