Stitching on the Epic
So if you follow me over on Instagram, you'll already know that I've been working on the new Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic embroidery/sewing machine. I've enjoyed a great working relationship with Husqvarna and they have always generously supported my work. They've loaned me this machine so I can experiment and see what I can come up with. It's always exciting to have an opportunity like this and while I'm not technique or process led as a rule, when you have a new tool to play with, it can really inspire a new direction of work, or reinvigorate an old one.
First up, I had to rearrange the sewing room. This machine is BIG! I'll not go into the tech spec here, you can find all that on the Husqvarna Viking website. What I love is that it takes the really big hoops. For me that makes it so much easier for stitching quilt sized projects.
The machine has a large, tablet-like touchscreen. Have to say, compared to my previous machine (The Husqvarna Diamond) which I thought was excellent, this screen is a big improvement. Much more responsive and easy to use. It's hard to show in photos, but the contrast on the screen is great, even in bright daylight. While we're on the topic of lights, the machine sewing light is incredibly bright. I often stitch in the evening and there has been a very bright glow from my sewing room!
So it has, as you'd expect, all the bells and whistles, including a sewing advisor to guide you through your project with animations and step by step illustrations. It's an all round machine, home sewing, dressmaking, quilting, but for now, it's the digital stitch that I'm back to experimenting with.
Don't bother talking to me if you think digital stitch is in anyway not credible, or is cheating, or doesn't take skill. Trust me, without my input, the machine would still be in its box and wouldn't have stitched anything. ;-)
This is the first piece I've completed on the Epic. It's one of the This is Me panels that I've been working on throughout this year. It's a screenprint/monoprint and nearly all the stitch is digital. Can you tell which bits aren't?
There's just a tiny bit on the right hand side that's freehand, the rest was all done in the hoop.
I love that you can stitch digitally, but that it doesn't look like a commercial design. It looks like I've stitched it. But it was done in the hoop while I worked freehand on the teapot from the other day - double the output!
The stitching was digitised in Premier + software using the Sketch program. It's pretty easy to use and you can achieve these freehand-look files that the machine will then stitch away. I made a bit of a boob with my digitising and doubled up the stitching in parts, but I actually really like the bolder mark so I'll be doing that again on purpose next time.
So what's the plan? Well this is just a small piece, but it's reminded me how much I like working with digital stitch and I think I can take it much further. I'm over freehand quilting everything. It takes far too long to stitch everything as closely as I like to. And let's face it, it can get a bit boring to do hour after hour! I'm planning on using the Epic to do the stitching for me so I can keep the density and layering of stitch that I like, combining digital with bits of freehand. I think that should have some quite fun possibilities!
Thanks for dropping by,