Saturday, 6 April 2013

So long Husky, I knew you well

Well, I need to retire my trusty Viking Husqvarna. What to do? I think I mentioned that I was getting birds nests under my work with fme so I took it to a local sewing shop Kiki's Craft Corner over in Lochcarron where I'd heard that Keira & Bart as well as having a beautiful shop full of fabric, thread, felt supplies & everything else you could possibly need, they serviced machines. This thanks to Jenny of Skye Quilters. To cut a long story short there is a lot of play in the tension due to wear & tear in the bobbin case; this means i can't find the narrow window to avoid loops under my work, i did try, i really did! He'll look into searching for a replacement but the machine is late '70s at least.... so I got such helpful advice from Keira re a new machine - I need the obvious things, a darning foot, feed dogs down but a needle down feature would be good, the spool laying sideways & upright & a seperate bobbin case so that tension can be changed. Apparently I may be a little surprised by he new machines, how things have moved on & there is even a thing called a knee lever so you don't need to let go of your work! Keira is an accomplished quilter but I was delighted when she offered advice starting with 'for your kind of work' - so helpful - she knows I don't need a delicate quilting foot for example ;) so, Bernina, Husqvarna, Brother, Elna or Janome? What are your tips? (please ;)






I achieved some work this week despite the traumas. Above will be a textile collage with the drawing below. See the french knots in the bottom right 1/4? That was a 5" piece that just came from nowhere attached to the browny orange embroidery thread on my desk- I don't think I've ever seen it before - I mean I don't remember buying it, but it's the most perfect moss!


 I'll stitch some more of course, by hand, as I'm just left with straight stitch on my machine. How will I do without free or zigzag stitch?

Gwen Hedley's method is to make observational drawings, to look at the quality of line - there are lines raised or low relief, rough or smooth, thick or thin. You can see the photo below - I've tried to indicate the large areas of lichen with the angled lines, & smaller areas with a little scribble, the deep areas with dark lines & the shapes the cracks are making with vertical lines. I felt that altho the organza was quite a contrast to the subtly gessoed teabags that it did fit in using a small amount.



Gwen then makes a stunning collage/drawing on the altered grounds the teabags, book pages or maps in colored pencils & pastels. I jumped to stitching but I will do this exercise more. I mean, her work is just lovely.


 On my walk I found a 'mark making' rock in the perfect colors - it looks as tho it's suspended over the seaweed where I put it  to get it out of direct sunlight ;)


I also saw my first sailing boat of the year, this gives me as much as an uplift as the blackbird's song is giving so many but for me, it was also hearing the first skylark, my morning coffee pal but I've no idea where it disappears to mid summer. I'll enjoy it while I can.


 I was finally able to take a pretty unfocussed couple of pic of 'my heron', so exciting - he's normally across the bay before I even see him, let alone be ready with a camera.


More tea bag pieces - I don't know how practical a 'paper' cuff would be - I have acrylic waxed these pieces.

Lovely markings & 3 strips of organza, and HAND STITCHING all around - I zigzag round all my jewellery to finish, either I find an alternative method, quickly choose a new machine having not had enough of a season yet to be flush with spare cash & get to know it well, bearing in mind my exhibition is in 8 weeks or hand stitch it all instead of sleeping.........!  Again, what to do?


These might well be brooches

 & a purse, of course. Interesting stitching/mark making - a sign of my struggle with too much 'play' in tension. The zigzag on the right side of the top piece was great fun, too, lots of skipped stitches but love the effect to show little striations in the rock, I thought.


A couple of pendants


 & a book to be


I must admit to feeling quite stressed about the machine thing, Kiki's did their best when helping me retire my elderly machine.  I guess there's never a good time to think about buying a new one but just as the season starts & an imminent show? The feeling sorry for myself isn't helped by my poor elbow/s. I may have mentioned I sometimes feel as if I have Sciatica in my arm/s, quite debilitating sometimes. Well, I finally got my physio this week, having lost my place for the nerve thing due to not ringing for an appointment within 2 weeks, my fault but the letter came just before Christmas! So I 'self referred' waited 6 weeks, fair enough & it's not nerves to be stretched but tiny tears in the tendons to be treated, called tendinopothy apparently. I won't finish on a negative note, but a positive one as that's the new me since starting Yoga 4 yrs ago. Our winter Yoga teacher is away for a month in India so we've had a break from class but the summer Yoga teacher has returned from Spain & will start next week! To keep me going till then I will enjoy the new book I found in the 2nd hand book shelf for £1 called 'Yogacise' by Vimla Lalvani who wears the most beautiful lycra - turquoise leggings & purple top. I recognize most of the poses which is encouraging but I won't do any just now as I've just finished off the end of a tub of chocolate ice cream, delicious!

21 comments:

Nellie said...

I fear I am no help with the machine dilemma, but I really enjoyed the photos of your work and the scenery.
Did you enjoy the chocolate ice cream?:-)

suziqu's thread works said...

Emma if you have tried all the tension possibilities and they don't help then I have no more suggestions - sorry - I have a Pfaff Performance 2058 with built in IDT and it goes beautifully over all number of heavy fabrics and paper and, with my art, I really push the envelope especially with the books and all works realy well.
Love your works with tea bags especially the little purse.
Hugs,
Suzy

Connie Rose said...

Love those teabag pieces!

jackie said...

