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Conversational Threads

freehand machine embroidery

hazel8 | Posted in Creative Machine on

I am a big fan of the artist Chris Roberts-Antieau who makes the most amazingly detailed,funny,imaginative applique artwork.(type her name in google to check out her work). I am interested in finding a machine that can do that kind of detailed freehand embroidery-any suggestions?thanks-Hazel8


  1. Pattiann42 | | #1

    Keyword - free hand. 

    I think any machine would work as long as the feed dogs are disabled or lowered.  It will be your hand that determines the stitch and design.

    1. hazel8 | | #2

      what about a machine that does a really tight,neat satin stitch? Hazel8

      1. Pattiann42 | | #4

        If you look at the tips videos, there are a couple on free motion stitching.  One is decorative (Manual Embroiders) and one on quilting (Dianne Gudowski).  There may be more.

        The videos are in the tips & tricks section (see info bar at the top of this page).

      2. maggiecoops | | #5

        Hi Hazel8, if you want to do a machine set zig zag but guide the fabric at the same time you must disengage the feed dogs , if you can't drop or disengage them, you need to purchase feed dog plate which slips over them and has the wide mouthed opening. I used to "write" my childrens names inside the backs of their jackets and coats using satin stitch. 

        You use the term free hand, well I suppose "writing in satin stitch" could be called free hand, but the term used now is free motion embroidery. I started doing this in the late 50s, any robust straight stitch machine will do. If you intend doing a lot a decent sized motor is a must as you'll be hammering the motor. I had to return my powerful machine to England for repair from abroad and bought a new standard domestic machine. It over heated and complained after an hour. For really good results you need a cork lined adjustable steel embroidery hoop, failing that a wooden embroidery hoop that you tape the inside ring to preven fabric burn. The fabric has to be taut as drum skin as you wont be using a foot. You drop or cover the feed dogs, or set the stitch length to zero to stop the feed moving. The latter is ok but not the best method. You remove your presser foot set top tension at your normal sewing tension raise the presser bar.  Raise the needle to it's highest position and slide the hoop under it. Watch you don't snag the needle tip. Lower the presser bar as this engages the top tension and the feed dog connector arm under the machine bed.

        Now turn the fly wheel by hand to catch the bobin thread and ull the bobbin thread to the top. It's very likely you'll have to adjust both tensions, so now hold both top and bottom threads and the side of the hoop, with your finger tips on the outside. make two or three stitches to lock the thread ends. Now start stitching and at the same time guide hoop around under the needle. You are using the needle as a pencil tip to draw. make two or three lines about then stop stitching. Your first few attempts will be jerky and awkward. raise  the presser foot nd slip the hoop out from under the needle. cut the threads and look at the stitches. if you see tiny loops on the surface or tight little knots, your top tension is too tight. if the top looks ok, flip the hoop over and check the bobbin side. Any little loops or knots, if so your bobbin is too tight or the top tension too loose. Use a different colour top thread to help you see.

        Make your first tension adjustment to the top tension and repeat the same again looking at the result. It takes a little time but it's worth it. I have two bobbin races, one set for standard sewing the other for free motion embroidery. When you think it's ok, practise doing straight lines, then loops and circles. You stitch fast guide slow, keep your hoop movements smooth, and watch your fingers and the hoop rim.


        1. WandaJ | | #6

          This response is one of the best that I've read about free motion embroidery. Thanks, as your explanation made a lot of sense.

          1. maggiecoops | | #7

            Thank you Wanda, if you ever come across the Singer instructions for Art Embroidery and Lace Work, take a look at it. The free motion work is superb. It's difficult to believe that perfectly formed satin stitch lines were formed by a person moving the hoop from side to side on a straight stitch machine. In fact all the work produce by the Singer ladies is beyond belief. The standard of their work still hasn't been matched and the modern embroidery machines can't reproduce the same quality and artistry.

            Annemeike Mein is a lady who does the most beautiful free mtion work combined with applique and fabric painting, a much freer method than the Singer free motion but equally stunning.

          2. WandaJ | | #8

            Thank you for your response and the book tip. Yes, Singer does produce some masterpieces. I have a few of them in my sewing library; however, I do not have the one you named. Is Annemeike Mein's work available anywhere, specifically, on-line for viewing.

          3. maggiecoops | | #9




            and the best for last


            2 pages of small images. You might find her book in your lending library and amazon has one of her illustrated books. Her pictures and sculptures are larger than life. I hope you enjoy looking at them. There's not a lot on the web showing her work although there are plenty of references to her.

          4. WandaJ | | #10

            Thank you. Never would I have expected to see free motion embroidered wildlife. Her work is so beautiful.

          5. Gloriasews | | #11

            Wow!!!  And to think that this lady failed art school!  She does beautiful work - very inspiring!  Thanks so much for the links.  It brought sunshine to my day.


          6. maggiecoops | | #12

            Her work is wonderful isn't it, the thing is her free motion work is within the reach of everyone. All it takes is the confidence to take the first steps. Any one who does machine stippling on quilts is already half way there. Only takes a sideways step to translate that to free motion embroidery art.

          7. sewtimely | | #13

            You share so wonderfully.  I was so inspired after seeing the books I am working on a spiderweb and spider.  Watching a spider make a web is so amazing.  It takes the tenacity of a spider making a web to finish a project sometimes and I intend to, make my first free motion work.

            We enjoy your posts here at Threads.

            How's the curtains going?

            :) friends.

          8. maggiecoops | | #15

            Umm, ahh, welll, darn! lets say not quickly but the digi vids are progressing. Found the pefect sewing machine for my future DiL, might teach her how to make curtains.

            How was your break, and I can't wait to see  "Charlotte"

            :>) friends

          9. sewtimely | | #16

            :) It was wonderful. Came back exhausted.  (That's always a good sign of a break, right?) Anyway, it was good and glad to be back.  Go in a couple weeks for my training.  Looking forward to that.  The class I will be focusing on is serging.  I need it.

            I can't want to see Charlotte too, but I really am so busy I won't be able to do much until after my training, then comes Christmas.... but I have actually started a little.  Right now I'm fussy cutting leaves to applique.

