StitchBuddy-QL

StitchBuddy v2.5.3 released

I just released a minor update of StitchBuddy (v2.5.3) fixing an issue when importing some rare PES designs, and preparing StitchBuddy for OS X 10.9 "Mavericks" by an internal change of the stitch simulator. Although the latter modification might impact the simulator's performance, I am confident it will not effect the user's experience.

New releases of the iOS apps were sent for Apple's review in parallel, incorporating Facebook / Twitter integration and minor bug fixes.

New versions ahead

During my vacation a user reported that some few PES files were not shown correctly by StitchBuddy. With the given example file I could easily reproduce the error, and today I was able to identify and fix the problem. Interesting enough: Some other embroidery programs have the same issue.

The bug fix still needs some thorough testing, but I expect minor updates of all (!) StitchBuddy products in the next weeks. The new version will also include a fix to support OS X 10.9 "Maverick", and Facebook / Twitter support for iOS ... and the mentioned limitation to iOS 6.0 (and above).

Surfing the first wave

mavericks_ios7
On Monday Apple has introduced the next versions of OS X and iOS at its Word Wide Developer Conference. While OS X 10.9 "Mavericks" (a surfing location in California) is expected to come with only little changes for the end user, iOS 7 features a complete redesign of the user interface.

The WWDC keynote made me curious enough to download and install very first versions of both operating systems, previews only available to registered developers: Although I was able to identify minor issues with StitchBuddy's Quick Look plugin and the stitch simulator on OS X 10.9, these might be caused by the very early state of Apple's preview. I will check again at a later more stable state, and I am confident to resolve any possible problem. iOS 7 is currently only available for the iPhone, so I checked StitchBuddy View, and found it working, yet with an unfamiliar appearance.

This was only a very first glance, both OS are still subjects to change in the next months, but it was fun surfing the first wave and finding my apps working well…

Update (2013/07/12): Apple has fixed the mentioned Quick Look issue with Mavericks 3rd Developer Preview (I filed a bug report), and I figured out how to fix the Stitch Simulator. I'll incorporate this minor change in the next update, and everything will be fine for the next OS X version.

Gaps and Jumps

A user reported gaps in her designs after importing PES / PEC files and saving them with StitchBuddy. It turned out that StitchBuddy was too strict when identifying regular stitches: Some were interpreted as jump stitches, resulting in gaps after optimizing the design when saving…

This bug existed since the early days, but now it is corrected, and I just released StitchBuddy v2.5.1. While Mac users can immediately download from the web site, the iOS versions of StitchBuddy View and -HD will take some more days until they are approved by Apple.

Update (2013/03/06): StitchBuddy HD v2.5.1 was approved today.

Mac OS X 10.5.x crash corrected

A user reported StitchBuddy to crash on Mac OS X 10.5.8, so this morning I took an old Leopard system back to work and started StitchBuddy v2.4.5 and ... it crashed. It turns out that Apple had changed some internal handling when building programs, something I wasn't aware of. As a matter of fact I hadn't tested StitchBuddy's last release with this OS X version, which last update is about 3.5 years old: Shame on me.

Fortunately a fix was easy to apply, and StitchBuddy v2.4.6 is ready for download.

JPX / WonderFil support added

As I announced on Facebook yesterday, StitchBuddy v2.4.5 is just released for both, Mac and iPad as a free update. In addition to some minor enhancements the new version is able to read Janome JPX design files, and adds WonderFil Splendor to the supported thread charts. Customers asked for both features, and I'm happy I could provide them.

Unfortunately the support for JPX files is not as smooth as I wanted it to be: As a matter of fact the file extension ".jpx" is already reserved by another file type: JPEG 2000, a graphic file, so Janome made a bad decision using the same extension for their embroidery designs. Implications for StitchBuddy can be found on the related support pages (Mac, iOS).

Feel free to download the new version for your Mac here, or use the App Store update function on your iPad.

How to use Janome JPX Files

I'm currently looking into Janome's JPX embroidery format: extracting stitches / threads seems quite easy, but I'm unsure about the image background which is used to layer JPX designs with graphics. Unfortunately I don't have any Janome software and therefore no experiences with this feature on my own. @Horizon users: How are you using the new file format? Feel free to comment on StitchBuddy's Facebook page.

More Thread Charts

Apple has just approved a new version of StitchBuddy HD, and I have updated the Mac version, too: Version 2.4.4 is now available for both platforms and supports Coats Rayon and Trilobal thread charts. In addition the iPad app has a feature to highlight a selected thread, which makes it easier to identify where a specific color was used in a design:

STBHDColorHilight

Update StitchBuddy for free on both, your Mac and your iPad... either in the App Store or from the download page.

Watch the Mountain Lion!

