Oh Brother, where art thou???
No, I am not looking for my brother! Actually, I don’t even have a brother. There were all girls in my parent’s house! The Brother I’m referring to is Brother International, as in sewing/embroidery Brother, counter-part to Bernina, Pfaff and Husquavarna!
The newest gadget to be introduced in the machine embroidery world, actually the home machine embroidery world, is the cutwork needles. These needles have been introduced by all three counter-parts….but not Brother. Some weeks ago, I had the opportunity to see the needles in action and I have to say, they are definitely a new invention. Mind you, the commercial industry already has the boring needles which are used for circular cutwork designs, mainly eyelets. Having received several inquiries regarding these needles, I decided to impart what I know of them. I will state up front that my knowledge in this regard is limited and if someone knows more about the needles, please feel free to share with us.
A dear friend brought over her Pfaff machine and the needles to test sew especially created designs for the needles by Pfaff. As you can see from the image (courtesy of Pfaff), there are four needles in the kit. Each needle has a slightly different slanted edge, which is extremely sharp. Designs have to be digitized especially for the needles, which are a bit shorter than regular needles and are used without any thread. That is one of the requisites for the needle, turn off the automatic thread sensers. I believe Pfaff has a special upgrade for the machine to run the needles. Please correct me if I’m wrong. The needles are color coded to be used according to the direction of the slant/cut. Designs cannot be mirror imaged to stitch out with these needles.
The short session that I had in using the needles was, in my opinion, tedious. The design stitched out to the point of trimming and prompted for the special needle. One needle was used for punching the holes in the fabric, then another for fine trimming, followed by the regular needle to finish the satin edge of the cutwork. We used linen as our test fabric and although the trimming was nice, I could see where the existing methods of digitizing cutwork designs wouldn’t work. From the designs that came in the kit, I could see that the trimming area needs to be defined a bit differently as well as the underlay for the finishing. I’m not sure if Bernina and Husquavarna use the same technique (needles), so can’t say. I did try the needle in my Brother machine, raising the needle bar a bit (didn’t want to damage anything) and it didn’t do so bad.
In my opinion, this is a fantastic gadget and technique, but needs a bit tweeking, which I’m sure will happen. Cost wise….expensive….$50 for the kit. So, where is Brother? I’m waiting and creating my cutwork the old fashioned way….LOL. No, not by hand, but cutting out the fabric by hand.