            But I've got a baby quilt in the works so that postponed my little spidey.

            glad your here.

            I haven't been back to you know where, since you have.




          10. maggiecoops | | #17

            So glad you enjoyed it, Digimad has been busy filling in for me. I love your Nom de Plume, I thought of looking at Plato but though he was a teacher I didnt like his habits so decided to just use my standard. Hardly inspiring but pragmatic. That's it I've used up my 5 minute coffee break. back to the curtains. :>)

          11. sewtimely | | #18

            :) Your confusing me. "nom de plume" I took about a year of French.  I barely recognize some words.  Can't speak a sentence.  I see "name, pen"  something like that.  Am I right?

            Along with everything else I try to fit in, I'm making a couple small bags out of placemats.  They're cool, easy, and I hope I can sell some.  Like I've said...I like making and trying to make some bags people want.  Vera Bradley Smadley.  She's got nothing on me.  Did you check out her site yet?



          12. maggiecoops | | #20

            "nom de plume" literal translation  is name the  pen, so name of writer, pen name.

            I did visit the Vera Bradley site, being a total philistine I like leather handbags etc. The VB bags lare very much like we can buy here but not designeritems. The links are what's on offer in England at the moment, individuals mainly. Most of our designer brands are leather, and the bags all look so similar anyway. I like  clean unfussy bag. Never pay more than £50 and expect it to last forever.Totes as a fashion item are relatively new here, we called them shoppers,  they were nomally canvas or oil cloth and roomy so you could carry the vegetables and bread.





            I must confess your bag looked more stylish, VBs looked so samey, bit like our Burberry bags. Every seemed to have one, in fact they became part of the Chav uniform. No individualism.

          13. sewtimely | | #24

            Bags, the bigger the better are so in style right now.  I am a "philistine" too because I am much more attracted to the taylored leather bags, but I do have more of the quilted bags and totes now than ever and like them.  I really can't believe I've carried this big bag as long as I have for a handbag instead of getting tired of it and putting it away for traveling or needing a large tote for something.  But it's amazing the people that stop and comment on it.  Like I said, it's kind of like a VB but the fabric is beautiful antique looking, plus I stippled the quilting around the picture instead of the straight square quilting the VB uses.  They're big in our 'neck of the woods' so anything like them are but then there's some who if it's not a vera bradley its junk.  Those name brand snobs who don't know what style is.

            (the Missy Kane Bags on the sight you sent are gorgeous.  I love them.

            Hey everybody!  We're having a party when Maggie gets her curtains done.  She's "across the big pond" so she might not be there but we'll tell her what fun we had! :)



          14. maggiecoops | | #27

            Humph!!! Ok, I will get all 10000000 curtains done! well maybe not that many but that's how it feels at the moment. Glad you liked the Missy Kane bbags, the're fun aren't they. I like the idea of the stippling around the picture, it's also improving your free motion skills. See I do nag, as for the Label brigade, have some compassion for them, it must be really sad to live a life ruled by conforming to the Medias latest fad.

            Meeiowww, that was naughty, thank goodness there are those who who have enough confidence in their worth to be able to make decisions based on what they like and not what fashion dictates as "must have to be with the in crowd"

            Take care or you could become the new "Name" on the label roundabout, wouldnt your IOBLs  (I only buy labels) kick themselves for not buying early. :>)

          15. sewtimely | | #28

            :) your posts are such fun!

            hmmm. Never thought of that! I preach against the label addiction but want my own...who would buy it?

            Hope you and your curtains have a great day of "bonding" :)


          16. Gloriasews | | #19

            You're right - it's not that difficult.  Think I'll have to get her book, though, to find out the various fabrics/objects she uses (to make those butterflies so realistic) - looks like flexible netting in part of the wings, but what did she make the furry bodies with?  Yarn?  Chenille?  etc.  Again, thanks so much for the sites.


          17. maggiecoops | | #21

            Hi Gloria, she uses layers of organza, silks, wool coating satin, carpeting real fur, wool, in fact just about anything that she feels would capture a texture she wishes to portray. You would need to experiment and try various combinations. She mixes applique  with beading and trapunto, fabric sculpture and  high relief with 2 dimensional backgrounds. She couchs carpet wools, silks, string and cording. Her work reflects her knowledge gained from handling fabrics and  experimenting.  I'm not advocating using her methods, hers evolved and so must yours, but you can learn so much from her Books. Not to copy her designs but use them to guide your own experiments.

            Doing free motion embroidery designs, releases you from the constraints of the largest digitised design you have, the only restraints you'll have is your imagination and time.

          18. Gloriasews | | #29

            In other words, I can use whatever I want to obtain the effect I want.  Good!  I'll read her book(s), anyway, for more inspiration.  Thanks so much for your suggestions - some of the items I would have never thought of using.  I can see the freedom of it all now, as I don't have an embroidery machine, nor do I want one.  I'm on my way!


          19. MaryinColorado | | #22

            Hope you don't mind my jumping in here.  I am a big fan of this artist's free motion work: http://www.ellenanneeddy.com , I have her book, Thread Magic.  I also had the opportunity to see her quilts on display at a Quilt Museum this summer.  They are mesmerizing.

            http://www.bonniemccaffery.com is another author/teacher/artist.  The site offers free instructions on bobbinwork for a regular sewing machine or digiBobbe.  I have one of her kits that is for the embroidery machine, it's very nice.  I have her book Fantasy Fabric and want to get Painted Faces eventually.

            I love freemotion embroidery!  (I have two embroidery machines, they are great to have, but I prefer to let my muse inspire more creativity than I can accomplish with the embroidery machines.)  Now I am hoping for a heavy duty industrial sewing machine so I can really cut loose.  My favorite thing is to put heavy threads in the bobbin and work upside down.  Sulky blendable 12 and 30 weight cotton, YLI Perle Crown Rayon, YLI Multi's embellishment yarn are some of my absolute favorites!  You can also couch over almost any yarn with YLI invisible polyester. 

            AnneMiekeMeins's book is on my list of must haves too! 

