Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Plan B or Teaching you what you already know?

This original 1950s pattern has been in my possession for a year and have been building up to trying it out for my son's girlfriend. Today I got everything ready, and discovered that half the main pattern pieces are missing so I am quite annoyed with myself for not having checked it , and with **** **** (these will be named and shamed or exonerated depending on their reaction to my e-mail) for sending it incomplete. Plan B.
Something else I have been building up to.
I don't know if a Machine Embroidery tutorial is actually necessary for any of my contacts but I have had one or two enquiries about it so here goes.
Many years ago I watched this programme on BBC, presented by a young Jan Beaney, and it opened my eyes to a lot of new techniques, including Machine embroidery

but try as I might, I just couldn't make it work.
Then I did my City and Guilds and am now in a position to tell you, in case you don't already know, how to do it.
I am assuming that you have never tried it before, so sorry if you have.
First of all, you need hoops..the more the better! Can't have enough. Like scissors.




Then you need to stretch the fabric as tightly as you can over the hoop...this one is bound with bias tape and it helps to grip the fabric.

(At this point, writing in February 2009, I would like to welcome my recent visitors from 'Hobbyshneideren' and from 'Urban Threads'. I hope you find this helpful. It would be nice to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment
And now hello to 'Whip up' visitors. Please feel free to leave a comment)

Next drop the feed dogs on your sewing machine.
It is very easy on my basic Bernina machine,to drop the feed by means of a knob on the right. I also have an elna machine and there is a sliding button at the back to do this,and another small elna has a metal plate to cover the feed dogs. You need to find out how to do it on yours.

I usually use a darning foot. You can get all sorts of darning or embroidery feet, use the one you are most comfortable with. You can do it without a foot, but the consequences can be unpleasant..yes I have sewn through the side of my finger.

Put the hoop with the fabric side downwards.

Press the lever down at the back as if you were doing ordinary sewing. This is very important for the tension.

I think when you first start there are one or two things no-one told me that are helpful.

1. Make sure both ends of the thread are on the top of the fabric. (If you don't know how to do this ask me)

2.Hold them together against the side of the hoop.

3. Always start with the needle in the fabric.Now, DON'T PANIC, just start the machine lightly with your foot pedal and gently and calmly move the fabric like so:



I usually use both hands on the hoop but as my husband is up a ladder in a castle in Wales I had to use my left hand to take the pictures.
Sorry about the quality of the video.
I've added this photo so you can see the result.


Its such a pleasant occupation to doodle with the machine needle onto fabric.





















If that fabric is water soluble you can do even nicer things, and at the end you are just left with the stitches.
This is yet another piece inspired by the Cretan Amphora from this post.



Of course you can take it all a bit too far. This Hairy Monster was once a perfectly acceptable painted and handstitched panel, but in a sudden rush of blood to the head after a talk by Alice Kettle I decided to augment it. I wasn't keen on it then and I hate it now.
But I like this little sample. Half and half. Water soluble fabric behind voile and the stitching dripping off the edge, with a few added beads.
Photographed on my kitchen table again. I think the colour goes so well with the blue.


Now, about regrets. I had so many comments last time (thank you) telling me not to have regrets, but I think regrets are good because they help you to learn don't they? And they make you realise you don't always make the right decision. Maybe its a generation thing.

And thank you for your suggestions that I should wear the ring around my neck.

I would do ..but it won't go over my head.
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