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Felting, Of A Kind

This presser foot is called a “couching/braiding foot”.  It’s one I haven’t used before:

It’s got a loop in the front through which to feed braid (or thick yarn), and a groove in the back so that the braid/yarn can be grabbed with the walking foot and feed straight through.

I want to do a subtle embellishment on an upcoming garment, so I played around with this foot a bit, using a variegated bouclé  yarn applied to plain, solid gray, plastic-bottle felt.  The results surprised me:

It looks like needle felting, doesn’t it?  And, wow, does it make that horrible, plasticy, felt look good!  And, oh boy, is this presser foot  fun to use!

For better or worse, I won’t be applying the bouclé to felt of any kind for my next project, so I’ve still got some experimentation to do on other fabrics.  This is a very encouraging preliminary result, though.

My Pfaff 1229 doesn’t have much in the way of what anyone would call truly decorative stitches, so I wondered if I’d find one that worked for this type of thing.  I ended up using stitch 24:

I was mostly concerned that the stitches would be too obvious, and overwhelm the yarn.  I hadn’t counted on the felting effect.  This presser foot is going to be a great tool for the upcoming project, and for a bunch I can imagine in the future, too.

NoteI forgot to engage the walking foot when I took the first photo — it would normally be “standing” on the yarn directly behind the presser foot.

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  1. January 11th, 2011 at 23:33 | #1

    What a beautiful effect – I tried something similar on a wool felt several years ago but it’s not nearly as nice as yours. I, too wonder if Bernina has something similar. (Interesting – I just finished a post about felted wool – so popular).

    • January 17th, 2011 at 09:24 | #2

      Annette, I’m sure Bernina has a similar foot. I think I even saw it while looking for mine. (Anyway, doesn’t Bernina have a foot for everything?? I always thought that was one of the neat things about Bernina!) You might also be able to find a similar foot made by a no-name manufacturer, listed by shank type. I think there are a lot of those around, too.

  2. January 11th, 2011 at 11:45 | #3

    Cool effect! I don’t have much by way of specialty feet, the Berninas are so dang expensive. But they are tempting.

    • January 11th, 2011 at 19:11 | #4

      It’s funny, Trena, I didn’t buy a Bernina when I got my Pfaff because the comparable Bernina model came with every foot under the sun, and I didn’t think I’d ever use them. It’s been fun adding to the basics that came with the Pfaff, though. The real trick is figuring out which ones you’re likely to use, and that’s not so easy.

  3. January 10th, 2011 at 16:25 | #5

    What is #24, the drunk stitch??

    (my machine only has like 9 stitches, including the zigzag widths and 3 step buttonhole. I’m just jealous!)

    • January 10th, 2011 at 20:54 | #6

      Funny, Melissa! I have NO idea what Pfaff was thinking of when they designed this stitch — but now I’m really glad I have it.

      Nine stitches doesn’t sound like many, but the truth is that I rarely use any but the most basic ones myself. That would be “straight” and “zigzag”. I mean, how many times in your life are you going to need #24??? With or without wine!) The unspoken secret of machines like my (admittedly wonderful) Pfaff 1229 is that almost all the “extra” stitches are really just simple variations on a zigzag and pretty much serve the same function.

  4. January 9th, 2011 at 19:00 | #7

    Wow, Noile, that is such a neat technique! Incredibly cool looking!!

    • January 10th, 2011 at 20:56 | #8

      It’s so easy, too, Kyle! I may have to invent reasons to use it a lot!

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