            So glad to know others are interested in this fiberart form!  Mary

          20. maggiecoops | | #25

            Mary thank you for those links, I've put both in my favourites folder. I hadn't heard of either them before. Mind you I'm so wrapped up in my playing I forget theres lots of folks who also enjoy fibre arts. Fibre Arts offers me so much as it allows me to marry so many of my interests in one limitless possibilities expression.  I love machine embroidery digitising, hand and machine knitting, crochet, beading, paper sculpture, toy making, free motion embroidery, quilting, patchwork, rag rugging and punching and applique. Fibre Arts accommodates all of them. It really is such a wonderful creative medium, unlike making curtains and blinds which is what I'm supposed to be doing at the moment for my daughter. Oh well, back to hand catching the interlining to another curtain. Moan, whinge, grumble, sigh.

          21. MaryinColorado | | #26

            You're welcome!  I have really enjoyed both of those women's work.  It sounds as if your creativity is boundless!  Enjoy!  Mary

          22. Gloriasews | | #30

            Thanks so much for the websites, Mary.  Wow!!!  Ellen Anne's stuff is fabulous!!! I love the colours she uses, too.  My imagination is starting to bubble away.  Thanks again!


          23. sewtimely | | #23

            after Maggie's suggestion and talking about free motion embroidery I got her book.  It's really nice because it explains on a lot of the beautiful color pictures what she made fur, etc with, and if it didn't happen to tell, the pictures are close up so you can see.

            Her book is a great piece to have for anyone interested in this type of "craft". I've shared it with a lot of people.

          24. Gloriasews | | #31

            I will just have to get the book.  I really do like seeing the pictures close up to see the details.  There was another book I got out of the library in the spring Thread Painting, by Liz Hubbard.  It was an excellent book - all landscapes & beautifully done - the closeups were excellent, too.  There was a second book Painting With Thread, by Kit Nicole, that wasn't as good, but it's worthwhile to see both.  Happy stitching!


          25. sewtimely | | #32

            I love the book, she's pretty amazing and inspired me to do my own.  I am working (in my spare time:) on a project that will have so much meaning to me when I complete.  I couldn't find the book in any bookstores. I ordered it from Amazon.

            You'll spend more time than you would ever think looking at the pictures and the detail.  She's from Australia.  If she ever comes to our side of the world I want to go see her work.


          26. Gloriasews | | #33

            She would have to make a cross-Canada tour to all major cities for me to see her work.  I, too, will have to order from Amazon, as it's usually cheaper than the bookstores.


          27. sewtimely | | #34

            I'd almost come to Canada to see her (I'm in Kentucky).  I hope you enjoy her book. Let us know.


          28. Gloriasews | | #35

            I'll try her methods on a wallhanging I'm making for a Christmas gift - will see how it goes - hope I don't ruin it.  On the other hand, I'll keep an open mind - maybe the mistakes will be a plus!


          29. sewtimely | | #36

            oh, I can't wait until Maggiecoops sees this.  She will tell you all about your "mistakes" and how they are not.  She's a pro at embroidery and will inspire you to go further than you've ever gone.  I am sure your wall hangings will be lovely and your friends will appreciate the personal touch.  You'll have to post pictures for us to see.  After seeing this book and talking to Maggie, I am doing a wall hanging of a spider web.  I'm completely facinated watching them make a web.  They are so determined and perfect.  No matter what they continue on and I got a picture of an amazing spider web, the spider was completely U-G-L-Y, big brown and ugly.  Spiders are creepy but amazing nonetheless. I will attempt to make a 3-d spider, beautifying her a little from the real thing that I saw, and her name will be charlotte, and although I decided to make it before, I am making it in honor of a dear friend who lost a long battle to cancer a couple weeks ago.  Her tenacity and determination made me think of the spider and although they are a bit creepy looking, they're facinating creatures and I think of that spider when I am working on something and get distracted or something doesn't go exactly right.  It would keep on going, no matter what.  I hope I do too.

            I hope to get a couple wall hangings done for Christmas also.  I got a pattern last year for a lovely and fairly simple nativity wall hanging. 


          30. Gloriasews | | #37

            Thanks so much for the pep talk - I refuse to worry about my mistakes - & nobody will see them, as I'll turn them into positives.

            You'll have to post pictures of your spider web, too.  We have one just like that (truly large & ugly spider) outside our window.  We knocked it down once, but he/she was undaunted & built it right back up again in a day - talk about tenacious, eh?  As you said, the people fighting cancer (or any other debilitating disease) have to be admired for their persistence, determination & hope.  I'm sorry for the loss of your friend - that is a lovely way of honouring her.  Your wallhanging will turn beautiful.

            Good luck on the Christmas wallhanging, too.


          31. sewtimely | | #38

            so kind of you.  thanks.

            I hope to get less busy on some things and more busy on others, like my wallhanging.  But I do have other projects taking time right now.

            Bob Ross that painter said "mistakes are happy accidents."  A mistake is in the eye of the beholder and just because you didn't plan it doesn't mean its a mistake.  How many times have you seen something hand done (pottery or anything else) that says that differences in each piece are not flaws or imperfections.  They are the individuality of the 'craft'. (maggie, you there, aren't you proud).  Gloria, won't explain now, but maggie in another post corrected me on the use of the word craft when I said that I like "art" better.  When I think of "craft I think of glue and paper."  That's the gyst of it anyway.  She's a very wise and wonderful mentor.

            Look forward to seeing some of your free motion, I like to call it "free style" (seems to free you up for even more individuality.)

            Oh! get this! at lunch with friends at work.  I bought a couple placemats yesterday.  Wanted to make a tote just because for fall. It has fall leaves, and made a neat little tote for now I'll carry it then use it for books etc.  Anyway, I bought the placemats took home, cut them, made a liner, handles, closure and spent about 2 hours on it.  No big deal and kind of wished I had spent more time with some embroidery or appliques but I just wanted to see how quick I could put one together so its pretty simple.  I did cover one side of the brown tapestry with a sheer copper colored fabric with leaves to fancy it up (which matched the leaves that were on the sides and bottom from the placemats.)  One lady noticed it said "I can't believe you went home and made that so fast."  A couple of them just oohhed.  I knew they'd like one, but didn't want to pay what I would charge to make them.  They'd rather pay a rediculous price for the Longaberger totes that are nothing.  But one of the girls (doesn't sew, she scrapbooks, said "why do you do that? Are you bored and have nothing else to do?)  I said "no, not bored, it's what I like to do."  Few people are as busy as I am, and I can't tell you when I've been bored, don't have time.  I'd like to know what it's like to be bored just one day.  I thought it rude to say I must sew because I'm bored and have nothing else to do.  Or maybe she thought the tote was ugly stupid and a waste of time.  I don't know.  People just don't understand.  People laugh all the time that I like to sew as much as I do and that I am going for training in a couple weeks where we sew practically from 8:00 a.m. until about 8:p.m. off and on for 3 days.  I am excited and looking forward to it.  They think I'm crazy.

