“Directions Maverick”

I spent my career as an educator teaching children in grades K through 6.  Directions are the bread and butter of a teacher.  Teachers aren’t always terrific at following directions, though.  I am making a garment onto which I will be appliqueing lace on the front as well as on the back.  In my opinion, free standing lace is one of the most elegant items that can be created on an embroidery machine.

This is the lace I decided to create using a natural white thread, with no color changes.

In the past, I have followed the directions to the letter about what types and what weight threads to use, the speed of the machine and needles to use.  My embroidery always seemed to bog down as the satin stitches began to layer one upon the other, breaking needles, thread and necessitating the slowing of the machine to its slowest speed just to get through.  This just didn’t seem right to me, so I decided to make some rule changes of my own.  Some types of laces are more open than others, so this writing is pertaining only to the lace I made today; a fairly dense lace.   For this lace, the directions asked for 40 weight embroidery thread for the top.  I followed that direction.  The directions then asked for the same 40 weight thread to be used in the bobbin.  To me that seemed as if it would be too thick so I decided, since the back of the lace would not show, to use 80 weight bobbin thread that I bought at Bonny’s last week, which is very thin.

I used 80 weight Deco-Bob bobbin thread instead of my usual 60 weight or the 40 weight the directions suggested using. Remember, the higher the number the thinner the thread.

The needle recommendation was for a new 75/11 sharp needle.  I instead used a new 80/12 chrome coated Microtex.

Top thread, bobbin thread and needles I used.

The directions also said to use 2 layers of non-woven water soluble stabilizer; I used 3.

I used three layers of Aqua Mesh……
….and hooped them together.
All the materials I needed to create my free standing lace.

Lastly, the directions asked for the machine speed to remain unchanged.  I embroidered all of the under stitches at the highest speed.  As soon as the more dense satin stitches began on the outside of the design, I dropped the speed by one level.  As the even more dense stitches began in the center of the lace, I dropped the speed to half.

Once the under stitching was finished, I lowered the speed by one level. I lowered the speed again when the stitches became even more dense.
The finished stitch out, still in the hoop.

This 33,000+ stitch lace was done in 1 hour and 20 minutes without a hitch.

I cut away the excess stabilizer and put it away for another project.
Once the excess stabilizer has been removed, it’s time for a warm bath! This is the lace before the bath.

This is the lace after the bath.

I pass along this knowledge in hopes that, you too, will be a directions maverick!