Christmas Cheer

WOW! I’s been and still is a busy time, but I did manage to get a Christmas project finished. A small wall hanging (18″ x 23″), stitched on my Bernina 780 using different techniques.Christmas Cheer C

The Christmas branches were sewn with Razzle Dazzle, a heavier than normal thread that had to be wound on the bobbin and therefore stitched from the back. Once that was done I turned it around and free motion  stippled the background from the front. The poinsettia petals and leaves were sewn separately and assembled into flowers and then  later attached to the background to give a 3-D effect. The gold curls are regular embroidery files and stitched directly on the background. The holly leaves were embroidered as free standing applique that were attached by stitching a very narrow satin stich over the center vein so they sort of float over the background as well.

A pattern with full instructions, templates, embroidery files and tips on placement  is available on my website at It does require you to make some decisions on the exact placement of all the elements, but it should not be hard as you have the stitched Christmas branches as a guide. It does not require a large hoop as the branches are stitched on a regular sewing machine, but as they are sewn with a heavier thread you may have to lower the tension on your bobbin a bit or get a second bobbin you use only for bobbin work.

Merry Christmas,



Machine embroidery – bobbin work

It’s been quite a busy time again, as usual. I just posted new digital longarm designs to my website and I started to quilt my paper pieced quilt. That in itself is a new adventure as I am quilting it on a new to me system, the Bernina QMatic in my daughter’s shop, Cozy Quilt. The first session was all about finding out about how the system works. I had expert advice from Tammy who works in the shop, but I still only managed to get one block done in that first session. I am sure I’ll get better at it as I get more familiar with the system.

I’ve also been experimenting with bobbin work on my own Bernina at home. I’ve wanted to try it for a long time and had ideas for designs swirling in my head for some time. As you know, heavier threads such as razzle dazzle can’t fit through the needle and have to be wound on the bobbin.  This, of course, has to be stitched from the back of the project and I was looking for an easy method to transfer the design to the reverse side. I found it when I discovered Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy. It is very thin, but has a paper backing and can be run through a printer. The paper is then removed and the Fabri-solvy will stick to the back of the project and you can stitch over the lines with regular thread in the needle.  Here is a picture of a little test sample.

xmas branch

Isn’t it pretty? It will be combined with other techniques and become a Christmas wall hanging.

Until next time.


Big embroidery ideas – small hoop.

When you like big designs, but only have a small hoop, there is a solution. This works for both free standing lace embroidery and applique designs. Just group several small designs together and treat them as applique.

Instead of stitching them on hooped fabric, stitch each design on water soluble stabilizer (WSS). Free standing lace and applique designs can be stitched in the normal way. Other lace designs may need an extra layer of either tule, organza, or a grid of cross-hatched stitched lines and defined edges so that that the design does not fall apart when the stabilizer is dissolved.

After the WSS is removed and the designs are dry arrange them on your quilt or quilt block. A bit of washable glue on the back will hold them in place. Use a regular sewing machine with monofilament thread or embroidery thread that matches the design. A straight stitch around the outside edge or a narrow zigzag stitch will do the trick and does not require hooping.

The advantage of this system is that you can fill a quilt block with embroidery and decide on the placement of the designs before they are attached. You could even make a whole wall hanging that way. Here is an example I made a couple of years ago:


Have fun everyone.



Fabric Painting

WOW, time sure flies when you are having fun, or even when you are just busy. That’s my excuse for not posting sooner. And, yes, I do have fun. At least most of the time, as long as I don’t have to take care of those pesky little admin details that sometimes demand priority. Maintaining a website for example. When I first started my website I had no idea what I was getting into. I had a lot to learn and still do and sometimes fun projects get put aside and then remain unfinished. Here is one I just finished, almost finished to be exact.


About a year ago, or maybe it was actually two years, I took a fun class on fabric painting with Inktense pencils taught by Desiree Habicht. It was great, but I was unable to finish the sample in class. Just recently I joined a Facebook group on machine embroidery and some of the members posted fabulous examples of fabric painting. That reminded me that I still had a half finished block so I took some time and finished painting it. I am new at this, but it was fun and I may practice some more. If you want to know how it is done you can find a lot of videos on YouTube using different techniques. The method I learned was with Derwent Inktense pencils. We were given a quilt block with an outline stitched on either a longarm or an embroidery machine. The outline is then colored in with the pencils after which a Fabric Medium is applied. When everything is dry it is ironed to heat set the paint and it becomes washable.