            It's nice to be on line where people relate to this craziness.  At least I'm not alone!



          32. maggiecoops | | #39

            I thought it rude to say I must sew because I'm bored and have nothing else to do.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Leonarda was bored, that's why he sat chipping lumps off perfectly good bits of marble. Michelangelo was bored, that's why he daubed messy paint all over his  pristine white canvas. Boredom is the refuge for those who lack the imagination to "see" how rich life is, or too b* apathetic to make an effort to engage with anything.

            I have heard similar comments from people when they've discovered my "play" interests, one even went on to say it must be dreadful to be that bored. I was drinking coffee at the time and I'm afraid it sprayed everywhere as I burst into laughter. She sat there amazed as that was the last reaction she'd expected. How could I be bored when even in my dreams I was exploring new ways to to do things. I once gave a 30 minute presentation on glass engraving that turned into a 4 hour tell us more informal meeting. The organisers were delighted, and the arts and crafts store in our local big town did a roaring trade in engraving kits.  One person complained it was boring, and she nearly got lynched. I think had I looked Arty, with the long hair, beads, gypsy skirt and sandals, instead of a short dumpy matron with middle aged fashion taste, (I'd attended this straight after leaving school so was in my teaching uniform, pleated skirt, twin set and low heeled navy courts) she might have engaged slightly.  I should add the audience (about 150) was a mixed crowd ranging from late teens to elderly, and I was the last of 3 speakers. It was a County Education thing trying to show folks there were things to do besides watch TV  or hang around on corners.

            I had been bullied into doing it by a colleague who found these meetings "boring" so had stepped in at the last moment, on the proviso I didn't get ropped into doing it again. He fell out with me after that as the organisers from then on asked for the lady who was so good at getting a meeting engaged. I did a few more on subjects like etching, garment making and knitting and cake making and decoration. I called a halt to it as I genuinely didnt have time. So sweet heart just remember what I wrote before, have compassion for them, they have lost the art of enjoying being alive and joined the ranks of the apathetic.

            love :>)

          33. Gloriasews | | #42

            I loved your story about the engraving class.  Your colleague's nose was out of joint because he couldn't engage the audience as you did.

            I like your thought about bored people being apathetic - I hadn't thought of that before (while I was on my previous soapbox).  I think you're right in that they don't know how to play - they are missing out on so much in life, eh?  Poor, wee souls!  (& I thought they were just lazy thinkers).  Maybe part of it is the way they were raised - maybe they weren't encouraged to be creative, or to read, or to just play.  Unfortunately, their numbers seem to be growing.  Life is too short to waste it - especially when there aren't enough hours in a day for the things that WE like to do, eh?

            Thanks so much for your input - thought-provoking!


          34. Gloriasews | | #41

            Boredom?  Hah!!!  I've never been bored in my life!  We certainly wouldn't take up sewing or any other craft out of boredom, as it takes lots of thought doing what we do.  People who are bored usually expect to be entertained by someone/something or find something to do that won't take up much time or thought.  There is no excuse for boredom - & what really drives me nuts is to hear little children complain about being bored (half the time, they are too young to understand what it means)!  I get really annoyed (can't you tell?) when people say they're bored - I think they are empty people - they usually don't even read, never mind doing any handwork of any kind - how sad!

            You're right about people not wanting to pay you for making them something, yet they'll pay much more for an inferior item (maybe because of its label).  They tend to look down their noses at any craft that they are not interested in nor fully understand, as they feel it's a waste of time.  We will never be able to change those people - their opinion is their own.

            Your autumn bag sounds lovely - did you also use silk leaves under your sheer overlay?  I was thinking of doing that ages ago on a floral quilt - have been gradually picking up appropriate silk flowers on sale - one of these days I'll have enough.

            Isn't it amazing how our minds keep generating new ideas?  Boredom?  Never!!


          35. sewtimely | | #47

            told you you'd have a lot of reading to do when maggie responded to your "mistake" comment:)

            I got the fabric and intended to put flowers and leaves behind it, but the print  on it was too dark.  You couldn't see what was behind it, so I didn't bother.

            enjoyed both your posts about "boredom." I knew Maggie would have something to say about that too!  it's been fun and uplifting to read this thread. 


          36. Gloriasews | | #54

            You're right - Maggie does have lots to say & it's inspirational, timely & thought-provoking - & just what I need to hear.  Yay, Maggie!

            That's too bad about your not being able to use the flowers & leaves on your bag - but you'll be able to use them elsewhere - you learned something from the exercise.

            These threads are always uplifting & interesting!


          37. sewtimely | | #56

            true. I agree, that it's fine without the flowers, though I'd like to have them, the fabric has copper leaves, that make it opaque. I like it without them, but will use that idea when I get a chance.

            Maggie's great to have around.  She doesn't care how much time it takes to explain something you can tell she truly loves to encourage, inspire and teach.  A great place to be with her around.  And like you said, everyone.  I enjoy being with people who appreciate how to keep from being bored the way I do!


          38. Gloriasews | | #58

            Yes, Maggie is a great friend - everyone should have such a positive, encouraging friend (guess we all do now, since she's joined our group).  Do you live close by & see each other often or are you e-mail buddies only?


          39. sewtimely | | #59

            :) how I wish!  No, we met on another site.  I live in Kentucky, she lives in England.

            I love the internet.  With all its faults, there's one of many good things and that is friends you've never met.  And places like this.  What a great time to be alive!


