Thursday, May 28, 2009

Of Hitches and Glitches and Snags in Stitches Part 2

Late on Mother's Day, after Mom had gone to bed I was finally able to discuss with my sister the problems I was having with working on the sweat pea embroidery project. The lack of a dependable workspace and the tissue paper pattern tearing and or moving off position had kept me from working on it for over a week after she had prepared it for me.

Again it was I who had a plan that she helped me implement. She hunted down a shallow cardboard box and cut the side out of it and we slid it inside the sweater. It was my hope that this would act somewhat like a quilting frame to keep the fabric in place and thus limit the stress on the tissue.

She also re-drew the two flowers I was having so much trouble with--on Glad Press n Seal instead of tissue and stuck it in place. It served to hold the edges of the tissue surrounding it place as well. I had first tested a small area on the hem by stitching through the Press n Seal and then pulling it off. It seemed to not put undue stress on the stitches. Especially if I helped it by perforating near the stitches with my needle.

And she helped me set up a workstation on the couch beside my true light lamp and pledge to help keep it available for my in the afternoons and evenings. That first night I used my own desk as a stand for it but later she brought up an old TV tray from somewhere in the belly of the basement as using my own desk meant moving the laptop and everything else off it onto the bed and bringing it out to the living room and then reversing that process when I was through. A dicey thing to do by bedside lamp after Mom was already asleep.

Besides one of the issues about working on the embroidery project was set up time. I was able to make thirteen crocheted bookmarks in two weeks because I could carry them around in my pockets and work on impulse when only slices of time as small as three minutes were available. This isn't possible when it takes over 20 minutes just to set up to start working and as much to put it away.

My first work session with the box in the sweater was very successful. But the second time I tired to start working on it, I discovered that the handling of the project in moving it to the other room and back again had caused the tissue to shift position tear. Again. And this time one of the leaves and one of the flowers covering crucial bleach spots had torn.

Our idea this time was to use Glad Press n Seal over the entire lower area where those bleached spots were to both hold down and reinforce the tissue. And to help keep the weight of the sweater under the box from stressing the tissue when being transported from room to room she used wrapped the entire thing in Press N Seal snugly to the underside of the box.

Again I had a successful session. I finished the second of the crucial flowers and started on one of the crucial leaves and got one full side of it done before my eyes quit cooperating. That was about a week ago.

Then the events of last weekend of which I blogged in detail this past week: the rearrangement of my laptop workstation Saturday afternoon; the rearrangement of the living room Saturday night; the computer maintenance all day Sunday until dawn on Monday.

I did set up to work on the embroidery Sunday evening only to discover that I'd made a big boo boo while stitching that leaf the previous session. I'd trapped a big loop of thread about four inches long on the underside and I'd bunched the fabric in my stitches so that it puckered around that leaf. I spent two and a half hours taking out those stitches and in the process ruined the surrounding tissue.

That experience also soured me on the entire concept of working with the box too. The edges chafed my arms. Working blind to the underside meant I was likely to trap more loops of thread. Then there were the knotted ends of the yarn where the color changes occurred that I kept catching in my needle and pulling thru to the front. The real killer of the concept tho was that whenever an error required access to the underside, I had to roll the bottom edge of the sweater up until I could see area I was working and every time I had to do this the tissue shifted and/or tore some more.

So I took the tissue off. The idea is to cut out the flowers in sections approximately the size of index cards that will fit inside the area of an embroidery hoop. The embroidery hoop will not accommodate the thickness of the fabric unless I entirely remove the screw meant for tightening it down so the hoop is not going to keep the tension on the fabric stable. Tho I think it will do better than that box did. (See pic at top of this post.)

So much for brilliant ideas.

In the process of taking the tissue and Press n Seal off I damaged one of the stitched flowers. One knotted end was pulled to the front and stitches were pulled out of place and one tucked end was also pulled to front. In this spot the Press N Seal was over tissue and a second layer of Press N Seal which is probably why it didn't work like my test earlier. The tissue and plastic under the stitches is still not fully removed and is sticking up through the stitches. (See the close-up photo heading yeasterday's post.)

Like I said. So much for brilliant ideas.

Before I took the tissue off, I tweaked one of the early pictures I took of it immediately after it was drawn in my image program to emphasize the lines of the drawing and printed it. This will be my guide as to where to place the smaller sections of tissue as I work the flowers. and then after the flowers and the two crucial leaves are all worked, I will put in the vines and the rest of the leaves by eye.

That's the plan anyway.

Brilliant right?


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