Now that you have everything ready, and your design picked out, its time to get piecing everything together! You need to create the design first and then stitch out the whole design, including the piecing all at once. For the purpose of this tutorial blog, I am going to split up the digitizing computer work and the at the hoop work, so you can understand what each step means in the final design.
In the hoop we have our background material, one layer of the batting and then the backing, all hooped at once.
You can do this part with any digitizing software that you may have because all you are doing is adding a few carefully placed single stitched lines around the shape.
We are going to be using Wilcom Hatch for this design.
The first thing you need to do is create an outer border for the design – thats going to be the size of the final quilt block. Make sure there is enough space around the design for the piecing – a couple of inches will do.
Once you have the square done and entered, its time to add the quilting lines. This may be a little confusing at first, but once you do them, you will understand the procedure.
First, on the computer, you can add some straight lines in a single stitch to the right and the left of the design. Be sure to overlap a little bit on each end, as well as adding a little bit at the top and bottom of each line. This is going to be your stitch down line – and its going to make a nice straight line for your material. You should have something that looks like this –
(the motive stitch border to the left is just moved off of the design so I can do the overlap properly, we will be adding it back later.
IMPORTANT: MAKE SURE YOU DO THE STITCH DOWN LINES IN DIFFERENT COLORS SO THAT THE MACHINE WILL STOP AFTER EACH COLOR. YOU HAVE WORK TO DO IN BETWEEN THE STOPS.
On the machine, after your design stitches out, but before the stitch down lines stitch, you will need to have your side material ready to go. Once the machine stops, you can place your material on you design, face down, with the bigger part to the inside of the design.
Once you have the line stitched properly, then you take the hoop off the machine, and carefully finger press the material over to the other side. I used a bit of painter’s tape to hold the material nice and tight, so we don’t get any movement when the other parts are stitching out. You also want the material nice and tight and properly set for the final box stitching that will hold everything in place and also give you some nice lines to sew the design together to a backing.
Here is the picture where I have folded the material over, finger pressed (or use a small appliqué iron)
Now it is starting to look like a quilt design! Repeat the same steps with the other side with the pretty blue fabric: place material face down, stitch the line, take the hoop off of the machine and fold the material back so you see the pretty design, finger press and tape it down on the edge with Painters tape.
The next step, once you have both sides looking pretty and taped down, is to take your scissors and cut the material top and bottom, to trim up the edges so that when we do our top and bottom, there is not a bulk of material, and we will have nice sharp corners. you can cut a line with scissors about the same level as the end of the line that we digitized – a little bit longer than the design, but not too much!
Next blog: doing the top and bottom material. Its similar to the sides, but you need to digitize the lines a bit differently.
So again, I am showing you the steps out of order so that each step has a picture of what you do with it. When you are working on your quilt blocks, digitize the whole thing first and then take it to the machine.
Happy digitizing and piecing in the hoop everyone!