I have been spending some time with my machine trying to come up with sets of stitches for planned projects. So today I was actually surprised at how interesting my results were when I used different thread weights and made multiple passes of different stitches. In the picture below I used Wonderfil’s wool/acrylic blend thread and mostly the default settings. It is a 12 wt thread and requires using a large eyed needle and slowing way down. Here I was using a Superior 90/14 topstitch needle, default settings, and sewed slowly. I was really happy with the results. These could look great in the right places, such as a crazy quilt, or a piece of a block or on a shirt.
These are multiple passes of different decorative stitches on my Bernina 880 plus. The one on the bottom is my favorite where I stitched one pass of stitch number 372 and then reversed it and stitched a partial second pass carefully matching the starting point. SO if your machine doesn’t have really wide decorative stitches, or even if it does, you can try multiple passes worked together and come out with some rather fantastic looks.
This sample shows the really wide stitches that engage the multi-directional function on my machine. It is amazing how it stitches. I found I only have to make sure the fabric runs through the stitching parallel to the foot at all times. It’s kind of like a wild dance with your machine. If you have this function on your machine, I encourage you to give it a try just for the sheer fun of it.
Super wide stitches=wild ride while stitching…just keep it straight and let the machine foot dance.
Here are a few more stitches of the many many on the machine. I do have a couple of projects I will be using some of these stitches, but it is nice to have these reference sheets. I won’t stitch them all…there are just too many, but I am selecting the ones I wanted to see stitched out.
This is not a real clear pic, but the stitches are really fun. Stitched with 40 weight polyester thread.
Sew I am looking forward to the projects I am planning to use some of these decorative stitches on.
Sew happy everyone! Have fun in your studio and give the decorative stitches a whirl.
Me at a Q20 at the Road to California in January 2020. I did buy the rings and love them, by the way.
Hi everyone. I became aware recently that there are quite a few quilters who use my chart I made years ago for my Bernina Q20 sitdown longarm (I have had mine now for over six years). His name is Fritz, by the way. We have a lovely time quilting and other free motion stitching together on a regular basis. So I have double checked the information I have on this chart and added a few notes at the end. I strongly suggest if you want to use this that you be sure to make adjustments for your own machine. There are factors that can make things different from machine to machine…weather, minor factory setting differences, what table you use, and on and on. But I think these settings are a pretty good place to start for you if you are a new owner of one of these fabulous machines. It would be the same for a Q16 too, by the way. Sew here it is. Download it if you wish and provide comments for improvement here on the blog. Share as you wish.
By the way, currently I am working on a new wool applique project that makes a nice pillow top for about a 20 x 20 decorator pillow. I am videoing this and will have a pattern too with both printed patterns and svg files for the appliques those of you who have digital cutters.
After that, however, I am planning on some videoing for working at the Q20…ruler work, free motion, and setting up and maintaining your Q20 or Q16. Like I said, I have had mine for over six years and I love how it sews. It almost seems better now than when I first got it, but I am thinking I am probably better at using it now than when I first got it. LOL
Sew happy everyone! Have fun in your studio and try out a little free motion stitching or quilting this weekend.
I used to think that cutters beyond scissors or rotary cutters were not a necessity in my studio. Indeed, I was a little snobbish about it. LOL But now I would really not like to do without them. I have both a die cutter and a digital cutter and use them both.
Some years ago I bought the Accuquilt Go! cutter and have slowly added the admittedly expensive dies to my collection over the years. Quilt shows often have particularly good sales for these dies. The most important use I make of them is to cut borders, blocks, and bindings. I can cut out a fast simple cuddle quilt in a matter of minutes, truly, and they are accurate and easy. It enables me to make a wonderful quilt in a couple of days, complete with quilting and binding. It helps me use up some of the fabrics I have laying around, thereby freeing up space in my stash. I also have a collection of fun shapes..circles, leaves, animals, flowers, and so on…that I have used a lot, particularly when I was putting together kits for teaching and needed a lot of them, and they make a nice addition to some of those fast cuddle quilts. You can cut layers of fabric at once in the Go! cutter and it is an excellent tool for quilters of all stripes. I wouldn’t like to do without it.
I got a Brother Scan and Cut 125e in March for my birthday and now I wonder how I ever did without it, especially for the kind of applique quilting I often do. The primary advantage of a digital cutter for me, of course, is that I can design my own shapes, or use published patterns, and don’t have to depend on the die shapes that are available or cut intricate shapes out by scissors. You can only cut one layer at a time, but it will cut paper, fabric of a wide variety, cork, vinyl, plastic, and so on. You do need several kinds of mats and blades for cutting all those things, and I did find it a little hard to figure out at first, but it is so easy to use now that I have. I have made several greeting cards for friend and family with it too. I suspect other brands work as well, and my library has Silhouette cutters available for public use, which I have used. So you might check at your local libraries.
I have found that the Scan and Cut will cut fabrics with precision in very detailed shapes that are hard to accomplish with scissors. This is especially good as my aging hands with developing arthritis find such intricate cutting to be harder to do otherwise. In fact even if you don’t find scissors cutting difficult, the cutter is still a fast and accurate way to cut your appliques. I keep coming up with other ideas for its use.
So recently, over YouTube I learned how to make a stencil with the Scan and Cut and I plan on making some for marking refined and delicate quilting patterns on quilts. I have not yet tried it, but that opens a world of possibilities for future quilting. I have gotten pretty good in free motion stitching with my Bernina Q20 sitdown longarm without marks, but sometimes it is important to have the quilt marked for stitching with attention to detail or when you need symmetry. It will cut stencil plastic easily, but I am thinking of trying a doubled layer of freezer paper for single or limited use designs and it could be ironed in place for Pounce chalk marking. If I create quilting designs that I think will be useful on multiple quilts, I will cut it from the stencil plastic.
