Add dimension, interest and personality to your quilt designs with micro quiting. Learn the different micro quilting designs and tips for getting started!

October 13, 2016

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"Intricate quilting really makes your designs pop off your project, adding dimension, interest, and personality. Hi, I'm Jennifer Keltner with American Patchwork and Quilting, and I'm here today with Vicki Hoth, education coordinator for Handi Quilter." "Hi, Jennifer. I have a new tip for you." "I'm excited to learn all about micro-quilting today, here at the sewing lab for American Patchwork and Quilting. Vicki, start us out and show us what you brought." "Well, first of all, I brought just a quilting design that, you know, is so-so. It has a lot of negative space around here, as you can see that. In some ways, you probably see that negative space more than you see the design." "I do. It's a little distracting." "Ok, well let's fix that. What do you think? Now do you see that design?" "That's spectacular." "Isn't that fun? That is what we call micro quilting." "So point out some of the micro-quilting stitching to us." "Well, we have stippling. We have pebbles. We have McTavishing. Now in here we have stippling, but it's really fine, so comparing the two, look how different they are. As we go around here, we have loops. You can quilt them tight or loose. We have what we call bouncing bananas and then we'll go over to our orange peel. And then more of a shell with and echo around that." "That's just incredible. I'm amazed at the different between the two. When you see how this design just seems to puff up off the background once you add all the micro quilting in-between it." "It is. It makes it look trapunto, doesn't it?" "It really does. It really does. Now are you using a different size thread for this?" "You would want to use a fine thread, a 50 or 60 weight thread with that, because if you used a 40 or heavier weight, you'd see just a lot of the thread. And you want still that shadowing, you know, the negative space to show in there." "Well, this is pretty spectacular. But I want to show people a quilt that you brought in, which is actually one that you've done the micro quilting on. And this is just amazing. So it really does look like a lot of trapunto work where the white feathers are on this design. But what I think is most interesting is all the different micro-stitching that you've added to it. So starting in the center with the little tiny pebbles, a little bit of cross-hatching in this medallion section. And what do you call this again?" "This is McTavishing. See how it makes that feather trapunto really stand out?" "It's just amazing. Now I'm guessing this shouldn't be the size project I should start with." "No, I would probably start here. And this, you know, gets you past your frustration of thinking 'Can I do it? Can I?' And it's practice. It's real practice and that's what this takes." "Well, I'd like to see you stitch out on the HQ16 and show me how to do the mirco-stitching on the longarm." "I would love to. Ok, the first thing we need to do is we want to set our stitch length at a small stitch length. And I actually turn it off. The HQ16 has a stitch regulator. I like to turn off the stitch regulator and use it in the manual mode so that I control the needle speed. And I slow my needle speed down and it's a slow process that we'll be doing." "And do you stand up while you're doing this stitching?" "I like to sit on a stool. And what we have, you'll notice we have two sets of handles. These are our regular handles and these are the micro-handles. And they have the same controls on these as they do up here. So I like to sit on a stool or a chair that's taller. And we just start. And we've got it about 30% speed. And if I need to speed it up, then I can use my controls to speed it up." "You sew at a slower pace so that you have better control as you're going along." "That's correct." "So show me some of that pebbling." "Ok, we're just going to notice how slow? I'm not racing through it. Do you see how that figure eight I did and I can travel around and if I leave a space, I can go back and pick it up. Isn't that fun?" "It's great fun. It seems to me that you have to have some patience." "Yes, put on a good movie to listen to. Do you see how that goes? I can go right over those lines. It's ok to retrace. And just pebble through that. You can make them smaller. Notice how small I'm making those? Or I can make them larger." "And you're really resting your arm on the poles of the machine." "That's right. Because it gives you more stability. One way I actually like to do it is I'll put my hands out on the sides and use my fingers as anchors. So that gives me that anchoring to give me more stability." "Sort of like when you put your finger out when you're holding and acrylic ruler in place while cutting." "That's right. That's exactly it." "That's amazing, Vicki, and I can't wait to try that myself. And I hope all of you get a chance to try micro quilting to help make your quilting pop as well. While I have you here, Vicki, I'd love to see some more designs, so why don't you start working on that shell and show me how that's done." "Alright. And then we'll let you step up to it." "Alright."