As mentioned in a previous post, several years ago I purchased a Cameo Silhouette (or Silhouette Cameo…I can never get that right) from Woot.com and had no idea what to do with it. It was a deal that was too good to pass up at the time and I figured I’d use it one day. Actually I forgot about it and it sat in a box for almost two years before it came to me that I could use it to cut out fabric applique pieces for quilts. Once I had that in my head I tried and tried to work with it but to be honest, the learning curve on the software for that machine was too steep. I ended up selling it.
On a Facebook page for Machine Embroidery Help I asked the question, “What can I use to cut out fabric applique pieces from a printed pattern, and then turn those images into machine embroidery files to applique to a quilt block?” The responses were numerous but one lady said, “Use a Brother Scan-N-Cut and Brother Simply Applique software”. The software is designed to be a companion to the cutting machine. Bingo. I was on a mission to figure out how that might work.
November 7th, I purchased a Brother Scan-N-Cut 650W from Allbrands.com. Today is Cyber Monday – check them out! They are a major retailer of all-things-sewing here in the southern US. They are headquartered out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and just recently bought the Creative Sewing Center in nearby San Antonio where I went to a sewing class with Angela Wolf on Nov 17. I’ll blog that amazing experience in another post. I called the Allbrands 800 number for sales and purchased the machine and the software over the phone. I purchased a “seminar” model so I saved quite a bit from the regular retail price. I’ve never been too proud for a floor model. 🙂
The machine arrived in no time and I got everything all set up. The only thing missing was the Wireless Activation Card which is included with the 650W model but not the 350 in case you are considering a purchase. Go big. Anyway, I called Allbrands the next business day and they sent a new Wireless Activation Card to me right away. The wireless card is key because it’s what connects the machine to the Brother ScanNCut Canvas cloud that allows you to upload scanned image files directly from the machine. The Canvas cloud allows you to save those files into a format that can be read by the Simply Applique software to turn that file into a machine embroidery file. The Canvas cloud does a ton of other creative stuff too but I haven’t explored all that yet. Brother has all this locked down pretty tight so you can’t go around scanning in proprietary images and embroidering them for profit. “Cloud” means that you don’t have the powerful Canvas software locally on your own computer. You do all editing online. Here’s how it works. I made this graphic to show you how it all works. At least I think this is how it works.
So…as I attempted to get the Canvas cloud to recognize the machine, I was never prompted to put in the 16-digit PIN on the new wireless card to associate the machine with my account in the cloud. I ended up having to call Brother USA to see if they could disassociate the previous PIN used in the seminar demo so I would use my own PIN. They were very nice and sent the trouble ticket up the chain and said they’d call me back.
The very next day, I received an email from the president of Allbrands.com, Mr. John Douthat (yeah right, like HE actually sent the email to me LOL) and it contained a survey asking about my satisfaction with my purchase. I was nearly 3 weeks into this now with no direct connectivity yet to the SNC Canvas so my patience was dwindling. I responded to the survey and in the comment box I wrote my story. Well you won’t BELIEVE what happened! About two hours after I hit “Send” my phone rang and it was a nice lady from Allbrands.com. She told me that they were sending me another machine and a return shipping label for the other one. Wow! And in my email Inbox was an email from none other than Mr. Douthat himself instructing this lady to send me another machine. I was cc’d on his email to her. Now HOW NICE IS THAT??
The new machine arrived this weekend and it connected to the Canvas cloud lickety-split. Allbrands.com also tossed in a couple of other accessories like a pen holder (retail $15.99), a roll of high tack fabric support sheets (retail $19.99), and a Brother Scanning Mat (retail $22.99). I couldn’t be happier! Honestly, in this day and age, customer service like that is hard to find. Maybe it’s just Southern Hospitality but I’ll continue to shop from them and sing their praises. If you are ever considering an online purchase, please think of them first.
Here’s my first go at cutting out some dinosaurs. They turned out great. I haven’t had time yet to play with the download part back into Simply Applique and the subsequent stitching onto the blocks in my embroidery machine. I’ll be tackling that this week.
My goal is to fully automate applique quilts. I’m loving this adventure!