As those of you who follow my work know, I use stitched, raw-edge applique quite a lot. In the past, I printed out the applique shapes onto printer paper in reverse, and traced the shapes onto the fusible web and cut it out with scissors. Now, I send the shape to the Scan and Cut, iron the fusible web onto the fabric wrong side, and send it through the cutter. I get it done in a third of the time or less and with greater accuracy.
But what if you wanted to do stitched turned edge appliques? For that, I turn to the expertise of Kathy McNeil where she demonstrates the method, but I add in the cutter to help out. She uses a very light weight fusible interfacing precut by hand in the shape of her applique and irons it to the wrong side of her fabric, then cuts around it a little less than a quarter of an inch from the edge of the shape. Then she prepares the applique using glue and appliquick sticks available in her web store. Here’s a video of that process. She sews her appliques on by hand. I would use the machine of course.
So if I start with the applique shape I have drawn or downloaded on my computer, and instead of printing it onto paper and tracing it to the interfacing, I can wirelessly send it to the Scan and Cut from my computer. The shape needs to be reversed for ironing onto the back. You can do that at the cutter if you want to before cutting. Then cut the interfacing pieces and iron them to the applique fabric and continue as she shows with the sticks and the glue. So if you have a bunch of these appliques, you can cut as many as will fit onto a 15″ x 15″ piece of interfacing (the size of the cutting mat) at one time. It’s quite easy to take the shapes and move them around once they are digitally in your Scan and Cut. NOTE: You need to use the low tack mat for the really light weight interfacing by itself.
Sew I have found that having both cutters in my studio is a really nice addition to the tools available for me and they each have their own use and don’t cancel each other’s usefulness out. They are separate tools with their own uses.
Hi everybody! I think we all need a diversion and some quilting to help deal with the roiling of events in the news lately. As for me, I have been starting two new projects after my last one that was going to be entirely on painting quilts took a nose dive. By the way, if you want to know about painting quilted fabrics stay tuned. I will still present these techniques scattered throughout my other projects as needed, but not a whole video series for those techniques after all. Mostly I have to work on camera placement and filming techniques for painting quilted fabrics. The problem was entirely related to painting while filming.
Sew what are these new projects? Well, one of them, and the next video project, is a second dive into wool applique by machine in which I will be making a pretty scene with a Kingfisher bird on black wool that will be sized for use as a decorative pillow top. I am nearly finished making the pattern and I will be using my Scan and Cut digital cutter to cut the pieces. The downloadable pattern will be available on my shop for a small amount and will include both a pdf file for those who do not have a digital cutter and the svg files divided by color for those who do. I will be providing videos showing how I do them for this project, including the use of my new Scan and Cut.
The second project is a new “show quilt”! Sew there will be a video exhibiting only some of the making of this quilt and there will be no pattern. I am making my fourth deep space quilt and as soon as my fabric arrives this week I’m ready to start construction. I will be using Deep Space II #98 Peppered Cotton designed by Pepper Cory to build the scene, inspired by NASA photos of M51 Galaxy (there are many), which is a spiral galaxy that has a second spiral galaxy farther away and kind of behind it on the edge, making it look like a small spiral is attached to the larger M51’s tail. Unlike most of the other peppered cottons, this one is not a shot cotton but is yarn dyed intensely black. It makes me happy that the name of the fabric is “Deep Space II”. Thank you Pepper for bringing it to my attention. I love making deep space quilts. They are a whole cloth quilt, built entirely with free motion stitching and almost no marking. It includes a little paint, a large Angelina Fibers applique, and covered with black veiling, then quilted together in ways that make sense, and adding some free motion embroidery to represent the space dust. After that, I add a lot of hot fix crystals, kind of using the NASA photo as a guide for placement to represent stars. Some of the larger stars or star clusters are sometimes backed with an embroidered representation of the light that shoots out around it from the lens flair often in a cross shape that is highlighted on the NASA photos. This adds to the interest and beauty of the quilt in my humble opinion.
Practicing for making a deep space quilt.
I like having two very different style projects going at once because it allows me to move from one to the other when I need a break from some aspect of a project.
Sew this past week I spent a fair amount of time thinking about and updating my Quilt Project Plans spreadsheet for the remainder of this year and into next year. It is way more than I can possibly do in that space of time perhaps, but it is wonderful to look forward to the near future projects and be able to pick from some of those I have already thought through a lot. I also keep a handwritten notebook where I describe most of the projects more fully and sometimes keep outlines and notes to help me make them. I have been doing this for many years. Way back to when I only did clothing designs and sewing. It’s sometimes fun to take one of the old notebooks and look through them to see just what I actually made of the many plans that have floated by. I sometimes pull a long-forgotten project out and make it.
Here are some pages from my Pendragon quilt project that I did complete and that was shown in several prestigious quilt shows, including Houston. The sample shown here is a test for the upper left corner of the border.
Sew happy everyone! And remember, sometimes you need to abandon a project and not feel like it is a fail. Doing so can often open up an explosion of new ideas when you realize you no longer have to struggle to complete something that just isn’t working, and sometimes persistence through the challenges helps you to finish works and you come out with a real winner. Give yourself permission to take the path that works best and be sure to have fun in your studios!