          40. Gloriasews | | #60

            The Internet IS great - it doesn't seem like we're scattered all over the world.  It amazes me just how much progress in technology has been made in the past 50+ years, eh?  On the other hand, today's newspaper stated that, with all the blogs going, it was a great place for advertisements to be placed instantly that pertain to what people are discussing.  Hope it doesn't happen here - can you imagine pop-up ads on every thread?  AAAGH!!!

          41. sewtimely | | #61

            no! no popups please! they drive me nuts!

            I am going to work on another little tote for fall so this girl can see that I am TOTALLY bored! :) and maybe spin that spiderweb tonight :)  I also have some lovely fabric to make placemats and table runner.  My dining room is decorated in fruits (and I have stenciled the fruit of the spirit verse on my wall, "...but the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,...." etc. and I found some fabric with grapes and fruit and the same verse.  I am not too enthused about making them though because my sewing machine is in my dining room.  The table usually has fabric, and almost always has cutting mat on it.  Hey! that's an idea.  Cutting mats for placemats! :)






          42. MaryinColorado | | #64

            Your Fruits of the Spirit theme sounds lovely!  Mary

          43. Gloriasews | | #68

            You must REALLY be bored to have so many projects to do :)  That person you know should be very impressed by the lengths you go to to alleviate your boredom!

            As for the mat placemats, you CAN get interlocking (like puzzle pieces) cutting mats of various colours, so that you can make the size or shape that you need to cover your table, in case you really get desperate.  Actually, they are a good idea, but I think they're rather expensive.  Your projects will look lovely in your diningroom (do you have dishes to match, too)?   The diningroom table is a great place to sew for the size of the table, but such a nuisance to clean up & put everything away if you are having a dinner, eh?  (& to keep the mess out of sight, as well).  O well, we do what we have to, eh?

            Show pics of your completed projects when you can.  Happy sewing, you poor, bored person, you!


          44. sewtimely | | #70

            :) it's nice to get a smile from someone that has the same mental issues as I! :) rather than grimaces when someone asks what I'm going to do this evening and I say "I have some sewing to do".  I have a large table (seats 8) (don't know if it's good or bad).  I would fill it up no matter what size it is.  But I do try to keep the permanent sewing tools to a minimum.  (I tried to write "pariphinalia" but can't spell it.) Tools sounds better anyway.  I always think of drugs when I see the other word (that I can't spell and so far off that spellcheck can't figure it out:) but that may be what drug addicts need, sewing machines and cutting mats then that would satisfy their boredom and addiction:)

            Sizable cutting mats.  Never have seen them.  Sounds neat. I have 3 sizes though.  I guess I don't need more.

            good to talk to you.  (we may be a little off track here), back to embroidery.... that IS the thread we're on right :)

            Who wants the task of explaining to me how you get a picture (clip art) and turn it into an embroidery design with janome's easyedit program? 

            have a great evening of creativity!


          45. maggiecoops | | #72

            I just spent the evening doing a video on the 11000 customiser!!!

            which version have you got? the old mc 10000 or the v3 with the customiser. If you dont have Customiser 10000 plus or Customiser 11000 I cant help you as I binned my old easy import which is where you change clip art to digi designs.Let me know, but it could be a few days as I'm doing another job for my son. and I thought I had retired, b4 you ask, no I havent finished the darn drapes, I'm going out of my mind trying to attach interlinings without the fabric getting distorted, ou can probably tell I'm getting angry with them now. grrrrrrr. Iwill do it Iwill I will I WILLLLLLLLL  :>(

          46. MaryinColorado | | #45

            I think I might have told her "gee, if everyone felt as you do, you'd be naked right now".  ha ha  I just don't get why people are so rude and hurtful.  Guess they must have sad lives to have to hurt others to make themselves feel something.....too bad, they still don't feel joy or love.  They are too busy being mean!

            Enjoy your art to wear and pity the poor ignorant fools who cannot appreciate something about it.  There are so many nice things one can say, from "you are so creative to nice choice of colors or interesting textures or how clever.....etc...." 

            I was taught "if you can't say something nice, say nothing"  and always compliment a ladies' hat, no matter what you really think....

            Shoulders back, chin up, be proud.....and smile, they'll wonder what you are up to! 

          47. sewtimely | | #48

            that would have been a good response! Wish I'd thought of it. if she were right every designer (that she pays way too much for their clothes, bags, etc.) is the most boring person in the world.  Like I said, just one day I would like to be bored...have time to be bored.  I don't care what anyone has done, creatively, even if it was ugly, I've complimented them, for hopefully they'll improve but they never will if someone tells them they must be bored for then it looks like they've wasted their time.  I'm  only talking about beginners at their craft.  Not me, I've been doing it too long and know that someone that will say that is the one that's bored, or at least we have much different views on what bored is.  She's one of those people who think, "if you think it you might as well say it." Wrong.  Doesn't matter though.   I'll continue to create and look for more ways to spend my time doing what I like to do.  I do want to hear opinions and critisisms but there are some opinions that don't count.



          48. MaryinColorado | | #51

            I never think of clever responses when people are rude to me.  I have always been stunned like a "deer in headlights".  It seems to happen so frequently these days that I have been practicing things I might say or at least think silently to myself. 

            I have never understood why people do things to damage another person's spirit! 

            Consider the source is what my mother told us.  That's fine with strangers, but when it is family or someone who matters in our lives, it really hurts. 

            I've always bought American products and try to support our local economy as much as possible.  When my dear daughter in law first saw my shiny new sky blue Volkswagon EOS convertible she devastated me.  She had seen a recent documentary and said she couldn't believe I would buy a "Hitler car"!  I was crushed!  Especially since my grandmother had "escaped" Posnan, Germany (formerly part of Poland).  It was an inconsiderate "slip of the tongue".  I would have overlooked it had she stopped at that point.  Unfortunately for her, I no longer defend her when others complain that she has hurt thier feelings.  She is alienating so many friends and family.  We all feel bad for my son but don't know how to help. 

            "burned out peacemaker"

          49. sewtimely | | #52

            wow.  that is cruel and insensitive.  chances are she may be more of german descent than she knows.  that would be interesting. 

