Thursday, January 28, 2010

Who Dropped Their Feed Dogs?


OK. You all have probably been dropping your feed dogs for years now...with all of the machine embroidery that's being done these days.

I never really thought I would have a use for it without a lot of practice until Susan Levi-Goerlich came and gave a lecture/presentation to our Embroiderers' Guild last September.

Susan paints landscapes and scenarios completely with her sewing machine and thread and her work is very cool.

She demonstrated what it would be like to make our own version of machine embroidery.

It struck me as a great technique to try with other things, not wanting to give up the old hand embroidered method completely. Since I wanted to make some grass on the bottom of my current bead journal piece, and hand-embroidering it would take too long, I thought I'd give this technique a try. So I dropped my feed dogs and held on for the ride...

It was a little tricky at first so I used a scrap cloth...I made lots of mistakes and had bunches of knotted thread until I began to get the hang of it.

You actually work upside down so that the front of the work is face down on the faceplate of your machine.

I did most of my grass that way. I tried flipping it over to the front and found that the interleaving paper that I use to back my beadwork was enough of a stabilizer that the fabric did not pucker. That gave me the option of finishing the grass from the front. Yea!

Anyway, this was a quick way of getting a background of grass on my piece. Now it's ready to be embellished.

Oh, and that bunny that you see??

He's covering up a big, blobby knot of thread where I goofed.

Thanks Bunny... thanks for taking one for the team...


Carol- Beads and Birds said...

How absolutely wonderful! I wish there was a place in my area that would have this kind of seminar.

My secret is that I am scared to death of machines. Oops, not a secret anymore. My mother did it to me. Yep, she REALLY did. She used to tell me when I was a kid that I could even break a toilet flusher.

So scare me. I am sure my sewing machine does way more than I use it for, but I am scared to break it ~lol~

I always wanted to know how to free form machine embroidery. But here's another thing about me..I don't like to practice.

So thank you for posting about this technique. You make it look so easy, and you even let us know the boo boo you made and a unique way to hide it. You're the best.

Maybe some day you will come to my town and give a seminar...I'll be first in line.

xx, Carol

jacqui boyd alden said...

Your piece is looking intriguing, looking forward to seeing the whole thing.

Like Carol, sewing machines scare me, always have the visual of the needle running through my finger as I sew. Not sure why,maybe someone told me a story about it happening or a vague recollection of seeing that happen in a classroom lesson as a youngster (we were a wild and uncontrolled class).

Anyway I have overcome that fear enough to do straight (wiggly) seams and zigzag stitch. I have seen and read about freeform stitching. So decided to give it a tried before the new year. Really wasn't a success! My machine has been lying idle due to the unholy knot in the bobbin area and a needle stuck half way, ever since.

That was a very interesting fact you gave about working upside down for this to work. I didn't know that and haven't seen this mentioned before, so maybe that is where I have been going wrong (among other things:) )

Now I am going to unknot my machine and try again because it would be a very useful technique for my current bead journal project.

Dolores said...

Ha, had to laugh at the cover-up. My friends and I applique a butterfly over little tears in quilts. Why butterflies? It just so happened that the quilts usually had flowers on them so it was appropriate. Nice job on the machine embroidered grass.

Judy S. said...

You go girl! Years and I do mean years, ago before today's embroidery machines came out, I took a series of classes in what you are calling "free form embroidery." In my cleanup frenzy I found a couple of the projects and of course some UFOs. (Sigh) Anyhow, I'm glad to see you delving in; it was fun! Oh, and BTW, our local bunnies love to eat grass and anything slightly green, so your bunny-coverup was a perfect choice! Loved the butterflies too.....

beadbabe49 said...

Learning something new can be so much fun! The grass looks good and I just love the bunny...

Dees said...

You have such a wonderfull eye for detail! Love the way her skirt whirls up in de wind and the fact she put on 2 different socks this morning!

Anonymous said...

Good little bunny !! :0)

yep, kinda tried it once, ohh, didn't like not having the feed dogs, kept forgetting that no feed dogs = me actually having to move the material - kept wondering why nothing was happening - my piece would have looked like Watership Down (is that right? the movie about the rabbits?)

anyways - your piece is starting to look fab, I love her skirt and odd socks too - and I didn't know the facedown thing either xx

Shelly xx

Marty52 said...

Whatever would we do without neat things to cover up our mistakes?


I really like your grass, but I think I'll stick with hand embroidery. Amazing, something I don't want to try! Will wonders never cease!

Ingrid Mida said...

Do you need a special machine to do this? I think it would be great to have a few techniques to speed up the process a little because I have more ideas than I can execute!! If only I had a staff....LOL!
I sent you an email last night which is probably sitting in your spam folder. I tried an aboriginal beading technique that I learned with Sam Thomas and am quite pleased with the results. It doesn't measure up compared to your work, but it is my first such piece and I'm quite excited!

Dawn said...

Oh, I just tried your technique and stitched some grass and flowers myself....only I forgot that you should stitch this with the right side down!!! It came out fine and now I am eager to try some more....added one of your cute butterflies as well. Thanks for sharing your techniques.

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