I’m working on the Elizabeth Barton Master Class assignment for this month which calls for “lost edges”. Lost edges recede into the background to create the illusion of form. It was a new concept to me-or so I thought. The more I researched it the more I realized I knew exactly what it was. And indeed, I’d been fascinated with lost edges since the beginning of my quilt making:
I made this quilt in 2001, straight from Alex Anderson’s star book. This is one of the blocks. See how the edges of the saw tooth star fade into the background? I was doing that from the beginning-simply because I liked it and had no idea it had a name. It’s not the best example, but you get the idea.
For this month’s challenge I wanted to work another native grass piece, but on ombre fabric, letting the ombre create lost edges for me. I’m doing it in whole cloth fashion and I’ll write about the process and outcome in a later post.
Once I chose my ombre fabric, which fades deep black to lighter gray, I had to choose a thread that would get “lost” as well as show up when I wanted it to. I wanted the viewer to still see the stitching on the black if they were up close. I knew there was only one thread to do that, Superior’s King Tut “Obsidian”, #979. See how it goes from black to dark gray to brown? Perfect!
You’re going to realize how geeked out I am on thread by this post. I have the color cards for all my oft used threads and knew my threads well enough to know that this really is a unique thread. Black thread would not have shown up on the black fabric and I didn’t want something as showy as a dark brown or gray. This was an excellent choice.
A little background here: King Tut is a 40 wt/3 ply thread-that means it is a big, fat, shouting thread. I wanted to run skinny little 100 wt silk thread in my bobbin because I love the thread painted picture it creates on my backing-I’ve used that thread on every piece in this series.
I don’t know if you can really tell here, but I chose a huge thread and a skinny thread. Normally you just don’t do that but that’s what I wanted!
I can work a thread, I know how to get perfect tension, this is what I do. I use all kinds of different thread combinations to achieve what I want. So I slapped it into my machine, adjusted both top and bobbin tension, and let ‘er rip.
So here’s the view from the top: perfect tension (hair flip!).
And here’s the view from the backing: perfect tension (hair flip!). And that’s with wool batting even, which gives no place for bad tension to hide.
Well, Little Miss Bernina Artista 730 didn’t think so! She kept stopping every 6″, telling me something was amiss with my bobbin. I did all the normal things: rethreaded, inspected the bobbin, reinserted, made sure everything was clean, made sure the area around the bobbin case was pristine, turned the machine on and off, checked the tension again, even put in a Bobbin Genie (not really convinced they work anyway). Nope. Still stopping every 6″.
So I called Superior Thread and even they couldn’t help-a first!
So on a hunch, I got out my 185 and transferred the bobbin and its case, intact, directly from the 730 to the 185. It instantly worked. The ONLY thing I did was transfer the bobbin+case to the 185 and it worked. Therefore, it could not have been anything with the tension, bobbin, etc., it was the machine!
But let’s be clear here-the machine was working perfectly (my tension was dead on)-it simply insisted on giving me grief about the bobbin.
So I sent Little Miss Bernina Artista 730 to The Punishment Room!
And Little Miss Bernina 185 did exactly what I asked her to do without any bitching whatsoever.
The little computer in my machine CANNOT tell me what to do! If she can’t handle the tension, fine. But if she handles it just fine and then bitches about it, that is unacceptable and will merit a visit to The Punishment Room every time!
The best advice I received in this whole process was from my local Bernina dealer, Angel at Meissner’s Folsom, who with total deadpan asked: “Did you take it out of Diva Mode?”