Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Full steam ahead (fingers crossed)

Look what I managed to get done with Jemimah last night. My second sample for the chapter, all in auto patterns and with no tension issues.

I didn't actually get to speak to the engineer yesterday when I picked her up so I don't know what they actually found wrong - but touch wood, cross fingers and all that - she seems to be back to her old self. I had a quick mess around with free motion stitching too and all seems well. Let's hope she stays that way.

I am away at the weekend but apart from that at the moment this month is fairly clear so it's hopefully full speed ahead again. I have a little mini target in my head - that I want to be starting module two by November at the latest, with all these machine problems this module has taken so many more weeks than I anticipated.

Playing with Prairies

Don't pass out but after all these months chapter six is finally underway with the first completed prairie sample, made from those strips I was busy sewing up yesterday.It's nice to be working in the sketchbook again rather than on random bits of paper :)

And some BREAKING NEWS - I got a call from the repair shop and so went by and picked up Jemimah this afternoon. Haven't had time to set her up yet, but I'll be putting her through her paces again this evening. Let's hope she really has come back fixed this time!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Prairie Blues

I sat down last night and made a list of some of the things that I could get on with while waiting for Jemimah to get back from the shop. Actually when I look through the remaining chapters in the module there should be quite a lot I can do with Beatrice, particularly if I bend the rules a bit.

I've been putting off chapter six and the prairie points as the guidance calls for the use of automatic pattern stitches and I don't have those on Beatrice. But I figure she does have a few variations on zigzag and straight so I'd probably have enough variety to start playing with prairies, experimenting with different sizes, threads fabrics etc. And maybe I'll start to get a feel for and develop some ideas for the resolved piece (I can go back and add the pattern variations to the mix when Jemimah gets back)

So that's just where I decided to start today.We've had one of those sunny/cloudy days today and as Dave decided he was going to do some work in the garden I thought I'd drag Beatrice outside again too. (Yay for bank holidays!) I didn't want to be taking a lot of things up and down the stairs from the sewing room to the garden, so decided just to go with a limited colour palette for the first experiment. As you can see I grabbed the bucket of blue threads.This afternoon I've whiled away a couple of hours stitching in between being nabbed by Dave to put a couple of raised bed frames together for the veg and flower gardens next year! I've got two stitched strips now. If I'm lucky I might find some time after cooking tea to get my first lot of prairie's made :) Wish me luck.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Chapter Eight Ends

This morning I was out busying myself in the sunshine in the garden in the constant fight against weeds. But the rain has been coming down here this afternoon so I've had an excuse to concede this battle to the weeds and instead have spent an enjoyable couple of hours at the machine finishing the final pieces for chapter eight.

First I got to making stitched versions of some of the marks I made in my fun play session with ink at the beginning of the week.I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical that any of the blobs and scratches that I'd made would translate in to anything decent in stitch, but actually I'm really surprised and happy with the results. Plenty of food for thought and potential to develop ideas in the future I think.

The final exercise of the chapter was about exploring some emotions. Here are the sketched and stitched versions side by side.Some work a lot better than others but again it was a really interesting exercise. It's quite surprising the variety you can get with a few simple stitches really.I'm now faced with a bit of a dilemma as Jemimah is not back from her second trip to the repair shop - no surprises there. I have three chapters left in the module 6, 9 and 10. So I am going to have a good look through them all this evening to see what bits I'm able to get on with in the meantime using Beatrice.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Ink splats

It wasn't only stitching that I got up to in the garden on Monday. I probably looked like a total loon running round the house and garden gathering up a whole menagerie of mark makers.Then the real fun began as I got to go wild with the ink pot.What amazing fun it is dipping anything and everything you have to hand in ink and then going for a wander across a blank page.
I don't think I've had this much arty, messy, fun since play school :) Thinking about it play school was probably the last time I got any praise for anything I drew or painted so I lost the enjoyment as I got older. Sadly the majority of the art teachers I had at school weren't very encouraging to those of us in the class with limited drawing ability.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Sunshine and stitch

