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Frustrated to tears....
Possibly tension issue
teriliz

teriliz
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Date: 12/22/12 11:44 AM

I am relatively new to machine embroidery. I am currently using the Brother SE-400 sewing/embroidery machine. I have done some embroidery with in previously with little to no problems. Today I am trying to finish an afghan for my daughter for a Christmas present. I am trying to embroider her birthdate (May 7, 1990) onto a Charles Craft Lady Elizabeth afghan using Mettler poly thread and a tear away stabilizer. I have had to perform "surgery" twice now, ripping out the entire date. It is looping on the top and looping on the bottom. I have cleaned the bobbin case, rethreaded everything multiple times, have tried using regular white bobbin thread and have also tried using the embroidery thread for both top and bottom. With Christmas almost here, I am getting very frustrated, near tears even. I really want to do this for my daughter. Can someone please help?

PattiAnnJ
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Date: 12/22/12 12:03 PM

I am familiar with the feeling of "the hurrier I go, the behinder it get"!

Rethread the machine with the presser foot up.

Use cut away and not tear away when stitching fonts.

Use machine embroidery bobbin thread as it is a different weight than the top thread for machine embroidery so it will pull the top thread slightly to the bottom.

I would also switch to a new machine embroidery needle. If you are using the needles that came with the machine they are very likely sewing machine needles, which are a different configuration than the machine embroidery needle. You may not see at first glance, but the groove on the front of the ME needle is longer/deeper for delivery of thread during the fast pace of the machine as it embroiders.

Do a test run on fabric that is similar to the afghan.

I hope this will help.

------
"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

teriliz

teriliz
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Date: 12/22/12 12:53 PM

With the exception of using tear away stabilizer, I've tried it all I just wound a new bobbin with Brother brand bobbin thread. Once I tear these stitches out (AGAIN) I will try again. I don't have any fabric that is even close to what this afghan is, makes my life more difficult....I put a new needle in last night when the last one broke.

a7yrstitch
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Date: 12/22/12 1:27 PM

Oh, I am so inexperienced but, still, am wondering if you need a topping?

In the meantime, it is Christmas. A season of love and not necessarily of perfection. Why not wrap the present and tell your daughter that you will be adding her birthdate later. If you have to have the date on something right now, whip up a little storage pouch for the afghan and put the date on that.

Checking the only sewing instructional book I have ever purchased (yes, machine embroidery intimidated me before I started diving in for hands on practice), Machine Embroidery on Difficult Materials, I found some information on embroidery on open bulky knit. Some of this may apply to your project.

Quote:
A water soluble topping should also be used to help create a smooth embroidery surface. Because of the uneven surface the topping should be a mid weight variety, about 35 microns, rather an lightweight...... The topping should be hooped in rather than tacking it to the surface of the knit.....


The fabric example they are using looks heavier than the afghan I found online but the other loosely knit gauze fabric that is used as an example in the book also calls for a mid weight to heavy weight water soluble topper.

------
I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

beauturbo
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Date: 12/22/12 1:31 PM

That would not be nice and easy fabric to try to sew any lettering onto it all. Because it's such a open and soft weave. On purpose, with holes big enough in it, to let you see to put thick cross stitch thread through.

When the lettering even tried to form, and make it's satin stitches for a letter there, a lot of the stitch drops on the edges of the letters, would just all be going into the open holes of the cross stitch fabric, and I think that fabric would be moving around and shifting while trying to sew on it too. Even if you could get a letter stitched out, (and with something like clear wash a way stabilzer sandwiched over and under it) when that was gone later, I think then when you were done, it would not look nice as all the edges of it would just sink in there, or no fabric under a lot of it to even hold it together.

To find out if all the issues is just that fabric with all the holes in it or not, try doing one of the same letters on just a scrap piece of firmly woven cotton, like a bed sheet instead with firm stabilizer under it. If it works fine there, then nothing wrong with machine. If it does not, maybe something wrong with the machine now, or thread all caught in it.

If you think the machine is O.K. and really want lettering on that item, then I think you have to do it as a separate applique, or maybe go get some matching white or clear polyester organza and try sandwiching it over and under that really open weave fabric, and with stabilizer and stitch over that, and then try to pick all that out later around the letters maybe. Also possibly sticky stabilizer, but I think real problem, is you got just no fabric in lots of places under your letters and numbers, to even support or hold any stitches together.

Maybe you can just hand cross stitch the name and date on there instead. Particular if you already cross stitched the rest of it by hand. I think that is what I would do. Or even embroider that onto something else, like a scrap of some other much more firmly woven and stable fabric and then applique that onto there just on top possibly.


If you could actually find some embroidery designs of letters and numbers that were made on purpose (with all the supporting underlay under them so they would not fall apart later, and hold up in the end fabric or no fabric in them) to be sort of free standing lace kind of embroidery designs, but just of letters and numbers, then with some even just wash a way stabilizer with even sticky stuff on it, I think those would sew out O.K, even on that fabric, and hold up on their own in just even that fabric all by it's self later. I don't where you could find those just someplace as a quick free download though.
-- Edited on 12/22/12 3:40 PM --
-- Edited on 12/22/12 3:45 PM --

a7yrstitch
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In reply to teriliz <<
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Date: 12/22/12 1:41 PM

And, from the same resource and keeping in mind that the bulky knit appears to be heavier than your afghan knit......

Quote:
Bulky knits may be the only time you will embroider with a medium ball point needle. Wile you could use a regular light ball point needle, the structure of the knit will be better protected by a medium ball. ........the size of the ball point is designed to be relative to the size of the yarn that it pushes aside as it penetrates the knit.


The same reference recommends a Sharp needle (ST) size 70/10 or 75/11 for gauze fabric - the other example of loosely woven fabric - described as an open weave fabric made from lightweight to mid weight yarn.

There is also discussion of liquid stabilizers. Is there an old sock around the house that might mimic the properties of the afghan? Or an old sweater that would not suffer much from a little practice in a hidden area?

Best wishes, I fully understand wanting to create and present gifts that are filled with all the love we have for our giftees.

-- Edited on 12/22/12 1:43 PM --

------
I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

GlButterfly

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Date: 12/22/12 2:50 PM

When I think of an afghan I think knit or crochet. You didn't mention what it is made of. Is it yarn or a woven fabric? How thick is it?

------
That's Gl = for Gloria, not G. I.

SandiMacD
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Date: 12/23/12 6:19 AM

I really hope you are able to get it done with suggestions and perseverance.
I have been there too. I ended up gifting it because I couldn't make it happen. I was in tears. My daughter was so sweet. She gave me the biggest kiss and hug and visited me a few weeks later. Over tea and laughter she watched as I put on the finishing touches. So now she not only has the gift, but the memory of our time together and me embroidering that last detail just for her.

------
sewing brings joy and meaning to my life...

aslinnd

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Date: 12/23/12 1:43 PM

I think beauturbo's advice spot on I would definitely try the applique and check your machine by doing a sample on other fabric.

embroidery can be the most frustrating experience when it goes wrong it really goes wrong. I hope it works out for you

Elona
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In reply to teriliz <<


Date: 12/23/12 2:24 PM

How big is the birthday logo? I ask because if you have even minimal hand embroidery skills, you could probably accomplish your task a lot more easily and more quickly at this point--unless the birthdate is a HUGE design.

Here's one idea. Here's another, done in plain stem stitch in thick thread. youtube has a bunch of videos showing the basic process.

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