6 fun blocks for a fidget quilt with beads, buttons, ribbons (and more)

This week I’m making fidget quilts and using the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90 to play with various sewing and embroidery techniques. It’s a great way to try out new stitches or embroidery techniques if you haven’t tried some of these!

Yesterday I assembled some supplies and cut the fabric for my fidget quilt. Today, I’ll explore various techniques in both embroidery and sewing mode. One of the nice things about the Designer Ruby 90 is I don’t have to remove the embroidery unit to use it in sewing mode. As long as my project is small, so it doesn’t interfere with the embroidery arm parked to the extreme left, which these blocks are, I can switch from embroidery to sewing very quickly.

What I’m doing today is totally off the top of my head as I’m just exploring and using up odds and ends. It’s great fun making things up as you go, so let’s get started.

Six blocks for the fidget quilt

The first thing I did was go to the mySewnet Embroidery Library and looked for a design using the Thread Velvet technique. I found a small butterfly and using the SEND function in the Library, I sent the design directly to the Designer Ruby 90.

A pop-up message appears on the Embroidery Edit screen, asking permission to accept files sent from the mySewnet Library. All my Wi-Fi-enabled devices connected to mySewnet account need to be connected on the same Wi-Fi to chat with each other. I LOVE this feature as I’m always misplacing my USB sticks, and there’s no longer a need for them. The designs stay in the mySewnet Library as I borrow them for stitching. It’s a perfect solution for people with messy spaces!

A pop-up message asking permission to accept files sent from the mySewnet Library

And here’s the design on the Embroidery Edit screen. I love using 40-weight rayon threads for most of my machine embroidery, and I don’t always choose the colors specified in the original file – I like to change things up if needed. I love the Color Block List because you see where it will stitch out on the embroidery screen for each color highlighted in the list. That can help if you want to change up the colors. I stitched the butterfly out, and you’ll see it shortly.

The Embroidery Stitch Out screen

Suppose you have no idea what the Thread Velvet technique is, or you’re not sure how it works, or you don’t have access to the mySewnet Embroidery Library. It’s super easy to use the JoyOS Advisor (the blue icon right at the top of the screen) to access information, tutorials, embroidery files, and more.

The JoyOS Advisor appears on the start-up screen

Upon clicking the Thread Velvet tutorial in the JoyOS Advisor, a tutorial appears on the screen, as well as some built-in embroidery designs that use the Thread Velvet technique. The JoyOS Advisor is a fantastic tool and if you’re new to your Designer Ruby 90, be sure to play with it as you’ll soon learn all the ins and outs of the sewing and embroidery machine functions.

The Thread Velvet tutorial and some of the built-in embroidery designs

Thread Velvet is a two-step process. The first step is to embroider the bottom layers of the motif. These are the layers you see when you cut the embroidery open. Wait for it – it’s very cool. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you’re using two high contrast threads for each of the two steps, or you won’t get the whole effect of the technique. The first step involves stitching several layers of a satin stitch, and a line of stitching outlines each motif to ensure the outer edges are well-secured.

The first layer of satin stitching in a Thread Velvet embroidery design

Then take a high contrast thread and do the second step to stitch a single layer of satin stitch over the previous stitches. There’s a line of stitches around the perimeter of each motif to secure the stitches.

Step two of the Thread Velvet technique is complete.

Once the design is complete, it’s time to take it out of the hoop and give it a press. I turn the embroidery upside down and press it on my wool pressing mat. That helps to prevent the stitches from getting crushed. There are a few ripples in the background of this motif. Because of the density of the design, I should have used a second layer of stabilizer. I only used one, and as you can see, it’s not enough.

The Thread Velvet motif

The fun part is slicing those petals open to see the contrasting thread color beneath. I use a surgical seam ripper, and you can use your rotary cutter if you are careful. But either way, ensure your cutting tool is sharp, as you don’t want to cut something you shouldn’t. Don’t cut too deep as you don’t want to cut into the fabric beneath the stitches, and you surely don’t want to cut your fingers. Be careful.

