Stress-Free Machine Quilting with Embroidery Designs

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Stress-Free Machine Quilting with Embroidery Designs

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Sometimes the quilting step is the most perplexing and stressful. Your goal is for a stress-free process, but where to begin? Denise Abel, my guest on Sewing With Nancy, has a solution—use an embroidery machine and turn it into a quilting machine. Denise joins me for the second part of this series, Stress-Free Quilting with Machine Embroidery, which is this week’s online video feature. Watch the second part on Sewing With Nancy, online.

First Episode Highlights

During the first program of this series, Denise and I showcased piecing simple blocks using an embroidery machine. If you missed that episode, click here to watch! Programming the design into the embroidery machine yields precisely stitched blocks with unbelievable accuracy.

Highlights from the Second Episode

Determine the layout of the blocks. For the Simple Shadow blocks, there are a few design options.

Stress-Free Quilting with Machine Embroidery Nancy Zieman & Denise Abel

Stress-Free Quilting with Machine Embroidery Nancy Zieman & Denise Abel

Stress-Free Quilting with Machine Embroidery Nancy Zieman & Denise Abel

Stress-Free Hooping

Positioning the three layers of a quilting sandwich—backing, batting, and pieced top—evenly into a hoop might seem tricky at first glance! Not so, with these techniques.

First option: Spray baste the layers together

  • Tape backing to tabletop, wrong side up.
  • Lightly spray baste the backing fabric with KK2000.
  • Position batting.
  • Lightly spray baste the batting.
  • Position pieced top; right side up.
  • The quilt sandwich is ready to hoop.

Stress-Free Quilting with Machine Embroidery Nancy Zieman & Denise Abel

Second option: Fuse-tack the layers together.

  • Cut 1/2″ wide strips of Wonder-Under
  • Press 1/2″ wide strips of Wonder-Under to the wrong side of backing and quilt top.
  • Press 1/2″ squares in place, a fist width apart.
  • Remove paper backing.
  • Press layers together.
  • The quilt sandwich is ready to hoop.

Stress-Free Quilting with Machine Embroidery Nancy Zieman & Denise Abel

Choose a quilting embroidery design

There are 24 quilting designs available with the book purchase. The two designs that were used to quilt the layers of this lap quilt are featured below.

Stress-Free Quilting with Machine Embroidery Nancy Zieman & Denise Abel

Stress-Free Quilting with Machine Embroidery Nancy Zieman & Denise Abel There are other embroidery designs that are digitized for machine quilting. Look for designs that have compatible components such as a square, a 1/2-square triangle, or borders.

Attach embroidery hoop

  • Mark center of each block with a wash-away marking pen. This block has a seam at the center, which eliminates this step.
  • Add double-sided basting tape to the underneath side of the inner hoop. (Can you see the shadow of my hoop earring in this shot? The photo was hurriedly taken at the studio during a recording day!)

Stress-Free Quilting with Machine Embroidery Nancy Zieman & Denise Abel

  • Position hoop on fabric, aligning crossmarks of hoop with wash-away marks on fabric or crossmarks on template.

Stress-Free Quilting with Machine Embroidery Nancy Zieman & Denise Abel

  • Place outer hoop underneath the quilt sandwich; loosen the screw. Insert inner hoop into the fabric. Tighten screws.
  • Remove template if a template was used.

Stress-Free Quilting with Machine Embroidery Nancy Zieman & Denise Abel

Close-up of the quilting stitches

Denise used white thread to stitch the full embroidery design in the center of the pieced blocks and the design that fills a 1/2-square block in the corner of each white triangle.

stress free quilting with machine embroidery sewing with nancy zieman

Watch Stress Free Quilting with Machine Embroidery Part Two on Sewing With Nancy online.

To watch Sewing With Nancy on your iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone, download the app.

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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73 Comments

  • Lynn Gerling
    May 7, 2015

    I would love to win a copy of this book as I have been an avid follower of Nancy for years and years. I have never been dissappointed in any of her books, they are so full of information and the instructions are so easy to follow.

