GREENSBORO, N.C. -- News, sports scores, personals ... Well, those who thought they'd seen it all on the internet can now add embroidery patterns.

Stitchmaster, based here, began offering its Stitchmaster On-Line service in March. Users can download any of 1,000 embroidery stock designs from the service, which also offers feature articles, business news and a "chat" line to converse with other users.

Users pay $995 to sign on to the service for the first year. Renewals will be offered at a reduced rate, according to Chris Williams, Stitchmaster president. The initial fee buys the user a modem, cable, operating software for both Macintosh and PC platforms and unlimited access to the service and its library of digitized embroidery stock designs. The embroidery patterns are updated frequently from the 30,000-design library.

Stitchmaster began 10 years ago digitizing embroidery patterns for other embroiderers. That business has been integrated into the on-line service, asusers can transmit custom design specifications to the company over the service. Stitchmaster then produces the digitized custom design requested for a fee.

Forty-eight accounts had signed on to the service at presstime. Most are embroidery shops who had already used Stitchmaster to digitize custom designs. The renewal fee for the on-line service has yet to be determined, but a spokesman for Stitchmaster said it will probably be about half the initial log-on fee.

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