Sunday, November 28, 2021

Machine Embroidered Months of the Year--One Monthly Goal Met!

Printing the letters to check for uniformity
If it weren't for Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal - November Finish Link-up, completing the machine embroidery of the months of the year for the blocks in my Temperature Quilt would still be an item on my list. I can't thank Patty enough for having this link up. 

While I've put in a lot of hours to complete this goal, I thought that I would miss meeting this goal as the days flew and I wasn't near the actual embroidery stage of the project! 

My Friday Sit and Sew group and Gertie, my inner squirrel, provided the support to complete this goal. I thank all of them for their help!

First sample stitching
Last February, Gertie had the idea of laying  the blocks into a calendar format. I liked it. I put the embroidery on my mental to do list. I worked on other projects. Until this month, the project hadn't moved from my mental list!

Why did I wait so long to get this finished? The reasons are many! I'll list two. First, I lacked the confidence to start. Second, I can't remember the last time, I used my embroidery software. 

Auditioning the sample with the block
While I want to learn how to use this software, I haven't bonded with it. I did join a monthly club at the shop where I purchased my software. The member interaction and lessons were interesting; however, I continued to have a disconnect between completing a lesson and applying it! 

Each time I get out the software, I get to reacquaint myself with it. UGH!!! I simply MUST figure out how to get the most out of this product because I do like what it can do. 

At the beginning of the month, I spent several days testing the various fonts in the software. I settled on one and began the process of creating the  letters in each of the months of the year. 

Auditioning the finished strip with the block
One would think that you could set the parameters of the letters, type in the letters for the month and embroider the letters. Ah. . .if it actually WERE that simple. SIGH. . .it is NOT! My first aha moment came when I realized the size of the letters in the word January were different from the letters in the word July.

I understand now that this issue comes when there are ascending and descending letters in the word. My work around was to make a file of the letters needed to stitch all of the months in the year. I copied and pasted letters from that file into a new file as I needed them. I made a file for each month.

Then there was the spacing issue. Sometimes the letters were too far apart. I edited the spacing until my eye liked it. There was the centering issue. I'm using a two and a half inch strip. I wanted the embroidery to be in the center of the strip.
Underlay example
All the months embroidered

As I finished each month, I printed a paper copy of the letters. I found this helpful for auditioning the size to the block as well as checking that the common letters, such as an "a" or a "J" were the same size. I checked that the "a" in January was the same size as the "a" in May. I checked that the "J" was the same size in June as it was in July.

Then I did a test of the embroidery. I tried different combinations of stabilizers. The combination that had the least amount of puckering after I had completed the embroidery was to use a fusible interfacing on the strip where I was embroidering the letters. I used a cutaway stabilizer in the hoop which I backed with a medium weight tear away stabilizer. I found the step underlay worked well and I played a bit with the pull compensation. I watched hours of virtual stitch outs until I was satisfied the process was going to end well.

Slowly, I worked my way through the embroidering the months. I used the medium sized hoop and embroidered one month at a time. I had few issues. I learned the order in which I brought the letters into the design was the order in which the design stitched. Another time, I would stitch the letters in the order of how they are written. I do know how to make those changes. With several months, however, I   found selecting all the parts of a letter was challenging. 

In the end, I was successful. I spent much of one day on the embroidery and several hours trimming away the stabilizer. I do like how much the embroidery adds to the blocks. I did practice the steps many times. I plan not to wait so long before getting the embroidery software out for another project!

Later today, I'll finish adding the embroidered strips to the blocks. Perhaps, Gertie will help me determine the plan for setting the blocks together as well as determining the legend. If you have any suggestions, she would love to hear them!

Finished block
This was my One Monthly Goal for November. It was goal number five on the November list. I am ELATED to have completed this goal.

I'm also linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework as I'm using some old scraps in this project!

Regarding COVID:

Worldwide: 262M cases; 5.2 M deaths

United States: 48.1M cases; 777K deaths

Oregon: 387K cases; 5,116 deaths

There is a new and according to the media yet another variant of concern of the virus out of South Africa. The UK closed the airport to ten flights from South Africa last week because of safety concerns.

Five of the twelve blocks
The vaccination rate in Oregon continues to edge slightly higher each week. Currently, 70 percent of the population has received one dose of the vaccine and 63 percent is fully vaccinated. Five to 11 year olds are getting vaccinated. 

Yesterday, my chiropractor called to let me know that her ten year old son was exposed and contracted COVID at school. She said his first day of symptoms included high fever, headache and loss of appetite. So far, no one else in the household has tested positive. She said her son was feeling better. She felt that the vaccine (he had his first vaccination two weeks ago) had provided him some immunity. I sure hope that he recovers soon. He will have a story to tell when he has children!


Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Terry, congrats on your November OMG (I'm just finishing up my own). I really love the look of your monthly block. Take care.

Patty said...

Those look great. Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and congrats on your finish.