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Stippling with different size stitches is OK [Defining space in a quilt]

by Sarah Vanderburgh

This week’s cushion cover project has us making our own bit of sunshine to remind us to let the light in – there is always something to be grateful for! At this time of year, the change in season is marked by more sunshine, but also many rainy days. In yesterday’s post, we stitched the sun itself using one of the radiant stitches on the performance icon. Today we’ll quilt some rays of sunshine onto the cushion cover using the built-in stippling stitches on the PFAFF performance icon.

Built-in Stippling Stitches

One of the eight stitch menus on the PFAFF performance icon is all stippling stitches. There’s a variety of designs to choose from and it can take some time to decide which ones you want to use for your project. I knew I wanted to make the quilting look like rays of sunshine and to define separate spaces on the background of the cushion. Different spaces can then be free-motion quilted to add some texture to the cushion cover if desired.

Stippling stitches built in quilting stitches on a computer screen; PFAFF performance icon

Stippling stitches menu on the Multi Touch screen

I started with the number one stippling stitch because the serpentine curves are symmetrical – something I like in quilting. I used this stitch on every third radiant stitch and started quilting at the stitch and went right across the cushion following the angle of the stitch. This stitch required using presser foot 1A – the Fancy Stitch Foot for IDT System.

The IDT System is by far my most favorite feature of the PFAFF line of sewing machines. This system guides the fabric layers evenly under the needle and engages with most presser feet – of course, not for stitches where the needle is not just going forward. You can watch a little video about this IDT system which lets you see this feature in motion.

Stippling stitch rays of sunshine on a white square piece of fabric

Quilting the rays of sunshine with a stippling stitch

I really like how the rays turned out! At this point, I decided to use a larger serpentine stitch to continue quilting from each of the remaining stitches from the sun. I considered doing free-motion stitching in each section – and you can, but I know most of that quilting will be covered by the letters which also need to be stitched down. The second stippling stitch is larger and requires the Maxi Stitch Foot which doesn’t work with the IDT System; this is because these stitches cover a wider area and go from side to side. The two different stippling stitches work together to create rays of sunshine on the cushion cover.

Stippling stitches serpentine quilting on a light-colored square piece of fabric; PFAFF performance icon

Stippling stitches finished

Prepare the cushion cover for fusing the letters

With the quilting done, it’s time to trim the cushion cover layers square. I trimmed the top to 16½” square. Then it was time to start the process of fusing the letters in place. First, I laid them out and used my quilting ruler to help line up the letters across the top of the cover. I moved the letters until I got an even margin around the edges of the cushion top, approximately 1½” on each side. You’ll notice for the top row of words, I positioned the ‘e’s so the top edge of all the letters is even.

Applique letters spelling ‘let the sun shine’ with a quilting ruler used to line up the top edges of the letters on the top row.

Using a quilting ruler to line up the top edges of all the letters in the first row of words

Next, I used the ruler to line up the last letter in each row evenly and then positioned the remaining letters across the cushion top. I was pleased to see the large ‘S’ sit just above the radiant stitches of the sun. With the letters in position, it’s time to peel the fusible and iron them in place for tomorrow’s big day of stitching!

Applique letters spelling ‘let the sun shine in’ with a quilting ruler used to line up the top edges of the letters on the top row.

Letters in place ready for fusing

Today we used the PFAFF performance icon’s built-in stippling stitches to finish quilting the cushion cover top. In the next post we’ll stitch down all the letters – see you then!

PFAFF performance icon

PFAFF performance icon

This is part 3 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 2: The ‘Radiant Stitch’ on the PFAFF performance icon: How to succeed


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