Experimenting with machine embroidery on a macrame cord table mat

I’m here with another exciting day of embroidery with the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90. I’m still working on the tote bag, so you won’t see the finished bag until tomorrow. Today, I’m making an embroidered table mat, and tomorrow I’ll actually take something apart!

Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90

Many of us love to do embroidery, and we always ask ourselves – is it easier to make something from scratch so we can embroider the pieces before assembly? Or what about a ready-made item – how hard are they to embellish? We could have an entire post dedicated to that topic!

You need to evaluate each item you wish to make/or embellish and look at its construction method to help you determine when to do the embroidery.

I’m trying an experiment today. Have you ever made a rope bowl? I’ve made numerous rope bowls over the years, and I’ve had an excellent experience with the cotton clothesline cord. But I found this fantastic looking macrame cord, and I thought it could also work. The macrame cord is quite soft, so I knew it wouldn’t make a sturdy bowl, but I thought it might make an excellent candle mat or decorative table mat for a centerpiece. And the cord is soft enough to attempt to embroider a denser design on it.

I gathered my supplies: macrame cord (comes in various colors), Husqvarna Viking Topstitch needles, and black sewing thread for the top and bobbin.

Materials for the circle mat

A quick note about the macrame cord: it’s very soft compared to the clothesline cord, and I did struggle a bit with it. You’ll see what I mean in a moment. I’ll repeat the experiment tomorrow with a heavier cord.

The hardest part of this process is starting, and the softer cord made it a bit more of a challenge. But roll up some of the macrame cord into a one-inch circle.

Creating the center of the circle mat

I used a zigzag stitch to secure everything in place and started by stitching two lines of the zigzag stitch to form a cross in the center. Because this cording is stretchy and thinner than the clotheslines cord, don’t make the zigzag too wide, or it’ll miss the cording. You’ll need to experiment with the size of cord that you use.

The zigzag settings

You may want to add a few extra zigzag stitching lines through the center to ensure the coil is firmly attached to itself. If you don’t, you have the potential of the center buckling out. You’ll see I’m using a matching thread; while I could stitch this together with a contrasting thread, the center can be a challenge, so it’s always a good idea to get the center secure with a matching thread.

Now it’s time to start going around in circles! Position the center under the needle, so the cording is going in a clockwise direction. That way, regardless of how large you make your item, it will form to the left of the needle. This step is essential if you are making something that is dimensional, such as a bowl. In this case, my circle mat is flat, but it’s still a good habit to have the bulk of your item to the left of the needle. Notice I’m using the B Foot and the decorative stitch plate.

Adding the cording in a clockwise direction

It was a challenge to work with the macrame cording because it was soft and wanted to buckle. Your job is to keep the item as flat as possible. You don’t want to pull the cording too tight, nor do you want it too loose, so use your finger to keep a consistent tension on it as you go around and around.

Keep a light tension on the cord.

I’m using the B Foot, so it’s easy to use the center red line as a guide to keeping the stitched coil and the new line of cording centered. You can see the zigzag stitches in this photo.

Using the B Foot to stitch a zigzag stitch

Once the circle mat was the size I wanted, I cut the cording and zigzagged over the edge. You could make a loop here if you wanted to have the raw edge of the cord tucked into the piece. You have options!

Finishing off the end of the circle mat

During the stitching process, I cut the thread and took the circle mat to the Singer Ironing and Crafting Station, where I used a press cloth and steam and pressed the circle mat flat using the Singer SteamCraft Plus iron. I did this several times during the stitching process and one last time when it was complete.

Press the circle mat, using a pressing cloth.

I also had to go back and fill in some areas where the zigzag stitching didn’t catch the cord properly. I was experimenting with the width of the zigzag stitch, and while I didn’t want the width too narrow, I didn’t want it too wide, either. You’ll have to experiment with the width, as it will depend on the diameter of the cord you’re using.

I found it challenging to use the thinner cord! But any gaps are easy to fix – go back and add some zigzag stitching over the areas where the cord didn’t catch the first time. And because I’m using black thread, no one will be the wiser! It’s much easier with a bit thicker cording.

Adding extra zigzag stitches to correct the operator errors!

Here’s the circle mat. It turned out way better than I expected – I love it. It’s got enough body to work as a mat on the table, but this macrame cord does not have enough body to be used as a bowl.

