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outling applique work


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Hi There

I am a newbie and once again asking for help from experienced longarmers.

I have a quilt that has a lot of appliqued flowers and stems and vinelike work on it. The customer wants all the applique work outlined. Does anyone have any helpful hints for me. I have a micro drive and have heard this is very helpful so I will put that on before I start and do a practice run. I am wondering about needle size, etc. The quilt size is 84 x 84. My machine is the Millenium. Any advice you have would be great.

A while ago I asked for help with stitching a diagonal design in a log cabin king size. I had an awesome response fom a lot of you and ended up turning the quilt on point and using my channel lock. This worked awesome and the quilt came out real nice but it was a lot of work trying to keep tension on the quilt.. Thanks for all your hints on how to do this.

This forum is very helpful for me and I am glad I can throw a question out there and know I'll get a lot of help.

Custom quilting is a challenge for me but I want to master the techniques so I can work from the front of the machine as well as do the pantos.

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I just finished one that was embroidered frogs. I outlined each one of them. Came out really cute.

Your micro-drive will give you a lot of control. Use an extended base and a ruler or template to help keep your work steady. I used Megan's Best Ruler (the smallest one) and Jody Beamish's new mini-curve. Both of them worked great. Just take your time. This was the first time I had ever really used a template or a ruler to keep my movements steady/straight and it took a few minutes to get used to it. Once I got used to it I found it was easy to use.

Phyllis Hughes

Oklahoma City

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I have a Millie and am working on a quilt with lots of applique as we speak. I use my micro drive all the time and it will help you alot once you get use to using it. You might want to experiment with your speed. I have been using my stitch regulator and slowing the speed down if I need to do lots of curves and real detailed work.

You might try doing a search on this chat area for micro drive and see what kind of instructions you find. I know Myrna Ficken has posted some tips on using the micro drive to outline. You might be able to email her if you don't hear from others.

Hope this helps - good luck.

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When I do this I like to use my small oval ruler and my dainty ditcher ruler. I need to practice more with my micro-drive. Just hadn't spent enough time using it so far. Someday. Let us know how it comes out.

PS. You know this is a great forum. Been a great deal of help to this newbie as well.

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Hi Carole,

This is what ?I? do when going around appliqu?, using my micro-drive and base expander. I get to sit ;) I turn my speed down to a slow pace that is comfortable for me. I flip the left handle of my MD back and use the right knob only. With my left hand to steady myself and I can maneuver the fabric if necessary to keep the stitches right in the ditch of the appliqu?. This gives me great control. Remember, I am going very slowly. I SID like this at times as well. When using the SR I don?t have the easy of movement that I like.


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Guest Linda S

I spent all day yesterday outlining applique and am about to go back for more! :(:P I do use my stitch regulator and a small oval template in my left hand, although I find that most often, I'm just driving around and not really using the template. If I get to a nice long curve that I want to do quickly, I might use it. Once I finish outlining all this applique, I get to crosshatch this whole quilt. Sometimes custom work just can't pay you enough! I would dearly love to use my circle lord for the crosshatching, which would make it sooo simple, but my customer's piecing is atrocious. I'll have to use a ruler.


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Carole - It has not been mentioned yet what kind of thread you are using.

Either match your background, or better yet - use an invisable thread. You

will find that even if you happen to stitch once or so on a color - it hides

pretty good. Just take your time with it, breathe and relax!

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When I do outline for applique I like to sit. I use my stitch regulater (I have a Gammill so I have no idea what your micro thing does). Iwill brace my forearms on the roller and work my way around at whatever slow speed works on the shape I am doing. I always do this when I can take my time and once in awhile I have to frog a smidgen when I wobble but that happens less and less. I do keep a guide nearby and if there is a long straight streach I might use it and sometimes not.

I saw a DVD someone loaned me when I first got my machine and the lady was showing custome techniques and she did not even use a guide to SITD as she said if you get good you can go faster and just as accurate without it. I find the key is to brace your forearms on that roller so you have better control...........................this works really well for me.

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Thank You so much everyone for your helpful tips and suggestions. I am going to load a practice quilt first and get used to the micro drive that my son put on for me today.

When I am finished I will figure out how to post a picture.

Using the right handle of the MD and going slow makes a lot of sense. I also just purchased a nice comfy stool and I will be able to sit.

Happy Quilting


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Love it, Caron. Have seen the pic before but enjoy seeing it again! I can't remember if it is your quilt? If so...good applique work. I think it is Piece o Cake Designs, right? I love their patterns! I've tried all sorts of methods of applique work (it is a passion of mine) and I'm trying to get used to their needleturn method, I really enjoy the process.

I'm not having much luck at going around applique work, so I tend to just bring the background filler as close as possible. I have a small applique wall-hanging of my own to do sometime so maybe I should just force myself to hang in there with outlining ...and by the end of the quilt I should be pretty good, right????

