The Learning Center - Hosted by Pat Sloan

By: Pat Sloan

I am a crafter… there … the truth is out! I have done some sort of ‘making of things’ all my life. Most of it I taught myself, as my family does not have any crafty types in it.

pat sloans copy of mary thomas embroidery

But my mom is so amazing that she bought me whatever I wanted in the way of craft supplies. So I was able to try a lot of things. This is my embroidery book. I used it to teach myself all kinds of amazing stitches and I’m so happy to still have it.

pat sloan embroidery basket

This is my childhood embroidery basket. Being a child of the late 60s and early 70s a bold PLASTIC basket was the in thing to have… it’s sure durable!

In the world of quilting we don’t work just with fabrics cut and pieced together… oh no… we love to ADD to that fabric with amazing embroidery! There are many types of embroidery. Today I’m touching on three areas and have two guests sharing about their particular embroidery passion.

First up is a Q & A with Bari J. of Bari J. Designs. I thought she was perfect to give us some insider tips! She has videos on her “WLFK” blog as well.. so you’ll want to cruise over there.

Embroidery with Bari J.

bari j 1

What are the common thread weights you like to do embroidery with?

It really depends on the project and what effect I might be going for or if I need to fill in a large space. However, I do use a lot of Cosmo multi-work which is a two strand floss. Honestly, I can’t figure out what the weight is according to the packaging. I also like the Aurifil Sashiko which is a 30 weight. (Stay tuned to the end folks.. you could WIN some of this amazing thread!)

bari j 2

What size needles do you use?

I use a size ten for most of my work. However, if you are going to use perl cotton you’ll need a needle with a bigger eye.


What fabrics do you like for the base of your design? Do you back the fabric with a interfacing or a batting?

I use a lot of plain old quilt weight cotton. I do put interfacing on the back of the fabric. I use form flex which is a light weight woven cotton fusible.


What is your favorite way to transfer designs?

I love the product, transfer-eze. You print your design out, it sticks to the top of your work, you stitch right through and then dissolves in water when you are finished. I also like to use a light box and frixion pens.


When is it important to hoop your work?

For many stitches, using a hoop is nearly imperative in my opinion. This is so that your stitches are nice and tight (not too tight) and not loopy and bumpy. However, there are stitches that are best done without the use of a hoop like the bullion stitch.

When you’re done, what are the ways you like to use the embroidery?

I like embroidery on pillows and in quilts and I especially like to use it on a smaller item such as a bag. The work is so small and intricate I think it makes a great impact on small projects.

We Love French Knots
Visit Bari J. at Bari J. Designs.

Here at the Quilting Gallery we have a great series of posts by Lenna Green. She wrote and video taped an entire series on embroidery … check out her posts.

This year I’m the host for Aurifil’s Designer of the Month mystery blocks. And the featured style is embroidery!! Bari J. is one of our upcoming designers. And we already have four fabulous FREE blocks for you to download and print!

Aurifil BOM block by Sherri Falls

Find all the interviews and download the patterns here. Plus read how you can get in on a chance to win Aurifil thread!

Crazy Quilting

When we first announced our Learning Center topics we received a lovely note from Connie Eyberg about crazy quilting. Since Crazy Quilting is Connie’s passion I asked her to guest post about it today!

Crazy Quilting is one of America’s earliest quilt styles. It gained popularity in the 1800s through the early 1900s (roughly 1876-1910) and is a style of quilting associated with the Victorian quilts. It is easy to identify a crazy quilt by the use of irregular shaped patches in various sizes joined together in a random manner with no pattern in particular; it is then embellished with decorative stitching.

The seams were embroidered with intricate stitches and some areas on the quilts were then adorned with fine stitchery and sometimes painted designs. Originally stitched by wealthy women using fancy fabrics such as silks, velvets or brocades, women of lower income were soon creating their own crazy quilts through the use of castoff clothing of wealthier relatives, scraps sold by factories at reasonable prices, etc. Denim, flannels, cottons and other more common fabrics were also eventually used to create crazy quilts.

crazy quilting

Crazy quilting has been experiencing a new appreciation and resurgence in recent years and although still having the same characteristics as the historical quilts have evolved due to newly developed and more readily available materials, products and techniques. Anything goes, from solid fabrics to patterned fabrics, basic stitching to more elaborate creations with lots of embellishing. Options for embellishing are almost unlimited. It is perfectly acceptable to embellish such things as jewelry pieces, ribbon embroidery, buttons, sequins, beads, keys, ciggies or other images on cloth, doilies, laces, fancy fibers and charms for instance.

