Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I See Dead Leaves........A Sewing Horror Story! LOL!

Okay, bad pun.....they're not really dead, and it's really not a horror story (it might be horribly told....) they are just being made to look like fallen leaves in various stages of becoming those beautiful, lacy skeletonized miracles that pop up in the flowerbeds in early Spring. This is part of a sewing commission, and frankly, this is the third go I've had at getting these things right. Without the leaves, there is no piece, period. And this is the first time in my life that the original plans I have had just flat out tanked.
There are a couple of being that when I purchased my machine years ago, I bought software that was supposed to perform miracles! WRONG.
Secondly, while is does an adequate job on the embroidery, it is an older machine with lots of *miles* on it and after a few patterns being run, I have to shut it off to let it cool. I don't have $8000 (yes, you read that right) for a NEW one. Not that I would buy one this elaborate again. And no, I did not pay that much for the one I own.....I'm crazy, but not that crazy!

The whole theory of the leaves was that, and it was a great idea, the machine would do it's thing and I could catch up on some other projects that have lain around for a year due to those two pesky surgeries.
Thread breaks on a regular basis, bobbin thread runs out and everything has to be lifted out of the machine, I have to have spare bobbins wound because I discovered the hard way I cannot exit the program to wind a bobbin.......*rolls eyes* just stops completely and there is no way I know of to get it back to where it was.
So below is a walk through my leaves, with a few humorous comments!

First I start with a layer of water soluble stabilizer. This is the best because the scraps can be reused and there is a lot of waste in the process. A lot. REALLY. A LOT.

I learned the hard way I don't have to cut a FULL hoop of fabric....if I tighten it down good, a partial piece will work just fine. This has to be fit into the hoop extremely firm as there is a lot of movement and vibration as the machine does it's thing.

Hoop is locked in place, and the threads are brought to the top surface. Then the presser foot is lowered and........

......push *Start* and pray. It always makes it through this section just fine. But as it begins some of the satin stitching.......

.......of which there is an ample amount, that is when I receive what is equal to a Windows System Blue Screen Of Death........

.......the dreaded Yellow Screen Of Broken Thread! (I get at least two of these per pattern stitched.....)

And when it is done it looks lovely, as though it were no effort at all. What you are looking at is over 35 minutes of work. The pattern, when things run RIGHT, is 25 minutes, but of course, we have to have a few fits and stops and thread breaks and other assorted bad behaviour. (and yes, if you follow me on FaceBook, this was the machine I was threatening to throw out the upstairs window, just to see how many parts it would break into when it landed on the driveway.....but I figured it would crack the concrete and my poor DH would have to throttle me.....)

And then you load it up and start again. Hold breath, pray sincerely, push *start* button.....

On the sheer fabric, the finished embroidery is lovely. This will have the extra stabilizer trimmed away, rinsed in cold water to dissolve the rest, be pressed on a teflon sheet with a cover to set the stitches and then each leaf has to be hand cut from the fabric.

And here is a view of the ones in progress.......I generally get three patterns run before the machine begins emitting a hot smell and I shut it off a while and we ALL cool off! LOL!!!
As I said....
I... see... dead... leaves......

Now, have a laugh at the short tempered blog-mistress and her sewing issues! Make something to brighten your day, or that of others. Life is too short to waste!  :-)



Wickedly Divine Creations said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha I SO love reading your blog :D
I know the feeling too. I have finally worked out how to go back when my bobbin runs out but they run out real damn quick! I've wondered how high mine would bounce on several occassions and like you I can't afford a new one! I got mine second hand and when it's being good to me I love it!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Don't take this the wrong way----I am sooooooo glad someone else understands what I am saying!
I reread the post and thought, hmmmmm, that doesn't exactly sound like the torment I have had.
If you are on the working end of the machine---BEGGING it to be good, then you DO understand! LOL!!
And truly, I have never had a commission where I have not been able to rethink and use something else, but this one, well, I need those leaves!!!


P.S. and the thing that irks me is for the cost of that machine (mine was an upgrade, so it only put me in PARTIAL cardiac arrest) that it does not have anything to TELL you when the bobbin starts to run Viking did.....

Wickedly Divine Creations said...

I know! Mine does the same thing!! If the top thread breaks it will stop and beep at me but if the bobbin runs out it will continue on its merry way until I discover when I have to the change the thread that half the stitching wasn't done! Mine is a Brother, it's my first one so don't know what others out there tell you it's run out.
Good luck getting them done. Might be quicker to grow a tree and pluck them off ;)

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

I'm thinking that.....I can't understand why a Janome would not have a low bobbin indicator, and maybe the new ones do.
Yeah, I'll have this row of holes and then all of a sudden...BEEEEEEEEEEEEP! (let me guess....)
Although, sometimes I change the bobbin color and with the sheer fabric, it is used to great effect.
Ah well, the sewing life! :D


kj said...

