Special Effects for Quilts
Quilt designer Pat Nelson shows how to jazz up quilts with fringe and couching techniques.
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Cable (figure D) and Mossing Stitch Sampler
Materials and Tools:
8" square of muslin, interfaced with an iron-on interfacing.
5" spring hoop
embroidery needle 75/11
large-eye, sharp hand sewing needle
thread - 40 wt. rayon or poly thread in red or a variegated; # 8 pearl cotton in blue
extra bobbin case and a screw driver to fit the larger screw on it
extra empty bobbin
sewing machine feet: darning and zigzag
1. Fill bobbin with pearl cotton (figure F) and insert into spare bobbin case. Paint the latch with a spot of fingernail polish to identify it.
2. Loosen the tension (figure G) so the thread flows smoothly/easily through the tension mechanism. Turn the larger screw to the right to tighten the tension and to the left to loosen the tension. Think of the screw head as the face of a clock and turn it in five minute increments.
3. Insert the embroidery needle and thread the machine with the decorative thread.
4. Attach the zigzag foot, select the straight stitch and set the stitch length to 4.
5. Place the fabric under the foot, interfaced side up.
6. Bring the bobbin thread to the surface (figure H) and begin to stitch a four-inch row. Take it off the machine leaving three-inch tails. Check the stitching to see if tension is correct. The pearl cotton should lay flat against the fabric with no lumps or thread loops. Adjust the bobbin tension if necessary. Sometimes tightening the top tension will help. Repeat stitching rows until tension is correct.
7. Next, stitch another row with the zigzag stitch set at 5 wide and 4 long. Correct tension as necessary.
8. Now select a simple decorative stitch and open it up with increased stitch length and width and stitch out a row. The feather stitch is a good one to try at first.
9. Note tension and stitch settings as you sew.
10. To free-motion stitch, set the machine to straight stitch with 0 stitch length, attach the darning foot and drop the feed dogs. Hoop the fabric, wrong side facing up, and stitch in meandering lines (figure J), write your name and draw circles to practice. Don’t forget to bring up the bobbin thread before beginning!
Securing Stitches (figure M)
1. Use the large eye needle to bring the threads to the reverse side of the fabric and tie them off.
Alex Anderson solves the riddle of how much backing fabric to buy.