  • Mari
    May 7, 2015

    I have never been good at basting quilts so tried spray basting but didn’t like it. After watching the program where Nancy used the strips of Wonder-Under I tried that method and it has taken all the stress out of basting for me. I love it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this.

  • Mary B
    May 7, 2015

    I am always looking for any new ways to do my quilting at home. Something that is going to be used by youngsters or not all that “important”, I am trying to do at home due to the cost of having someone longarm the quilts. This looks like a viable option to consider. I do not use my embroidery function nearly as much as I should, this book would give me a nudge. Thanks for a great segment.

  • June Hobbs
    May 7, 2015

    I would love to win this, I always have problems with putting all three layers together, and having them stay until I can get them quilted. I am a follower of Nancy, have been for 20 years. I love her show, and her books.

  • Delia Vogel
    May 7, 2015

    I find the binding process the most stressful.

  • Robyn
    May 7, 2015

    Nancy….always a wealth of information!! It would be a real treat to have anything from you! Thanks for the opportunity!!

  • Rhonda Ekblad
    May 7, 2015

    I have used my embroidery feature more than I thought I would. I still have much to learn and would love to win a copy of Stress Free Quilting. Absolutely love the title. Less stress would be wonderful! Thanks for the wonderful information you provide for us. -Rhonda

  • Adrienne D
    May 7, 2015

    Looks like quality work! So pleased to learn the extra tips in embroidery quilting. I’m eager to do more of this type of quilting.

  • Diane
    May 7, 2015

    This would certainly be a way to get these tops quilted.
    I love to piece them, and just can’t find the time to quilt together. Over the years of watching your show I have learned so much. Thank you so much.

  • Jan H.
    May 7, 2015

    I currently have more than two dozen tops waiting to be quilted for my Quilts of Valor group here in Missouri and that along with the stress of not being able to spend all of my time in my sewing room, AKA “my happy place”, makes me wish for more hours in the day! I would sew much rather be sewing and quilting and embroidering than doing laundry, housework and cooking. Thank you , Nancy, for all you do!

  • Kathy
    May 7, 2015

    I just bought an embroidery unit for my sewing machine and am anxious to try quilting with it. I am new to quilting and have two quilt tops ready for that next step but have not yet worked up the nerve to take this next step. This looks exciting! kathleendotlutzatcomcastdotnet

  • Nancie Jones
    May 7, 2015

    I am wondering if I can do this on my Jef machine as it looks very easy but I would need the Jef embroidery patterns to do it Thanking you in anticipation Nancie

  • Nancy Thone
    May 7, 2015

    I have plenty of tops – quilting them together is my tough part. I find a glass of wine helps with the actual quilting. ….

  • Paula Bowlds
    May 7, 2015

    I to am a fairly new quilter and so far my quilting has only been straight lines. I love the idea of using my machine to impress my kids with quilting skills (they really don’t need to know that I had a little help)
    Thank You

  • Susan Slovinsky
    May 7, 2015

    For the most stressful part is picking the colors to use. Usually try to have my daughter help – she has a natural eye for combining colors in unexpected ways. Would love to win the book – thanks so much for the chance.

  • Cyndi
    May 7, 2015

    What a wonderful book and great instructions. Thank you for the give-away!!

  • S Croinex
    May 7, 2015

    My embroidery hoop is still in the box waiting for its owner to build up the courage to use it. This book just might be the incentive to get sewing/embroidering.

  • Martha F.
    May 7, 2015

    I too, would love to win a copy of Stress-Free Quilting with Machine Embroidery. I don’t have a block ready to try this method. I have a quilting memory card for my Pfaff 7570 that I have never used. I have embroidered on towels enough to suspect, depending on the thickness, that I might have to position my quilt block on top of the hoop using sticky back stabilizer. This I learned the hard way. My towel was so thick that the hoop came apart as I unscrewed the screw.
    Thanks for your 30+ years of sewing and quilting classes.
    They have been great!