Two techniques used to construct crazy quilts are (1) paper piecing or (2) flip and sew (at times may be referred to as stitch and turn, stitch and flip, flip and stitch, or fold and sew among others). The pieces are constructed onto a base fabric such as muslin.

crazy quilting

Crazy quilting has no hard and fast rules. It is a wonderful means of expression as an art form in itself. Animals, flowers, insects and/or birds seem to be the favorite subjects used to decorate crazy quilts. You will very often see spiders in their webs on crazy quilts which is a symbol of good luck. Crazy quilting is not just used for quilts, but many items are now made using a crazy quilt patterning and embellishing techniques.

Some great links to learn more about crazy quilting and see more examples:

  • A wonderful sample of an antique CQ from 1885 was shared by Deb of Mosaic Magpie on a co-authored crazy quilt blog. You will also find many CQ related links to other sites on the sidebar of this blog:
  • A variety of entries for a year-long crazy quilt project are shared on this site. Lots of eye candy here:
  • Pat Winter is a mentor to many of us and shares so much of her knowledge with others on her blog. She also produces a magazine devoted to CQ and the link to find it is on her blog:
  • This is a site for CQ lovers from around the world. They host many round robins, challenges, etc.

Visit Connie Eyberg at and

crazy quilt detail from mosaic magpie

Interested in more? Mosaic Magpie has a lovely write up with more photos of the full quilt at the beginning of this article!


Sashiko pic 1

Do you personally challenge yourself to learn something new in quilting every so often? I do! This year I’ve become interested in not only learning more about embroidery but also taking a dip into the world of Sashiko quilting. I don’t know much about this.. but I have friends that do!

Today I’m going to give you a little overview, some links to videos and articles.. then later this year we’ll dive a little deeper with an expert.

What IS Sashiko?

Wikipedia says “Sashiko (literally “little stabs”) is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching (or functional embroidery) from Japan. Traditionally used to reinforce points of wear, or to repair worn places or tears with patches, this running stitch technique is often used for purely decorative purposes in quilting and embroidery. The white cotton thread on the traditional indigo blue cloth gives Sashiko its distinctive appearance, though decorative items sometimes use red thread.

Many Sashiko patterns were derived from Chinese designs, but just as many were developed by the Japanese themselves. The artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) published the book New Forms for Design in 1824, and these designs have inspired many Sashiko patterns.” Source

Sashiko is an embroidery pattern you put on the top of the fabric, just like the crazy quilting and regular embroidery. I’m drawn to the traditional navy with cream thread, it’s so beautiful! I can’t wait to try this!


If you can’t wait and want to try Sashiko now.. there is a nice tutorial at Purlbee. Here is more info at with some freebies to download.

Did you know there is now a Sashiko machine by Baby Lock? I found this fascinating and will be taking a look at one next time I can!

Thread Give-Away

sashiko thread

Our friends at Aurifil are sponsoring a thread giveaway to celebrate MY interest in Sashiko! This beautiful box of colors was selected by quilter Sharon Pederson. You can learn about the threads from Sharon at these videos: Video 1 and Video 2.

To be in the running to win… Answer one of these reader questions in the comment section below:

  • What kind of thread to use for embroidery? There are so many choices!
  • What type of embroidery is your favorite?
  • What is your preferred size and brand of needles to use for embroidery?

One winner will be randomly selected next Wednesday, April 25, 2012. One entry per person please.

Pat Sloan - The Voice of Quilting

Pat Sloan is owner and founder of the quilting design and publishing company Pat Sloan & Co. She has published over 25 books, more than 100 patterns, nearly 10 fabric lines, and has had her work featured in all the major Quilt magazines. In January 2010, Pat started hosting her weekly Internet Radio show called Creative Talk Radio.

Find Pat here:

Web Site | Blog | Radio Show | Facebook | Twitter
Quilt Forum | Pinterest | Newsletter

Congratulations to the winner #100 Winona.. check your email for a message from me.



