Category Archives: Longarm

Sarah Vedeler’s A-Z Machine Embroidery and Quilting

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.

Simply Dreaming outer borders

My outer borders for “Simply Dreaming” are prepped and ready to begin the emboridered quilting.

Part One: basting backing and batting I decided to baste my batting and backing on my longarm. This allowed me to keep the surface even more easily than placing on the floor. Using my channel locks, I quilted the zones using an eight by eight grid.

Part Two: adding quilt top to sandwich After completing part one above, I laid out the back on a large table top surface. Once smooth I laid out the outisde borders to begin squaring. The first thing I did, before squaring and pin basting, was to lay the quilt center and connective border on top. It was satiisfying to see roughly how the whole quilt will look.

Part 3: Squaring and pin basting Having basted my batting and backing, I found I gave myself a bit of an advantage for squaring because I had multiple guidelines for aligning my quilt top. I chuckled when Sarah referred to it as a ‘porcupine’. The pin basting wasn’t bad, however, once it was time fo ‘stitch in the ditch’ to secure, I quickly felt the ‘pocupine quills’ OMG”!!

Part 4: Out comes the center Once the outside borders were throroughly pinned, and measured, it was time to cut out the center of the sandwich. Then finally it was time to stitch in the ditch. Round 1, around the outside. Round 2, around the inner edge. Round 3, the seam between the edge of the cream and green.

Part 5: Clean up before beginning embroidered quilting Once I finished the stitching in the ditch, I needed to remove all my basting stitches from part 1. By the time I was done, the pile of thread looked like a bird’s nest! Next, I used a lint brush to clean up both sides of the outer border. Here it is cleaned up and ready to begin the embroidered quilting.

Piecing with my Featherweight

Month 5 of our Digitizing Master Class was all about color. I am not a big ’stash’ collector, so my scraps are prepared for specific projects. A lover of batiks, I had slowly been collecting batik scraps that I cut into 2.5″ squares, saving them in small snap containers. After I finished my Month 05 lessons, I had about a week’s worth of time before the next class. Inspired by our color lessons, I decided it was time to make my batik quilt.

This was also a great project for using my vintage Featherweight. To make quick work of piecing, I used quilter’s 2.5” fusible grid interfacing. I created 20 blocks in total with about 7 different combinations. Each of the large blocks contain 7 x 7 blocks of the 2.5” squares for a total of 980 squares.

For my sashing and first border, I chose a golden yellow batik because it feels like being surrounded by sunshine. To join the blocks in each row I cut 15 14.5” x 1.5” sashing strips. To join each of the rows, the top border strip, and the bottom border strip, I prepared 6 59” x 1.5” pieces. For the right and left side borders, I prepared 2 pieces 76” x 1.5” long.

Next I added the outer border strip. I chose to use ‘teal’ because I love water and it grounds me. I prepared 2 side borders, 76” x 6.5”, and 2 top/bottom borders each 88.5” x 6.5”.

After the top was pieced, I mounted it onto my longarm for quilting. I chose a teal and purple batik for the backing and a purple ombre batik for the binding. I chose purple because it feels like passion. For the quilting I chose a butterfly swirl panto motif designed by Anne Bright.

Here is my finished quilt!

Busy week filled with lots of projects!

This week was a very productive week! There was a ton of learning, quilt piecing, quilting on the longarm, embroidering, and even a new paint job on the house.

I finished up month 4 of my digitizing master class. Our project required using our Corel Design skills, Hatch embroidery digitizing skills, to creation of our cut files and embroidery design files. We then stitched out what we created. This month we are learning all about color.

My sweetie has been busy piecing his own quilts. When he finishes his quilt tops, he passes them on to me for the longarm. This week I quilted another ’fish’ themed quilt, a ”Christmas Doxie, and also a ’Touchdown Football’ quilt. (I will post pictures later today)

I was able to longarm my ”Little Red Wagon” quilt and finish up with binding. This was also a learning opportunity. For the first time ever, my machine threw the thread off the upper tension spring (of course when I wasn’t here watching) When I discovered it happened, it had completed two rows and sewn a pleat in the back. Yes, I really did pick out all the stitching. Since there was essentially no top tension, the bobbin thread was just laying on the back. This made for quick picking. Fortunately, I was able to place my zones again and am quite happy with the result. Thank goodness it was on my own quilt, I would have been panicked if it was someone else’s project.

My other project is my “Simply Dreaming Quilt” designed by Sarah Vedeler. I started this quilt right after my Mom passed away last year. I was able to work on Month 07, one of the outer borders. It was the perfect month because it is filled with lots of beautiful flowers. Mom and I used to spend a day in May visiting our favorite nursery together. With the one year anniversary of Mom’s passing, along with Mother’s Day, these beautiful bouquets remind me of our time together.

We also had our house painted this week – by a company and not us! This was a definite first – paying someone to paint our house. The last time we rented scaffolding, replaced siding, added cedar shingles, and painted. The crew that did the house pressure washed one day and spent two really long days painting. Love our new colors – navy, cream, and light gray!

Sewing studio – piecing and quilting

We managed to finish selling all of our vintage machines and cabinets we have been restoring. Now that we are down to one machine at a time, I have been able to return to my sewing studio! Yesterday I pulled out my longarm, gave it a good cleaning and oiling, and updated my software. I then loaded a quilt sandwich to test stitching. While the sandwich quilted, I also began piecing one of my Red Wagon Quilts. This was the scene in my studio yesterday!

Simply Dreaming…month 5 quilting in the hoop…

To make my ‘quilt sandwich’ for this quilt, I used my longarm to assist. I mounted my backing, then added my batting. I basted along the top, bottom, both sides, and horizontally about every 10 inches. This insured I was able to keep it all aligned and smooth.

Next I placed my well pressed quilt top on the frame and pinned it really well to the basted backing and batting. Next I removed it from the longarm, and smoothed out further on my large cutting table.

The next step was stitching in the ditch following the ‘basting map’ provided with the pattern. While the pattern refers to it as ‘basting’, I is not meant to be temporary and removed later. Once I completed the stitching in the ditch, I flipped my quilt with the backside up, removing the basting threads stitched on the longarm. My quilt was then ready for quilting in the hoop.

Next I did a tension test on my Luminaire XP1, using a sandwich with the same front, backing, and batting used for the quilt.

First up, quilting the twenty month 3 blocks in the hoop. I used my 9.5” by 9.5” for the first block. For the second and third, I used my monster magnetic hoop. The fourth block, I used my 10.5” x 10. 5”. I decided the 10.5” was the best hoop for this job. My 9.5” hoop has a screw type lever for opening and closing the hoop. This was not efficient because it must be unscrewed and then screwed down every time. My magnetic hoop was okay but was not holding the quilt as tightly as I wanted. The 10.5” has a ‘lever style’ fastener. This allows me to unscrew only once for the amount needed to hoop the quilt. then the lever that closes the hoop with a single push. Below is the results for month 3’s quilting.

Christmas quilt, practicing borders and corners….

This is another Christmas quilt that I completed on my Qnique Longarm. This particular fabric was a mix and natch series. The border strips were a repetitive fabric of strips. The cardinals that are around the top of the quilt were the wider strips. The 3″ alternating strips I will be using to bind this quilt.

This was an opportunity to do an all over panto within the center of the quilt. For the borders, I used the ‘borders and corners’ feature to quilt a coordinating design around the outside borders.