            I kind of understand why people say hurtful things.  It makes their lives look better (in their eyes) If she doesn't have a VW anyone that does is less than her.  If someone spends their time watching tv., wasting time, then the way I spend my time is a waste of time to them. Especially if they have no desire to sew, they don't understand. I don't understand why people do what they do, but it's a free country.  I am not going to critisize them (to them, I might in my mind:) 



          50. Gloriasews | | #55

            Oh, Mary - what an awful thing your daughter-in-law said to try to ruin your joy in your new car!  Guess she never heard of the "if you have nothing good to say, say nothing" adage, eh?  She probably is proud of herself for being "honest & forthcoming" (which a lot of young people do today, unfortunately, & not seeing it as rudeness), but she probably wouldn't like it if people did the same to her.  As to not knowing what to do about it, don't complain to your son, as he can't make her stop & it would only cause tension between them & you.  You'll just have to say "enough!" when she does it again & walk away - maybe she'll get the message if everyone did that - she would have to take responsibility for her own comments.  Are her comments always so negative?  Maybe she's jealous of other people's good fortune.  Whatever it is, it's sad & immature (& could be stressful when there's a family gathering, which should be a happy time).  Good for you for not defending her anymore - she's not your small child.  Anyway, that's just my 2 cents worth.

            Oh, I just read Maggie's comments to you on 6966.58 - do listen to her, instead, as she said it all so much better than I - you definitely don't want to force your son to choose between you & his wife or cause any tension in that area.  Maggie is much more tactful than I was - sorry!

            Go ahead & enjoy your car to your heart's content!  I also agree with you on the cell phone comments, too.


            Edited 10/8/2007 5:48 pm by Gloriasews

          51. MaryinColorado | | #62

            I appreciate your kind words.  My son was there, he appoligised for her behavior in private.  I felt bad for him.  When it comes to family, I've had years of practice keeping my mouth closed and being the peacemaker.  As I get older though,  it is getting tedious. 

            I may just start grinning and let them wonder what I really think!  (I'm sure they will think I didn't hear them correctly, but I will know the difference)  "grin and bear it"...Maybe I'll carry it a bit farther and give them a little giggle!  (They can blame that on menopause, lol)  Maybe I should try "why would you say such a thing" or "what on earth would make you say THAT to ME?"  hmmmm food for thought.  

            Is silence really golden or does it cost us our self respect? 

            Oh dear, we are very off subject here, someone's going to get upset....

            I went to the bookstore today and bought a book with lots of fairy drawings, am thinking of a quilt with a magical forest in freemotion quilting....just for the fun of it and to cheer myself up. 

            I call my car, Skye, my "midlife crisis car"....it's so fun to drive with the top down, weeeee....feel like a kid, who cares what anyone thinks?  Mary


          52. maggiecoops | | #65

            Right you are Mary, back on topic, bit hard though seeing you speeding down the road with your hair flying loose in the wind.

            Here's a link to a site you might find interesting.  http://www.quiltstream.com/Quilting.html


            This is something my future DiL and I will be doing soon. Since my DH died I've not been able to fit myself, plus I've kind of grown, horizontally not vertically!.


          53. MaryinColorado | | #66

            ooooooooh!  Such yummy sites!  I can't wait until morning so I can spend some time going through them.  I did a quick peek at them and saved them in my favorites.  Thank You and everyone here at Gatherings so much for the inspiration and encouragement you give.    Mary


          54. sewtimely | | #67

            Maggie always has a pelethora of resources and knowledge.  You name it, she's got books, websites for it! She knows her "craft!"


          55. Gloriasews | | #71

            Those threadpainting videos were great!  Thanks! Galleries were eye candy!

            As for the dress form, a previous poster on another thread said that the foam has to be cut with an electric knife & was difficult to match her shape accurately.  She thought the duct/butcher tape form is an exact replica of your body & is much cheaper.  I did the butcher tape form years ago (must do another one, as I, too, have expanded, but I don't have a buddy to help me) - it was a wonderful (but eye-opening :) copy of my body & really helped with my fitting.


          56. maggiecoops | | #73

            I'm surprised the person who posted about cutting the foaam needed to do it. The plaster guaze makes a negative cast of your body, unless the cast was too thin and too much foam was poured, it could have burst the mould. I've used plaster impregnated guaze in school to make moulds of hands, feet, arms, and even face masks. As long as the cast is thick enough there shouldnt be a problem. I used to help my DH make foam floatation inserts for racing kyaks and have seen one split because he emptied too much foam into the boat, that was a mess and nearly destroyed a very expensive canoe. Thankfully he knew how to use fibre glass resin so was able to fix it. I'll let you know how Magda and I get on. I'm going to use the high density foam as it's lighter and expands nicely. I can see the pair of us being buried under a huge bubble of foam.

            I made the brown parcel tape form years ago, it worked well, but took ages to dry and it was winter, not comfy for the poor girl who was the one being encased in sticky brown paper.

            Glad you liked the sites, there's some lovely stuff on the web and it's great way of seeing what other folks are up to.

            love mags

          57. Gloriasews | | #75

            When I made my brown paper tape form,  our class dried them with a hair dryer & cut them off (down the back), pasted them back together & let them dry overnight until hard.  Wearing them until dry would definitely be a hardship!  Your foam casting sounds like a better idea (although it could be messy, eh?  Nevertheless, you'll both have fun doing it.  Good luck!


          58. Gloriasews | | #69

            Yes, we do keep our mouths shut almost all the time to keep the peace & not hurt loved ones - it's easier to say nothing, than to say something & not be able to take the words back.  I do think we get a bit bolder with our opinions when we get older, though.  My sister-in-law was like that - she didn't hesitate speaking her mind in her later years & took no guff from anyone (when someone wanted to butt into a line in front of her, she'd tell him in no uncertain terms to get to the back of the line like anyone else & the rest of the line would applaud her). 

            Your fairy quilt sounds exciting - love those fairies!  Good luck with it & be sure to post pics.  Did you find fairy material, or will you applique the whole thing?


