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Adding texture with the sewing machine

We had a good look at some of the features on the Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 960Q. It’s time to see what this sewing machine can actually do!

For this quick project we’re going to make our own fabric using some of the decorative stitches.

I started with an ugly piece of hand dyed fabric that I dyed years ago. The base fabric is a printed muslin and I never liked the end result. By the way – what you are looking at is the WRONG side of the fabric. Let’s see what we can do with it. I cut a square measuring 10 inches but you can make any size that you want.

The wrong side of the base fabric - a hand dyed muslin.
The wrong side of the base fabric – a hand dyed muslin.

 

 

Using a chalk pencil, I marked a 1 inch diagonal grid on the surface of the hand dyed fabric.

Mark a 1 inch diagonal grid on the surface of the hand dyed fabric.
Mark a 1 inch diagonal grid on the surface of the hand dyed fabric.

 

 

I auditioned several different thread colors and picked three that I think will work with this fabric. This is the FUN part of the project. It can also be the most frustrating part. I have to admit that I’m not much of a planner when it comes to this kind of thing. Of the three I chose, I decided to start with the darkest thread color.

My three thread colors.
My three thread colors.

 

 

The next hardest part was deciding which of the MANY MANY stitches I was going to stitch out.

Hmmm – I could choose this one – no this one is nicer. I wanted something that would fit nicely into my one inch grid. I finally settled on a wavy satin stitch which just happened to have a one inch repeat more or less.

A very important step to success is adding a layer of stabilizer underneath your fabric piece. I used Heat’n Bond tear away product. Not a bad idea to make that stabilizer a bit larger than your piece. I didn’t and now I’ll have to trim away some of the edges of my fabric because of where I had to start the stitch sequence for each line of stitching.

Now that I like the end piece I’m sorry that I have to waste some of it around the edges!

My first line of stitching - that dark thread color is perfect.
My first line of stitching – that dark thread color is perfect.

 

 

I used a LOT of features on the Sapphire in order to make this piece.

1. Instead of using the foot pedal to operate the sewing machine, I used the START/STOP button. It was like using the cruise control in the car. I positioned the fabric so the sewing machine was stitching on my grid lines, but I didn’t have to worry about the speed.

2. I adjusted the speed. I dropped the speed down by one notch as when the sewing machine was going at full speed, there was a lot of vibration from the table (I’m just using a banquet table) and it was hard to see the lines. Dropping the speed down one notch made a huge difference and I was able to stitch at a very rapid rate and still get accuracy.

3. After I stitched the center row – I worked my way out to the edge on the right hand side. However when I turned the piece around, the wavy lines would be going in the opposite direction (from my start point). I simply mirrored the stitch and I was good to go for the second half.

4. Once each row was completed, I used the scissors to cut the threads. That ensured that the sewing machine went back to the start of the stitch sequence so I knew where the machine was going to start the next sequence. If I had NOT used the scissors to cut the threads – there’s a button on the screen that I could push and that would bring the stitch back to the start of the stitch sequence. 

5. I used needle up/down so that if I needed to stop for any reason, my needle would stop in the fabric and there would be no danger of having a gap in the stitching.

All of those features combined meant a pretty painless process to stitch out those lines. Very quickly I had transformed a so-so piece of hand dyed into something that I really like. I love when the sewing machine takes the guess work out of sewing!

Here's the screen showing the stitch I used. See the black dot - that indicates the sewing machine is set at the beginning of the stitch sequence. The button with the arrow will also allow me to reset the machine back to the start of the stitch sequence.
Here’s the screen showing the stitch I used. See the black dot – that indicates the sewing machine is set at the beginning of the stitch sequence.
The button with the arrow will also allow me to reset the machine back to the start of the stitch sequence.

 

Let's not forget that gorgeous extension table. See how the front of it gently slopes toward the sewist. This allows your hands to gently rest on the table with very minimal strain. I can't say enough about this table. I just love the design.
Let’s not forget that gorgeous extension table. See how the front of it gently slopes toward the sewist. This allows your hands to gently rest on the table with very minimal strain. I can’t say enough about this table. I just love the design.

 

 

My finished piece!
My finished piece!

 

 

What do you think?

It sure looks a lot more interesting than when I started out. There’s only one problem – I wanted to create a plaid with the three different colors. However I’m liking it the way it is and I might just leave it like that.

I may have to sleep on that and well – I guess I just have to try the plaid on a different fabric. Oh boy – this could become addictive!  And there are so many stitches and combination of stitches to try – I could be here for a very long time!

I want to give you some advice:

I did NOT linger long on any choices for this. I grabbed a piece of fabric that I did not like. I’m experimenting – I’m not going to take the fabrics that I really like and experiment with those. I could if I wanted, but why not try to make something from nothing.

When it came to thread choices – I used a rayon thread but you could use anything. Again – I did not linger over the choices. I picked a couple – chose the darkest one and started stitching after I put a similar shade of bobbin weight thread in the bobbin.

I also did not labor over the positioning of those stitches. I guessed where to start – but I used the stitch sequence on the screen to help me. The intersections are not perfect by any means – but really – do you think it detracts from the piece?  Nope – didn’t think so!!!

Now I really wanted to add more color, but since I like it this way – I may just stop. This is the kind of thing that you really can’t plan – you have to go with your instinct. The longer you linger – the harder the decision and let’s get serious – this is just a practice stitch-out. If you don’t just start – you’ll never get done!

And there’s always the next one you can practice on. I’m going to make a bunch more and will be incorporating them into a bigger project when I’m back blogging in the first week of November.

When you make your samples – try different thread colors, try a different grid – only vertical lines, only horizontal lines, lines in only one direction, wavy lines, circles – you name it – give it a whirl. If you don’t like something – don’t throw it out – we may be able to salvage it.

Send me a picture so I can see what you have done!

Have a great day and GET STITCHING!

Ciao!

Elaine Theriault is a teacher, writer and pattern designer who is completely obsessed with quilting. Elaine’s Tech Tips column (originally published in A Needle Pulling Thread magazine) is now available online in e-book format at QUILTsocial.com. When not quilting, she enjoys spending time with her two dogs, Lexi and Murphy, or can be found cycling across the country. Her blog is crazyquilteronabike.blogspot.com.

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