My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Friday, June 6, 2014

How to machine quilt around hand embroidery.

Recently I've been quilting a secret-squirrel project.  I think I'm safe showing you the snippet above, but you'll have to wait to see the whole thing, sorry.

I included a little bit of backstitch embroidery and thought I'd share a few things I've learnt about machine quilting around hand embroidery.

  • Don't quilt over your embroidery.  Just like beautiful appliqué is spoilt by an all-over quilting design, so is stitchery.
  •  Use a complimentary design.  A vine and flower design is good for floral quilts, but a square spiral might look a little odd.  Stippling and other filler designs work well to push the background back and highlight your embroidery.
  • Quilt through the design if appropriate.  You can see in the photo above that I've quilted the inside of some letters but not others.  The ones I haven't quilted stand out and I'll need to go back and fill them in or they will draw your eye when the quilt is on the wall.  
  • Go slow when you are getting close to your embroidery.  You can run your quilting line down along your embroidery edge and then move back out rather than stopping and starting your quilting every time you get to the embroidery.  You can even use a stiletto to gently move your embroidery stitches out of the way if they are not too small and tight.
  • If you do accidentally quilt over your embroidery, an appropriately coloured fabric marker is your best friend!  Use a white gel marker if your embroidery is white or cream and your quilting thread is dark.
What about you?  Have you ever quilted around hand embroidery?  Do you have any other tips to add?


  1. Nope - none of my embroidery projects have ever got close enough to being finished to attempt my quilting skills over them. I do know it is tricky - because it is tempting to do minimal quilting, to let the stitchery shine... but at the same time, not enough can look odd. The old fine line again. Enjoy the weekend slogging on the boat!

  2. Leeanne is probably the expert here, but I like to go around the outside of the stitcheries in fine thread so it's barely seen, but obviously quilted. Then either lots of quilting or not much, whatever is called for!! I have seen the quilting going right over the stitcheries as if they weren't there and decided that wasn't the look I was after!

  3. I'm commenting to test my new email account for comments. Wow - what happened to my formatting?! Could that font get any larger?!


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