Saturday, June 18, 2011

Experimenting with Bobbin Stitching

This is a challah cover that I created in 2006 for a gift from the outgoing Sisterhood president to our synagogue.  I used silk dupioni and fusible applique.  It measures 16"x20" and the edges are beaded.

Challah is a wonderful egg based bread that looks like this:

It is traditionally eaten on Friday nights.

The challah cover has been on display in one of the offices since 2006.  Just a few months ago, I was gently informed that the Hebrew words were not quite right.  It was supposed to say Shabbat Shalom.  Well I was mortified and felt like melting into the ground.  WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME BEFORE???  But I guess it was one of those typos that not many people noticed, because I was recently asked to make another challah cover as a gift for our retiring Cantor from the Sisterhood.  (A cantor is the person responsible for bringing music to the temple in many, many ways.)  They wanted it to be just like the original one.

Duplicating a quilt or quilt type project is very difficult.  Although my mind wanted to do something different, I needed to "stay the course" based on time constraints and their request, but since 2006, I have changed how I do some things. One thing I have changed is instead of quilting after I finish putting applique on a piece, I now try and do it before.  So I quilted the white silk dupioni with a piece of batting.  Then I added the leaf vines with free motion quilting.  The problem was that the vines were hard to see since they were added on top of the quilting.  This is a sample of what the vines looked like without quilting.

I had 3 options:
  • Start over
  • Stitch over the vines by hand with multiple strands of embroidery floss
  • Try bobbin stitching
I had never done bobbin stitching and at this point I figured, what the heck?  I had seen it done and I thought I had nothing to lose.  I had this heavyweight Wonderfil thread called Razzle and I filled my bobbin with it.  I was able to use the automatic bobbin winder on my sewing machine and did not have to wind it by hand.

Bobbin stitching is done from the back.  I experimented with a sample.  I wanted to stitch over the vines I had done previously.  Since they were hard to see, I drew over them with a blue washable marker.

Then I dropped my feed dogs  and using an embroidery foot I just followed the lines.

When I turned it over, this is what it looked like:

I was certainly happy and proceeded to use this technique to emphasize my vines.

It really looks like handstitching and gave a nice thick line. 

 I used my embroidery machine to add the Hebrew on the first challah cover.  I no longer have that machine and decided to add the words with handstitching.  Since I couldn't see through the batting to trace the letters, I wrote on a water soluble product, Solvy (tm), pinned it in place and then stitched with blue rayon "Razzle"  thread.  Then I removed it in smaller pieces.  I didn't need to wet it.

The Solvy tore right off and I didn't have to use water to remove it. 

So now I had to fix the first cover.  I took out my seam ripper.  After spending hours and hours and hours trying to remove the stitches, I gave up.  Where I had picked them out, there were holes in the silk and a slight tinge of magenta from the removed thread.  Plan B:  I created an applique flower to cover the whole mess.  Done!

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