Machine Embroidery

Favorite Part: Having complete control over every stitch and reaping the rewards of getting a design exactly right.

Biggest Lesson Learned: Pick your fabric carefully and buy plenty of it. Even straightforward designs need to be stitched out at least four times.

Preferred Subject Matter: Animals. Fur, scales, and skin at once lend themselves to and defy the limits of thread and fabric.

Machine embroidery is symbolic of many things in my life: a marriage of creativity and practicality. I enjoy both the limitless possibilities of drawing with thread and the immediate, precise execution of my sewing machine. I get to explore until something feels right, then capture that design and replicate it again and again.

Imagining each design comes easily, but translating the idea into programmed stitches is an ongoing challenge. Learning to program machine embroidery designs is a great lesson in following through on creative vision, even within strict technical constraints. For each stitch the designer must not only decide where a stitch begins and ends but how the machine stitches it, with what thread tension, and at what speed. Therefore, the technical challenge comes not only from the machine’s limitations, but the designer’s skill for balancing many variables at every step of the process.

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