Well, I had rather hoped that my last post would mark a return to a regular schedule of blogging fun but it seems that was too optimistic. Normally, I find writing here very straightforward and a lot of fun as it’s the one place I just get to ‘write’ without worrying about briefs, absolute technical precision and everything everyone else has written on a topic in the last hundred years. Recently, though it feels like I’ve been suffering with a bit of ‘writer’s block’ which is very unusual!
Maybe at least part of it though is the unsettling feeling I’ve gone completely bananas recently or stepped into some parallel universe where everything has stopped functioning as normal. I mentioned a while ago the general discombobulation that has come with a leap from ‘you will die if you go outside’ to ‘nah, tests who needs them?’ seemingly overnight in all manner of pandemic fun. While I’m okay with moving forward, what I really would have liked is to not move immediately forward into a wall where it seems like everyone has forgotten how to do their jobs and even the most simple of things now go wrong. I swear my life has become pleading with automated phone systems and listening to hold music…
Kit Dunsmore has been blogging about her battle with insomnia and being creative at the same time and I think some parts of the story did ring home. I am very tired at the moment, making me rather cranky and my patience for dealing with what feels like a carousel of delays and setbacks, very short. I have managed to snatch a few days off, which has taken me off down a crafty rabbit hole that I can’t wait to share with you soon, which I hope will help… but for everything else, there’s always the beautiful sound of a happily running Bernina. The one things that only gives me limited amounts of grief and bird’s nests!
I’ve been trying to move more and more towards digitising my own designs, especially as it’s becoming much less time consuming with practice. One thing I haven’t had much of a go at though is making free-standing lace, and when I saw these lovely designs on sale over at Embroidery Library, I’m afraid I couldn’t resist.
I’m really lazy when it comes to hooping so I was very grateful that I could jiggle two designs to fit on a single large hoop. This was mostly fine – with designs this large I do find there does start to be some slack on the stabiliser after the machine has been running for a few hours but not significant enough to cause any major distortions. I still haven’t really worked out whether it is my hooping or the Bernina hoops that isn’t quite perfect. It’s clear there’s some flex on the fabric when the machine is running and it never feels ‘drum tight’ in the way I always feel hooped embroidery should (too much time at RSN classes…). I have been debating whether it would be worth switching to magnetic hoops that look much easier to use but I’m not yet confident that would really address the problem I have.
There’s not much to say really with designs like these that are well-digitised. Thread up the machine, wind up some bobbins, hoop on and if it goes for many, many hours. I like Microtex needles for freestanding lace pieces, the stabiliser does tend to still perforate in a few places during stitching but it’s not disruptive in anyway. I use a size 70 but if you can get it to thread okay, I would see the advantage in going smaller.
Both designs are really nice and it’s nice to see how ‘easy’ something like this is now to just go and do. I feel a bit lazy calling things like this craft sometimes but it has taken a while to get to know the machine, software and hardware well enough that things like this can just run seamlessly. I also played a good game of Thread Chicken (and won) to get rid of as much stabiliser as possible before dissolving the remainder… However, it turns out that even if you do cut away all the visible parts there still seems to be infinite gluey, sticky mess inside. If anyone has a miraculous solution other than endless washing for stabiliser please let me know…