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Double the fun: twin needle quilting with decorative stitches

 

Over the last week we have examined some basic techniques for machine quilting using various sizes and types of SCHMETZ twin needles.

Though we have used both a walking foot and a darning foot the only stitch we used up until now is our straight stitch.

 

This sewing machine is prepared with a walking foot and twin needle in place for quilting fun. But check our previous post on how to use a twin needle with a free motion or darning foot.
This sewing machine is prepared with a walking foot and twin needle in place for quilting fun. But check our previous post on how to use a twin needle with a free motion or darning foot.

 

It’s time to double the fun!

In this final installment of everything you ever wanted to know about quilting with a twin needle we’re using our sewing machine’s decorative stitches.

 

Even simple decorative stitches look complex when stitched with a twin needle
Even simple decorative stitches look complex when stitched with a twin needle

 

Preparing your machine for decorative stitching

A walking foot is essential to help the decorative stitches feed evenly.

Many machines have walking feet with bases that can be changed for different kinds of stitching.

The ideal machine set-up would be to have one of these with a bottom plate designed for decorative stitching.

If this is not possible then a traditional open toe walking foot will work.

Activate your machine’s internal setting for twin needle quilting if required.

Though the wider twin needles can be used for decorative stitching they can limit the amount of side to side motion that your machine is able to do. This will sometimes have the effect of flattening out the stitch.

A 2.5 or smaller twin needle will work well for decorative stitching.

To start, we’ll use some standard construction stitches and make them decorative!

A simple zigzag stitch will take on new beauty when used for twin needle quilting.

This is a side motion, machine stitched zig zag not to be confused with the false zigzag created by the bobbin thread when sewing with a twin needle.

This one is stitched with a 4.0 twin needle.

 

A single zig zag takes on new beauty
A single zig zag takes on new beauty

 

A three step zigzag does exactly that. This is a construction stitch used to finish raw edges or build in stretch.

Doesn’t it look amazing as a decorative twin needle quilting stitch?

 

A three step zig zag stitched with a 1.6 twin needle
A three step zig zag stitched with a 1.6 twin needle

 

TIPs for using decorative stitches

Most decorative stitches have a certain amount of side to side motion.

Try to stick to the somewhat simpler more open stitches for quilting with your twin needle and walking foot.

Dense stitches such as satin stitch combinations can be stitched through batting but may require tension, foot pressure or stitch width adjustments for optimum stitching.

If your machine doesn’t have a twin needle setting it’s best to un-thread your machine and turn the flywheel manually through one stitch repeat to be sure that the stitch setting isn’t too wide for your chosen needle.

Go slow and guide very gently allowing your machine to feed the stitch.

The pattern repeat will be more even this way and you’ll have fewer skipped stitches.

Skipped stitches are usually caused by going too fast or a dull needle.

 

Decorative stitches look amazing stitched with a twin needle
Decorative stitches look amazing stitched with a twin needle

 

As in our previous post don’t be afraid to flip your quilt over and stitch upside down for a differentlook.

 

For something different stitch decorative stitches upside down
For something different stitch decorative stitches upside down

 

All you really need to get good at quilting using a twin needle is the tips in this week-long tutorial, time to explore the varieties of stitching and SCHMETZ twin needle as a trusted tool.

Enjoy!

 

A variety of SCHMETZ twin needles appropriate to quilting
A variety of SCHMETZ twin needles appropriate to quilting

 

 

This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4: The modern flair of twin needle quilting – embrace the zigzag

Julie Plotniko is a quilting teacher, blogger and designer from Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Teaching for almost 40 years, recent credits include Quilt Canada 2016 and 2017, many quilt guilds and groups throughout Canada and CreativFestival Sewing and Craft Shows in Victoria, Abbotsford and Toronto. When not on the road Julie works and teaches at Snip & Stitch Sewing Center in Nanaimo, BC. Her favorite things include free motion quilting (standard bed and mid-arm machines), precision piecing, scrap quilting, machine embroidery, blogging, designing and of course teaching. Julie believes that to see a student go from tentative beginnings to having confidence in themselves and their abilities is one of the greatest rewards that life has to offer.

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