Q Jo asked, "Are you using a "regular" sewing machine using free-motion or are you using a long arm? and how did you get the dots that aren't connected to anything? Are those by hand? "
A I use a regular sewing machine—a Janome 6500 to be precise. I love this machine! Its only variance from "regular" is that it has an extra wide harp which makes it better for quilting large pieces, but that is irrelevent in this instance. These pieces are quite small. Each is approximately 8.5" square. I am free-motioning the stitching, which means I use a darning foot, lower the feeddogs and then "draw" by moving the fabric under the needle.
The dots. When I made the first two pieces I added "dots" by hand. Each is a French knot, done with two strands of embroidery floss. On the the third piece I tried adding the dots using my sewing machine. Here is a closeup—hand knots on the left, machine dots on the right.
I prefer the hand done French knots and went back to that with this newest one.
Q Barbara asked "So what happens to this square now? Does it get framed or does it become part of a larger project? Is it destined for Etsy?"
A For now these pieces are being stacked up on my work table with no particular plan. I am just enjoying the process of experimentation. At some point I will decide whether I want to try to sell them or keep them. I do think they might work in a frame, mounted on a piece of black mat board. They may show up on Etsy. Too early to know.
Q Well not really a question, but a comment. Jeri said I was on a "slippery slope" to becoming a machine embroiderer and Margaret referred to it as embroidery, reminiscent of Rebecca Crompton, an embroiderer from the '30s.
A Well, I'm flattered by the Crompton comparison, though I think the similarities are very slight. I don't think of what I am doing as embroidery. It is, quite strictly speaking, machine quilting, not unlike machine quilting I have always done, except that I am making it a more pronounced design element by using black thread and incorporating the designs into the design of the applique. The stitching is done after the top is layered with a flannel backing, though I might try using a thin batting and backing. It is a new-headed way of quilting for me for sure, however, as generally I try to focus on adding texture with the quilting, now I am quite consciously adding "line" with the quilting.
I confess I have a bias, unfair though it probably is, against the whole idea of "machine embroidery." Hand embroidery is one thing, but machine embroidery conjures images of programmed Tweety Birds and His and Hers pillowcases. Sh-sh-shudder!
Q Lisa asked what size thread I am using.
A I don't know what the size is because the label is gone, but it is the most ordinary thread you can imagine. Star Thread, 100% Egyptian cotton in 1000 yard spools. It is not fancy, but I love it and have been using it for years. I buy it at the Mill End Store.