Monday, December 31, 2012

Adding Machine Embroidery to Rag Quilts

Hi all!

I hope that everyone has a great New Years Eve tonight and I hope that everyone is safe and having fun!

Since I have a cold and my brain is fuzzy I was looking for something easier to do to keep myself busy.

I decided to start quilting the rag quilt that I have cut out.  Since I am a little tired of the big X through the middle of the blocks I decided to add some machine embroidery (ME) quilting motifs to the middle of the blocks.  When I posted this to my facebook page I got a couple questions about it so I thought that I would post a little tutorial on it.

I like to add machine embroidery to my rag blocks - but - I like to add looser designs that simulate the effect of quilting.  If you want to add something with a satin stitch or something more intricate you will HAVE to stabilize your blocks much more than I do with these lighter designs.

First I die cut my rag blocks and layer the bottom layer, batting and top layer.   You can see the dies cut fringe pocking out of the hoop.

I decide what design I want to do and pick my hoop accordingly.  You want to make sure that your design is big enough to hold the batting in place.  If it is not large enough then your batting will sag and your quilt will be lumpy.   

I am pretty casual with the way that I hoop this.  I have done more with my hooping and I haven't really found that it affects the design at all - unless it is a more detailed design with a lot more stitching.  So, you can see that here I have just the two sides caught in the hoop edges making sure that I have the fabric centered.


Load up your hoop and stitch out your design.


After the design is finished unhoop and trim threads.  This design took about 4 minutes to stitch out.  As you can see it is a quilting design not a really intricate one.  But, can you see the way that the design goes to edges of where the batting is?

Now you'll just sew your rag quilt together as normal.

Options - you can hoop a wash-away stabilizer and then just baste your rag block to the top and stitch out your design.  You can also use a product like Hoopables to stabilize your block.  I have only found this necessary if the ME design has more stitches to it.  You'll have to play around to see what works best for you.

I know that some of you are probably thinking - wow, that takes a lot longer.  Yes and no.  It does take a bit longer but while the design is stitching I am able to be doing other things like prepping more blocks rather than sitting at the machine stitching the X.  And, sometimes, you have a quilt that is just worth the extra!

I'm still ME blocks for not one but two quilts and having fun.  I'll post a few pictures once I am further along.

Happy New Years everyone!

1 comment:

Kathy MacKie said...

Great idea, will have to give this a try! Happy New Year!