September 2012


Today I thought I’d share some tips to help those of you who are not so confident using their embroidery machines or perhaps new to this addictive hobby. These are things I have found useful to know or have discovered through time and experience.

  1. Your machine needles are your most important piece of your machine embroidery equipment. You need to change your needle regularly! If it is blunt it won’t give you a decent result and machine embroidering blunts your needles fast. I change my needle after about 10 hours of sewing or if I am having problems with thread breaking, stitches not looking right etc. Buy the best quality needles for your embroidery machine. Schmetz are excellent and are my recommended choice.
  2. Stabiliser can be tricky to get right but as a basic rule of thumb the lighter your fabric the more you need to stabilise it, so for lighter fabrics like cottons use cutaway stabiliser as it is thicker than tearaway. If you are sewing on a heavy fabric such as denim or canvas you can use tearaway or may not even need stabiliser, but light fabrics always need stabilising. There are of course many other kinds of stabiliser for particular projects but I am just giving a basic rule here.
  3. Sewing with metallic thread can be tricky if you are not used to it. Always use a special metallic needle as it has a bigger eye for the thread to go through, and turn your tension right down. I have mine on 1 when I sew with metallic thread. Also slow your machine down and sew on the slowest speed.
  4. The tools I find the most useful are a pair of embroidery scissors with  very small, fine blades and also tweezers. These are used for trimming jump threads and any other bits of thread that are left poking out. By holding the end with tweezers you can cut very close. Decent lighting is also a must! If your eyesight is not great I would also invest in a large magnifier to hang round your neck too.
  5. Cheap thread is NOT an economy. It will break easily and give you lots of problems. Buy a good quality machine embroidery thread such as Madeira, Janome, Guterman Sulky, or Robison Anton, to name a few reliable brands you could use.
  6. Bobbin thread can be an issue as embroidery machines are temperamental and may not like every brand! For example my Janome 350e will not tolerate Madeira bobbin thread, although this is a perfectly reliable make!! It happily uses Janome or Brother bobbin thread. Although I now use so much of it I buy a very large cone of fine bobbin thread from an online supplier, which works out much cheaper.

I hope you find these tips useful. Most of all have fun with your machine exploring all the possibilities. It can quickly become an addictive hobby once you get to know your machine and how it works.

Finally, because I don’t like to post without adding a photograph, here is the sunset I took the other night. Isn’t it beautiful!

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Our summer is nearly over here in East Anglia but we are having a late burst of sunshine, which is great news after the rather dismal summer we have had. I am pleased as I have a lovely new camera to try out. Unfortunately I was the victim of theft a few weeks ago when my family were down to stay with the grandchildren. I had my bag stolen on the beach, along with my everyday camera. I have a large Canon DSLR but it is too heavy to carry all the time, so as any photography addict does, I keep a smaller camera in my bag so that I don’t miss those unforeseen moments.

I chose the Canon SX40HS as my new portable camera because, living where we do, a superzoom camera is ideal. I take lots of nature shots, plus boats and beach shots, where a long lens helps get close to what I want to photograph. It is not a pocket camera, but it’s light enough and will fit in the large bags I tend to favour. I have been trying it out this week and I am very happy with the image quality, which I knew choosing Canon, would be good. The lens is great and I still get nice clear images even using the full 35x zoom. I think I have made a good choice.

I took this shot of a heron on the backwaters the other afternoon.

Heron on Walton-On-The-Naze backwaters.

It was quite far off so I used the zoom right out. I thought it worked well.

The backwaters is a boating haven.

Boats on Walton backwaters

There is a lovely old ruin of a boatshed on the Mere.

Boatshed ruin.

I quite like that it has been left as it adds character to the area.

I went on the pier to photograph the sunset last night and the sky was really quite unusual. There was what seemed to be a small piece of rrainbow in the sky, although it had been a very sunny sunny day with no rain at all. The clouds were also all kinds of shapes so it looked really pretty. This is one of my photos. The little piece of rainbow is on the left.

Unusual sunset

The seagulls were resting on the side of the pier and I liked this photo as the seagull is lit by the sunset so that he stands out from the background.

Seagull at sunset.

This morning I was up at sunrise. This is my favourite photograph from then.

Sunrise lighting breakwater

I have been busy updating my website too. http://www.embroiderycrazy.co.uk/shop/ This month we have an autumn leaf and a fox machine embroidery design free to download. I have also added several home designs, including this one which would be good for stitching on the back of a patchwork quilt. I added a blackberry and a falling leaves design for autumn and this pretty heart which would make a perfect addition to a Christmas make for a loved one. I will be very busy sewing for the next few months as, along with many craft addicts at this time of year, my husband and I have booked tables at a large Christmas craft fair. He will be selling his fabulous Photo Art and I am selling bags and other fabric gifts, many of them machine embroidered of course!