Hi all! I’ve been seeing a few questions about Urban Threads gift certificates, so her are some answers … plus an extra little sump’n you might like if that’s what your loved one will be getting under the tree this year.
If you want to buy a gift certificate now but keep it a secret until later, you can enter your own email address as the recipient. Then you’ll get the gift certificate code, which you may in turn present to your favorite stitcher when, where, and how you please. There’s even a pretty printable gift certificate that you can print out and write the code and value on if you like.
Welcome to a brand new, no-promises-as-to-regularity blog series: Mailbag Mayhem! Sometimes a note comes in that I really want to share with all of you … a question that gets asked over and over again, or a particularly charming comment, or what-have-you. This space will hold the greatest hits of the Urban Threads inbox. Education! Outrage! Hilarity! You’ll find it all here. Well, mostly education in this post. One thing at a time.
Today’s topic is shifting and gapping of machine embroidery designs. It’s by far the most common “help it’s stitching funny” question I get, so it seemed an apt inaugural post. Let’s say you just bought an embroidery design, and you’re about to stitch it on something. This shark looks nifty on the site…
But when you go to stitch it out, everything goes awry. Slightly condensed from a recent email:
The last two designs I have tried to use have not lined up properly. The first one is the Ace of Spades w/flames. The bottom right corner of the card (where it sort of flips up) was off. I did it on a shirt for my 10 year old grandson, and he really doesn’t care about it. Then today I tried to do another shirt for him with the Shark. It is a complete mess!! The eye and teeth are too high and get covered by the blue/green of the shark’s body. From there it goes downhill. I kept working on it, thinking it may “fix” itself, but no luck. I finally just gave up. Can you give me any ideas as to how to fix these problems? I love love love the stuff on your site, and hope you can give some suggestions so I can keep using your designs. … My grandson loved the ace of spades (he didn’t notice the flaw), and he keeps asking me when I’ll have his shark shirt done.
And indeed it was a complete mess. Some of the stitching landed where it shouldn’t, leaving all kinds of gaps and general chaos in the design.
I asked a couple follow-up questions:
What kind of fabric? (T-shirt knit.)
What kind of stabilizer? (Water-soluble on top and bottom.)
Thing is, a stitch is like a hug. It squeezes the fabric together a little bit. When you’re working with tens of thousands stitches … well, that’s a lot of hugs, and they can make the embroidered fabric shrink up a bit. This can, in turn, make the fabric within the embroidery hoop shift around a little bit, causing parts of the design to line up oddly. Stabilizer is meant to prevent this. But different kinds of stabilizer work in different ways:
Cutaway stabilizer is the stablest stabilizer, and it’s what I recommend almost all of the time. The fibers do not come apart or break down easily — try tearing some and you’ll see what I mean. Stick it to the back of your fabric with a bit of temporary spray adhesive for even more stability. Don’t like the stabilizer edges on the inside of your shirt? For small or lightweight designs, sheer cutaway stabilizers like Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer or Floriani No Show Mesh are a softer option.
Tearaway stabilizer looks a lot like cutaway, maybe even more paperlike. It’s meant to tear away after the design is done, so the fibers come apart easily. Tens of thousands of needle perforations tend to help that process along. Yes, there are some instances where it’s a perfectly decent choice … a very light-stitching design on a tea towel comes to mind. But for a solid stitch-filled design, or anything on a knit, I’d stick with cutaway.
Water-soluble stabilizer can look either like a clear plastic sheet, or a white mesh similar to a tearaway. Like the name says, when you get it wet, it dissolves. I use it for freestanding lace and as a topping on fabrics with a pile, like terrycloth.
Different people will give you different advice on what stabilizer to use when, and passions seem to run high on the matter. This is what we’ve found tends to work. Take it for what you will.
After a second try with cutaway stabilizer, the embroidery looked much better:
And the shirt made a sharkalicious gift.
How have you solved shifting and gapping problems? Leave a note in the comments!
Given that I am a first class Halloween nut, or at least profess to be all the time, I thought I’d offer a little bit of proof by giving you a little peek at Halloween at home with some of the Urban Threads crew.
Welcome to my haunt!
If you ever had a dying curiosity to know what the Crane Wife looked like under blacklight, well there she is in all her glowing glory, hung up on my wall at home. Some of our party guests thought it was just a really involved Halloween decoration. I assured them I’m that weird year round, and it was in fact an art piece.