HA HA HAhaHA! You tell even a story steaming with frustration in your silly good hearted style.

My equivalant is blogger or word losing my words. I can never replicate what I have written and couldn't save and the second time around never satisfies me as much.

These leaves look great--no angst to be seen! Please keep showing how you do what. I love it!

Have a fine day, Anne. I hope you get kissed


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

KJ, I learned a long time ago that if I do not keep my sense of humor, I lose what little mind I have left....which after surgery, has diminished even moreso. Pffft!
I'm back to leaf duty, but have to reasssebmle some of the stabilizer scraps and wait for them to dry. You just damped them, and pudh them together. This stuff if SOOOOO economical! (tho not upfront....)
Off to see the Wizard.....


Marie S said...

OH, these are beautiful, really wonderful! Suffering for your art???
I am looking forward to seeing what happens when you get them all done.
How many more do you have to do?

I love reading how you approach your art. Makes me feel normal.
Talking to my self and the pieces I am working on comes to mind. If anyone was listening outside they would lock me up.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Marie, you mean we're NOT supposed to talk to ourselves??? LOL!!!
this is no joke---I figure I need somewhere between 50-100 of the leaves.......and that is why I have been in panic-mode, because there is absolutely nothing to make this go faster. If I burn up the machine--and that is a concern--then I'm up a creek with a repair that will be $500 minimum. (had a circuit board go out before...)
And no matter how FAST you want to work, well, you CAN'T....and you know ME!
So yes, just talk to yourself and everything will be fine! :)


Deborah said...

Hahahahahahaha! HA! Poor Anne! But they are BEEEEEEEEUTIFUL! Did I miss what they are going on? I must have. I sewed through jean seams yesterday on my Viking...not one hmmmmm or broken thread. He is a dream, I tell ya! **kisskiss** Deb

Georgina said...

Wow, really quite beautiful for dead leaves. I don't think our leaves do that when they fall off the tree, they just turn brown and blend into the beautiful skeletal remains, just from green to brown and then dirt!! LOL Anyway, your recreation of them is just gorgeous.

I have an old Kenmore my ex gave me for Christmas in '73...wanted me to learn how to make baby clothes...YEA RIGHT!!! It's all metal, heavy as hell, but it still works. It goes forward, backwards, satin stitch and variations of that, button holes, which I have never attempted...ever!! No downloads, no memory cards, no nothing, just simplicity at it's best. I'm inheriting my mother's old Westinghouse when ever I take it out of her garage...comes with it's own cabinet too!

If I want to embroider, I do it the ol' fashion way, needle and floss and lots of blood!!! Oh we artists do what we have to do to get the job done...rather the artwork done. $8000 for a sewing machine???? Can't wrap my mind around that, but still can't wrap my mind around my daughter's toll violations either!! LOL

Well, ramble time is over and need to get ready to go to Miss Daisy's for our Wed. drive to who knows where.

Love ya,

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Ah Deb......there are many days I wish I had my Viking back, but it did not have the embroidery feature and you know me----the Magpie; glitz and glamour features....
This is a GOOD machine. It is just that I don't use the features enough to really be familiar with them, and the previous model (which I traded in) was much more user friendly...
Oh well. <:)


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Georgina,

I was absolutely STUNNED when I saw the prices on the new machines. Like I said, I did not pay that for my firstone or the upgrade to this one. I mean, back when I had the top of the line Viking, it was reasonably priced and it was computerized.
I firmly believe the prices reflect people overindulging on credit cards. Because most of us DO NOT have that kind of cash to plunk down.
And if you're doing embroidery commercially, there are machines that go a lot faster for that.
Okay, I totally forgot what else I was going to say.....


Ima Weed said...

Your old machine is still doing some amazing stuff (thanks to the operator), I guess the new ones might be able to do some housework as well, huh ? A lottery ticket might solve the problem.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

For the price of these things, I think they ought to do backflips while the dishes too! LOL!!!


Jan said...

o how we must suffer for our art sake! It is so frustrating to do this type of work. Of course they should be able to put in a bobbin low alarm, it should be standard equipment on new machines. Of course I realize yours is not a new machine. At least you can be comforted by how stunning these leaves finally do turn out. Hope it is worth all the frustration and agony.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

It will be worth it Jan. My Juki (the semi-commercial one that goes forward and backward only)has what is even better; a side bobbin access so I can open it without touching what's up top.
But, you know, I suppose since I don't design the machine I should not whine too loudly.
Glueing pieces of stabilizer together now so I can make more.
I'm pretty sure I ordered this last roll...don't think I can find it locally. Pfft.


yoborobo said...

