Friday, November 20, 2009

The Learning Curve Projects


The first piece we turned out from the Big Bad Barudan:

My iPhone hates me sometimes when it comes to taking photos but it was easier than finding either one of the other cameras!

The horseshoe design was already loaded into the machine's memory and we kind of wanted instant gratification so we stitched it out first in black, then I moved the pantograph slightly up and to the left and reran the design in white, giving kind of a drop shadow look. Not much, but hey, the machine did what it was supposed to.
Next came one of our own designs. It was intentionally two-color, but I had forgotten how to tell the machine to change colors so it stitched the entire piece in all black (bottom). This wasn't bad, not the effect we wanted, but it also worked well.

I remembered how to program the color sequence so we ran the same file again, this time with two colors (top). That went VERY well. But it would be a couple of weeks before making another attempt because we had some life- and energy-sucking obligations.

Yesterday's (our third) attempt went kind of well. We decided to see how big we could go. This project ran well until the machine ran out of bobbin thread and I tried to “fix” missed stitches by backing up. I threw the whole thing out of alignment and caused a broken needle (dumbass). But I did learn what NOT to do next time. It wasn't easy, but I got the alignment back on and continued stitching the whole wing. In the future, something with as large an area as this will probably be done as an appliqué instead of solid stitching.
Notice the pattern started on top of the left side (inside) of the wing. Again, this was supposed to be white and I (duh) hadn't programmed the machine correctly. Black is nice so I kept the machine going. This is where things got messed up. Something in the file conversion was messed up so there was a lot of extra starting, stopping & cutting, with a lot of needle unthreading going on. Again, I messed with the settings and threw the alignment off again with no real way to get back where I started. Now I know at least TWO things not to do.

Today I just said, “screw it” and took the wing out of the hoop and cut away most of the fabric stabilizer that was underneath (that's the white around the perimeter). I never did stitch the white on this piece. That's okay, though, this wing will be used as a placement template for future projects.

I still wanted to stitch out the top white part of the wing, though. I decided to put in a piece of remnant fabric backed with the stabilizer for a stronger piece.
This little bit of work took about three HOURS! It's quite beautiful and not anywhere near finished. There were so many stops & thread cuts programmed into the design that after every sew 10 stitches, cut, begin to sew, needle unthread, thread needle again, start again, sew 10 stitches, cut, begin to sew, needle unthread, thread needle again, cry, start again, etc…
I made minor adjustments to the tension the whole time. I probably quit just before I “got it”, but I won't know until tomorrow. I still think the thread tension might be too tight so I'm going to crank it to the loose end and try again.
Notice in the picture the needle is UNthreaded, that's how I left it.
*SIGH* here's to better luck tomorrow. I think I'll go drink now.

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