Today I enlisted in Apple's Mac Developer program to support the "Gatekeeper" security feature in OS X 10.8 "Mountain Lion": Unfortunately my iOS certificate was not sufficient to sign StitchBuddy for Mac.

I just uploaded a very, very, very minor release of the OS X app and its plugins: StitchBuddy v2.4.3 is now completely code-signed to comply with Gatekeeper of OS X 10.8 "Mountain Lion". In addition I tested all functions of StitchBuddy and the Quick Look / Spotlight plugins with the upcoming operating system, and everything is working flawless.

Some bugfixes

Some issues required an immediate bugfix, especially the first two:
  • StitchBuddy crashed on Mac OS X 10.5.x when opening any design. This was caused by using an internal function available since Mac OS X 10.6 (aka "Snow Leopard"), only.
  • By eliminating the title bar of the delay screen, it was impossible to enter a license code.
  • When the "Stitch Simulator" was closed after forwarding, but without running the simulation, the display showed an unfinished design.
All these issues were fixed with StitchBuddy 2.3.1, which can be downloaded here.

Simulator, Full-Screen, Resume

Today I released the first version with features especially for users of OS X 10.7 "Lion":
  • Full-Screen allows you to edit embroideries without any disturbance from the dock or the menu bar, fully integrated with Mission Control
  • Resume (aka "Windows Restoration"), prevents the status of open windows incl. zoom level, scroll position, selections / selection mode even if you close and relaunch StitchBuddy
Do you miss "Autosave" or "Versions"? In my opinion Apple's implementation of a (basically) good idea is quite poor, and Versions and the locking mechanism will need much more refinement, before users will feel confident about it. To avoid file modifications being accidentally saved by StitchBuddy users, I didn't implement Auto-Saving.

An additional new feature for all users is the Stitch Simulator: This "Virtual Embroidery Machine" gives you a perfect impression how a design will stitch out in reality: The stitching process is drawn step by step, showing underlays, jumps, the color sequence, and all details. You can abort or pause a stitch out, adjust its speed, and jump to any position. StitchBuddy stays completely operational, so you can change zoom levels, view options, even select stitches during the animation. This function is extremely helpful to examine designs before stitching, and just for the fun of it I've added an appropriate sound effect (actually it's my wife's Janome MC350E).

StitchBuddy v2.3 is a free update for all registered users. New users are encouraged to download and test the full-featured trial version before purchasing a permanent license for USD 49.95 / EUR 39.95.

Coexistence with others

A few customers were reporting that StitchBuddy wouldn't open embroidery files it claims to handle: The designs were not selectable in the "Open" window (greyed out), and even the Finder refused to open these files with StitchBuddy.

It turned out these customers were using other Mac embroidery software in parallel, and this software assigned file types to embroidery designs, StitchBuddy didn't know. For some reason this issue wasn't effecting all users of such a software combination, but only a minority; I wasn't able to reproduce it myself.

Fortunately this behaviour could be fixed by a small configuration change in StitchBuddy. Therefore a minor release v2.2.3 is available for download, and is still compatible with the PowerPC architecture (despite my former posting). But this version is expected to be the last one…

Bye bye, PowerPC...

With OS X 10.7 (aka "Lion") Apple has completely dropped support for Macs with PowerPC processors: Five years after the transition of all desktops / laptops to Intel processors, and shipping the last model with a PowerPC, it is no longer possible to run PPC applications on the current OS. Additionally there is no (officially supported) way for developing PPC applications under Lion.

After long considerations I decided to move forward, and StitchBuddy v.2.2.2 is the last "Universal" application, supporting both, the Intel and PPC architecture: Future versions with additional features will require an Intel processor, but StitchBuddy v2.2.2 will remain available for download.

So you might have noticed: StitchBuddy's summer break has ended, and I'm eager to implement some cool new things, finally with Lion and a new development environment ("Xcode 4").

Janome Memory Craft 12000

I just released a minor update of StitchBuddy and both plugins: Janome has introduced their new "top-of-the-line" embroidery machine, the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 12000, and it features a couple of new hoops:

StitchBuddy v2.2.2 is able to write JEF embroidery designs up to the size of 230 x 300 mm, and its USB export function supports the MC 12000 as well. Look at the version history for some details.

And again: This update is a free download for all registered users, and can be evaluated by others with all features before purchasing a license.

Lion fully supported

Today I published StitchBuddy v2.2.1 as a bugfix release. It mainly addresses two problems with OS X 10.7 (aka "Lion"): As mentioned in the previous article Apple decided to change the background color of Quick Look plugins to a solid white, so now StitchBuddy-QL displays black text when used under Lion. As a second issue toolbar icons were not displayed correctly after a printing operation was canceled.

