Thursday, May 02, 2013

A new machine and an Octopus

Sadly my old computer went phut a few months ago and with it went my embroidery software.  When we upgraded the family computer I tried to reinstall it on the new machine.  It was having none of it.  I still had the original disc and my licence number, but the website that would have verified it and allowed the instillation no longer exists.  When Elna was bought out by Janome a few years back, they did not carry on the support for my machine because it was no longer in production.  I tried everything to get it to install, and then got Mr EB to try an awful lot more that I certainly did not understand.  The upshot was that there was no way to get the software onto the new machine without doing stuff that was not strictly legal and was immensely complicated.  I must admit to being incredibly annoyed about this, I spent a heck of a lot of money on my machine and software so to be given no help whatsoever by either Janome or Elna -despite repeated contact with both, did not endear me to either company.  My capability to design new embroidery had basically been removed through no fault of my own and I could not use my fully paid for, legal copy of the software.  In the end the only option was to buy a new set of machine and software, but I was definitely not going to go for a Janome as I was particularly annoyed with them. In the end I went to the marvellous Sew Creative centre in Bury St Edmunds to chat with their embroidery machine expert Elaine.  She was totally brilliant!  She did not try and recommend the really expensive machines but actually took the time to find out what other machines I already have and what capabilities I was particularly interested in.  In the end I opted for a Brother Innov-is V3 embroidery machine.

My Elna still works perfectly as a sewing machine, with all its fancy buttonholes, stitches etc, so there was no point in spending an extra couple of grand to get another machine that would both embroider and sew, which would duplicate these capabilities.  Because Elaine suggested this embroidery only idea, I saved a lot of money-hurrah!  I also was unaware that Brother incorporate a lot of the complex extras from their professional multi-head embroidery machines into their smaller, home based models.  Again, I had no idea about this, so thanks to Elaine's expertise and experience with lots of different machines I think I came away with the best machine for my needs and so far I cannot fault it in any way!

I've done a few trial embroiderys and have spent a lot of time playing with the new embroidery software to work out how to do all the extra things it offers.  One annoying thin is that there are not standard terms across embroidery software, so what was called one thing with the Elna means something totally different on the Brother!  I have just about got the hang of it, after a fair amount of swearing and a lot of consulting of the instruction manual, and this is my first proper attempt at a design entirely digitized by me-
My Octopus!
During sewing, nearly complete
The idea for the octopus arrived via rather circuitous route... It all started with the fabric I used to make a foot stool for our living room.  It was a sort of sepia tint map of the world, which I got from John Lewis.  I had enough to make a cushion as well, and i wanted to add a seam monster embroidery to it, cos every good map needs a sea monster.  So trolling around google I found lots of pictures of various sea serpents and monsters but the most common one was a Kraken or giant squid/octopus like creature. I loved all the crazy octopus pictures that are out there on the net.  My favorite turned up when I searched for octopus on Pinterest.  It is a marvellous picture of an octopus in a top hat and monocle drinking tea!  What's not to love?  I can't find an attribution for the lovely picture, the link on Pinterest was broken and I can only find it on a random tumbler account that no one replies from.  So, if somehow the artist sees this (unlikely, but you never know) then thank you so much for such a fabulous piece of art and I hope you don't mind me using it at the basis for my embroidery...

I am really pleased with how it turned out.  The  machine sews so quickly and quietly it only took about 45mins to complete it.  I tried to use some of the new special effects the Brother has, all the different programmable fills are great.  I used different ones for the various legs and radial stitches for the joins between the legs.  They look really good if I say so myself!
I need to work out which interfacing and stabilizers to use with this new machine, as the tension of such a large area of stitching has puckered the fabric a little around the edges, but ill soon get the hang of it.  I know intend to do a whole lot more of underwater creatures wearing various hat styles.  Don't ask me why I love this whimsical theme, perhaps it appeals to my love of Edward Lear/Lewis Carroll-inian nonsense and fantasy and anthropomorphised animals, but I think it may take up a lot of time and thread in future...
One lump or two?


Alex said...

Wow, love it. I want an octopus!

Unknown said...

Thanks Alex. I'm thinking of maybe putting him on a t-shirt, or maybe a bag even. Not sure yet, but will definitely using him on something!