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10 November 2004 @ 07:52 pm
Second verse...same as the first  
Bad news: I had to chuck my first Zhang He sash. I had tested the satin stitch on a scrap of interfaced fabric, but said tests hadn't been thorough enough. Long story short: it was puckering and bubbling irreparably because satin needs some serious beefing up before you can satin stitch it. A double layer of America Sews Lite cut-away interfacing (purchased in the Viking section of JoAnn's) does that very nicely without interfering with the drape of the sash. Besides, the piece's various irregularities were getting on my nerves. Moral of the story: don't just make a row of satin stitches and figure it looks OK. Make several. If there's any puckering at all, you need more support. I've been told that an underlayer of muslin will work for this, too. It's certainly cheaper than the stuff I bought. =P

Attempt #2 is going way better. First off, I discovered that cutting the applique out using very small snips and only the tips of the scissors gives more precise results and is easier on one's hand and arm as well. Second, I'm only using the hand wheel this time. Yes, even for the long lines. I'd rather spend a couple of extra hours on each piece and get better results. The one mistake I made was not nuking the applique firmly enough, so a bit of the center bottom "fountain" motif shifted and one side is thinner than the other. I also had some trouble negotiating the curves on that part, so there's slight irregularity and an extra line of stitches on a small section of a curve. Again, this is going on the back of the sash and it's a minor mistake that doesn't look obvious from a normal viewing distance, so whatever. My next attempts at tight curve stitching after those look much better already, so I'm confident that the rest of my sewing will turn out well.

And I am keeping track of time spent on this one too. Thus far: 1:50. I'll probably need 6 more hours to finish it. My goal is to spend two hours on embroidery every night. I have to break it up into half hour chunks, otherwise my eyes start to hate me. Maybe I should see if I can get a pair of magnifying glasses or something.
Current Mood: hungryhungry
Current Music: System of a Down - Aerials
setupweaselsetupweasel on November 10th, 2004 05:08 pm (UTC)
purchased in the Viking section of JoAnn's

Yar! Be there a Pirate section? Me needs a powerful thimble ta pillage properly!
The Heavy Metal Matador: frylockrydain on November 11th, 2004 01:23 pm (UTC)
That is all. =P
(Deleted comment)
The Heavy Metal Matador: frylockrydain on November 11th, 2004 01:28 pm (UTC)
My problem is that though my vision is essentially 20/20, I'm farsighted enough that looking closely at something for too long physically tires out my focusing muscles. Computer monitors and the like are fine because they're far enough away that I can see them clearly without having to focus. I ought to go to the drugstore and see if any of those off-the-shelf reading glasses will help. If not, I can always get on Rando's vision insurance and get my own pair (but that will probably take a while).
silverluzsilverluz on November 11th, 2004 07:14 am (UTC)
It sounds like what you really need is a treadle machine *evil grin* No personal experience, but I've heard they're great for machine embroidery - your feet do the work instead of the hand wheel, and you get two hands to maneuver the fabric.
The Heavy Metal Matador: frylockrydain on November 11th, 2004 01:22 pm (UTC)
That would be AWESOME! That feature that allows you to set the machine's speed independent of the pressure on the presser foot would help as well because it would make it easy for me to putter along at a snail's pace. I thought mine had that capability when I bought it, but it doesn't, and its speed seems to be pretty sensitive to changes in foot pressure. That's the one aspect of it I dislike. Needle down would also be great, but that only seems to come on expensive machines, and when I bought mine, I didn't feel like paying a crapton of money.