Ok, let’s begin with ‘How to use your Janome Embellisher’ (please remember there are lots of other makes of machine out there too).
First of all gather you materials... for this test piece I am using felt fabric with wool rovings, but you could use anything from denim to sheer woven fabrics, yarns and stray fibres or threads. Always have a small pair of sharp scissors too... these will come in handy.
Before you begin, lets look at the parts of the machine you need to be aware of... firstly the punch needles. These are like the dry felting needles in that the points are blades with several barb cuts along the edge. These are very sharp, so watch your fingers at all times! My Janome came with two needle fittings, this one that has 5 needles and the second that has just 1 needle. To start I suggest getting used to using the 5 needle attachment. It fits right in like a normal sewing machine needle.
Next is the guard area... You have two! The first is the smaller, which is a standard sewing machine guard. This will help you guide fabrics under the needles without damaging your pinkies... The second is a larger eye guard for protection against breaking needles and also helps keep roving fluff down while you are working... don't want stray strands floating around and getting into your eyes.
Everything else is exactly the same as your normal sewing machine... you have an electric pedal, which you can set to fast or slow... best to go slow as you start and secondly the side wheel, or needle wheel. This helps you move the needle through the cycle of it's rotation, which is handy if you want to use it to get the needles to hold fibres in place before you start.
For the next part I have my piece of felt fabric and have taken a strand of wool roving fibre.
I place the fabric and fibre under my needles, by rotating the side wheel and make sure that the guards are down in their safety position. I continue to use my fingers to make sure the roving stays in its desired position as I start to put pressure on the pedal.
You will find that the fabric can be moved quite easily under the needles as they rotate to the highest position, so as you work gently (not too fast you will break a needle!) in a circular motion. This allows the needles to catch all of the fibres into the felt below.
You will notice as you work the fabric that the needles will create small holes, rather like pig skin leather... this is where you fibre is being pushed through the underlying felt fabric.
It's as simple as that to use... stay tuned, in a few weeks I hope to show you how this particular project worked and also show you different effects you can create with other woven fabrics, such as denim.
I hope this helps… this will also be added to the Working with Felt Network at http://workingwithfelt.ning.com/.
Here's where to find fibre product for your felt embellishing... Sara's Texture Crafts.