No, friends, this is not a publication by a religious group. This is an exercise in making a reference guide for your own sewing machine.
Yesterday I took a few hours to document all the stitches that are programmed into my Bernina 1080 Special. I would have done this sooner but for my own impatience to get on with my making.
Basically, you just make a column of stitches, move to the next button and repeat until you have a sample of each stitch. In addition, I changed length and width as I stitched along, making notes in permanent marker along the way.
It wasn’t as boring as I had imagined, mostly because I listened to podcasts while I stitched.
Even though my Bernina only has 28 different stitches, I worked my way through several bobbins of thread. The payout of this exercise is getting to play with different combinations of the stitches that I discovered. My favorite setting is the mirror-image button. This allows me to highlight nice sections of my fiber objects with mirrored embroidery stitches.
I also learned how to couch cord, ribbons and yarn.
If you haven’t made a stitch bible for your sewing machine, I suggest that you give it a go. It may spark in you some creative ideas for future fiber play.
Yesterday my Bernina and I spent some quality time together. I used my Autumnal Equinox square to practice free-motion quilting techniques.
One of the things that gave me more confidence is the discovery of the 1/2 speed button on the Bernina. So far, I have mastered wiggles, loops, lazy eights, dot-to-dot and circles. I still can’t do meander.
I had fun drawing with thread on my reverse applique picture. Oh, also a few birds and a squirrel were added by hand embroidery.
I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon sewing the little wabi-sabi blouse. Getting to know the automatic button stitch on my Bernina was a bit of an eye-opener. It took four practice button holes before I was ready to attempt it on the garment. So the buttonhole is fine now, but I am having some fit issues.
Finally I called my daughter, to discuss the blouse and check her measurements. She was enthusiastic about my progress so far. Then she casually mentioned that the blouse was constructed with the buttons on the BACK. What?
After the call, I put on the blouse, switching it around so buttons were in the back. Sure enough it seemed to drift into place over my body.
I will need to adjust the button locations (most of them are not centered over the button holes) and take in the band to match daughter’s measurement. Otherwise, this little turnabout is done!
My pieces of hand-painted fabric are now dry. So here we go with the mash up. The first step is to create a warp and a weft from the two fabrics:
Blue fabric on the left is warp. Cut vertically.
On the right is the weft. I made some artistic swoops with this fabric.
Time to get out my Bernina. I will admit that I am not an expert seamstress. My mother, who is, gave me this machine last year. It has languished largely unused on a shelf in my studio, but now it is urgently needed, to assemble my mash-up. First I cut a piece of fusible fabric in the same size as the “warp” fabric. Then I weave the pieces together like this:
After fusing the sandwich together with a hot iron, I start sewing the edges of the weft fabric down. Next I sew the warp fabric edges down.
A quick press and the colorwash mash-up is complete. I used a royal blue thread to give a strong contrast to the watery colors in the fabrics.
Finished piece. On the right, the audience applauds with approval!