  • Ilana
    May 7, 2015

    I definitely find the sandwiching and quilting phase to be very stressful.

  • Glenda Marsh
    May 7, 2015

    Trying to decide what design to use in the quilting ! Ugghhh

  • Pat
    May 7, 2015

    The whole idea of free motion quilting causes me extreme stress. The idea of having the quilting programed and ready to go sounds like heaven in comparison. Can’t wait to try this system.

  • Cynthia Willis
    May 7, 2015

    I have recently begun using my embroidery machine for quilting and learned so much from these two videos. In particular, I noticed the coffee cup turned on its side to place the small iron in to prevent it from scorching the table top or cabinet. I have one of these small irons and do not like the little stand to prop it in, great idea. Thanks for all your great videos.

  • Charlotte Silber
    May 7, 2015

    This embroidery program would be ideal to have. I used to do all my embroidery by hand, but now I horrible arthritis and cannot do it. This would be a great help in finishing my quilts.
    Thank you Nancy for all the great videos and products you have provided.

  • Candice
    May 7, 2015

    For me, the most stressful part of quilting is the decision to do a quilt! (then come all the other decisions – each stressful in their own ways.)

  • Marie F
    May 7, 2015

    Definitely the most stressful for me is basting well enough to not have puckers on the back – if I machine quilt. That’s why I use my trusty Grace frame and hand quilt most everything. Second most stressfull is committing to a quilting design.

    Thanks for all your information

  • Joanne
    May 7, 2015

    Love the tutorials!! Thank you for the step by step instuctions.

  • JR
    May 7, 2015

    Yes, the video encourages me to use my embroidery module more and the book would give more choices for design. Thank you Nancy for what you do for sewing in all facets. jh

  • Tami
    May 7, 2015

    I would love to win a copy of the book and build my confidence to try this method. Looks great!!

  • Sheila Williams
    May 7, 2015

    It seems the minute I think I need a tutorial to get me started Nancy comes up with just the right one. Thank you Nancy great job as always.

  • Jody Mason
    May 7, 2015

    Picking fabric and getting the colors right. I really want to learn to quilt but this very beginning step scares me.

  • diane hibble
    May 7, 2015

    For me the most stressful part of quilting is the bit when you turn the quilt over to find out if your quilting has gone ok on the underneath of the quilt. (or not, as is usual in my case !)

  • Diana G
    May 7, 2015

    I think the most stressful part of it all is really deciding what to do, then doing it ..Thanks for the chance to win !!!
    By the way ..Prayers for your health issues!!

  • Doris Van Peeren
    May 7, 2015

    Decided to use a built in stitch for “stitching in the stitch”. Forgot to use the “walking foot”. Needless to say my stitches are not all the same. I could certainly have used your book. Thank you for all the wonderful shows re sewing. Have learned so much.

  • Jackie Procter
    May 7, 2015

    Wow, love these tips! I find the most stressful part of quilting is matching all my pieces and seams so they are even.

  • Carrie Burzan
    May 7, 2015

    Hope you are on the mend soon!! Prayers are with you. My most stressful quilting is getting started – I get ideas and then I don’t follow through.

  • Dorothy Van Pelt
    May 7, 2015

    I have 10 quilt tops ready to be quilted and would love to finish them with my embroidery machine. Hope to win. I have watched and learned so much from you over the years. Prayers are with you. See you soon.

  • Kathy
    May 7, 2015

    I use a lot of machine embroidery quilt designs in quilting the baby quilts for charity. Some of the stressful moments that I have encountered would be when I’m on the the very last square the hoop pops or there’s a glitch in the stitching and the thread starts to birdnest. Fortunately, I have been able to pull out the bad stitches. Sometimes I have to start over at the beginning of the design and sometimes I am lucky enough to line up with the last good stitch of the design and resume stitching.

