Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Patchery pt. 1

I mentioned in my writeup about the fantastic makerspace at the library, the Janome embroidery machine. It took a little while, but I’ve jumped into making patches with gusto.
First thing I tried. Didn’t entirely work out. Bobbin ran out halfway through, and made a slight mistake in the rethreading, and it started showing up top. Fixed it, but the damage was done.

Still, for this being my first time using this machine, not bad. I expected worse. 

Second project. I’ve written to that calcified and hidebound institution, the Canadian Legion 3 times asking them to offer an embroidered poppy for sale. Nothing doing. That pin drives me nuts. Catches on things, rips stuff, falls off, contributes to the plastic clogging our oceans. So I took matters into my own hands.
Then came a 3 colour variation. 

Lessons I learned up to that point: Make sure you replace the bobbin cover, trim the end of the thread coming out of the needle to be about an inch long, otherwise it might wrap itself around the presser foot and when that happens you can toss out your project as it’ll get out of alignment and there’s no getting it back. Same goes for not tightening the hoop screw enough. If it pops out, it’s over.

The thing that was at the top of my list of things I wanted to get into making patches for. The Cottage 13 logo. My first attempt is on the right, the second on the left.) Used a different white, grey and gold thread. Made some changes to the Illustrator file. (Widened areas, thickened lines, etc.) Applied a different embroidery effect to a few areas. Still trying to deduce how to change the stitch direction for consistent effects.

As I’m learning by this point, there is a very steep learning curve to this. Once the vector file is converted into an embroidery file, all sorts of weird things happen. And figuring out how to make it conform to what I want is proving to be a challenge.

Another attempt at my logo shield, and a “maker” patch, using my typeface design Nephilim. In the shield you can see a divot in the top right, and on the maker, the ... serifs ... if you will, are for whatever inexplicable reason, treated as separate objects. 

Here you can see how things get pulled out of alignment. I thought it was because the material wasn’t tightened enough in the hoop, or having it 4 up, but the same thing happened when I set it one up, and about double the size. I managed to get one decent one out of it by cheating and blacking areas in with a marker. Pretty much second on my list of patches I really wanted.
Got two different sizes.

Being a proud Amsterdammer, one of the patches I’ve wanted for a while is a crest of the city. I like it partly for how bold yet simple it is. It’s like heraldry and post modern graphic design had a night of drunken sex and this is its offspring.

Made this one for a friend, but will likely make one for myself too, just to annoy the hippies. :-) One of the things that is proving tough, is small letters.

Some music I”ve been a fan of for a long time. ASF maybe not so much, but the others certainly. 242 especially.

Patch I made for my pal Andrew Kent as a Christmas gift.

Gavin asked me to make this Pentatonix logo patch for his daughter for Christmas.

Way too imperfect for my tastes, but I made myself an RCAF roundel patch. I’ll call it the Patch, Embroidered, Roundel, RCAF, Mk. 1. The yellow band needs to be thicker and more prominent.

I’m rethinking my initial impression that embroidery is a straight forward thing. It”s anything but. Some initial luck has been followed by a lot of WTH?!’s. That setup fee the company charges to have your golf tournament logo digitized to put on a shirt? Just shut up and pay it. I think they’re probably losing money on it.

Jun Matsui logo and a name patch.
Here’s an example of what happens when a computer algorithm is left to figure things out. No easy way to remedy things like that.

Another of the inexplicable things that has happened a few times is in circles like this, a line of stitches that run horizontally show up despite the vertical stitches over it.
All in all, a vector file for printing and a vector file for embroidery are two totally different things.

And professional patches have a nicely finished border on them, done with a Merrowing machine (or an overlock or serging machine if you will). I don’t have access to such a thing, so I do a fake finish. Do a seam and then carefully cut and singe the ends with a lighter.

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