Andrea Mayr-Stalder and Michael Aschauer raised €15,000 on Kickstarter to revamp their free embroidery software, but a few weeks later Andrea was struck by lightning. Thankfully, Andrea recovered and they’ve managed to complete all the changes.
The new version, called Whizzy Needle, has an extra category of Scratch coding blocks with a wider range of stitches, from basic running stitch to satin and tatami. And they’ve made it easier to add text and change colours.
X-ray mode let’s you see the density of stitches. This is important because sometimes a pattern looks good on a screen but has lots of overlapping stitches. If it’s too bulky for a machine to sew it would break the needle. Also, with the addition of Jump Stitch the embroidery machine is able to move the fabric around without sewing to leave space between different pattern elements.
Although Whizzy Needle was designed for embroidery Andrea says, “Our users picked it up and used it to create designs they then fed to laser cutters or plotters.” You can create patterns with Whizzy Needle and export them as SVG files to edit in graphic design software such as Inkscape and Adobe Illustrator.
The upgraded version is backwards compatible. All the retired coding blocks have been hidden rather than deleted, so any designs you’ve already created will still work. Or, if you haven’t come across this versatile free software before, there’s a tutorial in issue 15 of Hackspace Magazine.