A week or so ago, I mentioned the blue nightie which was found in the WI archive when we were deciding what to take for our Tea and Textiles event next week and I wondered casually if working such a design would be any easier with the benefit of all the tech we have today. I thought further about it and thought that it could make a good challenge for me to explore the Bernina software and maybe I’d give it a go.
Since then, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for a suitable motif to play with and came across this butterfly on an advert for a class at the Royal School of Needlework. I did a quick screen shot, saved it into my Dropbox folder and opened it on my Note tablet.
With me so far?
Using the stylus and the sketch app, I did a quick trace and saved it back to Dropbox so I could open it in my Bernina software.
After a couple of false starts and program crashes, I gently worked my way around the shapes, using as many of the inbuilt outline stitches and variations as I could. It took most of the day to complete, minus a couple of hours at lunchtime to run a work errand and have some lunch in a pub on the way. But eventually, I was ready to save to a USB stick and take it across to my machine.
All was looking good so far. I prepped everything ready to embroider and hit the button.
The quality of the stitch and the density which had been automatically generated was very impressive. Bearing in mind that my previous digitising experience had been ten or more years ago using the POEM software, which needed settings to be made manually, this was pretty amazing.
Clearly I need practice in determining the order of stitching, to avoid those long thread jumps. Although they’re pretty simple to trim later, there’s still a small end of thread visible (dark thread and a light background makes it obvious, too). I need to consult my gurus to learn how to insert a thread cut after each shape, perhaps? But generally speaking, I couldn’t quite believe how well my first scratch design had stitched out.
Perhaps I’ll dare to cut those eyelets later, though I don’t think the other cutwork areas are really viable for cutting at this stage. But however neatly stitched my butterfly is, however perfect the curves and the alignment of the stitches, it lacks the spirit and the life of both the blue nightie design and the original hand stitched motif where the design came from, don’t you agree?
I will work some more on it. Maybe resize to make it smaller, more compact and stitch out white on white, to see if that adds class! I’m not done yet.
I think, though, I’m rather glad that hand stitching isn’t so easily replicated. Like live music and home made food, there’s an unmistakeable element of ourselves which we build into the things we create. Oh, and more than a bit of love, too.