Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A little Applique

Today I felt well enough to get up and around a bit-in truth it is very difficult for me to be inactive, I need to be productive and that's pretty difficult lying flat in bed!
My surgery turned out to be two operations 48 hours apart owing to a problem that arose after the first.
All that fasting/anesthesia/drugs/more fasting/anesthesia/drugs is really hard on the body and creates havoc for the immune system so you can be sure I will be using every natural method possible to get my system back to "normal".
I decided to tackle the applique on the Christmas table runner and I found that sitting is really more comfortable, less pressure on the surgical area than lying in bed.
 In earlier years I had made quite a few appliqued quilts and won some ribbons at it but it's very time consuming and doesn't allow for "pedal to the metal" sewing, so in recent years my applique projects have been few and far between. With this in mind I will tell you a few of the "tricks" I find make it a more palatable process, starting with an open toe applique foot that allows for better vision of the work area.
You need to use a good tear-away  stabilizer.
I find this one removes nicely, I also use it for the embroidery machine.
I like to use fancy threads for applique, if you are going to all that trouble why not make the most of the effect? This time I pulled out a few from my longarm selection, some Superior "Rainbows" and "Art Colors" trilobal polyesters.
To use these specialty threads efficiently it's important to have the correct needle and these titanium coated topstitch needles from Superior are the best I have found. A #14 [90] will usually be sufficient to allow easy access for the thread in order not to shred.
These threads are very "slick" and require the ends to be tied off or otherwise secured to ensure that they do not unravel. Secure the beginning by sewingover the tails for a half inch, and then leaving sufficient thread at the very end to bury the tails by threading them into the back of the work. That way when you launder the article you won't have the applique coming loose! You get a good look at the open toe applique foot here. One more thing, often I find it necessary to adjust tension and this works best for me if I tweak the bobbin tension a little bit tighter to pull the fancy thread down to the back of the work giving a nicer appearance.
Now I know the DSM manufacturers may say "never touch the bobbin tension" but that is malarkey I can testify as a longarmer for eleven years I constantly adjust my bobbin tension and the machine police have never come to my door! What is a longarm but a DSM on steroids?!
There are two small screws on the bobbin, the really tiny one on the left holds the tension arm in place, don't mess with that, but the larger of the two controls the tension of the thread coming off the bobbin so if you tighten this screw just a little you may like the result and what have you lost? You can always turn it back that fraction to what it was before, which is exactly what I do when I return to regular stitching. Your instruction book may even have some directions for bobbin tension adjustment from some of the more enlightened manufacturers!
Have no fear, you can do this!
While I am far from the world's greatest appliquer you can see how the specialty threads make a pretty effect in spite of the operator!
Now to quilt and bind it! 


Heather said...

lovely table runner. I like to use the button hole stitch for my machine applique. I have adgjusted my bobbin tension for years. Finally bought a separate bobbin casing so \i can leave one set for reg sewing and one for embroidery.

Thanks for visiting and entering my contest. Good luck

Andee said...

Ros! So glad you are on the mend and able to sew. Kathy's dad passed away a few days ago so she is in MA and Randy's brother had a massive stroke and will be taken off life support tomorrow so he is in OH. It has been a crazy week! Can't wait for things to get back to normal for all of us! Cute tablerunner!

Miri said...

So glad you're feeling more like yourself...just don't push yourself too fast.
Love the applique-adorable- and thanks for the tips. I always used to play with the tension on my old machine but my new one was a drop in bobbin and I was scared to fool around with it. I finally couldn't stand the tension not being exactly what I wanted and took the I ever glad I did.

LynCC said...

Wow - I *really* dig those variegateds on the bows! It makes it look like you put super pretty piping on their edges.