This book is the best general overview that I've found for new machine embroiderers. In Chapter 2: Embroidery Products and Chapter 3: The Embroidery PThis book is the best general overview that I've found for new machine embroiderers. In Chapter 2: Embroidery Products and Chapter 3: The Embroidery Process, Twigg does a good job of introducing newbies to the mechanics of machine embroidery, including proper hooping technique, an overview of different types of stabilizers and their appropriate use for embroidery, and recommended placement of embroidery on common items such as shirts, towels, and linens. The troubleshooting guide in Appendix I is useful as well, and Twigg does address the most challenging aspects of machine embroidery for most beginners, with clear explanations. However, this book was published in 2001 and the entire first chapter covering equipment choices is hopelessly outdated. Floppy disks and proprietary design cards have been dinosaurs for a long time, and because technology changes so quickly, it really should have been left out of the book entirely. The projects featured in the last part of the book are, for the most part, unbelievably ugly and make you wonder why anyone would bother learning machine embroidery in the first place. For that reason, the CD containing the embroidery designs featured in these projects is not much of a bonus, in my opinion....more
I almost passed on this book based on the title. After all, I was having trouble embroidering on "ordinary" fabrics, and I have no desire to embroiderI almost passed on this book based on the title. After all, I was having trouble embroidering on "ordinary" fabrics, and I have no desire to embroider on fabrics ike leather or vinyl. However, Machine Embroidery on Difficult Materials by Deborah Jones turned out to be a far more valuable reference than I expected. Jones does an outstanding job of explaining how machine embroidery works with all fabrics, and how the fabric, stabilizers, needle, thread, and hooping method all affect the success or failure of the completed embroidery design. What's more, Jones gives specific recommendations for altering embroidery designs within embroidery software in order to correct problems and achieve the best results for whatever material you're working with. Not only does she recommend reducing/increasing your tension, stitch density or stitch length, but she also gives a range of specific values to try for each fabric, greatly reducing the process of trial-and-error. For me, this is the most valuable information in the book. I know HOW to use my embroidery software to change pull compensation, density of a fill stitch, stitch angles, etc. from my software mastery classes, but before reading this book I would look at an ugly sample stitch-out of a design and have no idea which values I should change to correct the problems. The book also comes with a CD that contains multiple versions of designs that have been modified for different fabrics, so that you can open the designs in your embroidery software and compare the standard version to the adapted version.
My copy of this book has been heavily hilighted, and it's my new go-to reference before starting any kind of embroidery project. I recommend it wholeheartedly to novice to intermediate machine embroiderers. Readers who do not own embroidery software may feel discouraged that they are unable to try all of the author's suggestions, but many may decide to purchase embroidery software for the first time based on the software applications described in this book....more
This book is a good reference for anyone who is reorganizing, remodeling, or creating a brand new quilting space. Hallock offers sound ergonomic advicThis book is a good reference for anyone who is reorganizing, remodeling, or creating a brand new quilting space. Hallock offers sound ergonomic advice as well as planning worksheets for taking inventory of your fabric, tools and equipment. She also includes budget planning worksheets and advice on scheduling and executing your studio so the project goes as smoothly as possible. The book contains a number of real quilting studio makeovers, including before and after full-color photographs and floor plans with dimensions, and the rooms featured range quite a bit in terms of size and budget, so most readers will be able to find usefull ideas and layouts for their own available space. I like that, along with explaining how to do a scale floorplan of your space to audition possible furniture placement, Hallock also explains how to do an elevation drawing of each wall, which you definitely need to do if you'll be hiring contractors.
I found this book most useful in conjunction with two other books: Carolyn Woods' "Organizing Solutions for Every Quilter: An Illustrated Guide to the Space of Your Dreams" has much more in terms of storage and organization solutions for fabric and quilting tools, and Lynette Ranney Black's "Dream Sewing Spaces: Design and Organization for Spaces Large and Small" contains more thorough, up-to-date information on lighting, many creative ideas for maximizing even the smallest work spaces, and -- most important -- discusses sewing room design in a general way, with special sections at the end of the book addressing the unique requirements of sewing spaces for professional dressmakers, quilters, and drapery workrooms. This was crucial for me because I need my studio to be a flexible space that works well for all kinds of sewing, not just quilting. However, quilters who only want to purchase one book about setting up a quilting studio would not go wrong in choosing this one....more
If you only buy one book about designing and organizing your sewing workspace, THIS is the one you should get. This is the most thorough, authoratativIf you only buy one book about designing and organizing your sewing workspace, THIS is the one you should get. This is the most thorough, authoratative guide I've come across. The author, who has a background in kitchen and bath design and remodeling AND sews herself (she's even written a book on serging home dec projects) walks you through absolutely everything you need to think about when you plan a new or improved sewing space. There is a handy Inventory of Needs checklist, a form for recording your body measurements for ergonomic planning purposes, and a nice overview of how to do a scale floorplan to work out the most efficient layout for your space. Black explains how to set up efficient U-shape and L-shape work stations to maximize efficiency. She also explains how to do a full lighting plan for the space, covering options for ambient, task, and accent lighting, and explains how wall and surface color choices affect how much light is reflected from surfaces -- and that wall color actually tints the light reflected from the wall, so that you won't be able to view colors with as much accuracy in a room with pistachio green or hot pink walls, for instance. Some of my favorite specific storage ideas were creating 3" deep recessed shelves between drywall studs (on interior walls) for serger thread cones and incorporating pull-out "bread board" style landing areas to the right and left of your sewing station.
