In The Hoop

A couple weeks ago I finally broke out my Piece in the Hoop book that Sean gave me for Christmas, and decided to try making a few things “in the hoop” (ITH) of my embroidery machine. ITH basically means that you make an item using your embroidery machine rather than your sewing machine, letting the machine do most of the work for you.

I started out with a pressing pad from the book, using scraps of material I had laying around. I wasn’t going for anything pretty, I just wanted to learn the technique while creating something that would be useful for other ITH projects. This pressing pad is meant to slide under the hooped fabric in the embroidery machine, so that you can iron things without removing the hoop. This is useful since a lot of projects have you laying down a piece of fabric, stitching, flipping it over, ironing it, repeat… which means taking your hoop on and off repeatedly gets old really fast and also adds to the wear and tear. The back of the pressing pad is covered in a teflon material to protect the sewing machine from the heat of the iron. You can see a few places where I forgot to remove the pressing pad and ended up stitching over it. I think having a baby kills about 70% of your brain cells. You would think that after the second time I might have remembered, but no.

The next project was a pin cushion, also from the Piece in the Hoop book. The book had it embroidered with an image of a needle and thread that I did not like, so I put an “M” on it instead. Again I used scraps I had laying around; these are leftovers from that Flower Patch quilt I still haven’t finished. I think the blue fabric on the corner stands out too much, but oh well.  The pin cushion isn’t stuffed yet in the photo. I could just stuff it with fiber fill, but I think I will pick up some emery sand instead so that it will keep my pins sharp.

And, lastly… tonight I decided to try making a little wristlet bag in the hoop. The digital file for it was only $1, so I didn’t expect much out of it. There are better options out there that say they don’t have exposed seams, but for my first try at it I decided to go the cheap route. I guess if you don’t look too closely, it looks okay from the outside. However… The tension wasn’t right at first, so some of the stitches aren’t pretty if you inspect them closely. The seams are also exposed, so you see the raw edges of the fabric and the batting. And to make it even uglier inside, the stabilizer (material you put under fabric to aid in stitching in the hoop) is still in it because I really didn’t feel like spending an hour or two picking it out of the million little spaces between the quilting… even if I did, you would still see the ugly backside of the quilting. You can see pictures of it below… the strap on the bag is just a cell phone strap I have had laying around in the closet for about six years so I decided to clip it on for the heck of it. If I make a better wristlet later, it might end up on that instead.

I think I like this ITH thing… I will have to add a new page to the site to showcase ITH projects if I make any more, which I am sure I will. Hopefully whatever I do next will look better on the inside than this wristlet does.