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Closest joins

Designs stitch out more efficiently when the connectors between objects are short. This also tends to reduce the number of trims in a design. The software has a Closest Join method which can be applied while digitizing and/or after editing. When activated, entry and exit points of objects are automatically placed close together while you digitize. However, closest joins are not automatically maintained when objects are moved, re-sequenced, or edited. Closest Join can be (re-)applied to selected objects or entire designs after editing.

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Connectors link objects in a design. They can be run stitches or jumps. You can use automatic settings to generate connectors, trims and tie-offs, or add them manually. If you prefer to add tie-offs and trims as you digitize, you can turn off automatic connectors altogether. See also Embroidery connections.

For a brief overview, watch the video. Click the CC button for captions. Designs, fonts and other elements used in this video may not be available in your software, depending upon purchased options.

For lots of videos, projects and ideas for using your Hatch software, visit our online Hatch Academy. (Right-click to open in a new tab.)

Use Edit Objects > Apply Closest Join to join selected objects at the closest point. Re-apply closest join after editing.

Apply closest join

When you are digitizing closed objects, the inbuilt ‘Closest Join’ method automatically calculates the closest connection between them, saving you having to think about entry and exit points. The Apply Closest Join feature allows you to (re-)apply closest join to selected objects after editing. The command is only enabled when two or more embroidery objects are selected.

The image shows a) joins as digitized, b) joins after repositioning, c) joins after reapplying closest join. The Apply Closest Join is also available from the Edit menu or by pressing <J>.

The software also allows you to manually change entry and exit points of individual objects. See also Reshape objects.


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Closest join option

The Closest Join method (the default) automatically calculates closest join between objects while digitizing. When deactivated, entry/exit points of all newly digitized objects are set manually. If you want to deactivate it for this purpose, choose Embroidery Settings from the Software Settings menu and deactivate the option on the Design tab.

When deactivated, all newly digitized objects are joined by the 'As Digitized' method. As shown in the first example below.

This means that you manually specify entry and exit points while digitizing. Generally it's good to check entry and exit points before stitching out. See also Reshape objects.


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Closest join limitations

The Apply Closest Join feature is not applicable to all objects in all circumstances. Closest Join requires the complete stitch regeneration of the selected objects – the whole object, not just connectors. Stitch regeneration has its limitations:

  • Recognized objects – i.e. opened from stitch files – may generate poor or incorrect embroidery.
  • Manual (unrecognized) objects cannot be changed by stitch regeneration. Thus Closest Join will not work properly for them.
  • Manual stitch edits to objects will be lost.
  • Manually inserted machine functions may be mistakenly regenerated on the underlay.
  • Nested objects are not supported. They will become un-nested and placed after the object in which they were originally nested.

The Closest Join technique is not as powerful as Branching for run objects. The best it can do is swap the ends of the runs whereas Branching produces a nicely-merged double-run joined in the middle. See also Embroidery connections.

Obviously, it only makes sense to apply closest join to sequential objects. Any non-sequential embroidery objects in the selection will trigger an error message.