Sunday, 23 January 2011

A new addiction - Free Motion Embroidery

Good evening,
I thought I'd drop by and show you all what I've been up to today.  I've been hankering to try Free Motion Embroidery.  My husband bought me a free-motion foot for Christmas and then I was promptly too ill to try it, then too busy!  Today I made the time and wow!  It's brilliant!  I was literally so excited earlier today I was bouncing around.  Before I came crashing down to earth, but we haven't got to that part of the story yet.

I used a brilliant book to help me with this technique Free and Easy Stitch Style by Poppy Treffry.  Does this count as part of my Craft Book Challenge? I didn't make one of the projects, but I followed her steps for learning the technique. 

I started with a bit of scrap fabric, just moving around with the foot:


Fun!  I then did as she suggested and cut a load of squares from an old flat sheet that had been drawn on...  I hooped up and got going.  I haven't cut any of the floating threads here, but I think you can make out a heart, a flower and an attempt at a butterfly.

I then started to work on individual motifs, outlining them twice.  The hearts are a little odd at the bottom, it took me a while to realise it was better to stop the machine then move up again to get a crisp angle rather than an arc.
More motifs.  Erm, that one to the top right of the flowers is a coffee cup and the one to the left of the hoop is supposed to be a bird!  I did find the hoop kept getting in the way of the little screw that holds the needle in ~(my excuse, sticking to it!).


The next step was to find a picture and copy it.  Oh how I laughed!  AS IF!  I can't draw at all and thought I'd never manage this....

But I did!

I have various things stuck around my craft room and on the shelf was a fairy I'd stamped and embossed for my Christmas cards a few years ago.  This one was a leftover.  I decided to draw her.  Wow!  I was SO impressed.  The photo of the stamped image didn't come out so well as it's actually in colour with black and gold embossing.  I haven't done the fairy's face, but I don't think it's a bad effort.  Even my husband was impressed.  (I don't need to tell you the stitched version is the top one, do I?!?)




Next up was shading.  That was tricky and I'm not convinced I've mastered it.  We were supposed to be experimenting with thread colours, but I just used a cheap black thread I had and a full bobbin.  At this point I changed to a bobbin which was wound with purple thread.  I don't like the way it looks.  I'll definitely have to experiment with colours later, but I was more interested in learning the technique at this stage.

This was followed by applique shapes.  I felt like I'd taken a step backwards, I could do a square a minute ago so why couldn't I do it now??





Practice, practice, practice... and some motifs in the squares...

And on to motifs!  Flowers, hearts and a cupcake.  Again, we were supposed to experiment with fabrics, but I just grabbed what I had from my scrap bag and wasn't even careful about my cutting out which is why the cake is odd.  I just wanted to master the sewing, I can manage the cutting and fabric choosing.  I also tried a bit of writing.  At this stage I had white thread and yellow in the bobbin so you can hardly see it (and Blogger refuses to turn the photo round!), but it says Cupcake and Flower on the piece to the right.  I was pleased with it!

So,enough with the practicing, let's get going!  You must have realised by now I'm a bit impatient!  I chose some lovely Moda fabrics, cut out a flower and two leaves by tracing the patterned fabric, Bondawebbed them down and sewed.  I could not be happier with the result.





 I decided to make another four of these and make them into little lavendar bags.  And this is where it all came crashing down.  At this stage, I had not touched the tension, the machine was threaded correctly, NOTHING was different from last time.  So why were the bobbin threads forming loops on the top?  I tried rethreading, cleaning out the bobbin case, altering the tension.  Nope, can't do it.
After a frustrating half hour, I gave up.  I desperately want to continue learning this technique, but this is a stumbling block I can't seem to get over.  Can anyone out there help me at all?  Or direct me to someone that can?  Honestly, I'm gutted.  I had dreams of 4 finished Christmas presents by this time.

edit: I'm not sure I made it clear about my difficulties.  I used the same thread, bobbin thread, material etc with the one above that kept messing up as I had used with the successful one - that's why I'm so stumped!  Literally nothing had changed.

11 comments:

Michelle May said...

Well you were on a really good roll with all of that until the machine decided to be naughty! Dag! You did everything I would have done to try and fix it. I would have then turned the machine off and had a glass of wine while I called it rotten names. hee,hee,hee. Don't give up though. You'll figure it out.
xx, shell

Robyn said...

Wendy, have a look here
http://craftlovers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4465&hilit=embroidery
as there are experiences others have had as well as the chit chat. It's a matter of practising and remembering (or recording) the behaviour of different threads and materials. A new learning experience.

My 1st Bambina! said...

I think you are doing great!!! And Yes... I sure think you could count this as part of your book challenge :-).
Specially like the scraps of fabric in which you drew with the thread on top... very nice and modern looking!
I don't know what to say about the troubleshooting you are experiencing since I haven't try that technique myself (do have a free hand quilting foot though).
Is the green thread the same brand as the previous ones you tried and/or as the one in the bobbin?

My 1st Bambina! said...

I think you are doing great!!! And Yes... I sure think you could count this as part of your book challenge :-).
Specially like the scraps of fabric in which you drew with the thread on top... very nice and modern looking!
I don't know what to say about the troubleshooting you are experiencing since I haven't try that technique myself (do have a free hand quilting foot though).
Is the green thread the same brand as the previous ones you tried and/or as the one in the bobbin?

Sheila said...

Glad you were enjoying it, while it lasted.I have been wanting to learn that, I need to get my things ready and give it try. I'm going to check out the book you suggest.

Sandra :) said...

I need to get my darning foot out and do some practicing - I can do it, but it makes me so very nervous that I don't WANT to do it, lol. I used to practice on cage quilts - the animals don't mind if the stitches aren't perfect!

Nancy Lee said...

Hi Wendy:
I have this book too. I haven't tried anything in it yet. My machine came with the parts needed to do this, but I keep getting scared of it. However, I know all about loopy bobbins.
I think you might have a weird spot in the bobbin. I don't know how this happens, but I sometimes take the bobbin, unwind some thread from it, an then re thread the bobbin. I can't rely on the winder on my machine. It does weird things left to it own devices. I have a Sidewinder, which is specifically designed to wind bobbins, and it always works perfectly for me.
Try taking some thread off the bobbin.

Nancy Lee said...

I forgot to mention, I love the fabrics you used.

Marilyn said...

you were progressing so well. Hopefully next time you sit at the machine it will purr beautifully and there will be no loops.

janimal said...

Oh! Wow, you really made such progress with your skills so fast! I tried free motion embroidery and my results were just awful. I'm impressed with your efforts. Good luck figuring out the bobbin issue.

Susie said...

I am fascinated by this and totally want to try it, thanks for walking us through your experience, I'm bookmarking it and will visit again, thanks!
S