It's only cheating if you play by the rules

...or indeed, think there are any rules in the first place. I for one, don't. I'm talking about digital stitch and the mixed feedback that I often get when I show what I'm doing. There are no medals awarded for doing things the difficult/slow/boring way, so if I can find a method that gets the results I want then I'm going to pursue it. Technique is not important, it's what the outcome looks like that matters to me. If fairies came in the night and realised my vision then that would be equally fine. Until I snare myself a fairy, my embroidery machine will have to do.

I've been quilting my work with digital stitch (done using a sewing machine with an embroidery unit) for a while now, but I can see that it's going to take over from working freehand for me. Not entirely, there are limitations still, but I can use the digital stitch to cover ground, not necessarily more quickly, but automatically. Once designed, set up and stitching, I can walk away and do something else.

Digital stitch doesn't give me more accuracy, more creativity, more perfection. It gives me double time, and time is what I need more than anything else. Freehand quilting, when you stitch as densely as me, is a slow and tedious process and frankly, I'm bored of it. I can do it, I think I've proved my worth in that department. I don't feel the need to do it any more. If I can achieve the same effect another way, one that frees me to be more productive, then I'm going to do that. If that's cheating, then I'm all for it.

So when you look at my work you'll see quilting. Maybe it'll be done freehand, maybe it'll be done digitally. I think much of the time you won't be able to tell and I'm happy with that.



  1. I completely agree. It’s the design that’s important. And the process and how it satisfies you. If slow stitching is what satisfies, great, but if it’s the actual conception and design process, that’s good too. We all must do what moves us.

  2. Couldn’t agree more. Your work is always beautiful and inspiring. The machine is another tool and you use it beautifully and creatively.

  3. I'm all for it. I've never master freehand stitching and I love hand stitch, but that doesn't mean I don't admire (and covet) what a machine can do. There is so much more to a quilt than the stitching. The thought and creativity that goes into determining what design will accentuate an area or the whole quilt is still done by you. When my Grandmother's treadle was given to me at age 10, I didn't read the directions, I just sewed rags into works of art (in my mind). It wasn't until Iwas moving and grabbed it back from my parent's home that I found the instructions. The was a note in my Grandmother's hand - a woman who died when my Dad was 7 with how her friend Flora used a certain foot to quilt. I've always wondered if she made a quilt or just dreamt about it.

  4. Your work is always outstanding and can't be duplicated! Hence, you can continue to do what you want...however you want to do it! We're still in awe!!!

  5. If I could afford such a machine, I would immediately buy one.

  6. Ditto from all the previous comments, if the technology is there then use it ! I have a friend who has an embroidery machine but she only uses it to embroider designs by other people, I don't see the satisfaction in that but you are designing and programming and that is quite different. I love your stuff, well done and keep inspiring us !!

  7. Back in the day, PIECING by machine was blasphemy. Then it was quilting with a sewing machine and not by hand. Thank goodness we live in a time when technology has afforded us a means of getting the job done, sometimes with even better results, additional flexibility and outcomes. It's time to say goodbye to the quilt police.

  8. I follow you through your blog and DMTV. I love your work regardless of how you do it but I must tell you that I just inherited a Husqavarna Viking Epic sewing machine and am eager to get the embroidery working. From a previous posting of yours you mentioned using the Premier software, it's a big investment but it seems it is needed with the particular sewing machine we both have to stitch digitally, or is it not?

    1. Hi Precille, There's a lot you can do just with the Epic itself, but if you want to really create your own designs then yes, I would recommend some software. I'm using Premier+2 at the moment. If you can, I would suggest making contact with a dealer local to you to see if they can offer any training on the machine and on the software. Good luck and happy sewing!

  9. How interesting, its the result that counts in the end. I play with my embroidery machine, much older than yours and as I age my hands and shoulders are giving me problems, you have made me realise that a bit of cleverness with a embroidery machine and quilting can still survive for me as the love of my life. Love your pieces using this method. If we ignored technology we would all still be using a treadle, yes have loved them too and have one, the digital stitch is a little like using a blog to reach all of us out here across the word. Its a tool to be used to adapt to the designs in our heads.


Post a Comment