Saturday, 6 April 2013

Getting my kicks from Free Machining

Today I had my first true dabble into Free Machining. 

I think we can safely say I'm not a natural! However, I predict all other WIP's are going to be heartlessly cast aside while I indulge in a new addiction.

Kirsty Allsop (of Homemade Home fame) infamously tweeted: “Machine embroidery is the crack cocaine of the craft world, and I am addicted.” I get it Kirsty!

I attended a morning workshop entitled "Introduction to free machine work" taught by Yvonne Brown at Sew Much To Do.

Yvonne Brown is a hugely talented Textile Artist with a background in Art and Art History. Yvonne teaches and exhibits all over the world. Check out the galleries on her website if you want to be truly amazed.

 Looking through some of the pieces Yvonne brought with her I felt seriously not worthy of a class under her guidance!

Today's workshop was an introduction aimed at getting to grips with the basics of free machining.

Firstly, we practised on paper working in pairs; one person holding the pen still while the other moved the paper.

Machines at the ready, we moved onto our pre-prepared 15' quilt sandwiches. Initially, just getting used to the movement and creating swirling patterns while keeping our fabric pointing "north". It was so hard to resist rotating the fabric to make the curves!

We then progressed onto vermicelli, feathering and basic shapes. All of which Yvonne made look easy.

Yes, this one is Yvonne's work not mine.

But, LOOK you can hardly spot the difference!!!!


Some of my fellow classmates were already producing beautiful work by the end of the session.
Me? Not quite so proficient. My shoulders tightened as the workshop went on, and towards the end my technique got worse rather then better. But, even as I write this, I'm itching get practising again once my shoulders resume their natural position!

Before leaving today I signed up for the next instalment.
Part II: Stitch Dictionary, will focus on building our repertoire of free machining skills whilst creating a sampler piece.

I have five weeks to practice the basics so that I'm ready to move on. What's the betting I'm "cramming" the day before?

Before I sign off, here's a relaxing scene to soothe you after that shocking apple photo.
I snapped it at afternoon tea on Tuesday in The Drawing Rooms at The Ampersand Hotel in South Kensington. It was my little daughter's first proper posh tea experience. But, the bubbles were all mine!


  1. I'm impressed - your first attempt is much better than mine was!

  2. I remember my first attempt, and second, and .... I'm still not very good but enjoy it so much that I don't mind if it looks wobbly. Once the quilt is quilted I'm sure nobody will look at it and think that it looks terrible. That's my hope anyway :-)

  3. Your FMQ is far better than mine but you are right, it is addictive. Di x

  4. That looks pretty good to me! My first attempt involved many many broken needles and much swearing! C x


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