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A is for Applique

A is for applique but machine applique sure speeds up the applique process. However if you do your applique on the Husqvarna Viking Opal 690Q – the process is sped up even further. The Sensor Foot, the needle down feature and the huge variety of stitches and options for those stitches make all types of machine applique a breeze.


The Husqvarna Viking Opal 690Q comes with three built in satin stitches. The main difference between the three stitches is the width. Although you have the flexibilty to modify the width and density of any of the three, it is nice to have the three stitches (a narrow, a medium width and a thick width) easily accessible without having to change any variables yourself. These three built in settings make it easier to keep track of your stitch rather than choosing one stitch and having to modify it every time you do satin stitch.

One of the satin stitches has the ability to be tapered at the end or the beginning or both ends of the stitching line. An awesome feature for corners.

The narrow width of the satin stitch on the Opal 690Q


The widest width of the satin stitch on the Opal 690Q


Let’s have a look at the density of the satin stitches.  In the picture below, the line of stitching on the left is one step off the maximum density. I wasn’t even sure that the presser foot would move over the stitching. The hollow in the bottom of the open toe presser did allow the stitch to move freely, however you see that the stitching is puckering slightly.  I used one layer of stabilizer – I would strongly suggest two if you are going to use this setting.

Lessening the density a couple of notches gives us the middle line of stitching and the one on the right is at the least dense stitch possible for the satin stitch on the Opal 690Q.

There is plenty of variety for you to find something that will work.  These stitch outs are at the maximum stitch width.


Three densities of satin stitching — very tight on the left, moderate in the middle and very open on the right. An excellent variety.


I thought I would try tapering the ends of the satin stitch. It worked very well, however I have to say that I free handed this sample and I missed hitting the button in time to start the taper. The flexibility here is enormous as the ends can be tapered in many different ways. Definitely something fun to play with, but I would suggest marking and doing a bit more experimenting than I had time for!


Sensor Foot

If you have never appliqued with a machine that has the SENSOR FOOT – you couldn’t appreciate the beauty of this feature. In addition, if I engage the Needle Stop/Up Down feature then applique becomes an effortless task.

Each time I stop, the needle will stop IN THE FABRIC and the presser foot rises to the pivot position. Just slightly off the throat plate, but enough that I can manipulate the fabric. There is NO NEED to lift up the pressor foot manually.  The entire process is hands free allowing me to keep my hands on the fabric.

If you’ve ever appliqued, you know that the more you pivot on a curve, the smoother the edges of the applique will be or if you want to have beautiful corners, you have to pivot slightly, take a stitch, pivot again, take a stitch. Well, if you have to manually lift the presser feet each time – you tend to not pivot as much as you should or would like to.

With the Husqvarna Viking Opal 690Q – you want to pivot all the time – it’s so easy. And if your needle stops on the wrong side of the stitch for the pivot – a quick tap on the VERY responsive foot pedal will move the needle to the other side.

I recently did some applique on a machine without this feature – OH YES – I missed this feature very much. If you’re into applique, this is a MUST feature for your sewing machine.

Samples of satin stitching

Beautifully stitched corners are a snap with the Sensor Foot and Needle Stop up/down


Even circles can look amazing. Remember this is hand guided so it is not perfect. Any faults are the operator NOT the sewing machine!


Even small circles are easy to stitch with the Sensor Foot and Needle Stop Up/Down. An important thing to remember with applique – if you don’t start with a perfect circle of fabric – then you won’t get a perfect circle for the stitching!


The Opal 690Q was able to zip down those straight lines of stitching at an amazing speed. Any faster and I would not have been able to control it.

Unusual Satin Stitches

The Opal 690Q also has a couple of unusual satin stitches. I call them grass stitches. One or both edges are jagged and offers a nice change of pace to your applique stitching. I like to use them on animals or flowers, but they will work on anything.

The “grass” satin stitch. The width and density of this stitch can be modified. The stitch can also be mirrored.


This version of the “grass” satin stitch has TWO jagged edges. The width and density can be modified.


You can use the “grass” satin stitch in the same way you would use a regular satin stitch. Circles included!



The blanket stitch (or as I like to call it – the button hole stitch) is another great applique stitch. The Husqvarna Viking Opal 690Q has THREE varieties of blanket stitch. You can change the width and length of each of them for a huge range of stitching.

This blanket stitch has TWO stitches between each of the prongs. You can lengthen or shorten the prongs, you can widen or shorten the distance between the prongs and you can mirror the stitch.


This blanket stitch has one stitch between the prongs, and looks much heavier than the previous blanket stitch even though the same thread was used. Each part of this blanket stitch is double stitched for a heavy look.


This version of the blanket stitch has only one stitch between the prongs and only one pass of stitching. Like the two previous blanket stitches – every aspect of this stitch can be modified.


The INVISIBLE applique stitch

When I do invisible machine applique, I like to use a tiny elongated zig zag with fine thread.

Here are two variations of the elongated zig zag that is useful for invisible machine applique.


With so many options, it’s necessary to become very familiar with the various stitches on the Husqvarna Viking Opal 690Q. While you get a good idea of what the stitches look like on the screen before you do the stitch out, it’s a great idea to do some sample stitch outs BEFORE you start on your project. Maybe what you thought you were going to like, isn’t exactly what you end up doing.

Doing a practice stitch-out also allows you to see how the fabric reacts to the stitch. Is one layer of stabilizer enough?  If the stitch density is high – maybe two layers of stabilizer will be required.

Whatever you do – keep those stitch outs in a small sample book and label them. Identify the menu group, the stitch number and the width and length of each. This book will become a valuable reference for future projects.

In addition to creating a stitch book, it’s necessary to practice going around the curves – making sure to pivot OFTEN. Practice inside and outside corners – there are several ways to stitch corners – try to find one that works for you. With the Husqvarna Viking Opal 690Q, you don’t need to worry about the mechanics of the machine – the machine will take the work out of applique and make it fun.


The Opal 690Q also comes with FOUR built-in fonts.   You have a choice of capitals and small letters for each font, which can be stitched out or you can create a small program of letters.

It’s a snap to stitch out small phrases with the FOUR built-in fonts.


I like the ability to spell out words with the sewing machine. One of my favourite uses of the fonts is to stitch the name of the block in the sashing.   A number of years ago, I participated in a group project that was made up of a lot of small blocks – each with a different name.  I stitched the name of each block into the sashing at the top of each block.

Quilt block with the name of the block stitched out in the sashing


Here is a close up of the name of the block. I wanted the stitching to be subtle, yet legible should anyone wish to know the name of the block. Most people don’t even notice the stitching and that is exactly what I wanted.


Wow!  Another day of some very EXCITING features of the Husqvarna Viking Opal 690Q. There are so many options on this sewing machine that I almost don’t even know where to start.

If machine applique is your thing – you MUST take a look at this sewing machine. You’ll be amazed at how the Sensor Foot and Needle Stop Up/Down will take the drudgery out of applique.

A is for Applique and all of its glorious stitches…

Have a great day!


Elaine Theriault is a teacher, writer and pattern designer who is completely obsessed with quilting. She is a teaching specialist at Northcott and loves going to work in a warehouse full of fabric. Elaine’s Tech Tips column (originally published in A Needle Pulling Thread magazine) is now available online in e-book format at 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

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