QUILTING IN THE HOOP
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.
GETTING YOUR QUILT 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.
Water soluble stabilizers, just as the name suggests, dissolve in water leaving no trace of stabilizer behind.
Some of the ways water soluble stabilizer is used by machine embroiderers are:-
For sheer and lightweight fabrics where other stabilizers would show through.
For projects where the back may be seen eg. table napkins.
Where the drape of the fabric is to be maintained.
On top of fabrics that have a pile, such as velvet, polar fleece or toweling, to hold the pile down and under the embroidery.
As a base for free standing lace.
Mixed with water to form a stiffner for lace bowls and ornaments.
Solvy is a thin clear film. It is the traditional choice for use as a topper on pile fabrics. Originally it was only available in a light weight, which is what you would use for a topper, but now it is also available in a medium and heavy weight. They are defined by the number of grams per square meter. lightweight 25gsm, medium 35gsm and heavyweight 45gsm. The Sulky brand markets its Solvy under different names. Solvy, Super Solvy and Ultra Solvy.
The heavier weight versions are stiffer and less prone to curling up making them easier to handle. They are also significantly stronger.
Free standing lace is a densly stitched product and requires a stabilizer that won’t tear under the pressure of lots of needle penetrations. Water soluble vilene is one such product, but compared to Solvy is quite expensive. With some lace designs it is possible to get a good result with a double layer of the heavyweight Solvy. As always, do a test before committing to your final project. The more densely stitched laces will need to be stitched on water soluble vilene, and in some cases on two layers.
Keep your scraps. I often join larger scraps together by dampening the edges and overlapping them slightly. Leave the welded sheet on a flat suface to dry before using. The smaller scraps can be mixed with water and used as a stiffener.
There are so many stabilizers for machine embroidery available these days, it can be confusing as to which one to use and some of the stabilizers can be expensive. I have a trick I use to save on the amount of specialty stabilizers I use. This works particularly well for those designs that are small and waste a lot of stabilizer.
If I am going to use a sticky back stabilizer, instead of hooping this stabilizer, I hoop up common old tearaway which is quite cheap. I then use the basting stitch function on my machine to mark out where the design will stitch. If you don’t have a basting function on your machine, you can lay a template of the design on the tearaway and mark around it. I then cut out the tearaway a little larger than the marked area. The piece you cut out can then be used as a pattern to cut out a piece of sticky stabilizer a little larger again. Peel the backing from the sticky back stabilizer exposing the sticky surface and place it on a flat suface sticky side up. Lower your hoop on to it effectively patching the hole you cut away. Finger press around the edges to ensure the stabilizers are stuck together firmly. You can now stick you fabric in place and do your embroidery.
Other types of specialty embroideriy stabilizers can be treated in a similar fashion, however a slightly different process is required. Your machine basting stitch is usually very close to the edges of the embroidery and not suitable for this method. If you have digitizing software, you can digitize your own basting stitch about 1cm (1/2″) outside your design. If you don’t have software your machine may allow you to create a square/rectangle in running stitch. Hoop your tearaway and lay apiece of your specialty stabilizer on top. Stitch your created basting stitch or sqare and then remove the hoop. Cut away the tearaway only from under the specialty stabiliser and continue the embroidery as usual.
You can save money when buying your stabilizers by shopping around. Keep stock of those you use regularly and stock up when they are on special. It is not neccessary to stick to a particular brand. Many of the same stabilizers are marketed under several different brands. You can compare prices on a large range of stabilizers at Amazon. Click on the link below to go there.