Monday, June 8, 2015

Not one of my better Mondays.

Woke up this morning wondering when and how and where I ate a concrete bowling ball last night. Felt better after a while – tried twice to nap, no luck with that once Dearest Son discovered our recorded cable was erased – so the day moved along. 

Downloaded several beautiful free embroidery designs, a free standing lace shell, butterfly, and star, a set of hair clip covers, an applique tree, and a rose-covered Easter egg, and wondered why I paid for such when so many are out there free. Then I remembered my burgeoning Frozen design stash, then how I had to fight from ordering some gorgeous sea-themed sale designs from Urban Threads all weekend, and hid my embarrassment in a late leftover lunch.

Couple hours later, the mail carrier delivered my Amazon order – the 200 sheets of wash-away stabilizer ! I knew just what to try it out on. Oh. Oh, shoot. Um, this is the plastic-y kind, the stuff I always had trouble with before. Not the soft fabric kind I thought I ordered. Looked at the sales page again. Yup, darn near impossible to tell from the picture. And none of the reviewers said anything save that it was totally awesome to work with. Well, heck. All I could do was hoop a sheet up and give it a go, hoping that maybe, just maybe, I could stitch a design without it tearing this time. 

I think I sweated out each one of those 15,823 stitches. It was about 2/3 of the way through when the first tiny tears started to appear. I knew that, even if it did make it all the way through, it wouldn’t look nearly as good as I’d hoped. But, since it was so far along anyway, I decided to let it go until it had to be stopped, just out of curiosity, and the hope that I could diagnose my fault and still use the other 199 sheets.

Aaand, it looks awful. Looked even worse before I trimmed some of the loose threads. I wondered if it was because the stitch count was simply too thick for a single sheet of stabilizer. So I switched to a smaller design, doubled the stabilizer. . . and still had problems. Stuff didn’t tear, but a lot of places that should have met didn’t. For the technically inclined, those are called ‘registry errors’, and they usually indicate bad hooping.

But my faults could have been from hooping too tight or too loose. (sigh) That’s another reason I gave up on free standing lace years ago – it’s so nerve-wracking, watching the needle go over an area you already know is weak and stressed over and over and over. Or, after all, this could go back to the original problem, that plastic stuff just isn’t meant for what I’m trying to make it do. So I hooped up a single thickness of the fabric-y stuff and ran the smaller design again. . .and it went better, but there were still errors. Now I had a choice – run it again with a new needle (one of the few aspects I hadn’t changed), or do something else, and wonder until I stitch it again if it’s me or the design.

I did something else. Ran a few tension tests, adjusted it up a bit, but nowhere near enough to have caused those errors. Loaded up a free standing bookmark, it did fine on a layer of fabric wash-away, with a recycled layer on top, no registry errors at all. So I have no idea what’s going wrong. Could have tested some badly crafted designs on poorly chosen stabilizer, or hooped at the wrong tension, or any combination of any of those.

Needless to say, Tia’s denim skirt didn’t get sewn today. And I’m worn out from the stress, which sounds stupid, I know, but there it is. Maybe tomorrow will go better. . .

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