My name is Cynthia (or Cyndie) Read, but I have been called Sparky by virtually everyone since high school, when my favorite cartoon character was Megavolt (his nickname, although he didn't like it, was Sparky). I am in my mid-30's. I have been crafting and creating my own dolls, toys, and clothing since I was very small. I remember teaching myself how to cross-stitch when I was 8 or 9 and I did all kinds of needlepoint for about 20 years until my sight started to fail. Since I loved embroidered patches and collected them (but almost never actually put them on anything because then they would be ruined) I'd had my eye on embroidery machines for quite some time. Finally my brother offered to buy me a small one so I could start a home business. By a year later I wasn't able to keep up with orders on the small machine so I traded up to a professional one.
I live in the Sacramento CA area with my brother, a parrot, a ball python, a kingsnake, and a fluxuating collection of tarantulas.
My machine, a Baby Lock Professional Plus
Since what I mostly make is patches I thought I would post a basic rundown of how I make them, how to apply them, and how to care for them.
Commercially-available patches are made with something called a merrowing machine, which uses a special stitch to seal the edges. I have an ordinary embroidery machine, so mine are made differently. Basically I use a fabric that matches the color of the outer edge of the design (unless the design has open areas, in which case of course I use that color). The design is stitched out, using a very heavyweight stabilizer. Then I apply a no-fray liquid to the outer satin stitch, and apply heat, which kind of fuses those threads together. Then I remove the stabilizer and iron a patch backing onto the fabric (unless the customer didn't want that), and cut the patch out. I try not to cut too close (which is where the fabric matching the outer edge comes into play). Sometimes I will use fabric markers to touch up fabric edges that do not match the satin stitches.
To iron my patches on, use a iron at high heat, and apply heat both to the top and backside of the item if possible for 10-20 seconds. If you are at all worried about your iron being dirty, use a presscloth to prevent the patch getting stained. Let the adhesive cool completely.
I use polyester thread and my patches are machine washable and dryable as well as dry cleanable.
I created the logo with the Stitch Cursive font and a sketch of a spider given to me by Scythemantis. I colored the spider into a cartoony avicularia versicolor or Antilles Pinktoe tarantula, because I figured if I was going to put a spider in my logo I should make it a pretty one. :) The little tarantula's name is Sewout - a "sewout" is the physical stitched-out sample of embroidery, as opposed to just the computerized design. (Btw last I heard, Scythemantis is free to hire for logos and other artwork. Ask him.)
This page owned and maintained by C. "Sparky" Read.