Why Quilters Get Embroidery Machines


It's not unusual for quilters to have embroidery machines.  This article covers why you may or may not want one.

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Why Quilters Get Embroidery Machines

Keep in mind that an embroidery machine is not a sewing machine but designed for a different purpose altogether. It has its own special needs such as embroidery thread and stabilizer under the fabric. They range in size from quite small to quite large with multiple needles and endless programs. They reflect a huge range of prices also: $500 to $10,000 for example. Quilters like embroidery machines because they can customize a quilt. The machine can be used to quilt through fabric layers and can embroider stitched appliques on the quilt.

Why Quilters Get Embroidery Machines


I have never wanted an embroidery machine. Putting monograms on quilts or totes isn't my style. However, someone made and donated a number of these little embroidered purses to our Guild Boutique, and they sold for $12. Suddenly, I needed to know more about embroidery machines!



This little purse and many others are made "in the hoop." This means that you put the top, bottom, and zipper in your hoop and because of the digitized pattern, the machine knows exactly what to do. People who have embroidery machines say this isn't as easy as it sounds because there is the small matter of putting the hoop on and taking it off the machine.


When I asked people why they decided to get an embroidery machine, most of them said, "Well, I saw something…" They were also fascinated with the fact that you could embroider on leather, cork, denim, and even balsa wood.



One quilter told me that she likes her embroidery machine because it is like coloring in a coloring book. She loves all the colors of thread available, especially thread with sheen. She also said that everyone who gets into embroidery upgrades their embroidery machine sooner or later. She likes to create large wall hangings with purchased patterns. These require pinpoint accuracy to create the scene with the digital designs.



Naturally, you can watch videos, take workshops on using the machine, and even take workshops on digital design. They come at all levels from novice to expert. Some last as long as three days for complex projects.


One friend isn't doing embroidery now because her machine isn't working. It's a hybrid – does both embroidery and sewing. She isn't the only one concerned about how difficult embroidery machines are to maintain. Questions to ask yourself before investing in one include where you will get service for the machine and where you can borrow some "expertise." You also need to find out about the convenience of transferring new designs to the machine, as well as the variety of built-in designs. An embroidery machine won't help you if you spend all your time being frustrated.


Maybe the $12 I spent on that purse for my granddaughter is just the right amount of expense for me!


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A small circular or oval apparatus that is used to hold the layers of a quilt together during quilting.
Debi Warner
Author and humorist, Debi Warner, retired after many years as a clinical librarian and information specialist. She has her Master’s in Library and Information Science and achieved a Distinguished level in the Medical Library Association’s Association of Health Information Professionals. She has worked on teaching physicians to use computers and electronic resources. She also worked on several grants teaching the public how to use the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus public database and is co-author of several articles on health literacy. She took up quilting after retirement in 2012 and chaired the Rio Grande Valley Quilt Show in 2019. She currently teaches several quilting classes over Zoom and writes for QuiltingHub.
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