          59. MaryinColorado | | #74

            It will be a very long involved process I am attempting.  I hope to draw all the fairies and use different fabrics and sheers and angelina and such, then threadpaint for definition.  I don't have it all worked out yet.  Some will be appliqued on and some embroidered directly onto the background fabric. 

            A friend showed me photos of a large quilt that looked like a page out of a child's storybook.  It was awesome!  It had dragons and castles and everything you can imagine.  I had always imagined a small quilt done in this fashion, so seeing this has inspired me to actually try it. 

            Wish me lots of luck, please!  I'll need it!  Mary

          60. Gloriasews | | #76

            Your fairy quilt will be gorgeous, but, as you say, will take a long time.  As Maggie says, it's presently in the amorphous stage.  Good luck to you on this (it's a very big, creative project) - we'll all be waiting for the pics so we can oh & ah over it.


          61. SAAM | | #77

            I can't wait to see your fairy quilt. A friend of mine made a fabulous quilt called "Approaching Winter." The quilt is of a woman's face and hand and her hair is made up of hundreds (maybe thousands)of appliques of birds and butterflies and fairies. You can look at this quilt for hours and still find more delightful sprites hidden in her hair. The woman's face and hand are threadpainted with such skill they look as if they were painted with watercolors. My friend entered the quilt in the $100,000 Quilt Contest and it is now one of forty finalists. The amazing thing is that when she made this quilt, she had only been sewing for a couple of years. Before that she had never even threaded a machine.

          62. MaryinColorado | | #78

            That quilt sounds wonderful!  I have been sewing for decades but still consider myself a novice at getting my visions to fruition on cloth.  Was she already an artist?

          63. SAAM | | #79

            Yes, Mary, Jennifer was a professional artist, mostly in watercolors for many years. One day she just woke up and couldn't paint anymore. Her mother sent her a little old sewing machine and she just took off with it. Then moved on to bigger, better, newer machines.

            Her newest quilt also features a woman's face, but she painted it with fabric paints, so maybe she's overcoming her painting block. The new quilt also shows a scene of Venice that she completely machine embroidered.

            My friend now has a website where you can see a close up of her "Approaching Winter" quilt: http://www.artgiftsetc.com/index.html


          64. MaryinColorado | | #80

            Oh my goodness!  I spent quite some time on your friend's website.  I plan to go back soon and continue drinking it all in.  She is so incredibly talented, I have never seen anything that compares in that size.  Such amazing detail and depth and harmony.  The sensitivity is there too.  I can't say enough so will stop now.

            Thank You so much for sharing Jennifer's creations.  I did go to the contest website, looked at all the quilts and voted for what I believe is the best one, she qualified as my first choice in every aspect.  I don't have to be a quilt judge to see the winner!  Mary

          65. SAAM | | #81

            Thanks so much, Mary! I know Jennifer appreciates your vote. I'm glad you enjoyed her website. I think she's so talented and more people should know about her work. And her quilts are even more impressive in person. When she entered the contest, she suggested I also make a quilt and enter. I just laughed; there was no way I could compete with what she was submitting. The only quilts I've made were quilts from patterns for my girls when they were newborn babies, and that was quite a while ago.Sherry

          66. MaryinColorado | | #82

            I know what you mean!  If I still lived in a small town or rural area, I think I would enter local contests just for the fun of it.  As long as I had alot of time to prepare.  I do love seeing the beautiful work of others.  It is so kind when they share thier expertise and I love reading their stories.  I'm glad that Jennifer's muse has returned and she is again enjoying her gifts and sharing with others!

            Bonnie Lynn McCaffery has a new DVD to go with her book/workshops on "Painted Faces".  I'd like to get that and try my hand at it.  If you are interested, her website is http://www.bonniemccaffery.com  I get her newsletter which notifies me when she has new free vidcasts.  DigiBobbe is lots of fun, and a great technique with or without the embroidery machine.    Mary



          67. maggiecoops | | #57

            Sweetheart, have a quiet word with her, I have a beautiful Czech daughter in law, who constantly complained about here (England). I know this little island has faults and we do sometimes come over as boorish or stuffy, but in the main we're a friendly lot and this little country of ours is a great place to live. She was having one her tirades about the English, ( my antecedence was Anglo Maltese on one side, and American Norwegian on the other) I asked her quietly if there was anything she disliked about Czech. She looked at me in disbelief and said no it was a wonderful country. So I asked her to imagine how she would feel if she heard someone constantly criticise every aspect of her country. At first she responded by saying they wouldnt, I pointed out that although my parents and grandparents were mixed nationalities, England was my home and as precious to me as Czech was to her.  So next time she wanted to sound off, swap the word English for Czech and then ask herself if she really wanted to continue.

            like your daughter in law, it was lack of thought, so let her know how hurt you were at her callous remark. Also let her know she's your daughter in law, and as such you will always have a special place for her. Dont cut her away, when she starts to say something that is hurtful to you, tell her, make it clear its what she's saying that you dislike, not her. You may never cure her, but you will not force your son into a position that is untenable for him, how can he choose between his mother and his wife, and if she has any feelings, she'll see how her remarks can wound.

            Edited 10/8/2007 4:27 pm ET by maggiecoops

          68. MaryinColorado | | #63

            That's great advice, Maggie, thank You!  I will arrange a shopping/lunch date with her and have a heart to heart.  The poor girl does know how to alienate people.  My son always had alot of friends, but many have told me they cannot tolerate her negative comments.  I always defend her, but it is a sad situation.  I try to focus on her good qualities and just show her love.  She felt like my daughter before she became my daughter in law. 

