Free-hand Embroidery and Beading

Posted by on 11 August 2020 | 0 Comments
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It always amuses me how one blog post leads to another. My recent post about how to make a knitting needle case sparked some added interest among quilters as the beading on the cover caught their eye. It's not something I teach in my free online class, just merely an extra feature added because I liked the effect!

second view beads

beading on my needle case

Adding little touches like this makes a project unique. It's a bit like embroidery - not the kind stitched out by an embroidery machine (although that can work too).... I'm meaning, the type created by free motion on your machine or that you create by hand. Adding a little unique element here or there, or creating a whole border is a lot of fun on applique or patchwork quilts.

"Array of Color" demonstrates how an embroidered butterfly brings this quilt together (free instructions for this free-motion butterfly here)

array of color butterfly

Close up of free-motion Butterfly

"A Second View" definitely highlights a fun border technique with both beading and embroidery.

a second view 4

A Second View

Is it easy to create? If you can free-motion quilt or applique, then yes, you're 95% of the way there. If not, it could well be time to start practicing this skill. It's not as difficult as it might seem.

What fun would it be to add a ladybug to your next quilt!

second view ladybug

stitched ladybug from "A Second View"

or a spider....

second view spiderweb

free-motion spider and spiderweb

or some beading even such as on this dandelion.

second view dandelion

dandelion with beads

And of course, beading can simply be an embellishment on a quilt like in this art quilt.

beading on artquilt

beading on an art quilt

All of which can be done with free-motion stitching. Yes, I have to admit, the beading by machine is a tad tricky but if you want to give it a try, here are some tips and a short video to demonstrate. This technique is done without a presser foot, but do remember to lower the presser foot lever to ensure the tension is correct.

  • start with a few tiny stitches close together to lock the threads (repeat at the end)
  • use a stiletto or Quick Unpick to push the bead near the needle
  • use the handwheel to position the point of the needle in the bead
  • use the point of the needle to move the bead into the correct position
  • do one or two stitches into the bead, then do two more small stitches to the side of the bead
  • stitch on to where the next bead will be added and do another couple of small stitches before adding the next bead
  • Warning: Keep your fingers well away from the needle - if they need to get close, take your foot off the foot pedal.

Beading by Machine

If you are interested, all these critters and more are available in my "Picturesque Botanical or Aquarium Scene" (currently 10% off). I can help you make any little critter you want!

Happy Stitching!


A Second View Quilt PatternMachine embroidery and beads create the border of flora and fauna around this typical New Zealand scene

Array of Color Quilt PatternStrips make up an easy to assemble background with large applique flowers arranged around it

Picturesque Botanical or Aquarium SceneMake an aquarium or a cottage garden, embellishing both by hand and machine in this 4 lesson online workshop


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