More on Adding Texture to Your Quilts…

November 29th, 2006

If you are feeling seduced by all the beautiful threads and fibers on the market today, you should be! There are so many beautiful and striking fibers out there and these can add a new level of interest to your quilts, both visually and also through their tactile properties. If you are making a quilt that will be laundered, remember to pay attention to fiber content, or your piece may be transformed by washing…i.e. wool fibers which will become felted with washing. If you are making an art quilt or a wall hanging, then laundering issues fly out the window!

Threads and fibers like this are too large to fit in your top sewing machine needle, so the easiest way to incorporate them into your quilt is by couching them. To do this, I load monofilament thread in the top needle, (clear if the fiber is light to medium colored and smoke monofilament if the fiber is black or dark colored) and I usually use a cotton thread in the bobbin which matches the background fabric onto which I am couching. There are two ways to couch: 1. using the couching foot for your machine and you may couch this way with either a zigzag stitch or a straight stitch or 2. using your free motion foot. If you use your free motion foot, it’s best to have an awl or some type of thin, long, pointy object available with which you can “hold down” your fiber just before it enters the area by the needle. If you don’t own an awl, a bamboo skewer can work as a substitute. You may use either a straight stitch or a zigzag stitch to couch the fiber down.

If you are couching fibers over an area that has been appliqued by fusible web, you don’t need any stabilizer underneath because the fusible web acts as your stabilizer. But, if you are couching on any other area, you MUST remember to place a stabilizer underneath your fabric, or you will get that nasty puckering! If you dread removing tear away stabilizers, remember that you may use a lightweight polyester stabilizer or a poly/rayon stabilizer that will remain in the quilt. When I do this, I cut away the extra stabilizer outside my stitching area and once I have the whole top finished and in a quilt sandwich, I stitch just outside my decorative fibers w/monofilament thread and this will make that whole area “puff up.”

If you haven’t tried couching yet, go for it!! I thought this would be really hard so I kept putting it off until I had time to really focus on it. Once I finally tried it, I saw how easy it was! Try it yourself and it will open up a whole new world of design possibilities! You can do this!

New Pictures Are Now Posted!

November 19th, 2006

We posted some new pictures in a new category called “Amish Inspired Quilts.” For those of you working on practicing feathers, these are great quilts for practicing feathers because they give you large areas to quilt out some beautiful undulating curves and they are generally pieced in fabrics which “read” as solids, so your quilting is very visible. They are also great if you’re looking for a quilt to use as a sampler for different quilting designs.

If You Emailed Me and Did Not Hear Back…

November 19th, 2006

…it’s because we found out that we were having some problems with our contact page, and I did not receive some of my emails. I really try to answer all emails very quickly, so if you don’t get a response within 24 hours, it means something is wrong! So, if you haven’t gotten a response to date, please accept my apologies and try me again. I believe the contact page problem has been solved so all emails are now coming through!

International Sales now enabled!

November 10th, 2006

Thanks for your patience, we’ve got international ordering working now! Please visit the Instructional DVDs page and click on the “Add to Cart” button under the listing for International Buyers. If you have any qustions, please contact us.



Adding Texture to Your Quilts

November 7th, 2006

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!