Sounds as if you and the machine have similar problems.
From what the person who serviced my old Pfaff told me the old machines are much better made than the new ones,so you may do well to try for a second hand Bernina.
I hand never heard the word for fish printing ,thanks. It should be easy in your part of the world. I like your new work.

Chloe said...

I use a Janome which is quite well behaved, and Mum has a Bernina which is brilliant :)

Corrine at sparkledaysstudio.com said...

Love these tea bag pieces Emma, so earthy and primative and at the same time elegant. I have a Janome and I really like the quality of this machine and the motor is a workhorse. I sew paper and all kinds of stiif through it and it holds up...good luck pn ypur search! xox

Jill said...

I have a Brother Innovis, only three years old, but I got it before I knew what I would be doing. I chose it because it is very light and I have no permanent place to sew, so have to lift it a lot. It is not really a textile artist's machine, but works well. Good points are needle threader and up/down needle option. Bad points - drop-in bobbin means no tension control, although you can by-pass the tension altogether. I have managed to get the same effects under expert tutorage. Also the pedal does not always seem very sensitive and gives me an extra stitch after I think I've stopped ( could be me). I'd say list your priority features and then go for the best machine you can.

I'm loving your work. Trouble is, we always use round tea bags. Can I switch for the sake of my art, I ask myself.

Gilli said...

I have a bernina and it's been a loyal servant but is now going .... I think the best machine at present, from talking to lots of friends is a Pfaff - look at sewingmachinesdirect online - good prices and quick delivery. All the work is brilliant by the way. G ;-)

Peneller said...

As I do a lot of FME and FMQ it's Bernina for me everytime. I have a Bernina 380 which is just fabulous. It came with a knee lifter and a walking foot as part of the deal. It's also easy to alter both the top and bobbin tensions to exactly what you want because these are manual not computerised. What ever machine you get Emma, I'm sure your work will be lovely as always!

Maggi said...

Love, love, love the tea bag stuff. I'm a Bernina fan, have 2 and wouldn't go with anything else now. Did have Janome but not keen. If you can, find somewhere you can try out various machines but make sure that you take something with you that you will be sewing on.

Suztats said...

Your tea bag art is wonderful and I find myself drawn to the warm tones....
Can't help with the sewing machine quandry....I have tension issues with my machine, too...........it's from the early 80's and I'm thinking I should retire it.......

Heloise said...

Lovely coastal photographs. Do hope the elbows can be helped.
My first machine died a few years ago and I could not be without so went off to John Lewis on a Sunday, not a lot of choice. I have a Brother, it's pretty good. The man at Witney Sewing Machine is a great believer in Janome. Many swear by Bernina, I did not get on with them a school so have been put off. Probably foolishly. A walking foot is great. The bed of mine is curved and the metal plate is not smooth with the casing. This matters when doing precise FM in a hoop.
Agree that it would pay to test some out with different fabrics. Good luck getting one.

Wendy said...

I have Pfaffs and Berninas and for fme the Bernina wins everytime.

I love the work you are doing with teabags, such interesting marks. I may have to switch from round bags to square and save some :)

sweetypie said...

My husky has also just died and After much research and discussion and test driving I have bought a domestic juki,why not play with as many machines as possible and see which one snatches your heart, meanwhile suggest you buy a second hand Bernina, everyones favourite workhorse,hugs tina

Carole said...

Akkkkk I feel for you Emma, both your machine and aching woes! I can offer no advice on the machine as mine is sitting neglected on the floor in the dining room. As for the turquoise leggings I think you should hunt down a pair.... they will make you smile every time you bend towards them! Happy week to you. xo Carole

Chloe said...

Hi again Emma, thank you so much for your comment on my blog :) Here's a link to the Easy Cut lino/ vinyl :) http://www.artesaver.co.uk/online/index.php?route=product/category&path=70_265_269

Julie said...

I hope you get your machine woes sorted soon. It is very difficult settling on a new machine. I am a Janome girl and have 3, for my sins. (One cost less than £100 and was my starter machine. Then I bought a better and lighter one to take to workshops and finally bought the 6600p second hand from Wendy who's also left a comment here.) They are supposed to be workshorses. You probably need to set aside quite a wodge of time to try several out.

I like the work you've been doing with teabags and the cuff is lovely, I like it. Good luck with your search.

Gaby Bee said...

Emma, your tea bag pieces look fantastic and I love the cuff!

Have a lovely day,
Gaby xo

Anni - Fabric and Mixed Media Art said...

So many beautiful creations Emma, love the use of something so simple as teabags.
Anni

Jan said...

Your teabag work is quite lovely and an interesting change from other work you have done. Regarding sewing machines, you have already had good advice. I have an old (50) mechanical Bernina that I use for very heavy dirty work, it sews through pretty much anything. I have a newer computerized Bernina that I also love, it is my favorite for FME and most other work but I use my Janome for quilt work. If I could only have one I'd chose my Bernina 150 computerized machine with the knee lift and needle up/down. Plus it has a button that keeps it in reverse so you don't have to hold down a reverse button. I go backwards a lot. Good luck. Yes, bring your own work and try out some different machines before deciding.

Corrine at sparkledaysstudio.com said...

Oh sweetie, sorry to hear about your kitty. No matter how long they live, even if they are a million years old we don't want to let them go.....Your tribute to the cat is wonderful....The tea bag art is amazing......xox