Creative articles about quilting


I arrived back from teaching at the Quilts in Clarens festival in the quaint little Freestate town of Clarens and thought I’ll share some of my thoughts on couching on a longarm with you today.

It’s a good thing to vary quilting projects

So most of the time when I think longarm quilting, I have a very specific idea of my way of quilting in my mind. Then, every now and then, I change things up and do something that is completely out of my comfort zone. I have tried my hand at couching with the BERNINA Q 24 and find that it is such a lovely way to lay down a lot of stitches and therefore, a lot of colour in a very quick and easy way once you understand what you’re doing. This is what I am going to talk about today and hopefully, I will be able to post a short video of me behind my machine.

Priscilla…Queen of the Ocean

I made this quilt, just before my trip and I really enjoyed every step of the way!

My machine couching project


Couched butterfly

The first time that I did couching on the Q 24, I didn’t have a clue where to start! Do I do the couching first and then the quilting? Or do I quilt first and then do the couching afterwards? I think these are questions that one can only answer after one has done a couple of couching projects…it is a matter of personal choice. What I was worried about mostly, was that if I did the couching first, would the foot not interfere with the yarn afterwards when I did the quilting? What I did as my first couching project on the Q 24, Butterflies, was to use a piece of ‘practice’ quilt that I played on when I just got my long arm and needed to practice quilting. I simply just couched over all the quilting so in that case, my problem of which to do first was solved. I don’t think one should worry too much about it. Just do whatever you want to and solve the problems as they appear. There is no hard and fast rule!

Couched Butterfly…my first effort.


Butterfly in colour.


Use of the BERNINA Ruler Foot #72 and Couching Inserts

I was not sure how to thread the yarn so the needle would sew through it. (I’ll call it yarn in this post but it can be anything from hand embroidery and crochet threads to quite thick wool)  I used my ruler foot, Number 72 and, depending on the thickness of the yarn, I have little attachments that are called Couching Inserts which clip onto the bottom of the ruler foot. The yarn goes through the little hole in the centre of the insert which means that as you stitch, the needle sews right through the yarn, securing it in place exactly where you want that colour to be laid down. Beautiful! Of course, you don’t need a long arm machine to do machine couching! The ruler foot fits on your domestic machine and you just go ahead and work in exactly the same way as I did on the long arm machine.

Yarn behind the quilting thread.


Allow the yarn to lie loosely on your quilt top.

My inspiration for this quilt came from watching the very popular documentary, My Octopus Teacher on Netflix. I think most cephalopods lend themselves beautifully to my art as they have such graceful arms (tentacles) and their movements in the water are just as graceful!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my journey with couching and that you are going to try it! Please post photos of your efforts on Facebook and leave comments on couching in the comment section below. You can also follow me on Instagram @Tillydeharde and on Facebook, Tilly de Harde Artist to find out more about me and where I find inspiration from.

Difficulty level: Intermediate
Used Material: 100% Cotton Fabric, Glide machine embroidery thread, Loomtex batting

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