Creative articles about embroidery

“Quilting in the Hoop” Part 2 – Quilting a Patchwork Block in the Embroidery Hoop

This tutorial was written by Ines, an author for the German BERNINA Blog, and translated for our English readers.

In my last post, I showed you how to sew and embroider patchwork blocks in the embroidery hoop. In today’s post, I will introduce you to quilting patterns “Quilting in the Hoop”:

The BERNINA PLUS Upgradefor my BERNINA 770 QE includes so-called “quilting in the hoop” projects in embroidery file folder No. 9: nine patchwork blocks sewn in the embroidery hoop along with nine matching quilting patterns.

Image of BERNINA PLUS Upgrade.


For B 765, B 770 QE (including Anniversary Edition & Tula Pink Special Edition) ✓ New BSR 3 Mode and KickStart Function ✓ Compatible with New Embroidery Module Technology (SDT) ✓ New Embroidery Designs, Stitches and Alphabets ✓ New Adjustable Ruler Foot with Slit #72S and Couching Inserts Included ✓

Learn more

The instructions for the upgrade functions provide information on the other options offered by the upgrade. In this document, you will also find an overview of the new sewing stitches and embroidery designs.  

I sewed a large table runner out of the patchwork blocks embroidered in the last post, as I explained briefly there. In addition to the large 10″ blocks sewn or embroidered in the embroidery hoop (measuring 10.5″ before being sewn in place), I added plain colored blocks so the quilting patterns will show up well on these white areas. Between the large blocks, there are also additional so-called sashing strips, which are 1.5″ wide when sewn in.

Top des Tischläufers

Preparations for quilting in the embroidery hoop

Requirements for quilting in the embroidery hoop

“Quilting in the hoop” works best when the block to be quilted can be hooped well in the embroidery hoop, i.e. the patchwork block must have extra fabric around the edge outside the actual quilting area to allow it to be easily clamped into the hoop. If one side of the patchwork block does not quite reach the hoop, the embroidery is usually still successful. However, particularly at corners where two sides are not hooped, the fabric may slip. Therefore, make sure you sew on sashing strips or other fabric around the blocks that you want to quilt in the embroidery hoop.

Preparing the quilt sandwich

The patchwork block or the quilt top is placed in the embroidery hoop as a sandwich. This means that the block is joined to a stabilizer and a backing fabric to form the so-called quilt sandwich. For this, I place my backing fabric on a sufficiently large surface, well-ironed and wrinkle-free, with the right side facing down. To ensure that the backing fabric is really smooth and wrinkle-free, I like to stick it onto the surface with masking tape. 

I lay the stabilizer on top – in this case, a stabilizer made of 80% cotton and 20% polyester – and smooth it out with my hands. There is still excess stabilizer on the right in the picture. Once it was laid out, it was easy to cut this off. 

The backing fabric and the stabilizer should be approx. 15 cm larger than the quilt top to compensate for the narrow border of the quilt top if necessary.

quilting in the hoop

The piece to be quilted, i.e. the quilt top, is placed on top of these two layers. I always iron it well beforehand, cut off all the threads on the back and smooth it out well with my hands.

Quilting in the hoop

The three layers – consisting of the backing fabric, stabilizer and quilt top – now form the quilt sandwich.

I used another new upgrade feature to join the three layers together: you can now baste in BSR mode! I became familiar with this function on the longarm machines, and I am delighted that my machine now has it too! 

Attach the BSR foot to the machine. The machine automatically switches to BSR mode and you can now select the “new” mode 3, i.e. basting mode. “SPI 2” means that the BSR will sew two basting stitches per inch. Correspondingly, “SPI 4” means four stitches per inch. You can also use the “Kickstart function” for long stretches, which is also included on the Q 16 and Q 20 Sit-Down Longarm machines.

Quiltin in the hoop

I basted the quilt sandwich to the sashing strips on my runner. 

Quilting in the hoop

Selecting the embroidery hoop

The large 10″ block consists of four 5×5″ blocks. The 5×5″ quilting patterns from “quilting in the hoop” folder no. 9 are embroidered individually on each of these 5″ blocks. To allow me to quilt and embroider two blocks at once in the embroidery hoop, I recommend using the Maxi Hoop As you can see, there are two blocks in the middle of the hoop.

Image of Maxi Hoop.

Maxi Hoop

The Maxi embroidery hoop (40 x 21 cm) is suitable for large embroidery designs and borders.

Learn more

Quilting in the hoop

In the Oval Hoop  and Midi Hoop, only one 5″ block can be embroidered at a time.

Oval Hoop

When hooping, I find it helpful to position the quilt top in the hoop so that there is as little fabric as possible in the direction of the embroidery hoop attachment, i.e. the bulk of the fabric is on the free arm of the sewing machine later on.

If you want to quilt several blocks, start by hooping and quilting in the middle of the quilt top. 

Einspannen Quilting in the hoop

Changing the embroidery unit to inches

As the “quilting in the hoop” projects included in the PLUS Upgrade are embroidered in inches, I change the embroidery unit to inches. To do this, I select the hoop in the “Settings” menu…

Quilting in the hoop

…then the measuring tape…

Quilting in the hoop

and I click on “inch”, or to reset it afterwards, on “mm”. When I have changed to inches, the sizes in the embroidery files are displayed in inches. 

Quilting in the hoop

Embroidering the quilting patterns

In order to demonstrate “quilting in the hoop”, I hooped the star created for the last post to demonstrate sewing the patchwork blocks in the Maxi Hoop. 

im Modul

Pinpoint Placement of the quilting embroidery pattern

For the star, I selected quilting pattern no. 14. To adapt it for the bottom of the two blocks, I rotated the pattern to the left by 90 degrees. With this quilting pattern, you can see that it is intended for a square block in a corner, as it has a beginning and end: on the image on the screen, you can see this on the right and at the top – it looks like a “tail”. The next quilting pattern should join onto these open ends precisely so that it looks like a large pattern quilted in one pass. 

