Saturday, February 6, 2016

Why love machine embroidery? My story begins...

A well-respected mentor asked why do I love machine embroidery so much recently asked me? Such a simple question, yet the more I gave it thought, I realized that my story might be true for many creative careers. And perhaps by sharing how this all began I might help someone with a passion for creativity get that little boost of confidence to move forward.

I love the many facets of machine embroidery: designing, planning, software packages, sewing, new products, stabilizer and thread knowledge, learning and teaching, exchanging ideas and inspiration, balancing time, and most of all teaching.  Being an instructor of machine embroidery is the most gratifying experience out of my list.

I must love it, or I couldn't do it for over 20 plus years, right? I remember what it was like sitting in a presentation seeing the first embroidery machine at my local store and realizing that this machine was doing it all.  Up until then I was sewing skate, dance and Halloween costumes.  It was incredible to behold a machine stitching out a 4x4 design all by itself.

While watching the machine stitch, I was quickly thinking of how I was going to come up with a reason to purchase this wonderful embroidery miracle.  By the time I reached home, I had my sales pitch ready.  Like many women, I felt the need to justify the purchase and shared with my husband what I witnessed at the dealer while getting my "well used" Bernina machine serviced.

Step 1: " I could embroider all your shirts with monograms, if I had this machine". The negotiations had begun. How many of you have felt the need to do this?

Step 2: I brought my children to the store to see all the fun designs this machine could do.   I was enlisting their help in my campaign with their dad. Again, how many of us bring in assisted sales help?

Thank goodness for Mother's Day!  And so the first embroidery machine arrived.

I learned how to use this machine by trial and error. I had an excellent sewing dealer but the machine was new to them and so was selling one.  Little things that they didn't send home with it like embroidery thread and stabilizer.

I make jokes about how smart my son was. He let his sister's shorts go first.  I hooped them up, threaded the machine with sewing thread, selected a built in design, and pressed Start! Success! 80+ fingertip towels (I had not mastered saying "No" to friends, family and teammates) later I moved on to T-shirts!

My walk away today for towels:
Back then I used a water-soluble topping to keep the pokies under control and a tear away on the bottom.  It worked but I had to be carefully to hoop carefully to avoid getting hoop marks which we refer to as hoop burn. All of us have had that happen, and cold water or magic sizing helps remove those marks if used quickly.

My preferred method today is using Heat N Gone topping on my towels instead of water soluble because the iron removes the exposed topping quickly and it never washes away under the stitches.  I like that! I use Perfect Stick tearaway or Wet N Stick tearaway stabilizer in the hoop and I can avoid hoop burn entirely and the towel is new crisp and ready to be gifted or used.

Lots of friends and their friends, in my old neighborhood, own those fingertips and bandanas because back then I had to come up with $$ to feed my need for designs, stabilizers, needles and thread. I smiled fondly remembering the nightly drives to Walmart! Now Amazon has fingertip blanks, if only it existed back then! What I learned: you need not justify your hobby.


QuiltShopGal said...

Heat N Gone is also my favorite topper when working with towels.


Nancy at said...

I loved reading your story. I still feel like I need to justify to my husband my embroidery purchases. :-)
At least now, I have it where it is a hobby that pays for itself so that is a good thing.