This book includes lots and lots of big, full-color photos of very different sewing rooms, and includes a floor plan for each one. In the back of the book, the author even addresses the specific needs of specialty sewers: quilters, professional dressmakers, and drapery workrooms. Whether you're blessed with a large room dedicated to your sewing or trying to make the best use of a corner or closet, this book will help you to use your space wisely and efficiently....more
Professional organizer Carolyn Woods immersed herself in the quilting world to write this book, visiting the sewing spaces of quilters near her home iProfessional organizer Carolyn Woods immersed herself in the quilting world to write this book, visiting the sewing spaces of quilters near her home in Arizona as well as consulting with quilting celebrities like Alex Anderson, Libby Lehman, Diana McClun, and Nancy Arseneault. I found quite a few storage ideas in this book that I really like, including the ClosetMade wire drawer bins that Alex Anderson uses to organize her fabric stash, repurposed library card catalogs used for thread storage, and a number of really good solutions for storing embroidery hoops, acrylic rulers and the bazillion tools and notions we all have piled up in our work spaces.
The reason I only gave two stars is that the ergonomics section of this book is so poor. I have consulted two other books, several sewing web sites, and the U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA recommendations for ergonomically correct sewing and cutting stations, and Woods' recommendations are so far out of whack that, if her advice was followed, it would CAUSE more back, neck, shoulder and wrist pain than it would alleviate. Woods has degrees in political economy and business administration and runs a professional organizing business -- she does not have any credentials as an expert in ergonomics, and she does not appear to have consulted with any ergonomics or medical experts. Woods' suggests a sewing surface height between 5 1/2-7" HIGHER than your elbow when you are seated with your arms bent at right angles -- this is in direct contradictions with current OSHA guidelines; OSHA and every other reputable source I consulted says that having to reach up like this to sew is stressful to your wrists, shoulders, etc.
If the author didn't want to research ergonomics for sewing, she should have left that part out of the book and focused on storage and organization, her strongest suits. Misinformation is so much worse than no information at all....more
This book is amazing -- Someone mentioned it on a blog, and I hunted it down online and ordered it directly from Japan, hoping I wouldn't be completelThis book is amazing -- Someone mentioned it on a blog, and I hunted it down online and ordered it directly from Japan, hoping I wouldn't be completely flummoxed by the fact that this book is entirely in Japanese. Well, the clear, full-color photographs of the front AND back side of each block design, as well as clear illustrations with numbers and arrows designating the order of construction of each block, make it easy for anyone with basic knowledge of patchwork construction to follow. Each block is line drawn without seam allowances, so basic drafting skills will be needed to create templates for the blocks in sizes appropriate for your project. And the blocks themselves -- WOW! The patterns get progressively more challenging as you flip through the book, but there are so many vintage block designs that I had never seen before, so many that I know I want to make. This book was worth every penny that I paid for it and then some; it's now one of my favorite quilting books. Highly recommended!...more
This was a tough read; it took me awhile to get through it. It's SO depressing, violent and demoralizing. I can understand why the author wanted to hoThis was a tough read; it took me awhile to get through it. It's SO depressing, violent and demoralizing. I can understand why the author wanted to honor her parents and grandparents by telling the story of their lives, and the author's eyewitness accounts of life in communist China during the Cultural Revolution are compelling. However, the book lacks the objectivity of a history (understandably, the author's parents and grandmother are all portrayed in a flattering light) and it lacks the resolution of a novel. The reader finishes the book feeling shell-shocked. I kept forcing myself to read through grisly chapter after brutal chapter, because I wanted to get to the part where the main characters were redeemed and triumphed -- but that never happened. Instead, bad people are unpunished and even rewarded, honest and just people are tortured out of their minds, and we don't even get a sense of closure when the author finishes her story, at the point when she leaves China to study in the West. ...more
King Arthur meets Monty Python meets the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Not as good as any of these on its own, but it was an enjoyable quick readKing Arthur meets Monty Python meets the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Not as good as any of these on its own, but it was an enjoyable quick read with my fourth grader....more
Ugh... I held out hope until the very end. And of course, I have high expectations going into the novel, because it's Margaret Atwood. But ultimately,Ugh... I held out hope until the very end. And of course, I have high expectations going into the novel, because it's Margaret Atwood. But ultimately, no.
I did not like that the character of Zenia was pure evil, that she was this web of lies and smoke and mirrors, and that we never got to find out what was really going on with her, no motivation, no background story, nothing. I didn't like that the other three main characters were so spineless, snivelly, and weak, letting one woman who stole their men ruin their entire lives. I got an annoying First Wives Club vibe and imagined the character of Roz played by Bette Midler, with Goldie Hawn cast as Charis and Diane Keaton playing Tony. I kept reading anyway, hoping for some revelation, some twist to come at the end of the novel that would upend everything, a dazzling finish that just didn't materialize. I didn't like that the men in the novel were all so weak and wishy-washy, either. The only strong character in the novel was this Zenia person, this female devil incarnate who was different things to different people -- kind of like that mirror in the Harry Potter book that showed each person their heart's desire, only Zenia reflected back and exploited the weakness of whomever she was with. Maybe that was the point -- maybe her character was only partially formed on purpose. Still, not my favorite Atwood novel by a long shot....more