Apr 14 15

Free Motion Quilting and Machine Embroidery Applique



MEA and free motion quilting are 2 parts of quilting that I love.  What I love even more is putting them together because then it’s possible to create very rich textures and dimension on my quilts.  I tend to have many projects going at any given time and it’s easy for me to intend to do something but have it get lost in the shuffle because I have so many projects already going on.  I am happy to say that I have finally tried a new technique for me that I’ve meant to play with for a few years but never got around to it.  This involves creating MEA blocks on the embroidery machine and then free motion quilting them, but what’s different this time is that I used wool and various blended natural fiber felts for my applique shapes.  This creates an over-the-top texture once it’s quilted.   My photos don’t do this justice but here’s a shot of an 18 1/2 in square block that will become the front of a pillow:



You might get a little better sense of the texture in this tangential shot:



…or maybe not!  This is one of those times where I really wish you could reach through the computer screen to see/touch this because the photos really just don’t show the texture well.  In truth, the texture was kind of blowing me away throughout the entire process of making this block.  Here’s a shot of part of the block as I’d just positioned some of the felt pieces on it.  There is no embroidery at this point:



Now check out how much dimension there is after embroidery but before quilting:



(My heart was beating  a lot faster once I got to that point!)  I couldn’t help but go for a little more texture so I added a trapunto layer to the quilted motif in the center.  Here’s what the backside looked like once I’d cut away extra stabilizer and excess batting (aka right before it went into the final quilt sandwich):



All of the various pieces of applique were first outlined with invisible thread, as was the center motif that was trapuntoed.  Then I added those 4 curved arc structures using the Westalee Ruler foot on my Pfaff sewing machine.  I haven’t had much time to play with this foot yet, but from my limited time with it, I have to say that I fell in love with it!  I hyperquilted the feathers inside those arcs:



…and then quilted the feathers in the outer zones.  I am now hooked on the texture that comes with using wool and felts.  I have a bunch of the bamboo/rayon felt that National Nonwovens put out many years ago and I guess I need to get my act in gear and finally dye that stuff up!




  1. Lynette Says:

    Gosh! I’ve already been antsy to one day be able to get a machine that’s good for the kind of embroidery work you make me drool over, and now this added facet. . . 😀 I’m in love, too!

  2. Sandy Says:

    Oh my! That’s drop-dead gorgeous! Did you use any particular kind of wool for the appliqué? Are you going to do any sort of tutorial for those of us who aren’t experienced enough to feel confident in just jumping in?

  3. Pat Says:

    Patsy – we must have ESP going on, I just purchased some wool batting, as I wanted to try that next. Gorgeous work. Maybe someday for embroidery for me, but you sure make it hard to ignore it.

  4. Leeanne Says:

    STUNNING as always!

  5. Maria Gardner Says:

    Totally stunning, Patsy. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks again for sharing your ideas.

  6. Amy Johnson Says:

    Love the dimensionality of the quilting and trapunto. And of course I love the ruler work structure you gave the block. Your MEA is sure beautiful! Fabulous as usual.

  7. Lorie bugaiski Says:

    Wow stunning! Love it! Great job!

  8. Diane Evans Says:

    I echo Sandy’s wish — any chance of doing a tutorial for this?? It’s absolutely exquisite, Patsy.


  9. Valerie Smith Says:

    Your color palette always makes me so happy! I love everything about this…