Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Getting Some Stability Back In My Life

Lots of sewing lately and I feel like some sewing posts, so prepare yourselves. I suggest a hot drink with a candy cane stir stick. The candy softens nicely for chewing and the drink seems happier too.

I've had these embroideries from Embroidery Library (Christmas Boutique) for some time and they seemed like the classic sort of thing I might like for me. So I made me 4 new cushion covers. I like the idea of redressing the couch cushions from time to time. No one likes to wear the same thing every day.

I have A LOT of a raw linen that I used for the family room curtains. It's a huge bolt I got for nothing at an auction. Perfect for these cushions. I've been right into embroidery lately, but lower stitch count and lighter cloth. Time to experiment and figure some things out!

What stabilizer to use? It's a cushion, so let's err on the side of caution and go with a cut away that gets left in. It won't show and the stitch count is high (80,000+).

First I went with a semi fusible mesh.  You fuse it but it peals back off for trimming. I hooped a light tear-a-way and then basted (in embroidery mode) the fused fabric to that.

The linen has some good beefiness and I noticed that the embroidery foot was actually 'massaging' it as it stitched. Fabric got pushed around. Between that and the high stitch count I had some rumples. I had seen this before when stitching on knits, and had used a wash-a-way topper with some success. This might have helped the foot to glide better over the heavy texture. Raising the pressure foot pressure might have been an idea, but I didn't go either route (this time).

Now because the linen presses and steams so well I was not worried as I figured it would press out. (It did.)

But I had 4 cushions and room to experiment. Next I tried Whisper Web mesh and a light tear-a-way. This basically gave me the same result. Time to rethink, methinks! Cushions 3 and 4 got heavier tear-a-way and a stitch point cut away. Lots of oomphy stabilizers! Better results but still a bit of rumpling. Barely noticeable however and probably hard to avoid when you have heavily stitched areas surrounded by open fabric.

Next let's assemble the little darlings. The last thing I need right now is another UFO.


Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Playing Chess With Thread Spools

Big embroideries are easy to do until you are lulled into an air of complacency by the mindlessness of thread changes and bobbin refills. Just as everything is going oh so well, you forget what thread comes next.

Well, you don't forget so much as lose track of the substitutions you made, because no one in real life has all those colours in the one brand listed by the embroidery company. No One! Plus, who embroiders only when the shop (preferably located next door) is open and having a really big sale. We buy when we can. We make do when we can't.

I have threads from 3 big companies and a few orphans that looked cute at the time. I hate comparing thread charts and just exactly what is one to do when even the thread conversion programs can do some but not all of your needs? I eyeball the computer screen and throw caution to the winds. My colour choices are therefore not great but there's only so much tedious stuff this girl wants in her life.

So I finally got around to making a draft version of a thread red carpet. It worked fairly well so I may have to design and produce a more formal one in the new year. I pulled up the list of threads required for a cushion embroidery (15) and the thread change chart (28). It's not enough that I have to make substitutions but the substituted thread then has to reappear at the right time. I needed a mindless way to make that happen.

I took an old cutting board and flipped it over. I used a 2" grid and created a board of about 30 little boxes - numbered sequentially. Then as I decided which of the threads I do have was to make an appearance I placed them on their numbered grid. You are left with lots of unfilled boxes where threads need to make an encore performance. As I embroidered and finished with a thread I checked for its next position and placed it on the correct grid box or in the holding area for the next embroidery. You can see below that thread 1 is on the machine and that many of the first 12 threads will make a second appearance on the grid after they finish their first round.

Now the thread in my hand did not (ever!) match the thread colour listed. I just referred to the colour number for that round and looked for the same colour number in a future position. I have to say it actually worked. Also, as all my colours were on the board together before I began I could note any glaring colour issues - like a green that just didn't look like it would get along with the other colours on the board.

I did not anticipate the attraction of this tool as a cat toy. You may want to take precautions. It can be devastating.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

A Sewing Mystery

Yesterday we bought a family year long pass to the provincial museums. Great deal, and we plan to do lots of day trips to check them all out. Today we went to the Fundy Geological Museum in Parrsboro. We took a guided tour of Wasson's Bluff dinosaur digs. There were 3 of us and 2 guides. It was a lovely day at the beach with lots of attention and information.

Pleasant drive interrupted by a stop at the Masstown Market for snack and a fruitful visit to the antique shops in Great Village. Wow! have they ever tidied those up and the displays are lovely. Well worth a visit. I saw several sewing machines and picked up this little mystery. It has few identifying markings to my eye. There are a few scratchings on the face plate. It's missing its shuttle and bobbin (I think). I usually prefer to buy only machines I have a hope of using but this one was really new to me and that makes it interesting, eh? If anyone can help me figure this one out I would greatly appreciate the help. Maybe that says The Lockman? 1860? But I don't see markings anywhere else.

Friday, 1 June 2018

We have cats. 2 lovely Bengal cats arrived in November and have been training us ever sense.  Currently we bough Princess Leia a new toy, so I took this opportunity to wash her current arsenal of fetching mice. The girl fetches! With enthusiasm!

They have been and continue to be intensive. They were around a year old when we got them. She was 8 months, had just weaned her first litter and was pregnant with her second. Didn't know about the pregnancy, That popped up when we had them both fixed. She was just started, so I think it worked out well in the end. She had also been sleeping with her brother. Neither of them knew, and we haven't told them. So embarrassing! And not their fault. Some people are not cat worthy.

They had been living in a small apartment with 2 pieces of furniture and high, small windows with no ledges. Therefore they fell down the stairs for the first few days and were amazed by space. We have space.

The first few months saw a lot of bloodletting and skin exfoliation. Bengals are very physical cats with fierce independence and a need to burn off energy. They were not in the least social. As we told visitors - 'They bite, and they scratch. With intention."

So why are they still here? They are the most lovely, entertaining and dedicated cats ever! We do nothing in the house without close, constant supervision. Ollie can unpin my sewing faster than I can, and he is so proud! He distributes sewing notions about the house and has been seen carefully depositing them in my handbag or DH's lunchbag. They chase anything, especially flies. They talk, they indicate their needs with 1 small claw carefully placed on your calf, they now cuddle and will endure being picked up for at least 20 seconds. Sometimes. They are smarter than any cats I've ever know, and I've know some really great felines. We are truly in love with these cats.

Now Ollie was quite aggressive and active when we got him. Dh researched cat wheels and tried to order one, but they were badly backordered. He had to tackle the chore himself and accomplished the task in amazing fashion! We were worried about Ollie knowing what to do. DH brough it in the house and Ollie hopped on before it was in place or installed. Now the lap counter tells us how much he loves it and he has calmed so much. He has a need to be admired when loping along and gets off the wheel for pats regularly. Also, like a 2 year old he watches us closely to see if we are watching.

Here they are, about to jump each other again. I had to make a think bedspread so we have some protection at night. Now that they have learned to cuddle they will crawl under this and then attach any moving toe they find. Life is more complicated now.