FREE Quilting Patterns, Tutorials, Magazine

3 tips to perfect yarn couching

It’s the end of the week! I’ve had so much fun with the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80. There are so many great features that I could go on for weeks. But I only have days!

Let’s have a look at what I did today.

HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80
HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80

Don’t forget that the Designer Brilliance 80 is not only a sewing machine, but it’s an embroidery machine as well.

HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 with embroidery unit attached
HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 with embroidery unit attached

Plan A

The best-laid plans – well they can go awry. That’s what happened this week. I started off strong with the Inspira Sewing Machine cover. I was going to finish it, but I’m still waiting on that darn zipper. You’ll have to come back for my next blog series where I’ll assemble the sewing machine cover. The pattern for the Inspira Sewing Machine cover can be purchased at your local HUSQVARNA VIKING dealer.

There’s a lesson to be learned here. Don’t start a project until you have ALL the supplies.

Inspira Soft Cover for a sewing machine
Inspira Soft Cover for a sewing machine

Plan B

My next plan was to show you one more instance of Design Positioning. I have this Halloween block that I embroidered about two years ago. The completed blocks have been hanging out on the design wall and a while back, I decided it was time to get the wallhanging done.

The blocks have a lot of machine embroidery applique, as well as a lot of embroidery stitches. About three hours work for each block! Notice the blocks aren’t trimmed yet.

Machine embroidery applique and machine embroidered Halloween block ready to be trimmed; using the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine to finish it.
Machine embroidery applique and machine embroidered Halloween block ready to be trimmed.

I was just about to trim this one when I noticed that the embroidered spider web in the top left corner was only half stitched. What?

There’s another lesson to be learned here. When the embroidery machine has stopped, it’s a good idea to check that the embroidery is done and not that the thread broke. That’s probably what happened here. I knew I was on the last color and the machine was stopped. It appeared that the stitching was complete, so I took it off the embroidery machine and unhooped it.

DRAT!

The embroidered spider web is not complete.
The embroidered spider web is not complete.

I thought it would be a good exercise to try out the Design Positioning on the Designer Brilliance 80.

I rehooped the design. Remember the other day when I did the Design Positioning that I only used ONE reference point to position the embroidery. This time I’ll use TWO reference points since the design placement was a bit trickier.

In the photo below, you can see that I already have one anchor point (the red cross-hairs) and I’m in the process of creating the second anchor point with the blue cross-hairs near the top left. Notice in the photo below that I can only move this second point either left or right. That’s because the first anchor point is just that – it’s an anchor point. The second one refines the positioning based on the first point.

I got it to match up perfectly. But here’s another lesson. When I originally stitched that design, I had used the widest regular hoop that’ll fit on the Designer Brilliance 80. Because I’m not in the exact same position as I was before, I got an error message saying that the design is outside the boundaries of the hoop.

There’s a larger hoop that can be used on the Designer Brilliance 80 – the Majestic Hoop (360 x 350). I’m going to have to make my stabilizer a lot bigger to fit in that large hoop. That’s an exercise for another day.

But the bottom line – that Design Positioning is amazing! And it’s so easy to use – one anchor point or two anchor points. Super simple! With the help from the online manual and the QuickHelp, I had no problems figuring out how this amazing feature worked.

Design Positioning works best when you’re working with the placement of your designs. Putting a design in a particular spot on a garment or on a piece of fabric. It also works in this instance, but you need to be mindful of the hoop sizes.

There are so many lessons to learn! Each day presents a new challenge.

Creating a second reference point in Design Positioning on the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
Creating a second reference point in Design Positioning

Plan C

So it was onto the third option for the day and this time I succeeded!

This is a project where I have a deadline and I figured I might as well show you what I was doing. A group of us are working on some UFOs over the course of the year. We’ve each kicked some money into a pot and if we get our assignment (chosen by ourselves) done by the next meeting, we get a percentage of the money back. I do NOT want to lose my $10. I committed to making two blocks for an applique project. Each block has some unique applique techniques which are perfect to try out on the Designer Brilliance 80.

In this quilt, there’s a layer of thin batting behind each block. The blocks are quilted first and then the applique is stitched down.

I did the quilting using a wide (4.0) zigzag stitch on the diagonal to create a grid. The texture of that grid quilting alone is fabulous! I love the texture. I used the guide on the Interchangeable Dual Feed Foot to do the quilting. I didn’t get a picture as that was before I realized I needed this as my project.

Next step was to applique that pink frame around the edge of the block.

I used a freezer paper template to turn the edges under and glued the seam allowance lightly to the background.

The edges of the pink frame are turned under and ready to be appliqued in place; using the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine.
The edges of the pink frame are turned under and ready to be appliqued in place.

I’m also doing some yarn couching so I don’t want those applique stitches to show. I used invisible thread on the top and a bobbin thread in the bobbin.

I put the Open Toe foot on the Designer Brilliance 80 and I was good to go.