I have read that some people just use regular coloring pencils, but I have not tried that so I can’t comment on how well that works. Also, it is supposed to work better on PFD fabric (prepared for dyeing). That is a fabric without any finish or sizing.


Ede to edge quilting on an embroidery machine.

Yes, it can be done and it is not that hard, especially if you have a machine with a large hoop. Even with smaller hoops it is possible, but will require many rehoopings and are better suited to small projects.

QE-15 Windblown Leaves – Free design – example of 2 repeats stitched on a Bernina 780.

windblown Leaves



EQ-15 Close-up


I have at the moment 15 designs on my website that can be quilted with an embroidery machine and one of them, QE-15 Windblown Leaves is a free design for you to try out. To help you get started I have written up the steps I followed and put them in a PDF, Quilting with Embroidery Machine that you can download by clicking on the file name. As this is a PDF document you should be able to print it out. It will take 3 pages.

These steps apply to the Bernina 780, but other machines most likely follow similar steps.

More designs to follow in the future. Don’t forget I also have a series of block designs available.

Copyright Quilters Niche – All right reserved. Designs may be changed to suit your own or customer’s projects.
Designs may not be shared, sold, or distributed in any way, either as is, or in modified form.

Until next time.

Happy New Year everyone.


Happy New Year

Just a quick note to wish you all a

New Year

I hope you have a healthy, happy year filled with creative projects.

Looking back over the past year, I am pretty pleased. No health issues, Quilters Niche, now in its 11th year, is still going strong, and this blog is slowly growing. A big thank you and welcome to all newcomers.

I just received a fun, end of year report from WordPress to show how this blog is doing. Apparently, my blog was viewed 4800 time in 2015 by people from 57 countries, while the busiest day was December 2nd and the most popular post that day was multi hooping. The report did not include the last few days and I wonder if today was perhaps even busier as there were quite a few new subscribers. I would love to see even more people sign up, so if you like what you see, please recommend it to your friends. To keep you interested, here are a few topics I plan to touch on in the near future:

Quilting on an embroidery machine
Machine embroidery on large projects without hooping
Choosing fabric and colors for a quilt
3-d and free standing embroidery

If you have suggestions, know of interesting videos, blogs, or links, please let me know.

Have a great new year.


Christmas Banner

Xmas banner 1

I made a Christmas banner for my daughter. Is that the right term, or should it be bunting, or even something else? Anyway, whatever the correct term, it is now hanging in Cozy Creative Center. I should have taken a few more pictures of the shop. It is all decorated for Christmas and looks lovely and festive.

My Silhouette Cameo took care of the cutting and I did the stitching on my Bernina embroidery machine. It was quite a fun job, except that I made a mistake attaching the band to all the flags. I had arranged everything so nicely, all in the correct order, but when I lifted the banner up….surprise! It did read Merry Christmas alright, except that the words read from right to left instead of left to right. I still don’t know how that happened. I probably turned the whole pile over and started at the wrong end. So out came the ripper. It’s a good thing the letters themselves were not turned around. If that had happened I’d probably have said more than one bad word. Anyway, it did not take too long to fix it and it goes to show that no matter how long someone has been sewing, mistakes still happen.

I wrote up instructions on how I put it all together in case someone is interested. You are welcome to use it, but please don’t share it. You can share the link, but not the document itself. I put the instructions in a PDF so I believe you can print it out. The letters are rather large and I had to use a fairly large hoop, approximately 6″ x 10″ for the largest letters to fit. The embroidery/applique files for the letters are available on my website for $10 for the bunch, but the instructions are free. The banner can also be used for other occasions, such as birthdays, weddings, graduation, etc. Just add different letters. And, of course, if you are not into embroidery, you could always use vinyl.

To retrieve the instructions, please click on the link below.

Design instructions

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.