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quilting with machine embroidery

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dladig Posted: Fri, Feb 1 2013 11:45 AM

Does anyone have any advise about using a machine embroidery design to finish a quilt? I need to quilt a small quilt that has approx 5 x 5" snowballs. I can't get the detail I want with the longarm. (it can probably be done, but I can't do it!). Machine embroidery usually looks funky on the back, and I don't want that on the quilt. Is it just a matter of getting the bobbin tension right?  Anyone have any experience with this?   

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Donna B replied on Fri, Feb 1 2013 11:55 AM

dladig:

Does anyone have any advise about using a machine embroidery design to finish a quilt? I need to quilt a small quilt that has approx 5 x 5" snowballs. I can't get the detail I want with the longarm. (it can probably be done, but I can't do it!). Machine embroidery usually looks funky on the back, and I don't want that on the quilt. Is it just a matter of getting the bobbin tension right?  Anyone have any experience with this?   

I won't profess to being an expert, but here is what I do...

1.  Always use the same thread in both the top and bobbin

2.  Turn off your automatic thread cutters and the locking stitches at the start of the embroidery sequence

3.  This may depend on your machine, but I can advance my embroidery design stitch by stitch...to the very first actual stitch of the design (after any jump stitch, etc..) and pull the bobbin thread to the front.  Then holding the threads, start the embroidery design for a few stitches, stop, cut the thread tails, and then proceed with the design.  

Usually, for quilting using the embroidery module, I use red-work type designs that are all in one color and no color-changes.

In my experience it's the auto-thread cutting and the locking stitches that make the messy appearance on the back of the quilt.  It takes a little more time to stitch out with these turned off, but the end result (IMHO) is much better.

Someone else will probably jump in with some other good ideas too!  

 

 Winthrop, WA

 

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dladig replied on Fri, Feb 1 2013 3:39 PM

Thanks! I'm going to try it!

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dladig replied on Fri, Feb 1 2013 4:37 PM

One more question Donna... Any heroics required to hoop it? Can you get all 3 layers in a hoop? thanks!

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Donna B replied on Fri, Feb 1 2013 8:22 PM

dladig:

One more question Donna... Any heroics required to hoop it? Can you get all 3 layers in a hoop? thanks!

Oh you would ask that...LOL!

I use the largest hoop I have and a water-soluble sticky-stabilizer (with the sticky side up facing the back of your quilt).  

First thing I do is print out the actual design from my software in scale (100% size)...so you will know exactly how big it will be within the hoop.  Be sure to print it with the hoop guidelines for help in lining up the design.  Then cut out the design - with the center and lines showing.

1.  Remove the release paper from the stabilizer (have the sticky side up facing you).

2.  Hoop the stabilizer only.  (The sticky stabilizer will grip the hoop holding it nice and tight.)

3.  If you have your hoop template, use it to mark the center and the center of each side of the hoop area on the stabilizer with an erasible marker.

4.  Remove the template from your hoop and place it on the quilt top in the position you want the design.  This can be tricky...you might want to use masking tape or something similar to hold it there temporarily until you can wiggle the quilt with the template into place in the hoop.

5.  Use the hoop guides on the template to place the quilt with the template attached over the hoop and into the correct position with the true centers lined up and the center of each side in place.

6.  Once in position, firmly press the quilt to the sticky back stabilizer as best you can.

7.  Mark the center of your design with an erasable marker through the template center hole. Remove the template.

8.  Use this center mark to place your design print-out on the quilt top within the hoop area.  Now you can see exactly where the stitching will occur and what areas are safe to baste or pin.

9.  If you have a hoop baste function, use that to baste around the interior of your hoop and hold the quilt to the stabilizer while you stitch the design. (I wouldn't recommend using the baste function that bastes just around your design.  I think there would still be a chance of the quilt shifting within the hoop.)

    If you don't have a basting function, you can carefully pin the quilt to the stabilizer in the corners.  Just be very careful not to stretch the stabilizer and/or move the quilt out of position within the hoop.  (Be careful pinning, because your machine will move around that hoop wider than the actual design...so if you are pinning, always keep an eye on it while the design is stitching so you don't bump into a pin and/or stitch over one...VERY BAD!!!  If you see it is heading for a pin, stop the machine and remove that one pin only.  For the next design, remember where not to pin!)

   I've done it both ways (my old machine did not have the hoop basting function, new one does - I still use both).

10.  CAREFULLY move the quilt with the hoop attached to your machine/embroidery module.

I should mention here...  BE VERY SURE THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE A CORNER OF YOUR QUILT (or any other sections) UNDER THE HOOP!!!  (I have made this mistake, and it is not a fun job to rescue the quilt!)

ALSO, before starting your stitch-out, be sure that the quilt is not dragging (putting any pressure) on the hoop and/or embroidery module.  I have set boxes and things around my machine to sort of "pool" the quilt up and around it so there was no drag or weight on the machine at all.  I also sometimes, if necessary, hold it up in front of me - between the machine and my body.

