Quilting, using my embroidery machine rather than my longarm, required a bit of research. I also have never free motion quilted on my sewing machine. I chose a longarm to quilt, so this is where my skills and knowledge are for quilting. On the longarm, I always pull my bobbin thread to the top then use 2 micro stitches to secure. This prevents knots on the back of the quilt. Tension on the longarm, intended for quilting, requires the top and bottom balanced so the threads end up in the batting of the finished quilt. Embroidery tension typically is set such that the top thread is pulled to the bottom of a project preventing show through of bobbin thread on the finished front pieces. So what do I do when quilting using embroidery on my embroidery machine?
The main resource I use for machine appliqué’ is Sarah Vedeler’s designs. It is not surprising she also has all the tips for everything from cutting appliqué, machine embroidering, to embroidered quilting around appliqué. A resource I have used for sometime now is Sarah Vedeler’s A-Z Machine Embroidery and Quilting tips. When embroidery quilting, three important steps are necessary to keep the back looking nice too.
The first is getting the tension balanced so the threads meet in the middle and are buried in the batting. Sarah provides, in her Design Packets with quilting, a sample tension design. Using the tension design, you can increase/decrease upper and/or lower tension to achieve the balance so the threads are buried in the batting when embroidery quilting.
The second is pulling the bobbin thread to the top so that it is not knotted on the back. To do this, simply manually turn the handwheel while holding the upper thread taught. This will bring the bobbin thread to the top. Next you can start your stitching. For my machine, I usually let it stitch about 10 stitches, stop, trim the threads tails and then press start again.
The third tip is to turn off jump trimming. Since quilting is only one thread color, I don’t worry about turning off color change trims. There are, however, ‘jump’ stitches, especially when quilting around applique’. I find leaving the jump trim off, prevents a couple of issues. One is preventing the need to rethread the needle and/or bobbin. If I don’t need to rethread, I will not need to pull up bobbin thread and micro stitch.
Currently I am working on my Sarah Vedeler ‘Simply Dreaming’ quilt. I just finished Month 10’s quilting on the month 07 appliqué blocks.