Machine-embroidered Cutwork

[Definition of cutwork embroidery: In cutwork, small shapes are cut out of the ground material, the cut edges are embroidered, and the vacant space is often filled in with decorative stitches.

This embroidery technique, traditionally wrought by hand, has a longstanding history in Europe, with its beauty most spectacularly exhibited by the Italians.]


I had to do a test on doing cutwork using machine embroidery to make sure it really works before doing a real project for Creative Machine Embroidery appearing in their March/April issue next year.  It turned out to be a fun little test even though I had no idea what to expect.

It would appear that the style of the design I used resembles the style for Spanish cutwork according to Lace Fairy:

I learned that using machine embroidery to achieve the cutwork result, I have to trim the fabric REALLY REALLY close to the guiding stitch, or else I would get the annoying fuzzies (frayed edge of the linen) around the satin stitches:

After the water-soluble stabilizer was rinsed off, I trimmed the fuzzies off as best as I could.  I layered the linen over a piece of lavender fabric, and thought maybe I could make it into a satchel to give as a gift:

That ends my little escapade in the world of machine embroidery!  It’s now time for me to tend to some housework!

Have a beautiful day, everyone! :)

Click here for a post with more updates and progress.


A bit o’ “Behind the Scenes”

After days of playing around, I finally hunkered down and worked on another deadline. This is for a quilted pillow project that will appear in Bernina’s November issue of “Through the Needle” (as always, only a partial shot of the final project before it’s officially published):

You can see that the quilt sandwich is still in the hoop from having the motif machine embroidered. That’s basically how I have gone about making these for the machine embroidery aspect of the projects. Click on the pictures if you are interested to read the posts written about them:

A tip for doing monogram using machine embroidery – always use the same thread for both the top and bobbin threads – the result is flawless that way!

Have a fabulous day, everyone!

Old World and Patriotic

In honor of America’s upcoming celebration of her independence, I thought this quilt is apt because of its colors. The center block has machine-embroidered motif with free-motion quilted background quilting:

I used a fabric that has the flavor of the “Old World patriotic look.” The sawtooth border was decided upon learning its popularity in 18-19th century pieced quilts. Perfect marriage of the two!!

Then I decided to try for the first time some free-handed feathers. I thought even if I messed up, the busy fabric would cover any unsightly quilting. But I was very pleased with the effect, and have since loved to free-hand my feathers for background quilting:

*** Happy Monday, Everyone! ***

Asian-flavored Quilting News!

For the Show and Tell hosted by Kelli this week, I will show my latest published quilt:

I received a complimentary copy of the July/August 2008 issue of Creative Machine Embroidery Magazine. This is my first time being published in this magazine:

“Pretty as a Peacock” is one of the projects in the magazine:

The quilt being draped over my wing back chair. Doesn’t look too bad, does it? Don’t worry, it will be folded up nicely and draped somewhere else in the house… this post has further explanation:

I enjoyed working with the Asian-themed fabrics from Robert Kaufman, especially the fuzzy-cutting part to get the exact pattern what I wanted to showcase in the squares:

The embroidery designs are from Zundt Designs, embroidered with slight thread color varations:

Quilting shown in the backing:

I was browsing through the rest of the magazine, and guess what it is on page for the advertisement for the “Quilting & Embroidery” Magazine? IVORY SPRING!!!

Kudos to the editorial staff!

Are your chairs lonely?

As a quilter, I tend to find it a bit challenging to incorporate my quilts in my home decor because:

a. I am a dishaholic – my plates and other things compete with my quilts for wall space

b. I am very particular about what goes on the walls

c. I am very indecisive about what goes on the walls – it takes months for me to decide on anything

So, my favorite way to display my quilts without having to involve the walls is to simply neatly fold the quilts (that’s important to me) and drape the quilts over my wingback chairs! I admire and love the look of how quilts flow in a free-form way and drape casually over chairs in magazines, but somehow I can’t stand that in my own house. Back to my original point, draping quilts over chairs allows me to change out the quilts with the seasons, and it also allows me to actually use the quilts when I am relaxing in the chairs.


I am showing you how my neatly folded “Kitty Kollage” is draped over my chair. This quilt is my favorite scrappy applique quilt to-date simply because I haven’t done that many applique quilts. It has over 50 different fabrics – did I have fun picking out those fabrics!

This quilt had appeared in the 2007 Spring Issue of “Quilting and Embroidery” presented by Creative Machine Embroidery. I had the opportunity to work with a wonderful editor on my very first published quilt (thanks, Annette!). My multi-talented husband drew the kitten pattern for me. He also often acts as my color consultant, and in this case, he picked out the blue sashing to give the quilt an extra “oomph” and set all the colors off in a very complimentary way:

The kittens were appliqued by using traditional method, while the flowers were by machine embroidery. My favorite part of the quilt is the flower quilting motif that appears at various places through the quilt. I hope you are able to see it:

Since I have only quilted a little more than two and half years while working as an engineer in research for most of that period of time, I don’t have an extensive collection of quilts suitable for draping over chairs. So, this darling quilt would probably stay draped on that chair for the rest of spring and summer. I might need to make a fall quilt so my chair won’t feel too lonely when the kitties are gone come fall. Hmmmm…. definitely an idea worth pursuing, don’t you think?

So, are your chairs lonely? Try keeping them company with a throw, a quilt, an afghan or a blanket that you have kept in your closet and see how your chair becomes invitingly comfy and homey instantaneously. I would love to know if you too drape stuff over your chairs.

A final disclaimer: there is of course not a correct way to drape – neatly (and symmetrically, I might add) folded like mine or free-flowing like in the magazines. Till next time! :)

Quilting news mixed in with a smidgen o’ dish-aholism!

Yesterday, I received complimentary copies of the “Quilting & Embroidery” Summer Issue presented by Quiltmaker.

You see, the quilt after which this blog is named is included in the magazine released this month!

So, I broke out my Russian Lomonosov “Guipure” Teacups and saucers and dessert plates and played tea with the quilt as a table topper. Guipure is a name applied to needlepoint and pillow laces made with gimp of fine wires whipped round with silk and cotton threads, in which the ground is made of ties or brides, rather a net. And Russia definitely has a long-standing lace-making history (since the 13th century):

I think the editorial team at Quiltmaker did a fabulous job in the layout for the article:

You would get to know a little more about me from the designer description:

A close-up shot of the center swag:

Another close-up shot with different lighting:

A few technical details – Ivory Spring was free-motion quilted with silk thread over wool batt! The tranpunto “effect” from using the wool batt is simply scrumptious! If you have never used wool batt for quilting, consider giving it a try.

Now, you didn’t think I would leave by not showing you the details of how the Guipure lace was interpreted in these Russian china pieces, did you? :)

Back to “Quilting & Embroidery”… I have thoroughly enjoyed this magazine (again, thanks to the Quiltmaker staff)! Do get a copy for yourself as a reference guide to many quilting and machine embroidery techniques. You will have loads of fun making some of the projects!