The dictionary is short on all words beginning with X so it was hard to come up with a word that was relevant to machine embroidery and quilting. While you may not use an actual Xacto knife, you will more than likely need to “X” things that shouldn’t be there!
I prefer to leave my seam ripper alone and instead use a pair of Extra Fine Double Curved Scissors by Havel’s in combination with my BERNINA brand tweezers. The scissors are a lot sharper – and finer – than the seam ripper.
Havel’s makes two kinds of Double Curved Scissors – the “regular” ones shown on the right in the photo above, and the Extra Fine ones shown on the left. I’ve come to love the extra fine ones because of the precision they help me to achieve.
When am I going to be X-ing stuff?
In addition to the obvious “made a mess, need to un-sew” situations, there are three things that need to be Xed when doing machine embroidered appliqué.
- When you’ve stitched the appliqué placement lines in a design and are ready to fuse the appliqué shapes in place, X all basting lines that would end up underneath the appliqué shapes. These are the basting lines that you stitched on your sewing machine when you were transferring the marking lines from your stabilizer to the background fabric. Just in case you’re wondering which basting lines I’m talking about, click here to check out my Back To Basics Part 2 video which describes how to do multiple hoopings on one piece of background fabric.
Use your Extra Fine Double Curved Scissors to clip the basting line a couple of stitches outside of the appliqué shape and also clip every 3-4 stitches across the appliqué shape. Be sure to leave all intersections of the basting line intact as you’ll potentially need these for future hoopings. If there’s an intersection underneath an appliqué shape that you’re about to fuse in place and you know there is at least one more hooping that needs to be done – be sure to read the instructions because you’ve probably stitched your hoopings in the wrong order!
Then grab the snipped threads with your tweezers and pull them out!
- Remember the basting line that gets stitched around the outside of the design to hold the background fabric in place on the stabilizer in the hoop? When you’ve finished stitching a design, that basting line needs to be Xed. The easiest way to do it is trim every 2-3 stitches on the right side, then flip everything over and grab hold of the bobbin thread on the back.
The bobbin thread should pull right out, only needing to be clipped at the end(s). Now you can turn back to the right side and use your tweezers to grab any little bits of thread that are still in the needle holes.
- The third thing that needs to be Xed is any jump stitches. In an ideal world, I like to X jump stitches as the design is being stitched. If there are small jump stitches between, say, candlewicking stitches, then I wait until I can take the hoop off the machine to X them. Use your tweezers to lift the jump stitch off the background fabric, making it much easier to use your Extra Fine Double Curved Scissors to get really close into the stitches to trim the jump threads.
As for those “made a mess, need to unsew” situations, get rid of as much thread from underneath as possible using your Extra Fine Double Curved Scissors and then use your tweezers to lift threads off from the top.
If you’re looking for a pair of Havel’s Extra Fine Double Curved Scissors, ask for them at your local BERNINA dealer.
Enter the promo code “A2Z-X” at the checkout.
Express Yourself, $60.00
(Delivered as a digital download. Optional CD available at the checkout)
What I love about this collection… Words are powerful things. What if you could surround your loved ones with words that empower and inspire? You can – with the Express Yourself quilt.
The Express Yourself collection was created in response to many people asking when I was going to complete the alphabet used in the Peace Love and Joy collection. It includes stand-alone machine embroidered appliqué letters as well as quilted in the hoop blocks (5″ x 6″ finished) with 3 different quilted backgrounds for each letter.
A quick word.
The Express Yourself quilt is not a true crossword.
And I’m OK with that!
The original Express Yourself quilt the blocks are pieced together and the quilt has a false back on it, with some quilting in the ditch along all seam lines to hold the back flat and in place. The Celebrate quilt, created in 2 versions using the Express Yourself designs, introduces an alternative way of putting the quilted in the hoop blocks together using sashing on the front and back. No hand stitching required!
The Celebrate quilt was originally featured in the September/October 2015 issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine. That issue of the magazine was honoring Ovarian Cancer Month and so I added a cancer ribbon design to the Express Yourself collection.