Open Toe Foot ready to do applique; using the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
Open Toe Foot ready to do applique

Here’s an important tip – Make sure you do a stitch out before you start working on your piece. You can see where I experimented with the length and width of the zigzag stitch for quilting the grid. And there’s a tiny zigzag done with the invisible thread. Good thing I tested as I had chosen the incorrect zigzag stitch.

Stitch out a sample to test stitches before touching the project; using the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
Stitch out a sample to test stitches before touching the project.

You’ll notice that I didn’t bother to take the embroidery unit off the Designer Brilliance 80 before I started my applique. I still have embroidery to do after this block is finished. Once I switched into the sewing machine mode, the embroidery arm was placed in Park (to the extreme left) giving me ample room to work.

The embroidery unit is still attached while I'm doing my applique; using the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
The embroidery unit is still attached while I’m doing my applique.

And there’s the pink border. Finally, after quite a few years of sitting in the project box, it’s now attached to the quilted background. The stitches done with invisible thread practically disappear.

I used a lot of features on the Designer Brilliance 80 as I did this applique. The Needle stop up/down is invaluable for applique. As is the Sensor Foot which lifts the pressure foot every so slightly whenever I stop to provide me with hands-free pivoting. It’s easy to see why the hands-free pivoting was so valuable in stitching that pink frame in place. Some of those corners were tight and I had to pivot frequently. I could also tap my foot pedal to advance by half a stitch if I needed the needle to be on the opposite side of the work.

Great, great features that make applique a snap!

The pink frame is now stitched to the quilted background; sewing on the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
The pink frame is now stitched to the quilted background

TIP 1 for yarn couching – have the proper foot

The next step in completing this block is couch some yarn over that curvy edge!

To make life easier, it’s best to have a yarn couching foot. This one is the Three-hole yarn foot and comes with a threader to thread the yarns into the holes on the foot. There’s also a paper insert which gives you the name of the foot on one side (in case you don’t know what the foot is called). And the instructions on how to use the foot are on the other side of that paper insert.

Three-hole yarn foot with the yarn threader and the packaging; sewing on the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
Three-hole yarn foot with the yarn threader and the packaging

Let’s say that you lose that paper insert. You can find instructions on how to use the foot online. Here’s a link that shows you how the foot works. You’ll notice that I only used one strand of wool. You can use one, two, or three stands of wool.

The back of the paper insert with diagrams on how to use the Three-hole yarn foot on the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
The back of the paper insert with diagrams on how to use the Three-hole yarn foot

TIP 2 make a sample

I can’t say this enough times  – make a sample. It doesn’t have to be long – just make sure that you have the yarn threaded in the correct direction and that you understand how it works. If you’re using more than one strand of yarn, is the stitch wide enough to secure all three strands of yarn? I used an invisible thread with a zigzag stitch to couch the yarn in place. Does the thread show? Now is the time to make changes if you’re not happy with the results.

A sample stitch out of yarn

A sample stitch out of yarn couching using the Three-Hole Yarn Foot and the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
A sample stitch out of yarn couching using the Three-Hole Yarn Foot

In the photo below, you can see that I’m couching that yarn along the edge of the prink frame. The WAVY edge of the pink frame. It was super easy to stitch in place. The edges wouldn’t have been nearly as neat if I had of free handed it.

If you look close, you can just see the applique stitches (stitching the pink frame to the background) where I used invisible thread. You can’t see them!

I should mention that I did NOT make adjustments to the tension because I’m using the thread portioning feature which is part of the deLuxe Stitch System. Here’s a video (using a different HUSQVARNA VIKING sewing machine) but the technology is the same on the Designer Brilliance 80. It’s brilliant and makes life a whole lot easier when working with different threads like invisible and metallic.

Couching the yarn to the applique block using the Three-Hole Yarn Foot and the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
Couching the yarn to the applique block using the Three-Hole Yarn Foot

TiIP 3 use a stiletto for corners

The Three Hole Yarn foot works amazing on the straight and with gentle curves. You’ll notice that those four corners have a very tight curve, so I used my stiletto (quilter’s awl) to help position the yarn as I turned the corners. The Needle stop up/down feature and pivoting LOTS was instrumental in getting good coverage in those tight curves.

Using a quilter's awl (stiletto) to help hold the yarn as I pivoted around the tight curve in the corner. Sewing on the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
Using a quilter’s awl (stiletto) to help hold the yarn as I pivoted around the tight curve in the corner

And there it is – my yarn is couched around the perimeter of the appliqued frame. I used chenille yarn and I LOVE the effect. The stitching flattened the chenille yarn and it adds great texture to the block.

It pulled just a wee bit on the corners as I probably pulled the yarn a wee bit too tight. It’s all about practice and experimenting. If you don’t try, you’ll never learn!

The chenille yarn is couched around the perimeter of the pink frame on the applique block; using the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
The chenille yarn is couched around the perimeter of the pink frame on the applique block.

The flower (minus the center) is now fused to the block. All that’s left is to choose some applique stitches to stitch down the leaves and the two flower pieces. So close.