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I don't have my LA yet, but I'm taking classes and watching DVD's, etc trying to be as prepared as possible. I took a class by Sharon Shamber at the Houton Festival this year and she taught specifically about working on applique. I hope I'm not "out of line" by contributing her method here. She said to do all the backgound pattern first what ever it is you decide to do. Use your micro drive and sit down. Bring the background design as close to the applique as you can. What happens is it packs down the background and in doing so it "opens up" the area around the applique and you can get in there really close to do the outline. The tighter teh background design the more it opens up. I do needleturn applique and I'm in favor of quilting in the applique. Caron's work is excellent! I really like the background on that!

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I do not applique but I love to look at it. I have only done

one applique quilt and just did a simple echo. I think that if

I did take the time and effort required for good applique, I

would want to preserve the design. I have heard of some

quilters who put veins in leaves and small touches of

stitching "on" the applique itself and it does give it nice

accents. Though I think you lose some of the puffiness of

the applique design.

I would love to hear from applique quilters. What are the

rules about quilting on top of the applique?

Do you or your customers want lots of fill to make the

applieque design pop?

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Sticking my neck out again! I've loaded pics on my webshots of applique blocks I'm working on for a quilt for my daughter. The patterns are for Hawaiian applique in 15" blocks. Some of the patterns were for 22" blocks but I reduced them to fit in the 15" so the curves and points got really tight! I'm going to quilt it when I get my Millie next year, if I have it done by next year. :D I'm going to do intense fill and something different inside the applique on each block and use a batt with a lot of loft to make the applique pop, that way when I do a little somethin' - somethin inside the applique that will be noticable also. Hoping to do something like Joann Hoffman does when I get good enough. All the yellows and reds are all diffrent shades in those color families, all different types of patterns adn I'm putting it all together with a very black, black, black 1" sashing, same on the back and outside border. Opinions would be appreciated....

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Kenna - Very nice blocks! You have what, eight done already? How many

for the quilt? You should have that done by next year - no problem!!

Oh - like the lady who picked up her Double Wedding ring quilt today - said

she would like it by Christmas if possible...... I felt bad because like I told

her "sorry - you don't have much time to get the binding done..." WELL!

Silly me - it's a Christmas gilft for NEXT year!! Glad I got that baby done in

time!!! lol!!!:D Some people really DO plan ahead!

Linda in R - Yes, I have quilted on top of applique. The blocks and pieces

were so big that it needed to be done. Was not puffy and how, she like

80/20 batting. I did do lots of thread color changes and such, she was very

happy. I mentioned a couple of things that would be neat to add some

hand embrodiery to the quilt, not sure if she ever did or not.... I will try and

find a photo, but that was SO long ago!!

I did 1 1/2 cross hatching on that one, wish now I would have done smaller.....

but that was my first!!

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Your quilt is lovely. And I like the 1.5" crosshatch. I'm going

to try to get braver about quilting applique. I have usually

passed those off to more experienced quilters. So much

time goes into that applique, I would hate to mess it up.

And about the photos. I never have been able to get more

than 1 photo to post from webshots. I here that webshots

upgraded to allow that but I had already given up on it. I

use www.photobucket.com to post on this forum. It's free

and works great for multiple photos on a forum. It provides

the URL address and you just paste it into your post.

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Thanks Judi, I love the design on yours, that border is giving me ideas for mine!

Karen McTavish says to think "What would a hand quilter do?".

My thoughts on quilting around or on applique are not just wanting the applique puffy. I don't necessarily want it to have a trapunto look, or a lot of puff. I want it to have some puff but just enough so it's got a dimensional look. So it looks like it's on TOP of a background. I wouldn't want quilting ON the applique to pack it down, or flatten it out to the same level as the background. But if the back ground is packed enough then the applique will still puff all by itself and a little line or two ON the applique just accents that little puff without flattening it. And this is why I'm waiting for my machine before I quilt this. I think I've just finished my last hand quilted quilt. My index finger on my right hand isn't handling the strain of pulling the needle through, even one stitch at a time using a finger cot.

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Kennan - That border did just make that quilt didn't it? Those arces are all

hand appliqued and I did stop and start that crosshatch all the time. I did

not take any short cuts! This lady used to be a president of our quilt guild,

I found that out after I did the quilt for her. Dawn Cavanaugh gave me

help in what to do WHEN and WHERE on that quilt. I had just taken the 2

days of classes from her. The proper steps and such.....

I am working on a Christmas hand applique quilt. I have found that if using

too short of a needle, my finger really hurts and aches. I also do counted

cross stiching, but just have not been able to get the rocking motion of

hand quilting. I guess I just need to practice it more. My husband has a pal

that wants to get rid of a quilting frame + extras...... I think that would help

me in doing a whole quilt. But it is SO much quicker on Mel!!

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