11.  After your stitch out is complete,  remove the hoop and quilt from the machine; remove the pins or basting stitches from the quilt and release the stabilizer from the hoop.  Then trim as much stabilizer as you can from the back of the quilt in and around the design.  (Be careful not to cut your quilt back!)  You also can use tweezers to pick out as much of the stabilizer as you can.  (The next step is to use water to remove the remaining stabilizer.  If you are going to wash in a washer, I wouldn't spend the time tweezing, but if I were going to spray and dab to remove it, I would try to get as much stabilizer removed as possible before using water.)

I find it best to wait until I have done all the designs and just wash the quilt to remove all the remaining stabilizer.  If you don't want to wash the quilt, you can spray the stabilizer on the back with lots of water and keep dabbing until you are satisfied that all the stabilizer has been removed.   Warning, this takes awhile!

I know this is time consuming and uses a lot of stabilizer, but I actually ruined one very expensive embroidery hoop - springing it by putting a quilt front, back and batting into a hoop.   I am sure there are some who might not agree with me, but to date this is my preferred method.  But, on the other-hand, if someone has found a better way, I am all eyes and ears!!!

 

 Winthrop, WA

 

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dladig replied on Sat, Feb 2 2013 7:34 AM

oh my!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to write all of that out. It makes perfect sense to me - I just hadn't thought it through.   Using the largest hoop - that is a LOT of stabilizer... I wonder if it would work to go to the hardware store and find some sort of clamp to put on all 4 corners. Then I could use baste the interior of the hoop. I have a 6 needle, so I think I could do that without interfering with the mechanics of the machine. I was really hoping to avoid using stabilizer at all.  I guess I need to come up with some little project to experiment with.   

Thanks again SO MUCH for your tips!  Deb

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Donna B replied on Sat, Feb 2 2013 12:03 PM

dladig:
Using the largest hoop - that is a LOT of stabilizer... I wonder if it would work to go to the hardware store and find some sort of clamp to put on all 4 corners.

I really debated saying "largest hoop", but you really want to be sure that you have plenty of room between the design and the hoop for pinning (if you don't have the machine baste function).  Plus, I have no idea what your largest hoop size is - or the size of the design you are trying to stitch in comparison.

 I used my 5x7 hoop on one quilt to do 4.5 inch feathered wreaths in each block...but I had to be very careful about the pins (this was on my Bernina 200E without the basting function).  You certainly can try a smaller hoop, but I definitely would do a test first, and even then be very careful about the pin placement.

I am not sure exactly how you are talking about using clamps.   Are you talking about clamping the quilt to the embroidery hoop?  There's not much edge on most hoops to clamp to, but...

If you come up with something that works without using stabilizer PLEASE friend me and let me know the specifics!!!

 Winthrop, WA

 

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Donna B replied on Sat, Feb 2 2013 12:15 PM

dladig:
I was really hoping to avoid using stabilizer at all.  

I understand completely!!!  The quilt itself is stable enough for the stitching, but I needed to "somehow" hold it securely in place with no shifting within the hoop during the stitching - without actually putting it in the hoop. 

Now, I am very cheap (frugal) with my stabilizer...and even stitch large scraps together to make a piece large enough for hooping.  If you don't mind the extra steps, I have made a sort of a "sticky-back hoop" within the hoop (cutting out the center so there is no stabilizer under the design area).  If your careful, you can re-use this "sticky-back hoop" several times before it looses its stickiness.  You pin into this "sticky-back hoop".  I hope you can understand what I am trying to describe here...lol!

 Winthrop, WA

 

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dladig replied on Sat, Feb 2 2013 11:22 PM

Thank you once again! I understand exactly what you are saying about cutting the hole out of the stabilizer and reusing it. I'll have to do some samples and see what happens! I'll let you know what I figure out... I have a couple of quilts to finish first, and some maternity clothes to make for my daughter-in-law, but I'll get to this - and when I do I'll let you know what I could and couldn't make work! You've saved me so much time I can afford to procrastinate a little longer! Thanks again! Debi

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dladig replied on Sat, Mar 2 2013 9:13 AM

OK ... I think I've got it...   I have a 6 needle machine, so maybe my setup is a little different, but...

I got 4 of those little locking  pliers from Lowes at $2 each.  I used those to clamp the quilt to the frame. I used a little piece of batting on each to protect the quilt and frame. It worked!!!   Have only done a trial - not the actual quilt itself, but I'm very optimistic!  Thanks again for your help! 

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Ramona replied on Sat, Mar 2 2013 9:33 AM

dladig,

Do you have a quilt hoop?  Don't try to use a regular hoop. With that much bulk it will break your hoop. They are expensive. They do make hoops that accommadate the backing, batting and top of quilt. I do not use any stabilizer because I use the hoop.  If you have the option you can turn off the color stops and that will keep it from making color changing stops. If you do use a stabilizer and not hoop the quilt  you may  have an option to do a "basting" stitch all the way around the design to keep the area from pulling.

 Don't cut your stabilizer from the roll if you can help it. Just put in what you need in the hoop and then lay the rest behind your machine. Might help save a little stabilizer.

Donna B gave you absolutely great advice. Redwork designs do work great and use the same thread in bobbin as in the top. Can't wait to see your finished quilt. Isn't it exciting what all can be done?

 

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