I have a sledge hammer you can borrow. It should do the trick. lol! I have NOOOOO patience for this kind of thing. My hair would fall out! Just thinking about it makes my teeth chatter! You are a brave, brave woman. xox! Pam

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Pam, now you KNOW that I have a sledgehammer in my arsenal!!!! (seriously, I do! and a pick-axe too)
I finally have most of the issues worked out other than speed, and that is a no-fix. I have cut a few from the backing fabric, and they are lovely. But I am a woman of limited patience on GOOD DAYS. HAR!
I do appreciate the loan of yours and shall remember that in the future, should I bust mine somehow..... :D


Anna Rosa Designs said...

Hi Anne,
You are a scream girl!
I love how you have the exact words for how you're feeling.
Now, that i've seen those gorgeous leaves, isn't it all worth the effort. They would look great in MY journal. lol
Have a better day today,

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hi Anna!

You know, there are just SOME DAYS! LOL!!! Now today, I ran several of them, and some went smooth and some sounded like I was trying to stitch through concrete and there was no difference!
So I am hoping the machine holds out till I get them all done.....I could always use the semi commercial one for the other work, though it would be a bit harder.
And yes, I have WORDS for everything! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!


studio lolo said...

O-M-freaking goodness I'd shoot myself! ou are ONE patient woman.

I flunked sewing in home ec, no kidding, a big fat "F" for failure. I couldn't even make a sad little Simplicity pattern apron!
But I got an "A" in the cooking half of home ec. Yeah baby!

I want to see the end result of this frustrating project because I'm pretty darned sure it will be magnificent ;)

P.S. Emma said thanks for understanding ;P

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...


Now, write these down.

Not patient; crazy.
Not frustrated; ready to commit hari-kari.
Not impatient; scared stiff!

Like I said, never had a project go sideways like this one, but it is coming along okay...... (glances over shoulder at evil machine)


Bella Sinclair said...

Hey, dishi lady! Oh geez, oh geez, i am all tense and worked up just reading about all the breakage and yellow screens of death. But WHOAAAAA, these look gorgeous! Oy. Good luck with the rest!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Dishi-chicki shall whip the remaining leaves into submission!!! LOL!!!
It's just the quantity that has ma feeling I-L-L. <:}


Magpie's Mumblings said...

50 - 100!! Oh my lord. Kill me now. Just the thought of it gives me the heebie-jeebies. If it`s as agonizing as you say, that machine would have been a boat anchor long ago. My patience does NOT extend to inanimate objects that are supposed to make our lives easier and don`t. I sure do hope you`re getting paid what this is worth in angst!!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

M.A. at the end of the day, I still need the machine. I have no desire to buy another and wish I still had the 8000 series.
If I every found one of those....oh would have a new home and Mr. Boat-Anchor would be, well, anchoring something!


Diana Evans said...

Hi Anne!!! these leaves are amazing!!! woww!!!! you are a riot and a half with your little are you going to make with these???



Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Diana,

These are for a large fiber wall hanging...I'll post a sketch as I get further case I have to change anything again! :D


audrey said...

Beautiful leaves, Anne.
If it is any consolation ~ if your machine wasn't giving you problems, you wouldn't be writing the things you're writing and then we would all be bored instead of amused!!!
I guess that is one way of looking at the positive side of things.
I know, you still want to throw it out the window!!
I can't wait to see this project completed. I know it is going to be gorgeous!!!!!!
Good luck with the remaining leaves!!
♥ audrey

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

Trust me you really never sit idle because your mind is always running hot...great leaves! Imagine and live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Ces said...

Oh Anne, they look wonderful. Everything that is worth something always requires effort. It won't be considered precious if anybody can do it and I sure can't do it!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hi Audrey,

You're right.
If I did not have these little *adventures* that I share along the way, well, the blog could get pretty boring!
I'm stabilizer shopping today---preferrably ON LINE. But maybe in town; don't know how much is left.


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Ah MAry Helen,

You know me far too well, don't you???
Yes, the mind is going a mile a will be when the coffee kicks in!


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Yeah Ces--you're right.
Just think how they would look if they were Quercus leaves???? :D
I wonder if I can get one of those patterns.....hmmmmmm.....
Now you got me thinking...


Leslie said...

Lordy\, I feel your pain and so get it, been there, done that... Cursed the gods...

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...


Yep, we do ask for these things, don't we??? ;)


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Talk to me Dahling!
I'm waiting, breathless...... ;-D