Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Quilting with an Embroidery Machine!

Although I have known for a while that there are lots of 'continuous stitching line' files intended for machine quilting by embroidery machine, it is relatively recently that I realized that there are files that do piecing and quilting in the same file!

I have been looking at those kinds of files at the Sweet Pea Embroidery site for a few months, unsure if they were worth the price, more than I usually pay for any file!  They are just so unusual and different from the other files I have seen and stitched.  Right now, because of the current exchange rate, we in the U.S. are getting a bit of a break in the price so I considered that my discount.  This company does not have sales.

So I took a leap of faith and tried the Circles Quilt file.  I loved the way that the center of the blocks looked like matelasse.

Because it was my first attempt at this, I chose to use only one of the two blocks, creating circles instead of flowers that the pattern creates when using both.  I was pleased that there was a detailed pdf instruction file included.  I simply followed the directions to stitch my blocks.

This is one block in my 5x7 hoop.  On some of them, I hooped poly mesh to stabilize, in others, tear-away.  (The instructions say that either cut-away or tear-away could be used.  I would not think that regular cut-away would be a good idea).  I liked them both for different reasons:  The poly mesh is so thin and flexible that it does not need to be removed.  It also backs the batting, making it less likely to get caught on something.  The tear-away easily tears off and makes for a less stiff quilt block.  

I used a cotton batting for the loft.

I let the embroidery machine stitch nine blocks and I then stitched them together using my regular sewing machine.  That was my first real challenge.  I had problems getting them matched up.  Matching the lines is imperative so getting it right was necessary.  And so was ripping some seams....

I got lots of great advice from the Sweet Pea Facebook group on fixing this.  In the end, I figured out that if I pinned super close to each side of the satin stitching, they couldn't slide off of each other and they matched up better.  

I also found that when they didn't match up, that I only needed to rip out the area around them and simply ease them together, instead of tearing out the whole line of stitching.

I peeled back the corners to match them.  I just slid the fabrics until the folded back stitched areas created a 'square'. 

Finally!  They all matched!  This created my pillowtop.  It finished around 15".  I used a 16" pillow form from Hancock Fabrics.  

I simply basted on piping and then cut a piece of cotton for the back, using the top as a pattern for the back.  (I cheated and did not put in a zipper).

Ta-da!  My pillow is complete.

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To see my Embroidery page on this blog, that includes links to my other embroidery posts, tutorials, and resources, click the tab at the top of the blog or click here.

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