Additional I fixed some minor bugs unrelated to Lion, more details can be found in the version history. Unfortunately one of them prevents the update check of StitchBuddy to notify about this minor release...

StitchBuddy v2.2.1 is a free download for all registered users, and can be evaluated by others with all features before purchasing a license

Roar!

Lion
I'm happy to announce that StitchBuddy v2.2 is compatible with Apple's brand-new OS X 10.7 aka "Lion".

There's one small issue when viewing embroidery files with the Quick Look plugin: As Lion uses a white background, the white text (thread names, etc.) is unreadable. I will fix this problem with a minor release the next days.

Another problem unrelated to Lion was reported by a user, and will be fixed as well: StitchBuddy crashes after entering too small or too large zoom factors manually. Thanks, Gregor!

StitchBuddy v2.2 writes PES files

For over two years many users asked me to support writing of PES embroideries, a file format used by Brother, Baby Lock, and Bernina. A long time I wasn't able to offer this feature, but finally I was able to decrypt PES version 1.0 embroideries, and now a new release of StitchBuddy is released with write support for this file format. Major new features are:
  • write support of Brother / Baby Lock / Bernina PES v1.0 designs
  • read and write support of Brother PEC designs
  • three new thread charts: Ackermann Isacord, Floriani Polyester, Fufu Rayon
  • some minor bug fixes and enhancements (look at the versions history for more details)

StitchBuddy v2.2 is a free update for all registered users. New users are encouraged to download and test the full-featured trial version before purchasing a permanent license for USD 49.95 / EUR 39.95.

3D View enhanced, bugs fixed

I decided to release a minor update of StitchBuddy and both plugins as a specific error should be fixed as soon as possible: Under very rare conditions a JEF file could be corrupted, and wasn't recognized by Janome embroidery machines, anymore. This issue occurred only if a color change happened to be a jump stitch, too, a possible combination introduced with Janome Designer 3.0N.

Together with this bug fix StitchBuddy v2.1.2 includes some minor enhancements, my favorite is the improved 3D view I mentioned earlier:

  • 3D effects improved (using gradients): Much better visualization at higher zoom levels
  • Jump stitches are ignored when marking the first stitch; until now it was always at (0, 0)
  • JEF export corrected: Files were corrupted if a color change happened to be a jump stitch (rare situation with Janome Digitizer 3.0N)
  • Alignment of PES files corrected: Offsets to the design's origin were ignored
  • Export function supports devices with a smaller capacity (max. 16 MB), formatted with MS-DOS (FAT12)

As you might have guessed StitchBuddy v2.1.2 is a free update for all registered users, and can be purchased for USD 49.95 / EUR 39.95.

Version 2.1.1 fixes PES bug

Sometimes life's funny! A few days ago I stumbled over a long-time error in StitchBuddy reading PES files: Under certain conditions regular stitches were interpreted as jumps / link stitches. While viewing an unmodified design, these stitches were still shown as dashed lines (if the display option "View" - "Design" - "Jumps" is checked), but when modifying / saving a design, the jump stitches were combined automatically, leading to holes in the design. As a blessing in disguise StitchBuddy still doesn't save PES files, so the original embroideries were never in danger.

Changing a single line of code fixed this bug, and as no user seemed to be effected by the error for two years, I decided to incorporate it with upcoming enhancements into the next release.

Yesterday a user reported this issue, so I changed my mind and released StitchBuddy v2.1.1 today, which also includes some minor corrections (details can be found in the version history).

Eye Candy

From the first days of StitchBuddy I was looking for a way to make the look of displayed embroideries more realistic. Users should get an impression about the stitches, their directions and layers, with the drawing still fast enough to allow modifications. I don't like static 3D previews without any user interaction.

I faked a 3D display by drawing a black outline around each stitch, and an additional white one in its center: Good enough for overviews, but pretty rough at higher zoom levels. The last days I evaluated several other methods, looking for a faster display performance and a better look, and I succeeded. Here's a comparison between the current and the new approach:

gradients

With the next release StitchBuddy will use gradients to simulate 3D stitches, and as you can see the effect is quite impressive, with even a (slightly) faster performance.

StitchBuddy v2.1 released

I decided not to wait for more feature enhancements before releasing a new version of StitchBuddy: On one hand I'd like to spend the next days with my family celebrating Christmas, on the other hand I want you to benefit from new developments as soon as possible.

Feel free to download version 2.1 of the application and both plugins including the following new features:

  • Support for different measurement units (millimeters, inches with decimals, inches with fractions)
  • Auto conversion of thread charts
  • Selected stitches can be moved by Drag'n'Drop
  • New function "Measure" to measure a distance in a design
  • Designs can be copied as images or text by Drag'n'Drop, even to Mac OS X Finder (creating JPEG files)

Starting today StitchBuddy and both plugins will share the same version number: As all modules are based on the same core functions, any modification will lead to new releases anyway. The same version number will avoid unnecessary confusions.

