‘The rhythm of the stitch simply takes over. Like gossamer, my threads spin an exquisitely protective web about me. Heaven, here I come.’ Cathy Jack Coupland
And that’s just the way I like it, thank you very much. Once I’m at my machine that magical, mutual attraction draws me in and I’m blissfully, and most appreciatively oblivious of all else. It is definitely my happy place.
Of course, what I’m talking about here, is free-machine embroidery. The technique where you drop the feed dogs on your sewing machine, disengaging them so they do not feed the fabric through.
I can see hand embroiderers faces glazing over here, but stick with me, I may just convert you. Once mastered, I’m convinced most stitchers would find free-machine embroidery far less demanding and exacting than normal stitching. Why?
Because the technique lends itself to an organic quality where, like Gustav Klimt – who had an intense dislike for straight lines, straight-line stitching is not the priority.
‘The prime consideration for free-machine work, in my opinion, is its eminent and majestic versatility.’ Cathy Jack Coupland
It’s the epitome of adaptable, flexible, multifaceted stitching, and I love it. So much so, my machine, Betty, is set up in this position 98% of her working life. In fact, I panic trying to locate the feed-dog button.
‘And the icing on the cake, I hear you ask? You can stitch in any direction, all the while keeping the fabric in one position.’ Cathy Jack Coupland
Straight-stitch, zig-zag, decorative stitches all may be worked with the feed-dogs-down. Add more threads through the needle and you’re starting to speak my language.
‘Multiple threads and free-machine-embroidery have the ability to create exquisite, mouth-watering textures. Straight lines incorporated with curved add sass to develop eye-catching contrast. This is my Nirvana, my paradise.’ Cathy Jack Coupland
As a practicing and unrepentant control freak, I revere this technique. I’m in control here.