Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Dilemma du Jour: In Which Rebecca Gives Up Brain Cells -- and Spelling -- for Lent

Embroidery Finished, but Needs Fixing!
So after seventeen long days of procrastination, I finally touched the Amish Baby 54-40 or Fight quilt again yesterday.  I finished adding the borders on January 31st, and then I digitized (for machine embroidery) a Dr. Seuss quote that is special to the baby's parents and agonized over where I should embroider it on the quilt that would be visible, but not look like "what is that doing there?"  I also digitized the quilt label information to embroider on the front of the quilt, because I don't like to add a separate label on the back of a Minky-backed quilt.  I really dislike doing machine embroidery, hence the delay in actually stitching all of this out, but last night I decided to JUST DO IT and get it over with so I could get to the fun quilting part!

Against my better judgment, which seems to have abandoned me, I did not stitch out a sample of either design.  It was just simple lettering, right?  As long as I stabilized properly it would be fine.  Hah.  Okay, so here's what I did right: Organ embroidery sharp needle in size 75/11, black OESD PolyMesh cutaway stabilizer, and I very carefully measured, marked, and hooped the quilt to ensure that the lines of text would stitch out straight and centered in the 1" wide light green border.  I found the little hoop clips that came with my Mega Hoop and even figured out how to attach them to the hoop:

Mega Hoop Clips Properly Positioned
I made sure the center of the design lined up with my centering marks on the quilt, and I used both auto basting options -- the hoop perimeter and the tight basting right around the design -- to guard against distortion during embroidery:

Auto Basting Completed, Ready to Stitch Design
But once my design started stitching on the quilt top, I saw that the tension was off -- black bobbin thread was showing at the edges of the satin stitched lettering.  I suppose I could have stopped, picked out the stitches, and started over after testing and trouble shooting, but I decided to proceed anyway, lowering the top tension ultimately from the default of 2.0 to 1.25, which was better, but still not perfect.  I wonder whether any of the 7 Series sewing machine updates made changes to the default embroidery tension?  The first time I ever embroidered on my 750 QE I had problems with the top thread looping and I resolved those issues by putting the embroidery thread on a stand behind my machine, putting a thread net on the spool, and passing the thread through a couple of additional thread guides, all of which increases tension on the upper thread.  I'm going to need to experiment now and see if I don't get better embroidery tension with the embroidery thread on the regular spool holder on the machine itself, either the vertical or horizontal spool pin.  But that's an adventure for another day.

Meanwhile, I decided that the bits of black thread don't bother me enough to try to rip the embroidery out and redo it, since it gives kind of a mottled look to the lettering that is similar to the mottled, textured look of the fabrics I used in the quilt.  Those stitches are so tiny and so close together that it would be a miracle if I could remove them without accidentally ripping a hole in the quilt top.  It would almost make more sense to remove and replace the borders (ugh!)  But next time?  Not only should I STITCH A SAMPLE FIRST, DUH -- but why did I even need to use black bobbin thread in the first place?  After all, I have lovely 50/2 Aurifil cotton Mako thread that matches every fabric in this quilt, that I bought for my quilting thread.  There is absolutely no reason why I could not have used the royal blue Aurifil thread in the needle AND bobbin for stitching these designs instead of Isacord polyester embroidery thread in the needle and OESD bobbin thread in the bobbin, and the tension perils of tiny satin stitched letters would have been invisible if I had matching thread in the bobbin. 

Bobbin Thread Showing On Top :-(

So, first design stitched, and aside from the tension I'm pretty pleased -- it's legible, it's centered, it's straight, and it didn't pucker my quilt top one iota:

On to the easy part, the embroidered quilt label info for the bottom right corner of the quilt.  I did not make further adjustments to the tension because I thought it would be better if both lines of embroidered text had black dots instead of one line black and blue and the other line all blue.  My label info design fit nicely into my Large Oval hoop, but other than that I followed the same procedure as before.  I did float an additional layer of the PolyMesh cutaway stabilizer beneath the hoop during embroidery.

The design stitched out great, once again perfectly straight and positioned exactly where I wanted it...  But there was one little problem:

Stitched With Love by a Nincompoop!
Do you see my mistake?  Here I'm so concerned with picking the perfect font and thread color, and where I'm going to position the embroidered text on the quilt, and which stabilizer will support the stitches without making that area of the quilt noticeably stiff, and making sure everything is straight and centered -- and I don't even notice that I only put one T in Charlotte! 

Oh, the Shame!
GROAN!!!  This is pretty bad, folks.  The new momma-to-be is a college professor, and I'm pretty sure she knows how to spell Charlotte.  It can't stay like this.

After sleeping on it, and looking at it again this morning, I think I need to carefully rip out just the "t" in Charlote.  Then I will write two "t"s in its place with a disappearing fabric marker, and use a satin stitch on the sewing machine (with the same width as the embroidered font) to manually stitch over the letters that I have marked.  Wish me luck!  If I botch it up royally, I can always take the borders off.  Actually, it just occurred to me that there's no reason I couldn't have embroidered the borders prior to attaching them to the quilt.  I cut them wide and then trim them to size after attaching them anyway, but if I embroidered the border before stitching it on I could have just hooped the stabilizer, drawn a straight line on it for positioning, and stuck the border in place with some 505 Temporary Spray Adhesive.  It would have made hooping easier.  Maybe next time!

Happy Ash Wednesday, everyone!  The kids are home again today because of ice on the roads in some parts of the county and more cold temps and precipitation expected this afternoon.  I just hope the weather doesn't get bad enough for Ash Wednesday service to be canceled at church tonight -- I like both of the anthems and I want to sing them!


Jenny K. Lyon said...

Oh ack! You have done such a beautiful job on this quilt-it's spectacular! I would have to fix that too-it would bug you to leave it in.

Shelina (formerly known as Shasta) said...

It is a beautiful quilt, and embroidering in the sashing is an excellent idea. Love the quote!

Val's Quilting Studio said...

I love this idea too!!! Very creative...yet not an overwhelming accent.

Home Sewn By Us said...

Hi Rebecca! Oh shooooooot. What are the odds you would misspell Charlotte. I have not tried using embroidery in a border yet, but I can totally see me doing this. ~smile~ Roseanne

Tracie @ Riceford Streams said...

Oh, yes, I know the feeling as an editor who discovered typos after 3000 copies were printed and distributed.

Tracie @ Riceford Streams said...

Oh, yes, I know the feeling as an editor who discovered typos after 3000 copies were printed and distributed.