          69. maggiecoops | | #40

            Hi Gloria, MISTAKES! what are they? There are 3 words in free motion embroidery or any creative discipline that don't exist, mistake, problem, failure. How can you make a mistake in free creative expression? you are exploring and experimenting, finding ways to depict what it is you are trying to express. Each new result is adding to your library of experience to be utilised again. Problems, don't exist unless they're the 2 legged variety and call you Mum or Wife, and they're not problems, just nuisances because they interrupt your creative flow. You have solutions instead, ok they occur when you least expect them to and you can't always leave the queue at the checkout to rush home and see if they do what you thought they might. Problems when correctly labelled become stepping stones to new ideas and avenues of exploration. Ruined, that definately doesn't exist, who makes the final decision regarding success or failure, because that's what ruined means, you can't, because  from the outset you are striving to create an expression of a concept, where is the benchmark to judge it against? There isn't one, what there is, exists within your minds eye and its nature alone prevents absolute criteria to be applied. You can only ever judge those things you have learned, amassed experience from to inform future decisions on methods used and routes explored. Every new technique can be analysed and filed in your mind so when you sit pondering on what approach to use for this or that element, you can recall those results of your analysis.  Never look at your work as being a failure or ruined,  in fact forget its yours and look at it again  fresh and ask what is the overall impression this work gives you. If it comes near to your original concept, (and be objective,) then it works.

            Just let those creative juices flow sweetheart and take chances.  Meet an obstacle, treat it as wall and stand on top of it and see how much farther your horizon is away, limitations you ignore as who decides what they are, give them a gentle shove and they roll back.  I'm working towards doing Mags version of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, only this time with females in, after all we are the nurterers, healers, and  educators.  It's in the gestation period at the moment, might be a few more decades before it's born, but I've still got a lot of experimenting to do.

            love mags :>)

          70. Gloriasews | | #43

            Thank you THIS much for your insight on problems, failures, etc.  - I have printed it (& posted it over my sewing machine) to keep reminding me of these things - mainly to keep an open mind & relax & enjoy what I'm doing & learn from it. 

            Is your Sistine Chapel ceiling going to be a quilt or wallhanging?  It takes so much planning, but should be beautiful.  I am also working on designing a rose window stained glass type of quilt - which will take ages, too.  Something to look forward to!

            Yes - thank God we don't have a problem with boredom!  Keep smiling!



          71. maggiecoops | | #44

            Oh Gloria, my Sistine Capel is going to be all things untill the moment of construction sweetheart. It's amorphous at the moment, it's a goal that keeps me searching, trying, and learning. It may never take a material shape, but the enjoyment I experience trying new things I think might help it forward is very real.Because I have resisted the temptation to place my thoughts into a coherent structured plan, everything is a resource I can draw on. The only absolutes I can tell you, is that I will combine all my interests in one project. That's the beauty of an idea, you keep enlarging it, redefining it, exploring the possibilties and then one day realise today is the day to put that idea into a solid form, and no one including yourself can say, oh but that's not what you planned,because an idea constantly moves gathering more ideas to itself. If your mind is open, that single idea can be translated in a million ways. Imagine the pleasure you can experience clocking up the projects that carry you forward to its realisation.

            So stop reading this and start practising your free moton skills, one I want to do on the way to my SC is a tryptich design based on my love of marine reefs. I have my own small 4' marine reef tank that never fails to enchant me. I'm digitising fish, collecting fabrics and notions to be used for them. Then I can have a solid wall of marine fish on their reef.

            love maggie :>)

          72. Gloriasews | | #53

            I love it - your amorphous designs!  I've had a few going for the past few years - & I thought it was just procrastination - but they kept (& keep) changing, so I couldn't start them.  Now I feel so much better - I'm not the only one who does this.  Thanks muchly - now I have words for them.  You've made my day! 

            Good luck on your reefs - all reef projects I've seen have been beautiful - yours will be, too!


          73. MaryinColorado | | #46

            Oooh, wouldn't that be cool in a "birthing room" or women's clinic?   When your "gestation" period gives birth, you might just have another career!

             You go girls!!!!  Lets all give a great big "yahoo" for imagination and creativity!!!  Where would we be without it?  No telephones, electricity, planes, trains, or automobiles....

            let alone cell phones so people could "create" new ways to be rude and don't get me started on the idiots text messaging while driving!   Mary

          74. maggiecoops | | #49

            Oh Mary, if I'd seen the prospect of an on going gestation period in the birthing room, I'd only have had 0ne child instead of four. Yikes that would have been something my poor body wouldnt have let my mind comprehend. LOL.

            I have decided the reason folks use those nasty little mobile squawk boxes is, they are lonely and dont like their own company. My DH gave me one when they were  first readily available but smaller than the huge house brick with ariels everywhere, to carry when driving. Well in the end he admitted defeat, firstly I resent being available to all and sundry 24 hours a day. I like my own company and havent time to waste on inane conversations reporting on my every move. That's my business thanks. Secondly, if it's meant to be used for emergency, that's it, it has no other purpose for me. I have used it when in a car, but I've been sat parked and rung for directions becase I was lost, or I've had a flat and need assistance. It's permanently on off, I don't need to hear some insane ring tone whilst I'm driving, I have enough to do avoiding mobile phone users who are so intent on using their little ego in a plastic case they fail to see me or the truck that swerved to avoid them. Here in England it's an offence if you're caught using a mobile while driving, but those poor benighted souls are so lonely, or can't stand being with themselves they continue using them.  It also occured to me, these poor  lonely folks must be rolling in money, because over here a mobile phone requires a mortgage to use it. I see them holding those money pits and imagine all the fabrics and threads I could purchase with the money they spend on their monthly phone bill. I don't pity them but I do feel for them, and I don't get angry, I do on occasion ask someone who insists I overhear their conversation, to speak more quietly please, as my miniature hearing aid (non existent) is causing me physical pain and then smile and say thank you whilst gripping the side of my head and swaying gently. Naughty I know, but it works every time.

          75. MaryinColorado | | #50

            Lack of cell phone etiquette is one of many symptoms of Humanity verses Society.  This whole world is in crisis and so much of it is due to selfishness and lack of consideration or empathy for others.  I hope we can improve the situation before we destroy ourselves.  Mary


          76. sewtimely | | #14

            You'll see the best instructions from Maggiecoops....can you tell she's a teacher?

  2. JanF | | #3

    freehand embroidery is not the same as using an embroidery machine that works a set design out for you. True free-motion stuff needs you to design as you do - I suppose its one more example of how terminology becomes confusing the more people chip in with pointers etc.
    true free-hand stuff only needs you to drop the feed and engage straight or zig-zag stitch and then off u go! Sketching with a machine needle is how i describe it to my pupils at school and encourage them to doodle as you do with your pencil - surprising what they come up with!

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