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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Machine Embroidery...



...or embroidery by machine?  I spent a large chunk of yesterday, and a lot of thread, stitching these, which will be made into bags or flowers or....whatever... It's pretty monotonous work, and I was reminded of a conversation I had with a friend, last week.  She said that she had bought an embroidery machine, with module, and had never really used it, because she realised that she didn't like setting up the machine to do something, and then walking away from it.  I had said, at the time, that I thought these machines were great if you wanted to make a large number of identical things, like embroidered sweatshirts, but otherwise, I really didn't get the point. Halfway through the stitching on the larger piece, though... I wasn't so sure.  Wouldn't it be better to programme a machine to stitch in circles, and just leave it to get on with it...?

Well, no.  Partly because the 'circles' I'm stitching here aren't really circles.  They vary in size and shape, and most of them wouldn't pass muster as a proper circle...  Many of them overlap.  It's what gives the fabric its charm.  And partly because I wouldn't hear the prompts the motor was giving me... that bit is thicker, so we're struggling a bit... and that meant, to me, that I needed more stitch in that area, to be sure that I had secured the bits and pieces underneath the cloth.  But mostly because if I left it to a machine, it would have no soul.  Throughout this stitching process, I'm constantly paying attention, making decisions, caring for the cloth, doing what it needs.  Machines don't have soul.  But the combination of machine plus maker produces magic. 

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