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!

New additions to my website have been sadly lacking in July, but not through my lack of effort. I put my beloved embroidery machine in to a large sewing store in our nearest large town to be serviced over 3 weeks ago. It was working fine but I felt it was tempting fate to delay a service any longer. After quoting an astronomical amount to do this, they told me it would take 2-3 weeks! However I left it with them as it needed doing. I researched servicing costs when I got home and then complained to the store owner which got the cost halved! I then waited for a call to say it was done. And waited, and waited.

    After the 3 weeks had passed I telephoned the store, to be told it was ready and that they had left a message on ‘an answerphone‘ 9 days ago. Well we do have an answerphone, however there had definitely been no messages left as the phone tells us when there is, and of course it stores any messages that are left until they are physically deleted. As only myself and my lovely husband have been in the house over that time nobody else could have come along and deleted it either. Grinding my teeth in frustration we went to collect the machine.

On getting it home I eagerly set about test stitching the designs I had done ready for putting on my machine embroidery website. The store had given me a perfect test stitch sample back with the machine. Try as I might I could not get it to sew anything like properly!! I then spent a very frustrating 10 hours of making adjustments to finally get it to sew to my standards. I had just paid out more than it costs to service a car! Surely I could expect it to work? Well because I now badly needed it, and the store is an hours drive away, I persevered until it sewed perfectly again.

Needless to say I will never put a sewing machine in there again. I will be writing to them to say how disgusted I am by their work and lack of honesty. I have been testing my new designs today and they will be put on the website very soon.

We are finally getting some decent weather here, thankfully as the Olympics are in full swing. With the sunny days we are getting beautiful sunsets over our backwaters again so here are a couple of photographs I took last night. The sky  was really pretty.

This one was a little later.

Finally I liked this shot with the  branch silhouetted on the side.

Yesterday was a lovely sunny day on the North Essex coast. We live in a small coastal town called Walton-On-The-Naze. My husband and I decided to go for a walk out on the Naze to Hamford Water. This is an area designated as a National Nature Reserve consisting of tidal creeks, mudflats, salt marshes and beach. It takes us about twenty minutes to walk out to the beach there. We wanted to beachcomb for some driftwood to use in a future project. We found lots of it, many pieces too big to carry home, which is a shame as they would look great in the garden! Anyway we soon noticed the local seal colony were very active in the water. It was clearly a good day for fishing as the local fishing boat was going up and down and there were also a couple of men fishing off the beach. The seals were clearly fishing too as they kept appearing popping up and then going under again. Unfortunately they are too far out to get a decent photo and they don’t stay up long. This was the best I could manage. The cranes in the background are the port of Felixstowe. (The photo is zoomed right in.) Once we had enough wood we went for a long walk out along the shore to the marshy part where the seabirds nest. We saw lots of oystercatchers and I managed to get quite close to take this photo. I love their very long beaks! Once we had taken some photos we walked all the way back home round the beach as the tide was out. We had been out for 3 hours!! It is a great place to live and I feel very lucky to live minutes away from such brilliant sights.
It was another lovely sunset the other night and I took these photos from the bedroom window. The first one was at dusk ,when the river had a lovely red glow over it. Then I took another one once the sun had set. Now you can see why I love it here. Its so beautiful and I can look out at the changes on the Hamford Backwaters from my bedroom window. Every morning I open the curtains and spend several minutes just looking at what is happening out there.
As well as enjoying the local nature I have been creating new designs for the website and they will be going on soon. There are some larger designs and some seaside things plus a very cute Westie for dog lovers and a children’s cat design – quite a varied mixture to come.

I haven’t posted for a while as I have been very busy on a large project. I have been designing an animal alphabet made up of individual designs from A to Z. So far I have got to the letter U in designs and have test stitched A to M.

I hope to get them all finished by the end of next week. They will then be available on the website as a collection, which would be ideal for a patchwork quilt or a fabric alphabet book. The designs will also be sold individually.

We are finally getting lots of rain on the North Essex coast. Our garden is looking much happier and I don’t have to spend hours watering it!

I went 10 pin bowling for the first time ever this morning. I was really bad at it! But it was great fun and I will go again soon as I enjoyed it a lot. I can only improve as I came last in every game!!

Meanwhile here’s a photo of one of our beautiful sunsets.

Don’t forget to visit http://www.photocrazy.co.uk/ if you want fantastic photo enhancements or a new website!

It’s another beautiful sunny day here on the Essex coast. Yesterday I struggled to complete any designs as I’d rather be out in the sun, LOL. This was our misty sunset last night – lovely to look at from our bedroom window. We do have a fantastic view over the river and salt marshes. 

So I went to the garden centre instead!

This morning I’ve finished a daffodil and a stegosaurus so I feel like I’ve done some work today!