  • Lynne Crocker
    May 7, 2015

    Thank you so much for helping me get my courage up to try this method. I have tried and failed at free motion quilting but I’m going to give it another try with your guidance. I love the look and this will make me look like an “ole pro”.

  • Audre Gaer
    May 7, 2015

    The most stressful part of quilting is the actual quilting and managing the heavy fabric sandwich in the machine. I would love to win this book to learn how to use my embroidery machine as a quilting machine.

  • Lori Morton
    May 7, 2015

    The most stressful part for me, is feeling like I can do it…just learning…and practicing alot! lol I hwould looove to win this Book! thanks for the chance!

  • Lynn Sibley
    May 7, 2015

    Nancy I wish you well and you will soon be on the mend bless your heart you have given so much to us!! Ill keep you in my prayers until I know you are ok and healed..

    The hardest part of making a quilt is picking out the fabric, with all the beautiful fabric to choose from it can be very hard to make choices at least for me!! Hugs and Thank you so much for all the years you have given us I have learned so much from you 🙂
    Lynn

  • Ell
    May 7, 2015

    Getting the corners to match up is the most difficult.

  • Martha
    May 7, 2015

    I am a faithful watcher of your programs, and I’ve learned much from you. I have 1 quilt ready to be quilted and two other quilt tops ready for the sandwich. But I am stressed over which way to do the quilting.

  • Dawn
    May 7, 2015

    would love to have quilt emb designs to make easy quilting.
    you have such great new programs

  • Chris Ball
    May 7, 2015

    The most stressful part is starting!! I’m always so afraid of making a mistake!! I would love to try a stress-free method!!

  • Berenice
    May 7, 2015

    I have a quilt top and back custom made for a state officer for my daughters’ service organization, I finished the 63 embroidered squares, assembled the front & back, but cannot gather the courage to do the actual quilting. I want something beyond stitch in a ditch. This looks like this would be perfect, not to mention faster!

  • Sharon D
    May 7, 2015

    Matching seams and points are my most stressful areas of quilting. The idea of quilting in the hoop sounds great, and I would like to try it, but a 30 minute TV show isn’t enough time. The book would be more detail and illustrated.

  • Judy
    May 7, 2015

    I thought that Quilting with my embroidery machine would be very stressful. Wouldn’t want to mess up my quilt. But seeing how you align the blocks in the hoop using double-sided take makes it look easy. I’ll just have to try it. Prayers to you, Nancy, for a speedy recovery. Thank you for all of your inspiration.

  • Judy G
    May 8, 2015

    I find just making that first cut into the fabric is the most stressful to me. I worry that I have made the wrong pattern choice or the wrong color combination. Will the quilt turn out as I see it in my mind? Once I make that first cut, it all seems to flow smoothly from there.

  • Linda M Enslow
    May 8, 2015

    The most stressful to me is the first stitch when I manually quilt. I don’t have an embroidery machine yet but its on my list. This book would certainly be a great addition to my library.

  • Donna G.
    May 8, 2015

    Doing the actual quilting! I’m never sure what design to use, what thread color and how to begin. This book would definitely be a big help!

  • Linda
    May 8, 2015

    Stunning, definitely stress free, and fun! My grandmother (now deceased) who created beautiful hand quilting, would be amazed! Thank you for the wealth of information on this blog!

  • DeeDee Isaacs
    May 8, 2015

    Nancy and staff…. I loved the tip of using double sided tape on the hoop ! Always willing to learn a new way to quilt, this book sounds like a winner.
    DeeDee

  • Lucy
    May 8, 2015

    The most stressful part for me is trying to figure out what I will do to quilt the quilt. I too often revert to stitch in the ditch! I love the idea of embroidering the quilting!!

  • Janee
    May 8, 2015

    This is brilliant! Don’t like the idea of sending my quilt off for someone else to finish.