Figured I should get round to posting the results of my outside sewing session the other day.My 'taking line for a dance' sketch work and next to it the stitch sample. I had a few problems with the stitching, but that was down to operator error rather than machine, I'm still not quite used to all of Beatrice's habits and quirks so a few of the stitches jumped round in places but nothing that won't get better with a bit of practise.Oscar decided that as I was stitching in a nice sunny spot he ought to come and inspect my work. I take it he wasn't too impressed though as he promptly turned his back and starting rolling round on the table instead!I guess I'll have to try harder to impress next time!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Stitching in the Sun

Just had to tear myself away from the sunshine for a second to share my little slice of stitchy heaven. Beatrice is all set up and has been working nicely for me this morning. I have the Ipod going with my favourite tunes, and I know it's a little early but you can't have a stitching session in the sun without a nice glass of Pimms to keep you company. I love sunshiney days off work!! :)

I'm Back

Had family staying with me last week. With my two nephews aged 10 and 2 running around there was no chance of me getting to the sewing machine. It's my last day off work today so I'm hoping to make the most of it. The sun is shining at the moment, so I think I'll go to the effort of dragging my machine out in to the garden. Seems a shame not to make the most of the beautiful weather.

Sunday, 7 August 2011


So Jemimah went back to the shop on Friday. They had a big pile of machines already there waiting to be seen, the engineer said that he would get to her as soon as he can, but I'm not hopeful that I will be seeing her again soon.So in the meantime I'm happy to be playing with Beatrice again. I have to admit that I have been slacking a bit recently all these machine problems have left me less than enthusiastic, but I think I just need to make myself do a little every day and I'll soon be back in to the swing of things.

So today I've been busy doing some research for the next sample.
This is research I swear!! :) After the last chapter eight sample of walking with line, me and line are off for a dance. Anyone fancy joining us :)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Lines again

So now I'm back in chapter 8 mode thinking about lines again just thought I'd share a nice line of colourful houses. A picture I took in Bristol at the weekend while I was visiting the Harbour Festival

Woe is Jemimah

I think Jemimah is going to have to go back to the shop. I'm still having problems. She has this auto setting on the tension dial.I have always stitched with the dial in this position and have had absolutely no problems before. You saw the other day what problems I was having with the tension randomly changing when I was doing the freemotion the other day. Now I'm having the same issue with feed dogs up.

I was merrily stitching away on some work for my prarie point sample. I thought all was ok for a while. She was stitching a bit tight and I was getting some pull on the fabric, but it wasn't until I had a closer look at the stitching that I could see there was definitley a problem.I'm not sure how obvious it is as this photo isn't particularly good, but I'm still getting what seems to be random changes. This is the same fabric, same thread, same tension, same sewing speed, same auto stitch pattern, but the pattern on the left is a lot tighter/the repetitions are a lot closer together than the stitching on the right.

I could go on and on messing around with tension like I did for the free motion sample, but actually Jemimah didn't stitch like this before she went in for repair so I'm now convinced that she's come back not quite right. The only trouble is I'm sure the repair shop is closed for 2 weeks holiday and I'm also worried about how long it might take them to get her back to me after all the palava last time. I could take her to another place, but there aren't many choices round hers and I also paid the last place for repair and she's come back wrong so I don't see why I should pay somewhere else to fix the mistake that she's come back with.

Back to Chapter Eight and Beatrice for a while again I think...... sigh

Monday, 1 August 2011

It'll do

So I decided that I was stressing way too much about this tension thing and decided to give myself the weekend off. Straight after work today I jumped on the machine, did a bit more fiddling with the tension and have a sample that's not perfect but I'm happy for it to go in the workbook.If anything the top tension is too tight as I've got a fair bit of fabric puckering even though this was stitched in the hoop, but as least I got to the end of the sample without the horrendous problems I was having before.

It's time to put the free motion away for a while and I'm going back to chapter six for some play with prairie points. I have family coming to stay for a week in 2 weeks time so I want to be a good way through chapter six before then as I'll have to pack my machine away for the week. Anyway able to magic me up an extra few hours in the day? :)