Friday, May 4, 2012

[Flashback Friday] 5.48 - Sewing Machine Embroidery Skulls

Welcome to another addition of Flashback Friday.** This year the guest editors, Tatman, Citizen Agent, and myself, Azurafae are taking turns reflecting on 17 of our personal favorite skulls from the previous four years of postings. So please join us as we visit the archives and add our additional commentary on some of the original pieces.

I wanted to play with a free motion embroidery sewing machine foot for years. My involvement in the Skull-A-Day project gave me a great excuse to purchase the special sewing machine foot and use it to make a skull. As you all know, I love Dia de los Muertos, so I created a simple style sugar skull with accompanying stylized marigolds. I've been machine sewing since I was 12, so the majority of the sewing, though free motion, wasn't terribly difficult. Sewing the details on the skull was more challenging, but sewing slowly gave me a lot of control.

When it came around time for me to make my quilt square for the Skull-A-Day and Becky's Fund Quilt Project, I used a combination of the new free motion embroidery skill I had learned, and older embroidery and beading skills that I'd been building on since I was 4 years old. Since the machine embroidery was over a piece of fabric, after sewing, I stiffened the fabric and sealed the fraying edges with clear acrylic paint. This is one of my favorite embroidery pieces to create, since it combines a variety of techniques of a skill I'm proud to do.


I was aware that Noah had created this skull using a sewing machine. I asked him one day if he did it with the same type of foot that I had used. He hadn't. He used the standard sewing machine foot and forced the fabric through the feed dogs. If you aren't familiar with what "feed dogs" are, they are the metal ridges that help feed the fabric through the sewing area of a sewing machine, by gripping onto the fabric pressed against the sewing foot. This makes drastically changing the straight direction of the fabric while sewing, difficult. Looking at Noah's piece again, I notice the almost etch-a-sketch feel to it, since the sewing was done by pulling the fabric in a non-straight direction while sewing, and using the backwards button to form long zig zag stitches. This is very difficult to do, so I commend him on being able to do this and creating a successful image of a skull. When doing embroidery with the specialty foot, the feed dogs are down, so there is no traction while sewing and you can freely sew without an encouraged direction.

 **Flashback Friday was a weekly countdown of the fan selected top 52 skulls of Skull-A-Day 1.0. Each week during year 3.0 The Skullmaster posted the original skull along with some additional commentary in order from lowest to highest rated, with the #1 skull appearing in the last week of year 3.0, all 52 can be found here. During year 4.0 the editors had their chance to countdown their favorites Azurafae HERE, Citizen Agent HERE, and Tatman HERE.

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