Beginning this year the Madam Chino is enjoying a new addition to a growing family of industrial machines: a Singer 114w103 chainstitch embroidery machine. The speed permitted in creation of beautiful chainstitch embroidery however does not outweigh the challenge to acquire the skill to use accurately. Additionally, much of the work put in to create items such as patches proliferates beyond your basic cross-stitch, nullifying the jealousy that might arise in cross stitchers who find machine embroidery to be "cheating". It is a skill in and of itself. Few studios are currently working in this dying medium, and fewer are well known for their perfect work. The most popular currently on instagram include Ftlonesome and Chaingang_LA. View their intense and time consuming masterpieces, which look like gorgeous decorated cakes. With a world of love for font, and skill and practice abound in ink medium, this was a natural starting place. Pictured below is the machine as I found it in the consignment area of the store where I bought it.
If you aren't familiar with chainstitch (popularly used for writing names on bowling shirts) and how it works, basically this: there is no needle it is a tiny crochet hook which turns on a crank in 360 degrees. In order to create the chain stitch, the loop of thread entering from below the machine must be dragged to the next location, which means that the motor must be running while you turn the needle so that the hook doesn't drop the loop. This minor issue creates many problems as you can see in the sample above; the person operating the sample was attempting to turn the loop without the motor running and dropped the chain.
The other hard part is that the motor, if it's old, doesn't have speed control, so to manipulate the speed with your foot really takes some time getting used to. In order to control finely tuned details with a running motor, this part is essential.