  • Peggy V
    May 8, 2015

    The most stressful part for me is lining up the design. Double tape is a great suggestion. Love all of your suggestions and I think the book would be very helpful!!!

  • Mary Jo Pigott Groom
    May 8, 2015

    This looks awesome! The quilt designs are beautiful. I would love to get this book. Thank you. Keeping you in my prayers.

  • Nancy Hansen
    May 8, 2015

    I have done some quilting with my embroidery machine, using the designs that came along with my Baby Lock Elissimo. It definitely lowers my anxiety level, as I never feel that my hands are steady enough to do high quality free motion quilting.

  • Vicki B.
    May 9, 2015

    Making the quilt sandwich and getting the pieced top, batting and backing fabric nice and smooth are the hardest part for me.

  • Dot S.
    May 9, 2015

    Machine embroidery/quilting is the way to go. Thank you for all of your fabulous hints to make it easier. Looking forward to your speedy recovery.

  • Sally Groff
    May 9, 2015

    The most stressful part of quilting for me is to get the sandwich all nice and flat with no wrinkles.

  • Alice Cornelson
    May 10, 2015

    Putting the sandwich together and then pinning the sandwich together to keep everything smooth is my most stressful part. Then my next issue would be working with a hoop to hand sew quilt . I like the easy machine quilting from your show and can’t wait to try embroidery quilting. God bless you, Nancy. You are a courageous woman.

  • Marty
    May 10, 2015

    I’m stressing about purchasing my first ‘new’ embroidery machine! I have an old embroidery-disc machine with simple straight-line embroidery and went to an embroidery-machine store but felt so overwhelmed after three different machine demos that I just couldn’t decide.

    • Cynthia
      May 10, 2015

      My suggestion would be to go online to the different manufacturers or even some YouTube videos from different companies. I felt the same way until I started doing a little research and found some excellent videos from different manufacturers. Also, if you belong to a sewing or quilting guild, talk to several members and find out what they like and/or dislike about their machines. Take your time, it is a big investment and you want to be happy.

  • Becky
    May 10, 2015

    The most stressful part of machine quilting for me is deciding what to quilt and then keeping that design consistent along with keeping the stitch length consistent. Thank you for the chance to win.

  • Erin M
    May 11, 2015

    I have done some machine embroidery quilting, but I am still most stressed about the possibility of breaking the hoop with the thick quilt sandwich. I am wondering if different quilt hoops have more space between the inner and outer hoops. My embroidery machine also offers a quilting hoop with only magnetics along the edges, so that you don’t have to use an inner hoop. I am seriously thinking of purchasing the magnetic hoop to eliminate my stress of breaking hoops. Thank you, Nancy, for your tremendous creative ideas and personal perseverance to your health challenges throughout your life.

  • Carol
    May 13, 2015

    The most stressful part for me is moving the quilt so stitches are the same size and lines are smooth. Everyone says it just takes lots of practice so I’ll keep working at it in spite of the stress.

  • Anne Schafroth
    May 13, 2015

    Once the top is complete, then comes the stress……basting, picking a quilting design, and applying it to my quilt – all of these are quite challenging for me.

  • Carol
    May 13, 2015

    My biggest stress when machine quilting is keeping the stitches even and making smooth lines and curves.

  • Tonya Toole
    May 15, 2015

    I am just starting out and learning how to quilt I would love to be Stress-Free in learning to use my Ellisimo for quilting it has been a dream of mine. I just purchased her in November and love everything Nancy teaches and all the new designs and tool’s to make it so simple and enjoyable to sew and embroidery.

  • Karen Heck
    May 21, 2015

    I find selecting material that I think goes well with the quilt pattern most daunting.

  • Kathy
    July 14, 2015

    Do you do anything special with the embroidery machine knots when you are quilting with the embroidery machine?
    Do you try to hide the knots on the back of the quilt or just leave them showing?
    I this covered in the book.
    Loved the video.
    Thanks,
    Kathy

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