Thanks to the PLUS Upgrade, the machine now has the “Pinpoint Placement” feature, which allows the fabric to be hooped slightly crooked. Pinpoint Placement allows the embroidery pattern to be moved and rotated into the correct position. 

Tap the “Pinpoint Placement” button in the “i” dialog box:

Punktgenaue Platzierung

In the menu that opens, I select the button with the nine points.

In order to position a design precisely, I have to define at least two points on the machine and then define them on the fabric.

Ountek auswählen

First, I position the quilting pattern on the bottom left quadrant of the large block.

I want to keep the quilting pattern the same size, so I click on the “Maintain pattern size” button – this is the button with the lock.

Now I select the top right point on the nine-point box. This point corresponds to the center of the 10″ x 10″ patchwork block. 

Punkt wählen

Using the multifunction knobs, I move the needle to exactly this point: I use the top knob to move it to the left and right, and the bottom one to move it up and down. 

mit den Knöpfen die Stelle bestimmen

I use the multifunction knobs to move the needle towards the center, my first placement point.

Quilting in the hoop

I always check that the position is correct by lowering the needle using the handwheel,

Quilting in the hoop

Once I have reached exactly the right point with the needle, I confirm it by pressing “Set”. 

nächsten Punkt anwählen

Then I select the bottom left point as the second point. This is the exact point where the corner of the patchwork block meets the sashing strips.

zweiten Punkt

Using the multifunction knobs, I once again move the needle to the desired point…

zweiter Punkt angewählt

…and confirm it by pressing “Set”. It is now easy to see on the screen that the block is positioned to the left and tilted slightly.

Punkt bestätigen

As I want to quilt two quilt patterns one after the other in the same embroidery hoop, I open the file in the file folder a second time, rotate the block if necessary and go back into the Pinpoint Placement menu. Here, I again select two points in the grid and position the needle exactly at these points, as I described above.

zweiter Quiltblock

It is worth using this rather finicky but precise positioning method. You will be rewarded for your accurate work with an optimal embroidery result.

Grouping embroidery designs

If you want to embroider two embroidery files one after the other, these two embroidery designs can be grouped into one file. 

Thanks to the PLUS Upgrade, this function is now also available on the BERNINA 770 QE. However, I did not use it for these quilting patterns. When hooping thicker quilt tops, they can become a little distorted, resulting in tiny deviations in the square shape of the patchwork blocks. My result was more accurate when I embroidered or quilted the small individual 5″ blocks with the quilting pattern individually and not two blocks together in one pass.

Quilting in the hoop

Embroidering the quilting patterns

Once the quilting patterns are positioned precisely, embroidery can begin – and it’s absolutely fascinating!

im Stickrahmen quilten

The pattern is quilted onto the block almost like a longarm machine in pantograph mode!

beide Blöcke gequiltet

And the block ends up with a beautiful quilting pattern!

Adjusting the quilting patterns to the patchwork block

The individual quilting patterns can be adjusted: they can be mirrored, rotated, enlarged or reduced for the individual quarters to be quilted.

Here, for example, I hooped block no. 1 into the Maxi Hoop for quilting.

I am quilting this block using pattern no. 16. This only has to be rotated appropriately for each quarter to be quilted. 

In the case of quilt pattern no. 18, the 4.4″ quilting size specified for the block was too small for me, so I enlarged it:

Quilting in the hoop

Using the “i” dialog box , I go to the menu to change the size. 

Quilting in the hoop

As I want to retain the proportions of the quilting pattern, I click on the corresponding button so that it is outlined in white. 

I turn the top multifunction knob to the right until a size of 5″x5″ is shown on the screen. 


Following this change, the quilting pattern on block no. 2 looks like this.

auf dem Block quilten

Quilting the quilting patterns on the plain-colored areas in between

To allow me to place the quilting patterns correctly on the inserted non-patchwork areas, I need markings for the positioning points. In the case of the patchwork blocks, the center and the middle of the sides are automatically evident from the seams. On the plain areas, I mark the center and the middle of the sides with a marker pen.

Quilting in the hoop

This makes it easy for me to find the two positioning points I need and position the quilting pattern precisely. I quilted the quilting patterns on these areas in light thread to show off the texture of the quilted designs. But a thread in a contrasting color would also look nice here!


The different quilting patterns

Below, I would like to introduce you to the nine different new quilting patterns.

Quilting pattern no. 10: rotated a quarter turn each time

Quilting pattern no. 11: no rotation or other adjustments

Quilting pattern no. 12: rotated a quarter turn each time

Quilting pattern no. 13: rotated a quarter turn each time

Quilting pattern no. 14: rotated a quarter turn each time

Quilting pattern no. 15: rotated a quarter turn each time

Quilting pattern no. 16: rotated a quarter turn each time

Quilting pattern no. 17: rotated a quarter turn each time

Quilting pattern no. 18: enlarged and rotated a quarter turn each time

For the last of the ten areas, I chose a double-stitched design from embroidery file folder no. 1. 

Embroidery file folder 1, no. 20: enlarged and rotated a quarter turn each time

After quilting, I sewed on a binding around the edge. You can check Irenes instruction “Adding binding to a quilt” if you want to know more about this step – and my large table runner, with its fantastic quilting patterns that I love, is finished!


In the next post, I will show you a cushion that I also sewed and embroidered with the “quilting in the hoop” projects now available on my BERNINA 770 QE thanks to the PLUS Upgrade. 

Have fun trying out “quilting in the hoop”!

Best wishes,

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