Isn’t it gorgeous how the inside stitching fluffs up? I love it, and the texture is fantastic.

The threads of the Thread Velvet motif are sliced open with a surgical seam ripper.

The butterfly was a bit trickier to cut because of all the curves.

I love this embroidery technique, and the texture is so lovely to touch. These two motifs are perfect for adding to the fidget quilt, and the motifs will continue to bloom with more handling.

Two examples of Thread Velvet embroidery technique

Next up, I wanted to use the Button Foot with Placement Tool, and I used the Automatic Button Sewing stitch in the A menu (A58).

The Automatic Button Sewing stitch is a super stitch that not many people remember is available if they know about it all! You can set the width of the stitch to match the width of the holes in your button, but did you know most buttons have a standard width between the holes of 3.00 mm? Yes! And in addition to tying a knot, the default number of zigs and zags is 8, which you can change if you wish.

The default settings for the Automatic Button Sewing stitch

I love the Button Foot because it holds the button for you. You have to get the button positioned correctly (so you don’t break a needle), and I use the flywheel manually to make sure the button is in the right spot. It’s super easy to do. Then I can use the START/STOP function or the foot pedal, whichever you prefer.

A button is held in place using the Button Foot

I’ve moved the needle to the right (manually with the flywheel) to ensure the button is positioned correctly in the Button Foot.

Checking the placement of the button before hitting Start

I wasn’t sure if adding buttons to the fidget quilt was the best idea, but since this button has four holes, I stitched it in place four times. Using the sewing machine is much faster than finding a needle and thread and doing it manually. I love the Button Foot and the Automatic Button Sewing stitch.

The four-hole button secured with four tack stitches

I decided to add some cording and plastic beads, and I again used the Automatic Button Sewing stitch to secure the cord to the fabric.

It was challenging to thread the beads onto the cord, so I used a piece of painter’s tape to make a needle, and it worked like a charm.

Using painter’s tape as a needle to thread the beads onto the cording

Once the beads were on the cording, I secured one end to the edge of the fabric in the seam allowance of one of the blocks. I used the B foot this time with the channel on the bottom to hold the cord in place without the foot rocking on the cording. I used the default setting for the Automatic Button Sewing Stitch.

Securing the end of the cording to the edge of the fabric

Before I knew it, all three strands of cord were attached to the block.

Three strands of beads attached to the edges of the quilt block

I had a length of ribbon with writing on one side, and I was never sure where or if I’d ever use it, but this was the perfect opportunity. I cut the ribbon into sections, created a loop with the writing inside, and basted them to the edge of another block. The writing on the inside might interest the recipient and can provide them with something to do as they try to figure out what it says. I believe it was from a chocolate shop!

Three lengths of ribbon attached to a quilt block

The last block for today involved using giant rick rack. I was hoping to use the Three-Step Zigzag (A15) or the Four-Step Zigzag (A24) on the Designer Ruby 90, but this rick rack is huge. So, I stitched it in place with a straight stitch. I stitched a zigzag following the contour of the rick rack and pivoted as necessary. That leaves the edges loose for fingers to manipulate.

Stitching giant rick rack to a quilt block

When I laid the blocks out, I realized that 15 blocks would make the fidget quilt too large, so I’ll probably only need to use 12 blocks. My math skills were not working well when I did those calculations.

Six blocks for the fidget quilt

It’s been so much fun figuring out how to use up some of those odds and ends in the studio and using stitches and embroidery techniques on the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90. It’s certainly an exciting project to create.

Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90 with the embroidery unit attached

I’ve got other techniques lined up to make the remaining six blocks tomorrow, so be sure to come back for that.

Have a super day!!!


This is part 2 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 1: Wi-Fi on the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90: WHY it’s IMPRESSIVE!

Go to part 3: Embroidery is spectacular with the Husqvarna Viking Texture Hoop (tutorial)

Related posts

4 presser feet made to PIECE, QUILT, and BIND! Let’s finish a fidget quilt!

4 more texture blocks for a fidget quilt using odds and ends

Embroidery is spectacular with the Husqvarna Viking Texture Hoop (tutorial)