StitchBuddy v2.1 is a free update for all registered users and can be purchased for USD 49.95 / EUR 39.95.

Support of more PES formats

I just released a minor update of StitchBuddy and both plugins, because a user stumbled over PES files that couldn't be opened. Actually she found freebie designs of version 5.5, 5.6, 7.1, and 8.0 at Babylock's website. Although I don't know, what is changed in detail, the part of a PES file StitchBuddy uses to read designs isn't modified. So more PES formats could be supported by changing a single line of code.

StitchBuddy v2.0.2 is a free update for registered users and as always StitchBuddy-QL / -MD v1.4.2 can be downloaded for free.

StitchBuddy reviewed by Jim Stutsman

Some of you might know Jim Stutsman, Janome guru and owner of "The Sewing Room" in Frisco, Texas. Jim is one of my first customers and during the last year we discussed a lot of topics related to machine embroidery, especially involving Macs and Janome embroidery machines. A lot of his suggestions found their way into StitchBuddy and he was an early beta tester of version 2.0.

These days Jim wrote a review in his blog "Online Sewing" and I'm really proud about his conclusion: "If you only work with purchased designs, then StitchBuddy is all you need for the Mac. It's the single best tool I've ever found for working with Janome embroidery designs, and that includes all of the ones available for the PC". Thank you, Jim!

More hoops and "any color"

I just released a minor update of StitchBuddy and both plugins:
  • Now owners of Janome's MB-4 can select the standard hoop M1 (I just missed it for some reason) and the new AcuFil Square Quilting Hoop (ASQ) was added.
  • JEF designs with the "any color" thread code (like some of Janome's quilting designs) are supported.
  • Some minor adjustments were made to improve the usability when switching between color modifications and selection modes.
StitchBuddy v2.0.1 is a free update for registered users and as always StitchBuddy-QL / -MD v1.4.1 can be downloaded for free.

StitchBuddy 2.0

Happy birthday, StitchBuddy, you’ve grown up!

After four months of serious coding and one year after its first release, a major update of StitchBuddy is released. I won’t summarize all changes in this blog entry (some more details can be found in the version history), but now StitchBuddy has become a full-featured embroidery editor: You can select parts of a design and move, resize, rotate, flip and delete them. All modifications can be undone, real-size templates can be printed and a lot more functions were added. Just look at the feature page for more information. StitchBuddy-QL and StitchBuddy-MD were updated to support new thread charts and hoops.

To reflect these major changes this web site was completely redesigned, featuring a blog, some YouTube videos and a detailed FAQ section to answer all product-related questions.

StitchBuddy v2.0 is a free update for all registered users and can be purchased for USD 49.95 / EUR 39.95.

More Pfaff formats

After the last feature update I focused on file formats in the last weeks. Now all StitchBuddy components read Pfaff’s KSM, PCS, PCQ and PCD files, and PCS embroideries can also be written. While KSM is once again an industrial format without color information, PCQ and PCD are used for small hoopless embroideries, e. g. at a hemline. I’ve learned that there are different PCD formats, text-based and binary ones, and StitchBuddy can read the binary type, only.

Thread charts and VP3

The first (free) update of StitchBuddy changes the handling of thread colors: The color picker of Mac OS X is used to select colors (it was just a list of items before), and I updated the internal representation of colors: It’s possible to change the thread charts of a design, and even EXP/DST files can be colorized. In addition designs can be rotated by any angle,q and Pfaff’s VP3 embroidery format can be read, now.

Both plugins are updated as well to support the new thread colors and VP3 embroideries.

SEW, DST and EXP supported

I found some descriptions of additional embroidery formats on the web: Janome’s SEW, which is a simplified JEF format (actually its predecessor), Melco’s EXP and Tajima’s DST: Both are mainly used for industrial embroidery machines and don’t hold any color information.

Both plugins (StitchBuddy-QL and StitchBuddy-MD) are updated to read this formats.

StitchBuddy-QL / -MD released

I rewrote all code to support more file formats and enable future enhancements, now it’s a kind of embroidery framework I’ll use for upcoming applications. The first steps are releases of StitchBuddy-QL and StitchBuddy-MD to preview PES and JEF embroidery files in the Finder and search for them with Spotlight.

I registered the domain stitchbuddy.de and created a small product website based on Apple’s iWeb, featuring some descriptions, FAQs, and screenshots. Both plugins can be downloaded from this site and used for free.

The developments of JEFview and PESviewQL are discontinued.