Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Machine Embroidered Snowflakes - Here We Go

I think that we already have more snow this year than we had all last year, but maybe it just seems that way. 

There are a few snowflakes starting to pile up inside my house, too.  Don't you love those antique-y snowflakes that someone actually crocheted with fine thread and then starched?  I can't imagine how to actually do that, I have visions, not of sugarplums, but of tangles and frustration.

These machine-embroidered snowflakes, though, are so easy, following just a few little tips.  There are lots of designs out there, too.

Your regular rayon embroidery thread won't work well with these because it's just too soft.  Cotton works great, but to be economical I usually just use polyester Maxi-Lock serger thread on the big cone, sitting on a thread stand behind my machine.  I have no idea how many snowflakes you can get from one cone, but it has to be a lot.  I use a regular NEBS prewound bobbin and that works fine even though it's lighter weight than the Maxi-Lock.  I usually clean out my machine after every three or four snowflakes becauser the serger thread is less smooth than my regular thread.

You'll need a very sturdy water soluble stabilizer, and Sulky Ultra Solvy is the only one I know in that category.  Because there are lots of stitches on a small area, you'll need to hoop it VERY tightly.  If you have a single-hole stitch plate, use that to help keep all those tight stitches from going down under the stitch plate.  (Take my word on that one.)

When your snowflake is finished, trim it to within 1/4" from the design.  Hold it under hot tap water until the stabilizer starts to wash away, then move it to a bowl of hot water.  One minute in the bowl is about right, you don't want to see any stabilizer but you do want some still in the threads so your snowflake will be stiff once it dries.

Blot the snowflake on a fluffy towel, then lay it flat on a towel to dry.  Once it's dry, you can press it if it isn't completely flat.  I just love these things, they can easily go in a Christmas card for just a teeny extra touch.

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