Sunday, May 14, 2017

Simple Quilting With Hand Embroidery

It's amazing what a difference a little hand embroidery can make, even if, like me, your embroidery skills are very basic. And if the embroidery also serves as quilting, the whole piece won't take that much longer than machine quilting. Especially if  you're making something small.

As I've blogged about many times, I've been going through a major squares obsession - dealing out tiny colorful squares like cards from a deck, then arranging them in ways that give them movement. It's soooo therapeutic. Although I machine quilted most of the resulting pieces, I also hand embroidered some. Here's one - a modified hashtag/tic-tac-toe board. The squares are 1" (finished). This is how it looked before finishing:
 Below - after using embroidery floss to add "rice" stitching in the central areas, running stitches around the outside, and in the ditches...
A closeup of the rice stitches. (Learn more about it here.)
Rice and running stitches:

Imperfect is fine! I did the quilting/embroidery after the whole piece had been put together and pillowcase-turned.

 For the next piece, I did the embroidery through just the top layer and the batting. I don't necessarily recommend this approach.
Here's the batting side. The problem was all those knots around the edges. They got in the way when I stitched the right sides together (leaving a turning gap.)
In hindsight, I should have waited until it was turned outward, with the backing in place, before the embroidery.
The last step was to stitch a bit of hand-dyed lace trim around the edges....
...and put a button in the middle (of course.).

Just for comparison's sake, here's a machine quilted piece from this series.
I won't say the machine quilting is worse than the hand quilting (it's okay if you say it), but it is a very different mood. (The glass eyeball bead in the middle also helps set a different mood.) 
Whether hand or machine quilted, these pieces have made good gifts from the heart and the hands! (And the eyeballs.)


  1. Your rice stitch looks like the stitch I learned from Susan Shie in a class in 2004 (we may have called it "chicken scratch", I've slept since then so it's blurry). I'm using it a lot because it's so *soothing*--just sit outside and don't think about anything.

    1. You're right, it is also called a seed stitch, Radish! It is indeed incredibly relaxing!!! Thanks for the comment!


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