The New Toy
So – I’m working on a quilt that I’m totally checked into and can’t wait for it to be far enough along to show you. I’ve been carrying around my drawings for this quilt since June 8, 2013. The whole time, I’ve been thinking about how to approach it. It isn’t an easy quilt. It’s minimal enough that every seam matters and accuracy is paramount. Since the details are are going to make or break it, I’ve waited until I had some thoughts about how to deal with the most difficult parts. I saw a quilt at both AQS Charlotte and AQS Chattanooga that answered the last lingering problem.
Life Everlasting from Ann Horton uses a combination of applique and embroidery in a super clever way. I suppose I’ve seen techniques like this before and knew it could be done, but this was the first time I thought I could do it too. My lingering quilt problem popped right in my head and I hardly made it home before I ordered my new embroidery machine!
I didn’t buy anything super fancy. I wanted to learn the ropes, make sure it was what I really wanted and that it did, in fact, have the potential I think it does. For the last month or so I’ve worked on lots of projects to learn how it works, what accessories are really valuable, and how much effort it requires. I’ll be taking you along for the ride in October with lots of tips and tricks and techniques I learned from pure curiosity and experimentation.
I have tinkered with a free trial of a device independent software package, Embird, and while I know there is quite a learning curve, I dont think it is outside of my skill set. I haven’t committed to the purchase yet so if you have software recommendations, I’m all ears! I’ll surely be making custom designs in the next few months. I can’t tell you how much fun I’m having! I love adding tools to my toolbox and finding new ways to create expressions.
Sew Together Bag
One of the things I’ve done is purchased a variety of professional embroidery patterns from a variety of designers. One thing I’ve learned with thread painting is that stitching order matters. There are surely techniques and thought processes that go into how these patterns stitch themselves. I literally just sit and watch it and try to think through why the designer would have made one choice over another. I do think it is going to help me figure out how to design my own for stability and professional finishes.
Take a look at one of my first projects featuring one of those embroidery designs
I used an embroidery pattern from ibroidery.com on green cotton fabric. After it was embroidered, I cut it out in the flame pattern, attached it to a Sew Together Bag, and frayed the edges. I also added my BFF’s name on the magenta fabric with the built in fonts on the machine.
I repeated the process for the back of the bag with Maleficent’s human form.
I gotta tell you guys – this might be my favorite Sew Together bag to date, and you know I’ve made a ton of them! My favorite part might be the inside. It just came together so well. There aren’t any poorly sewn sections to make excuses for and I love the way it looks. I tried to mimic Maleficent’s palette with lots of blacks, a little purple, a little green and nice pops in the pockets. It really looks like her, right?
Not bad eh? I kind of want to change my name to Jessika so I can keep it for myself!
It’s true that the embroidery machine takes off and handles business on its own. It does sometimes feel like cheating especially since I so used to free motioning my own patches and thread work; however, there is absolutely no contest between the machine’s work and my FMQ work in terms of quality. I think there is a place for both techniques and styles. I also think combining machine embroidery with other techniques opens a lot of doors. I really can’t wait to start digitizing my own patterns. I get a little giddy watching the software “mock” stitch it, I’m pretty sure I’d giggle like a school girl to watch one actually stitch!
So tell me, do you have an embroidery machine? Do you use it? Do you have full featured software? Do you use it?