Many of you may think I’ve vanished since I haven’t updated my blog since April. Shame on me for not staying in touch but I haven’t been lying on a beach (although that’s a lovely thought!). I’ve been busy stealthily working on a new technique. Stipple! Quilting designs are not new as we’ve been stitching stipple designs with our embroidery machine for a few years. But the Stipple! technique is revolutionary. It combines a few cumbersome tasks into one, easy and powerful embroidery design.
How did it start? Like most things, it was an evolution not a revolution. I’ve always loved quilting but my passion is machine embroidery. It’s been my personal mission to combine these two loves into machine embroidered quilts and I’ve been doing it for over 10 years. The first issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery featured a quilt on the cover and my first book was Contemporary Machine-Embroidered Quilts (Krause Publications, Iola, WI 2004).
Traditionally, I embroidered on the quilt top only since I didn’t want the bobbin stitches visible on the back of the quilt. Of course, then the challenge was how to quilt the embroidered quilt. Usually, I applied free-motion quilting stitches to the areas of the quilt that didn’t have embroidery. This resulted in the embroidered areas to ‘puff out’. The only way to avoid this was to free-motion quilt over the embroidery. I didn’t like this either as the stitches would often interfere or detract with the gorgeous embroidery. I’ve been frustrated with the results for years.
That wasn’t all that frustrated me. Cutting tiny pieces, matching points; ¼” seam allowances; short, repetitive stitches that some people actually count (while wear white gloves) and quilting a bulky quilt on a home machine have been tasks that I haven’t exactly cherished.
It was this frustration that created Stipple! Stipple! combines bold, raw edge applique with stipple stitches applied directly to the quilt sandwich, not just the top. Trimming of the applique is done AFTER the quilt sandwich is removed from the hoop. So the tedious motion of taking the hoop off the machine/trimming the applique/finishing the design is non-existent. When you pull the block out of the hoop, you trim the applique and the block is finished – appliquéd, embellished and quilted!
I’m having a ball creating quilts again! Finally, a technique that gives the look I want – bold, colorful and full of texture. And because it’s a digital file, it’s perfect. Every block is the same. I just have to start with fabric that is larger than hoop and let the machine do the rest.