By Carol Shinn
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Additional info for Freestyle Machine Embroidery
That’s because a piece will buckle and be difficult to iron flat if you stitch in different directions. Some artists use this buckling to their advantage, but if you want to experiment with undulating effects, do so with another prepared canvas. It may be difficult to hold the canvas as you stitch next to the edge or into a corner. One of my students devised a perfect solution for this problem: stitch one line to the corner, then pull the piece out from the machine and clip the threads, leaving 6" (15 cm) tails (shown in the photo at center left).
Gradations are among the best tools for adding color interest to artwork. Gradations, which can be between any two or more colors, encourage the eye to travel around the piece. Color Mixing 43 Exercise Three: Veloxvermis sulphurostris (Sulphur-nosed Speedworms), Carol Shinn 1988, 9¾" x 15½" (25 x 40 cm). Machine stitching on fabric. Photographer: Carol Shinn. Private collection. When making samples, I often think up a design problem to help expand my abilities. Technique is only one skill in making successful art.
Stitch size has nothing to do with the stitch length on your machine (you disabled the feed dogs when they were lowered). In freestyle embroidery, stitch length is controlled by how fast you move the fabric in relation to how fast you run the machine. The faster you move the fabric, the larger the stitch length. If you run the machine too slowly, you will hit the plate with your needle and either break or blunt it. Although you may have less accuracy in your work, a larger and more impulsive stitch can be exciting as part of a style, as long as you use the same kind of stitch throughout a piece.