Quilting With My Embroidery Machine

I’m quilting Rainbow Insomnia right now and I wanted to add some fancier stitches in the corners and the triangles surrounding the center star. So last night I thought, “Well it’s now or never.”, made a quilt sandwich and sat down and started playing.

Quilting in the hoop is a bit different. You don’t actually hoop your quilt sandwich – it sits on top of the hoop and is held in place by clips. I only had 4 clips that were big enough (will get some more medium size binding clips today) but it worked just fine.

Here are the designs stitched out for the first time:

(I got my designs from Embroidery Library for $1 each.) You can see the top design I drew some centering lines and such and for the bottom one I just moved the fabric a bit and stitched it out. The bottom design has been flipped upside down and stitched out a second time just to see if I could get the placement right.

I didn’t have any thread issues or bunching of the sandwich and that surprised me. I thought it would be harder to do. So I drew some areas that are the same size as sections in Rainbow Insomnia that I want to quilt to see if I could center and place my designs properly.

The triangle design came out perfectly. That was easy to center and place. The second one… well, I knew it would be the tricky one since I’m fitting a design that is 4.8″ wide into a box that is 5″ wide. I don’t have much room for error.

My second attempt isn’t too bad – still close to the edge but I think I can live with that. Now I know what to look for. I printed out my designs and used that to center best I could once I had my registration lines drawn onto my sandwich. I ended up sticking a pin through the starting stitch point once I had the printed design centered onto my sandwich so I could mark where to start my needle. It came out better that way!

Tonight I have doggie agility with Byron but I may attempt one last centering practice before quilting the designs onto Rainbow Insomnia.


  1. This looks great! I’ve had an embroidery machine for years and have wanted to try quilting on it but just never tried. Always thought you had to actually hoop the quilt and I figured it would take FOREVER to do a whole quilt. This makes much more sense! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Marye Albritton says:

    I’m loving it!! Getting ready to purchase a new machine and am thinking “yes” to embroidary! You are cincing the deal!

  3. It all looks very interesting Katie. I have never had a go with my machine but know it has several gorgeous ‘quilting’ designs. I am looking forward to seeing how you get on with your Rainbow quilt. Happy quilting. C

  4. Katie, I really like what you have done. I would never have thought to use an embroidery machine in that fashion.

  5. Thanks for sharing how you “hooped” your quilt. I have bought a bunch of Embroidery Library’s quilting designs, but have been reluctant to try them. I think I may finally use them on my next quilt.

  6. Never seen something hooped like that before – That’s awesome, I’m going to have to try it. What kind of thread and needle did you use?

    • I was using a 75/11 needle and Sulky 40 wt. rayon thread. I’m going to try it with some Aurifil 28 wt thread later this week and see how it shakes out.

  7. Hi Katie!
    I just wanted to say that I have been a longtime listener, and thank you so much for a great blog and podcast! You are making me start to yearn for an embroiderer. I have even signed up for a class to try out a couple of models. Danger! Thanks again!

  8. LOVE your podcasts! Thanks for the time and effort you put into them! You have been keeping me company during my morning walks. Today I listened to your interview with your Mom. Sweet. Look forward to the next one!

  9. looks amazing!! I am always surprised ( mainly because I don’t know you) at how innovative you are you come up with some of the coolest ideas and they almost always work.. Keep up the amazing job and keep stitching!!!

  10. Love your podcasts. Your tips on obtaining reasonably priced embroidery designs are great. Your ideas and creative projects are very inspirational. Keep up the good work!

  11. Teresa Thrush says:

    Thank you, thank you! I’ve sandwiched and started to make a random pattern on my first quilt. This is hard and the quilt is so big. Rolling and shifting while sewing is very hard. Thought I would look on Embroidery Library ( have lots of their designs) for single run 6×10 quilt designs. Bought, downloaded 11 designs. Searched for how to do this and got this site. What a life saver. Kudos to you!!!