The modern flair of twin needle quilting – embrace the zigzag

In our previous posts using SCHMETZ twin needles we looked at how to let your walking foot workits magic as well as free motion quilting.

Exploring a variety of quilting methods using SCHMETZ twin needle.

Today we’ll use both of these techniques as we embrace the appearance of a zigzag.

How a twin needle makes a stitch

As we learned in part one, to make a stitch with a twin needle our sewing machine requires threethreads, two through the needles and one bobbin.

When the single bobbin thread catches both the right and left needle it forms a bridge between the two.

This gives the appearance of a zigzag stitch on the back even when you are doing a straight stitch.

Back of 1.6 straight line stitching

The wider the space between the needles the more pronounced this false zigzag is.

Back of 4.0 straight line stitching

Make the appearance of a zigzag work for you

We can choose to minimize the appearance of the zigzag by using a narrow twin needle.

A backing fabric with a busy print will also help hide the stitching.

I choose to embrace the zigzag and let it become part of my quilting design.

After all, we have already decided to do something unusual by using our twin needle for quilting.

If using a printed backing choose a thread color to accent the print so that your stitching will show.

Accent the colors in the print

Gridwork that alternates between stitching from the front and back makes wonderful use of the decorative element created by the bobbin thread.

Diagonal grid that alternates stitching from the front and back

We can highlight the appearance of a zigzag by adjusting the threading or stitch settings on our sewing machine. Some examples below, from left to right:

Thread the needles with one color and the bobbin with another for a more visible ladder effect.

Tighten the top tension and shorten the stitch length.

Thread the needles with one color and the bobbin with a contrasting color. You’ll get the look of a bordered satin stitch.

Use three of the same color threads and slightly loosen the top tension for a honeycomb appearance.

Variegated thread in the bobbin will give a different appearance, sometimes subtle sometimes extreme.

A wide twin needle, a slightly reduced top tension and all three threads the same color will create a pronounced honeycomb.

Adjust the stitch settings or thread colors to highlight the zigzag

Matchstick quilting stitched from the back looks completely different.

Be sure to draw frequent positioning lines on the back to keep this stitching square on the front.

Matchstick quilting looks completely different stitched upside down

Embrace the zigzag and twin needle free motion quilt your design from the back.


Accent whimsical free motion quilting by stitching from the back

It’s OK to practice! Start with something small. Your friends will all wonder “how did you do that?!”

Join me again tomorrow for our final installment of the week as we double the fun and use our SCHMETZ twin needles for quilting with decorative stitches.

This is part 4 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 3: Free motion quilting with a twin needle – instant ribbon stippling magic

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Sandy Allen February 3, 2019 - 11:29 am
I have a twin needle and didn't know how to use it. Now I do thanks to these posts!
Julie Plotniko February 4, 2019 - 6:02 pm
Hi Sandy I'm glad you enjoyed the information in this post. You might also want to look at my series More fun with twin needle quilting - creating a needle organizer. Check it out at QUILTsocial. Julie
Carrie C. June 13, 2018 - 12:14 pm
I love all the tips and tricks. Can't wait to read patt 5!
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