July 23, 2010
The Avid Embroiderer
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Maybe it is my age, or maybe it is just because things change, but so often, I think of things I could have added to previous blogs.
As you are aware, my blogs are all my personal experiences that I share with you. I appreciate it when someone comments and adds their suggestion, knowledge or idea to my blog. It gives us all an opportunity to try new things and share expertise at all levels. I recall the story of Edison, the inventor of the electric light bulb who gave the issue his own viewpoint, and what had been an unsolvable issue a product. I am sure that after that event, others came along with new and innovative changes and enhancements. Evolution is not limited to humans.
So, let's get started.
- My very last blog was about a way to hoop things that you want to be centered or placed at a certain spot. I noted that I used two sheets of tear away stabilizer. I did not mention that I generally do NOT hoop both of them. I may use a piece of scrap, assuming that it is large enough, and position some glue in corners or edge so that the glue does not interfere with the embroidery. There are two reasons for this: One is the glue gets on the needle making it sticky and two is that saving money is important to me and those scraps of stabilizer are valuable.
When I float a scrap piece, I usually put it inside the hoop. However, if I start to embroider and find that I need more stabilizer, I can place it under the hoop.
- I have used this "secret" for about 4 years without a single problem. I have read and heard not to do it, but I have had success, so here is a tip you can take or kick to the curb as you please:
I use canned Silicon spray that you will find in the automotive department, and perhaps in your own garage, to lubricate my thread. Gasp! It works for me but let me give you a few cautions:
- Spray away from everything including your machine. I spray on a newspaper section and spray very lightly.
- I spray the entire thread area. I spray the front and back, and you will see that it is slightly ‘wet.' It is not really wet in a water sense, it is silicon. Let it dry completely, it only takes a minute or two.
- While I spray my thread, I spray my thumb and forefinger and rub the needle.
- Never spray on a floor, painted area or item that may become too slick to handle, like a glass or the like. You will, in this order, fall, be unable to repaint or hold on to an item.
- Make sure you understand that this should not be inhaled or otherwise taken into the body.
- I just read a tip that I want to share with you - the tip said that you could fold up some water soluble stabilizer if you had to embroider over a seam like you would find in a jean pant leg. You would use it as a 'step down' from the thick seam, down to the folded stabilizer and then down to the fabric. Well, it did not work for me. . . Perhaps I did not do it exactly right, but it was as difficult to sew as the seam. Instead, I used a rubber mallet to pound the seam down - gently for sure, but just enough to help the embroidery work in a tough area.
- Attention all Newbies!! (We love you!!!!!) If you started embroidering within the last 2 years, please, please check the Tension on your machine. You can do that by using the ‘test' in my Needle Blog. You need to repeat this test a few times per year, or if you are experiencing "nesting" (loops under the fabric) or uneven top stitching. If your adjustments don't help, it is time to get thee to the technician.
- Rayon or Polyester? Well, this is a fun question. There was some discussion in my "What I Wish I Knew" blog - near the beginning of my blogs! In that same blog, there was a great discussion about obsolescence in all things, not limited to embroidery! Things are changing all the time and embroidery is having a boon because, for the home user, it is a relatively new craft. I estimate (I have no specific dates) that the home embroidery market came on site coinciding with the Internet. That puts it around 20+ years.
So, back to the question, what is better Rayon or Polyester? The answer is - - it depends. For instance, Rayon was once the only thread, exception is silk, with sheen. Polyester has caught up, more or less, but you need to inspect the thread itself. Some polyester is dull; however, it has ‘wear ability' that Rayon is a bit short of. Polyester will withstand jeans, sun and bleaching, not so much with Rayon. Rayon has its fine points, for instance, it is wonderful for heirloom/keepsake types of projects. The coloration, IMHO, is more beautiful. Keep both on hand, I have not found a problem with using them in the same project. If anyone has a different experience, I would like to hear from you - please do comment at the end of the blog.
- This is something that I have done for a long time, and I find that when I am having difficulty, I simply slow the machine down.
I know that we all Ooo'd and Aaa'd over the speed of a new machine, but when the chips are down, sometimes a few minutes extra time with stitching is just the ticket. My machine does 800 stitches per minute, but slowing down to 600 or even 350 stitches adds very few minutes and if it prevents a rethreading, the trade off is nonexistent.
- I just got my very first (used) Serger, and frankly, you who already have one have been keeping this secret too long! I have had so much fun just learning to use it that I am not sleeping as much as normal - - yawn! I do have a tip for you, when you bring your new baby home, take a lot of photos of where the settings and threads are. If you have one, you know what I mean. If you are considering one, ask for a demonstration and take your digital camera - borrow one if necessary. Make sure its battery is charged and make a video of the demo. Try to be where there is little or no background noise and ask a lot of questions, silly or not.
Threading is challenging but well worth it.
Til next time, thanks for reading, your input is really appreciated!