Some spooky signs I taped over some of our framed prints. Plus a peek at my crazy bunnies collection at home. I think they’ve outgrown that shelf, to be honest.
A lineup of some of the yummies we had at the party, complete with my glowing masks collection.
Finally, I have all kinds of excuses as to why my steampunk windup doll isn’t nearly at the level of awesome as our Featured Project, mostly because I was somewhat distracted by another costume project this month, but really, there should be no excuses.
It was still fun to put together, if a bit rushed at the last minute. Btw, the tights and arm warmers were made with a variation on the tattoo tights tutorial.
My husbands costume was extra rushed, as I was at least weird enough to have a lot of my costume parts already from other costume adventures (that’s my bodice from my wedding!)
His however was made from a thrift store leather jacket, two costume hats put together, and a whole lot of hot glue and duct tape. He’s a steampunk tin solider. He was a very good sport about it.
I also had the good fortune to go visit another Urban Threadsters house before their party (which I actually missed, boo!) and I got some amazing shots of the decor. Yup, we’re all Halloween nuts around here.
The general theme of this party was kind of a dark nature thing. I loved it!
Warm weather doesn’t last all that long around here in Minnesota, so we have to take advantage of it when we can. You know what that means…
Skip out on work and have a picnic! Aww yeah.
By the way, that’s what happens when we raid the Embroidery Library projects bin and find all the cookout gear…
So, this afternoon our whole gang, Urban Threadsters and Embroidery Library peeps alike brought some yummy home cooked food and rocked it outside. There were also some epic battles fought over with lawn games.
Hope you all have a good weekend everyone! And don’t forget to get outside and enjoy it while it’s still warm…
Ever since we launched this “Pay It Forward” design and idea, we have been touched and blown away by the response and stories we’ve gotten from you. It seems for a lot of you rescue animals are as near and dear to your hearts as anything. From stories of rescues who now rule the roost, to loved pets who have passed on, you’ve shared your comments on the four legged animals who make our lives a little bit more special.
You’ve also taken on the “Pay it Forward” cause valiantly, and pets around the world are sporting new bandannas and shelters are receiving beds and blankets, all because of you! It really is inspiring to see what good just a few people in the world can do with their crafty skills.
Take a peek at a few of the inspiring pups and projects that have shown up as part of the contest…
These are just a few of the images and entries we’ve received. If you want to see them all, scroll down to the bottom of the post for a flickr gallery of everyone’s entries!
Of course, you guys aren’t the only ones with rescued furballs around. I thought this would be a fun time to share some of the rescued pets from the team at Urban Threads.
You of course all saw my furball from the original post, Keefer, who passed away a few years ago.
Well, it may be pooches that are showing up in droves in the contest, but around here kitties are boss.
This is Karline’s little rescue kitty Socks, who even made a guest appearance on one of our tutorials.
We also have a new artist around here named Caitlin, who predominantly works on Embroidery Library designs, but has tried her hand at a few UT things too! She has a couple rescue kitties. Trixie is on the left, and Lars on the right, who was rescued as a kitten.
You know how they say pets start to resemble their owners after a time? Well, I’ll give you three guesses as to who this neurotic kitty belongs to, but you should only need one…
That is of course Danielle’s cat Nova, and kitty is just about as strange as her owner. In the best way possible of course. She looks like she’s been caught in a scandalous embrace with Darth, there.
The newest addition to UT’s furry team is a kitty Taylor just adopted from the same shelter I visited with the pups! This is Tootsie, and she seems to be taking to her new space just fine. Isn’t she pretty?
So, rescue animals, and all pets for that matter, are clearly a big part of life for crafters, even us! It’s fun now and then to do a little something special to bring them into our hobbies, especially when they try so hard on their own by you know, stealing your fabric stash. Or using that new quilt you made as a doggie bed. Might as well show them a little crafty love, right?
Are you still working on your rescue entry? Hurry, you still have time!
Upload your images to our flickr group or e-mail them in to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday the 28th at midnight for your chance to win a $50 gift certificate for your good deeds! Even if you’re just in progress with something, send us a photo of whatever effort you’re working on, and you’ll be entered for your efforts.
Want to see all the entries thus far? Check out this flickr slideshow! And thank you to all who have taken part to make the lives of rescue animals just a little bit better!