When you think of your embroidery machine not as a machine that does embroidery, but as a programmable sewing minion that can be instructed to embroider, applique, piece, quilt, create cutwork, make lace, and sew, you start to see some new capabilities and interesting options! I have been throwing myself into techniques and software and one of the most surprising things has been the piecing and quilting I have been able to do, all on the embroidery machine. This "in-the-hoop" style of quilting can create some really unique quilt blocks.
I started to investigate the idea of quilting with an embroidery machine with files from Sweet Pea (my first project was a pillow- click here), but the sheer number of Anita Goodesign files, in similar sizes with their "Mix and Match" files meant that I could combine designs, and using my Embrilliance Essentials and Enthusiast software meant that I could borrow and merge and delete stitches between the files!
|I used four of the blocks on the left to create the design on the right.|
For my design, I chose a square block from the Anita Goodesign file called Anita Goodesign Double Wedding Ring Quilt...
...Then I chose a scalloped block from Anita Goodesign Anita's Anniversary Quilt Premium Collection that I wanted for my ends. (Those scalloped ends are THE REASON I wanted that file!) The problem is that the quilting didn't match my square block above. My solution: I used the quilting from the matching block in Double Wedding with the scallop shape from Anita's Anniversary file! This was so easy with my Embrilliance software. I simply deleted the step on the scalloped block that had quilting and then selected and copied the quilt stitches I DID want from the second block and used copy and paste to merge it.
|I removed the scrolly quilting design. Then I copied the quilting design from the second block and pasted it on the first one. The finished block had the features I wanted. It was scalloped and it matched my square block.|
In addition to design benefits, putting the files through my Embrilliance software means that I get a more user-friendly version of the stitching steps and a full size template, if I choose to print it.
I started the sewing portion of the project by prepping my fabrics. The way this works is that I cut the base fabrics and batting ahead of time, then use strips of fabric to do the folded fabric steps. I iron the fabrics with starch to keep them crisp.
My personal goal was to change thread only a couple of times to make it easy to do. The only thread that will show is the satin stitching and quilting stitches. Unlike hand-quilting, I wanted to use a contrasting color so the quilting would really show up.
The square block starts with batting placed and trimmed and then the base fabric placed and quilted.
Next, the center contrast is placed, stitched, trimmed and quilted.
Then the piecing begins: (1) the file stitches a placement box, then (2) the fabric is added face-down, then (3) the seam is stitched, then (4) the fabric is folded back, then (5) the tack-down is stitched.
I keep it in the hoop the whole time and only trim the ends after each tackdown. This file will stitch two folded fabric pieces at a time. I did find that as soon as one was done, I needed to stop the machine, adjust the second fabric, then continue the stitching. Once it was done, I removed the hoop and trimmed all raw edges of the pieced fabrics in preparation for the satin stitching.
I continued the process with satin stitching and the end pieces. I trimmed the block to 1/2" on all sides using my Omnigrid Quilter's Ruler. The lines on this see-through ruler make it easy to match up the stitching lines with the lines on the ruler.
This is what the back looks like at this point.
Next, I stitched four scallop blocks, using my altered block that I merged in my Embrilliance software. I used the same process of stitching and trimming the batting, adding the base, stitching the pieced fabrics using the folded fabric method, and quilting. Two were stitched together for each end.
The way that I stitch all the blocks together is to match the corner stitches, the satin stitches, and the center of the seams. The Anita Goodesign instructions always say to simply match the edges since all the blocks have a 1/2" seam, but really, the elements need to be matched for the blocks to form correct points.
I fold back the corners to match, making a square on the stitching and pinning in place.
I fold back to match up the satin stitching.
Pinning on both sides of the satin stitching will keep one from sliding to the side of the other. Even with a walking foot, I find that they will not stack properly unless I pin in this way.
I want the elements to match so that the seams of the blocks are not as prominent as the pattern stitched to make the design.
I used my Steam Fast Steam Press to make the sewn-together blocks as flat as possible. I wanted the seams to be perfectly flat without any rounding. I smoothed it out on top of my backing and trimmed it to size.
Next, I added a label to the back. This was just a silly idea I had after looking at quilt labels. I just thought it would be nice to have the year this was made. I plan on doing lots of projects and giving some away and wanted a nice, extra touch...something that set it apart from things I buy for my home.
This was done using an applique patch from Planet Applique and merging with a label I bought from Urban Threads. I removed the word "from" in the banner using Embrilliance Enthusiast by lassoing around the text. Then I merged in the year using Itch2Stitch Teeny Font.
I stitched-in-the-ditch to combine the quilted top to the backing. This is why Anita Goodesign suggests a busy print for the back: to hide that stitching. I used my walking foot with clear thread in the bobbin.
I matched the backing to the quilted top and trimmed to 1/4". This is a difference from the Anita Goodesign directions. To do this, I used a Fons and Porter Quarter Inch Seam Marker by Omnigrid. Because it is thin, it is easy to move around the curve.
I clipped the backing to the quilted top to hold them together. Per Mimi's instruction, I stitched within the 1/4" seam allowance all around the outside edge.
I pulled the folded edge of the binding to the back and hand-stitched in place. I recently saw a Fons and Porter video where one of them said that hand-stitching is a way to bond with a quilt that has been made by machine. I liked that sentiment so hand-stitching it was!
So my runner was finished! Here, it is pictured on my green counter. It finished at 36" long, but the length and width are completely customizable by using larger blocks (if you can use larger hoop sizes), altering the size in embroidery software, or adding more blocks. I have a Brother PE-770 so I always make the "D" size block which finishes under 5". I am in love with the rounded ends and the quilting! This is a total of 16 blocks.
I wanted it to go with my red serving pieces, colorful plates, green counter, and crazy patterned Roman shades I made a million years ago. I love this size for keeping hot dishes off my table and to add a little pattern to the setting.
So you know what I think? I think it would be fun to put together four of the scallop blocks to make round trivets that match for the other dishes I would have at a setting! Adding it to the ever-growing list!
Buying Guide and Links in this Post
(some of these are affiliate links-I hope you will use them):
- My first quilting project from Sweet Pea (post on this blog)
- Embrilliance Essentials
- Embrilliance Enthusiast
- Anita Goodesign Anita's Anniversary Quilt Premium Collection Embroidery Designs
- Anita Goodesign Double Wedding Ring Quilt
- Omnigrid 6-Inch-by-24-Inch Quilter's Ruler
- Steam Fast SF-680 Digital Fabric Steam Press
- Planet Applique patch applique called Gigi (on sale right now!)
- Urban Threads Stitched with Love file
- Itch2Stitch Teeny Font
- Fons and Porter Quarter Inch Seam Markers, 2-Pack
- Crafty Class - Finishing Schools: Edges and Bindings by Mimi Dietrich
- UrBest clips for quilting and sewing
Thank you for checking out my blog post today. To see my embroidery page which lists all my resources, links to my other embroidery posts, links to videos I watched to learn, and a million other helpful things with regard to embroidery, click here.
To see my paper projects, check out my Paper Gallery.