Sunday, January 11, 2015

Slow Stitching by Machine

Does machine quilting r-e-a-l-l-y slow count as "slow stitching" ?

I had originally intended to machine quilt the above quilt using an "all over" design, similar to this one below:

About 3/4 of the way through I had to admit it just did not look good. I believe it was a combination of the small size of the blocks (6") the variety of colors and patterns, and the wrong color of thread. I ripped it all out.

Starting over, I decided to stick with what I knew would work, and proceeded to quilt in the ditch, first down the seam between the rows, then on the diagonal between the blocks.

Notice I'm not using the "stitch-in-the-ditch" foot. I like that foot, but when I'm stitching on a variety of colors from very dark to very light (I'm using dark thread) I really need to bury my stitching line snugly into the ditch, so it totally disappears. I find the only way to do this is to go extremely slow - like one stitch at a time - and I need to be able to keep my eye on the needle the whole time. Which you can do more easily with the open-toe foot.

I'm literally stitching at a rate of about 60 stitches per minute. That's one stitch per second. My Janome does this beautifully, btw. 

That accomplished, I am now proceeding to hand quilt in the blocks, and on the zig-zag "sashing".

And I'm giving perle cotton another try. As before, I'm finding it quite tough, which is stressful on my hands. Therefore I must proceed even more slowly.

I sure like the look of it, though.

I'm linking up with Kathy's "Slow Stitching Sunday" where you can see what all the other "slow stitchers" are up to today.  Check it out! 


ps  I would sure love to hear any tips anyone might have on quilting with perle cotton!


  1. I quilt by hand with perle cotton #8 often, but my mom prefers #12. I like to use Thread Heaven- it is described as a "thread conditioner & protectant." It helps to make the perle cotton go more smoothly through the fabric and prevent fraying. Jo-Ann's sells it in their notions department, but they are almost twice as expensive as my LQS (use a coupon!). It is a small 1 inch cube and you drag the perle cotton through it--make sure you knot your perle cotton before putting it in the Thread Heaven.

  2. I found perle cotton hard on my hands too. I larger needle might help?
    I really am enjoying the Aurifil 12 wt. thread for hand quilting - nice texture but not hard to pull through.
    Thanks for linking up!

  3. I've tried Perle Cotton and needed a needle with a big eye to make a hole large enough to pull the thread through. It seems like using a shorter strand is a good idea too--the thread tends to lose it's twist and look worn when it's pulled through too much. I'm no expert--just my personal observations. Love your sampler quilt!

  4. I don't like using perle cotton #8. Way to hard. I like using presencial #16 that is harder to find but well worth the effort. Piece o cake designs sells it on line and some quilt shops do also. I love the look of your stitches too! I am starting a machine quilting project this week, my first attempt since I first tried over 10 years ago. I definitely say the kind of machine quilting you are doing is slow stitching. I hope that approach helps me be successful, but it is hard to get the lovely look of hand quilting, isn't it?

  5. Hey Sandy, The top looks so great! And I know the quilting is going to look great too! I've never used perle cotton. I have used 2 strand embroidery thread but that's a more primitive look, but not as hard to thread or work with you hands. cheers, CW

  6. A larger needle helps tremendously with the Perle Cotton and of course the larger # of the Perle Cotton slides through the fabric easier.:) Your top is looking wonderful!

  7. Several years ago, I hand quilted a clamshell quilt with Perle Cotton. I loved the look but definitely slow stitching! Yes, use a large needle and a shorter length of the Perle Cotton.

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