Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Saving The Min & Machine Embroidery Experiments (part 1)

This isn't quite the post I was going to write today but I am, how shall we say... a little 'compromised' ?

I was going to write about a lovely day trip we had at the weekend and a little project inspired by it but, after a visit to 'The Min' yesterday ('The Min' being an affectionate name for The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath)  and a couple of steroid injections in my arthritical knuckles I can't really make what I was going to make so that one will have to wait until later.

The Min is a really wonderful old building with such history and an ongoing record of excellence.  I have had several family members receive treatment there and, in recent years, have also been sent for treatment myself.  Sadly, there is currently a big shadow over its future & survival which you can read all about here and I would also be ever so grateful if you can pop over here to sign the petition that has been organised to try and help 'Save the Min' (please do... it would be such a shame for us to loose this national treasure - and please share the links too - thanks)

I didn't actually know I was going to get injected beforehand and had happily browsed round the shops, buying this sweet little ball of primrose yellow wool (ready for yet another project idea I'd had...) 

but unfortunately this is what happens when I try to work with wool and a hand support..... (plus I am supposed to be resting my hand for the next day or so. Hmm.)

Anyway, I decided to look upon it as a crafting challenge and think about what I could do with one hand out of action (so to speak) and so long as I didn't need to grip, press, or use any real pressure it would probably be OK.  So, I thought, how about a bit of machine embroidery....

I've not done lots of this craft before but could remember the general set up for the sewing machine which is basically to set your tension to zero and also the smallest stitch possible.

Then remove the normal 'foot'... (you can put on a special darning/embroidery foot if you have one)

Then cover the 'dogs' (tracks that move the material through - on some machines you can push a button to drop them down) and pull the thread up through as you would normally..

You also need an embroidery hoop (I tried several hoop sizes and found the middle one the best)...

Once your hoop has fabric in it you actually work on the reverse side to usual and need to slide it under the needle and foot attachment 'stem' 

Next, you pull up the bottom thread and hold it with the top thread while you make the first stitch and then you are away.... 

...and I really mean 'away' if you are a bit heavy with the pedal ( me!!)

I started out with a single line of wibbly wobbly text just so I could practise moving the hoop around. And some wibbly wobbly doodles....

Then I tried going over and over some text to 'thicken' it.. ..

     (you don't half get some knotty messes on the back at times!)

I do quite like that effect so practised a bit more...

hmmm..  not so good but getting better towards the last word ;-)

...and then I practised a bit more. Quite honestly I think the key to it is LOTS of practise and using a thicker fabric (mine was quite thin so puckered easily). Practise, practise, practise... until you have had enough for the day.  I got to a rather-messy-but-starting-to-get-better-looking-bit-of-text before I decided to finish up.

It has to be said that I do not accept defeat easily and decided to tidy up that  rather-messy-but-starting-to-get-better-looking-bit-of-text and rummaged around for my 'stitch ripper' (yes, I could only find my broken one but needs must....)

I discovered that if you remove the messy, squiggly lines and trim the odd ends off that it starts too look a little bit more 'passable' and you can then go back over some bits if needed.

Ok, I know... not super fantastic but remember I was compromised with a cumbersome hand support too (what gratuitous excuse mongering!)

Anyway, finally,  I gave it a press with the iron and... well...I'll let you rate it yourself.

                                 (all tips gratefully received!)

I will be trying this again sometime.
I think. 

What crafting I am going to do tomorrow to get my fix I have no idea - hope you're having better luck with whatever you are making!


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