I reccently uploaded a video on creating quilt outlines from lettering in the Bernina Designer Plus software. I’ve embedded it at the end of this post, but it occurred to me that it might be helpful to post about the process of quilting in the hoop.


It is much easier to quilt each block of your quilt before you join it together. Quilting a large completed quilt in the
hoop, even with the longer arm machines can lead to all sorts of problems. The weight and bulk of the quilt could
easily impede the movement of the embroidery arm. Keeping the parts of the quilt, not being embroidered, clear of the embroidery area would be very difficult. In short, I would not recommend attempting large quilts in the hoop. Having said this, smaller quilted projects, such as table runners, small throws and individual blocks are easily machine quilted in the hoop. I will post next week on how to join your blocks after quilting.

The thickness of your wadding will determine how you hoop. It is possible to hoop your quilt “sandwich” if you are using pellon or a simmilar thin wadding. The wadding itself assists in stabilising, but depending on your design you may need to add additional stabiliser. I have used a sheet of tearaway slid under the hoop, but if
your quilting is intricate and you don’t want to pick out lots of tearaway you could baste a water soluble on top.The heavier weight solvy should be fine.

If your wadding is too thick to hoop, you will need to hoop an adhesive stabiliser of your choice ( there are watersoluble versions available)  and lay your quilt sandwhich on to this. I recommend doing a basting stitch to hold the layers together. Use a fine needle, so that you are not left with needle marks when you remove the basting. No additional stabiliser should be necessary.

ALWAYS TEST FIRST, which brings me to the next point.


Most embroidery machines automatically drop the upper tension down to about 2 for
embroidery. This ensures that the bobbin thread does not pull up to the top. However this results in the top thread being pulled to the back.I did a sample with the default embroidery tension using green thread on the top and red thread in the bobbin to illustrate.

The top looks fine, but…..

on the back a good deal of the top green thread is showing and little of the red bobbin thread.

The top tension is normally somewhere between 3 and 5 when not using the embroidery
Check what your machine defaults to when not embroidering. Hoop up for a test sew using
the same weight thread, fabric, wadding and stabiliser that you will be using in your
project. Increase your top tension to the default for normal sewing. Sew part of the design
and check the back.

By fine tuning the tension you will end up with a balanced stitch.

Fine tune if necessary and continue the design. When you are happy
with the result you are ready to commit to your project.

Balanced tension.


Here is the video on how to digitize these designs.