Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Great Digital Stitch Off

I'm on the train with a choice of work to do (no internet connection)...
a. Evaluate my progress with, and results of, digital embroidery 
b. Practice my presentation for tomorrow (in my head)
c. Start my reflective essay (2,500 words)
d. Watch a download of 'The Great Comic Relief Bake Off', Series 2, Ep.1 (not strictly work)

I might as well start at the top of the list as I would like to put off b and c for a good while.
I now have some experience (though not mastery) of;
  • The industrial Brother 12 head embroidery machine at MMU: frame size = 30 x 40 cms (?)
  • The Ethos embroidery program and the 5D Pfaff programs 
  • The domestic Brother 1 head embroidery machine in the fashion dept at CCAD: frame size = 10 x 15 cms plus PE Design Plus program
Most of my samples have been produced on No.3 to date as this is more accessible (during lunchtimes and straight after work on a Tuesday), and the program much simpler but it is limited in size and doesn't really do what you want it to do (yet). There are somewhat haphazard options and a few ways of tweaking things but overall, very little flexibility. I find it surprising that in this digital age all this software is a total nightmare. None of these programs are very intuitive even though I have used Ethos for laser cutting for a few years now, so it is somewhat disappointing to find it's not the same. I do feel it should be easier and wish Adobe would design one. OR that someone would design a computerised machine that would just stitch directly from Photoshop or Illustrator. Am not sure how many different programs I can fit inside my brain. 
However, I still  want to  explore it as a technique, I have some ideas in my head and if they work out I will be happier and much more inclined to persevere and see what can be done. If they don't I shall be rather disappointed. Something Jane McKeating said in my tutorial still resonates with me -  that my artwork is very flat-looking. And it is. So I would like to translate and emphasise that flatness through digital embroidery (free machine embroidery would not be flat enough). It's  the opposite of what I love about hand I'm quite excited to mix it up.

So, the samples; 
On No.3: 
See last post...(Textural) cross stitch works so perfectly it's untrue, I especially like the double stitched areas although the thread does then snap rather a lot. Eventually, I would like to see how high I can build it up but better not do that on someone else's machine. 

Intention: To play with gradient colour and avoid it looking too chocolate boxy. Explore/use the reverse of the work, with the anchor threads.

  • Import an image and this program generates the stitches for you, like it or lump it, (although there are 9 versions to choose from with very slight differences- a bit like the filters on a phone camera). What I do like is that you can select your colours and change them easily. All the other samples I have done are ok but remind me greatly of embroidered patches for jeans (still available in Boyes Stores) or logos on school uniforms, that's a size issue.

  • It has given me a feel for the technique and generated ideas for at least 3 further samples I want to do on this machine before I commit fully to the big guns.

No's.1 + 2 worry me. I have had my inductions, producing a sample, but there is no way I can remember how to use these programs or the machine. I have popped onto the computers and played with some files on a few occasions in-between lectures but have forgotten the most basic instructions AND that is with referring to the manual. However, I have still booked a slot on it for 2 weeks time.  And I will annoy the technicians. A lot. I know this. I apologise in advance.

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