The flower (minus the center) is now fused to the block. All that's left is to choose some applique stitches to stitch down the leaves and the two flower pieces. So close. Using the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
The flower (minus the center) is now fused to the block. All that’s left is to choose some applique stitches to stitch down the leaves and the two flower pieces. So close.

Here’s the final block. That means that I’m half done my homework for our UFO group. Having all those great features on the Designer Brilliance 80 will make quick work of getting the second block completed. And in time for the next meeting so I can recover my $10 fee!

Nothing like a great sewing machine and a little cash incentive to get something done!

A floral applique block using decorative stitches for the applique on the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
The applique is completed on the block

Notice that I used some decorative stitches on the leaves and the three flower pieces. Why not? There are some gorgeous decorative stitches in the Designer Brilliance 80. Make sure you do the sample stitch out so you know the stitch sequence for turning corners. See how the tips on the big flower are pretty much the same. It’s all about paying attention when stitching!

I also used the Needle stop up/down, the foot pedal which advances half a stitch at a time, and the Stitch Restart function which brings the stitch back to the beginning of the stitch sequence.

I could go on and on – but there are so many BRILLIANT features on the Designer Brilliance 80 that make applique so easy!

Detail of the decorative stitching on the appliqued flower using the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
Detail of the decorative stitching on the appliqued flower

Thanks for spending time with me this week as I explored the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80. Hopefully, you’ve been inspired by one of the projects I touched on or by a technique. If you get a chance, pop over to your nearest dealer to check it out in person.

Have a great day!

Ciao!

This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4: QuickDesign app + Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine = WOW!

Elaine Theriault is a teacher, writer and pattern designer who is completely obsessed with quilting. Elaine’s Tech Tips column (originally published in A Needle Pulling Thread magazine) is now available online in e-book format at QUILTsocial.com. When not quilting, she enjoys spending time with her two dogs, Lexi and Murphy, or can be found cycling across the country. Her blog is crazyquilteronabike.blogspot.com.

17 Comments

  1. Anna b

    Hmmmmm gave me alot to think about.I do love aplaque ty for sharing your ideas…

  2. Linda

    I’ve never tried yarn couching. What a great introduction. Very informative! So many wonderful ideas, and stitches. Thank you!!

  3. Gloria S

    I have had the couching foot for years and only used it once. I’m excited to try in again. This is a fantastic blog.

    • Gloria – thanks so much for your comments. Oh yes – the yarn couching foot is amazing. Just remember that curves are a wee bit tricky – well in my case, I was covering two edges of two different pieces of fabric. But on the straight – the foot works amazingly well. Have fun – send pictures. Elaine

  4. Dawn Bowman

    I have an embroidery sewing machine…but afraid I’m not using it to it’s full potential. So trying little things …one thing at a time. Thank You for the magazine and tips info.

    • Dawn – Oh that is a problem we all have. We have great tools, but it seems no confidence or time to play with them. I highly encourage ou to set aside some time every day or every week to just play. Don’t worry about making anything – just do it to understand the capabilities. Have fun and send pictures!!! Thanks for following QUILTsocial. Elaine

  5. Laura M

    What a wonderful tutorial on yarn couching. I know I’ve got that foot. Now I have the confidence to use it and try this technique.

    • Laura – thanks so much. It’s amazing what the sewing machine can do when we explore a little bit. Remember that curves are harder than straight lines so start with the straight lines to get the hang of it. Send a picture! Thanks for following QUILTsocial. Elaine

  6. That is all so interesting! I have a 20+ year old Viking, and I’m never trading it in! We are best buds. Some day, I might ADD a newer Viking, but I don’t want to machine embroider (though this looks awesome!) so it probably wouldn’t be this model. It is an amazing machine, but I do think it would be easier to just make the spiderweb with your own hand embroidery and forget all the hooping and stabilizers on this one. =) It’s an adorable Halloween block, and do you really think anyone would notice there’s no spiderweb? I wouldn’t have, if you hadn’t mentioned it. Just dangle a web strand down for him to hang from the hat and call it finished. =)

    • OH Susan — your suggestion makes perfect sense. The only reason I want to stitch out the spider web is that I have the tools to do it and I want to see how easy it is! My life is made up of learning experiences each and every day. Thanks for following QUILTsocial. Elaine

  7. Beth B

    Great tips for this technique! Appreciate your pictures and detailed explanations. I shall give this a try.

  8. Gale

    Looks awesome! Can’t wait to try this!

  9. MoeWest

    I’ve never tried yarn couching. Thanks for the tutorial.

  10. Quilting Tangent

    Cute Halloween block.

  11. Orla Villiam

    So much information – thank you! I love your Halloween block. The couching looks like a lot of fun – it would look wonderful on the edge of a jacket. I love the stitching you did on your appliqued flower and leaves – so many stitches to try!

  12. Diane C Strachan

    An awesome place to come to find tips on various techniques! Very informative.

  13. Karen A

    You have such great tips and pictures. Thanks for sharing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.

It may take up to 24 hours for your comment to appear above.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.