Messing With Tension!

I have been doing bridal work for almost 13 years.  Sometimes it is frustrating, interestingly, the bride is seldom the problem. 


So, I am going to show you something (I think) that is fasinating and totally an accident.  After all, Penicillin, Post-it-notes, Microwave ovens and so many more things were discovered by accident - why not embroidery?

I was working on a project for a bride with a family of hunters and fishermen.  She wanted to have a multitude of critters, including a mallard duck.  When I do embellishments for a hankie, they need to be small for several reasons, including that they should not have too many stitches and color changes.  It just would add too much work for very little compensation.  So, I chose a female because she has very little color unlike the male who is quite colorful. 

This male seems to have something to say to his female friend - probably something like "Aren't you ready yet??"

So, I found a simple design of a female and used a medium brown to create her feathers.  However, the tension on the upper thread was apparently too tight and low and behold, I got a speckled affect from the bobbin showing through.  I had previously used black in the bobbin so it combined to be a medium colored feather and dark speckles on them.

I have never been a fan of the multicolored threads.  For one thing, if the digitizer is not well trained, you will have a design that looks like this:

If you can see this small design, it is stitched from side to side, not along the lines of the anatomically correct animal.  So, if you were to use the thread that that is 'variegated', it would indeed look strange.  Variegated threads, with the exception of just a few, are often a single color for 2 yards, then another color for 2 yards, and so on.  Traveling right to left, repeating the pattern will look very bad.  Indeed, if it is digitized to 'lay' correctly, it still can and will look terrible.

The bobbin showing actually was an accident that was a good one, at least, IMHO.
This Time's Tip:
Take 5 or more sandwich bags that zip seal.  Fold them horizontallly twice and use either a rubber band (useful too!), hair band or a binder clip to hold them snugly. Place them in your car's glove box.  Before you know it, you will have used these for a lot of different things. Do the same with some napkins/paper towels/safety pins/tape and all the little things you use nearly daily in the summer.  Place in a larger zip seal bag.  Having a little kit, in addition to a First-Aid kit will make your travels, whether near home or on vacation, just a little better.

Time and time again, I am reminded that it is more economical to purchase the very best you can afford.  I recently replaced my 99 Cent store water hose nozzle with a better one from a gardening store.  The difference between them is significant.  When you select your machine, supplies and projects, remember that your pride will show through, use quality items. 

Comments (4) -

Lovely to read your articles, thanks for sharing

Thank you so much, Madrocki!  I love that name. . .

I appreciate a little note just like yours.  It makes the effort and time so WORTHWHILE!

One thing about doing new/different/unique things is that it will replicate itself.  It will, just like exercising a muscle, allow you to do more and more new/different/unique items.  

Creativity never diminishes, it gives you more creativity.  I am sure that you have seen that when you embroider!

Best wishes to you and yours, Pat

tourlady522 6/29/2014 8:05:54 AM

Hi Pat

Great blog again. Thanks for doing these.


Good Morning to all, especially Tourlady522!

After 6 years, I still have many thoughts I want to share.  I know that some are of limited interest, but I am amazed to see that embroiderers always like to share and learn.

Something does not need to be 'life changing' to be fun and interesting.  

If I recall correctly, Tourlady got a new machine recently.  Go to the Forums and put up some of the items you have created with that machine!  

That goes for EVERYONE, new machine or old (and we do keep our old machines, don't we?) post something that you have done that is a favorite or a failure.  We all learn from the good, bad and ugly.  

To upload photos, create a new Post, in the body of the post; use the 'film strip' in the center area of the icons; select 'browse'; then, on the lower right area, select 'upload' and get the photo from your machine.

I want to see what others are doing, show us your project.

Pat, The Avid Embroiderer

Please login to comment