A black mat made from macrame cord

I decided to forge ahead and use up the entire skein of macrame cord, and I made three circle mats, each about 8” in diameter. On one of them, I didn’t notice that some of the rounds weren’t stitched properly, and it buckled. However, after a good pressing, they lie mostly flat!

Three 8” circle mats using macrame cord and a sewing machine

I had also purchased a skein of orange macrame cord, and for the life of me, this color did not want to lie flat. So I gave in and made a small bowl – perfect for holding a snack.

A snack bowl made with coiled macrame cord

But now, we’ll take those circle mats and embroider something on them! That was my reason for making them.

I decided it would be fun to try out the Spiro Wizard in the mySewnet Embroidery Software. I could play with the wizard for hours and still create something new each time. The possibilities are endless as you can change the curves, the number and style of petals, and so much more.

The Spiro Wizard will also generate random patterns, and look what I got! I love this design, so I decided to use it for my circle mats.

The Spiro Wizard in mySewnet embroidery software

I turned on the Designer Ruby 90 and hit Send to wirelessly send the design to the emboidery machine. No USB or cables required! I love technology, and the entire mySewnet Ecosystem, which allows wireless transfer of designs, among other exciting options, is the best.

Sending the embroidery design to the embroidery machine using the mySewnet Cloud

Hmmm, now I have a problem. How will I hoop my circle mats? I’m using the 200 x 200 hoop, and as you can see, the circle mat fits nicely inside the hoop, but there’s nothing to hoop. I could use the metal hoop, but it isn’t quite large enough for the design I want to stitch.

The circle mat is too small to be hooped traditionally.

That’s where I turn to the Inspira brand of stabilizers and look at the water-soluble stabilizers. I’ll use Aqua Magic Plus, which is a sticky water soluble stabilizer.

Inspira Aqua Magic Plus stabilizer

I’ll hoop the Aqua Magic Plus with the paper side up. Once it’s in the hoop, I’ll score the paper’s surface and peel it away, revealing a sticky surface that my circle mat will adhere to. Brilliant!

Removing the paper to reveal the sticky surface of the water-soluble stabilizer

Here’s a tip: Depending on what you want to embroider and what design you want, it can be a challenge to visualize the placement of the design, and often the scale of the design. Be sure to print out a paper template at 100% scale to help with this.

Print your embroidery templates at 100%

I cut completely around the design to see how it would fit on the circle mats, and it fit perfectly. Now I can hoop and start stitching.

The scale of the Spiro design is a good fit for the circle mat.

I used chalk to draw placement lines on the circle mat, which made it super easy to position the mat on the sticky surface of the Aqua Magic Plus.

Positioning the circle mat on the sticky stabilizer

I set up the Designer Ruby 90 for embroidery, with embroidery needles, the Sensor Q foot, the straight stitch plate, and the appropriate thread color. I put the same red thread in the bobbin as I’m using on top, as I want this design to look as nice on the back as it does on the front.

You should double-check the placement once the hoop is attached, and you can see that I was slightly out, but it was a breeze to move the circle mat on the sticky stabilizer and get it lined up perfectly.

Last chance to check the center point!

There are almost 13,000 stitches in the design (I chose a triple stitch to make the lines of stitching show up on the depth of the cord). I hit Start, and this design is stitched out in approximately 30 minutes.

The embroidery motif loaded in the Embroidery Stitch-Out screen

Oh my goodness, this is looking amazing!!!!

Starting the embroidery design stitch-out

I’ll leave you with this picture today. The design is about one third stitched out. It is amazing. The scale is right on; the triple stitch was a good choice. It’s centered perfectly, and I can’t wait to see it finished.

The Spiro embroidery motif is one-third stitched out.

Be sure to come back tomorrow to see the finished Spiro design on the circle mat. And I have the finished tote bag to show you, and a few other things I didn’t have time for earlier this week.

What a joy it is to do machine embroidery with the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90. The technology, along with all the fabulous sewing machine and embroidery features, make it so easy and fun to do machine embroidery!

Have a super day!


This is part 4 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 3: The JoyOS Advisor makes choosing decorative stitches a snap!

Go to part 5: Using the Spiro Wizard in mySewnet Embroidery Software

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