This month the folder I received was centred around medieval artisans.
I wanted to stitch something that sparkled and shone and that was a self-contained motif of some sort, hopefully evoking thoughts of medieval times.
I chose my design because, to my eyes, it fit with the theme and I could use a lot of gold, which I feel is particularly effective in the central lattice area. The other threads are rayon which, when satin stitched, really stand out from the base material. In fact, choosing the colours was the hardest part because background fabrics were enclosed in the folder and each were so different and dynamic in their own right. The piece I picked had the least colour variation and patterning, some of the others were very busy and I wonder how the other participants are going to manage to work up a design that will show up against them.
This is a machine digitized pattern which turned out to be more difficult to use than I originally thought as the fabric was not large enough to go into a hoop for the machine work. Luckily I had some sticky backed stabilizer which I cut to a larger size, inserted in the embroidery hoop and laid the fabric over for stitching.
I did a test sample first on a piece of yellow lightly screen printed fabric and it came out very well so I was fairly confident that the machine would handle the sticky stabilizer, and so it did.
Tensioning threads during automated machine stitching is always a bit hit and miss initially and I was pleased that both the rayons and the metallic gold stitched beautifully on my thickish cotton + stitch-and-tear stabilizer. However, once I moved to the thinner patterned fabric and lightweight sticky back stabilizer it was another matter. The rayons were fine, the metallic line work was lovely but the satin stitched gold outer circles knotted terribly. So I tightened the tension for these. No, not using the machine tension dial but by supporting the thread between my finger and thumb before it reached the tension discs, so tightening it very slightly without having to stop and start the machine as it moved from line stitching to satin stitch in each area. I found it a quicker option and it worked perfectly.
Although the threads used were the same on each piece the variation in outcome is interesting, obviously as a result of the base fabric choices. In real life the yellow isn’t quite as dazzling as it appears in the picture and the gold shows more prominently.