Nov 07 06

Adding Texture to Your Quilts

Have you ever noticed at a quilt show that some quilts seem to beckon you in, almost pleading with you to touch them if only to verify that the texture or the illusion of texture they’ve created is real? Texture is created in so many ways and often is what takes a “good quilt” to “great quilt” status, just by making the quilt more interesting and giving it greater depth. There are so many ways to add texture, and free motion machine embroidery is an easy way.

Many quilters who do free motion quilting don’t realize that they can also do free motion machine embroidery when it is only a quilt top, or even when it’s in the blocks or “pieces” stage, and this will create a different type of texture than free motion machine quilting. The key is simply to remember to stabilize the fabric in some way if there is no batting underneath yet. So, this means using one of the many stabilizers on the market, (i.e. tear away, iron away, dissolvable, or a permanent stabilizer like polyester or a ploy/rayon blend) underneath the fabric. If you’re embroidering over an area which was appliqued via fusible web, the fusible acts as the stabilizer so just stitch away! Ideally, the work should be in a hoop while doing this embroidery, but to be honest, I rarely use a hoop and somehow get away with it!

You can also add further texture to your free motion machine embroidery by taking extra steps when you go to do the actual quilting. A great example of this is using a heavier weight thread, (i.e. 12 weight Sulky Blendable) for free motion machine embroidery of veins in a leaf. Later, once that leaf is in a true quilt sandwhich, use invisible monofilament thread to stitch just outside the leaf veins and voila! Those veins will now puff up! Give it a try yourself and see just how cool this technique is!

One Comment

  1. Marié du Toit Says:

    I use 80/20 cotton batting as a stabilizer and found it work very well. It is not necessary to use a hoop. I taught myself from books to do machine embroiderie and only realized yesterday that the stitch I tried to make with a straight stitch moving the fabric back and forth- could easily be achieved (and should be done) by making a sig sag stitch sideways. (I do like my stitch though- it is easier to fill in with other threads, but do brake needles sometimes!)