More Quilting Styles – Embroidery, Crazy Quilting, Sashiko
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549 thoughts on “More Quilting Styles – Embroidery, Crazy Quilting, Sashiko

  • April 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    I am in love with redwork! Only I use other colors, too, just don’t know what you call it work? Green work? I like to play with my threads and fabric to see what weight to use. Currently I am using Aurifil 12 wt. It sure is hard to find, though. Everybody carries 50 wt. Sewing thread but not the heavier thread for embroidery.

  • April 21, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Love the Sashiko. but would not buy a machine as I would not make that much use of it. I however enjoy doing hand work whilst I am at Chat and Sew.

  • April 21, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    What kind of thread to use for embroidery? There are so many choices!

    For machine embroidery, I use the Robison Anton thread. It’s what my local quilt shop favors.

    I use DMC floss for hand work.

  • April 21, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    I like all types of embroidery, but, I prefer to use 100% cotton. Cotton will behave in the way you want it to. Aurifil 12 is a great choice for hand and machine embroidery.
    In Australia, Bohin needles are a great choice of quality needle. usually in a size 10 for hand work.

  • April 21, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    I am loving machine embroidery. I usually use the poly threads on baby items.

  • April 21, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    The Sashiko is very cool, but right now I’m really into redwork. I haven’t done much embroidery and am quite a novice, but I love trying new things!

  • April 21, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    I’m a hand embroiderer. I really only use DMC floss. Nothing else is as accessible, but I love it.

  • April 21, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    I received an embroidery machine for Christmas and purchased some sashiko patterns to use for quilting. I absolutely love Robison Anton thread, although I admit I haven’t tried any other brand.

  • April 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    I learned to embroider when I was very young, 8 or so, and still have the old chocolate box I used to keep my supplies. I like basic embroidery and have just made a patchwork pillow with my granddaughter’s name on it.

  • April 21, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Pat this is an awesome give away and one that would really make me ecstatic to win. I love Aurifil 12 wt for embroidery and have been having a great time with the BOM they have going this year. I love embroidery and it is wonderful to get back to it after years of not doing it. I also am enjoying red work and have a project to do in blue work when I finish the the one I am working on now which is the Crab Apple Hill Winter Wonderland. I am using size 10 Richard Hemming & Son Milliner’s needles for my embroidery. I like the longer needles and they are easy to thread with the Aurifil 12 wt thread.

  • April 21, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    I love to use Aurifil 12 wt for my embroidery projects.

  • April 22, 2012 at 12:53 am

    I love red work. The last I did I used Sulky blendables. That looked great. I haven’t tried Aurifil 12 wt so to win would be wonderful.

    Two of my grands got to see the shuttle fly over VA/DC. They go to school in VA. What a history lesson.

  • April 22, 2012 at 2:04 am

    I love that you posted about all three ways. I’ve belonged to an embroidery group four years and each year we choose a project we all do but on our own. I’ve used DMC and Cosmo mostly. I’ve heard of but not tried Valdani. I’m so happy that Aurifil has the heavier thread. I can’t wait to try it. I love their thread and that’s what is on my machine now. For needles I’ve tried John James and I think their called Kimbal?. I’ve even tried the no name ones. It’s frustrating for me to find a nice needle that has a big enough eye for the pearl cotton. Any suggestions?

    Such a beautiful box of thread! Come to mama! hehe. Thank you and Aurifil for a generous giveaway and a chance to win.


  • April 22, 2012 at 3:09 am

    Lately I have been doing hand embroidery. I have not yet tried machine embroidery but it sure looks fun! The Sashiko colors look so inspiring!

  • April 22, 2012 at 4:24 am

    What kind of thread to use for embroidery?
    I love Aurifil 12wt!
    I’m italian and I HAVE to use that thread!

  • April 22, 2012 at 4:33 am

    My favorite type of embroidery is machine embroidery. It’s both fast and beautiful. Plus, there are many fabulous designs out there to choose from.

  • April 22, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Hi Pat,
    Just looking at those Aurifil threads makes me watery eyed. I heard from them and started to use them when I was making your Meadow Breeze and it’s safe to say I never looked back. I love love love Aurifil and am slowly but surely building up my collection. I’m an avid redworker too and you know what I use for embroidery? I use Aurifil cotone mako # 12 wt. It is awesome for embroidery.
    You have a good Sunday, hug from Anita.

  • April 22, 2012 at 8:45 am

    WOW beautiful threads. I would LOVE to put those to good use. My aunt gave me a table cloth to embroider and I have put it off for about 3 years. This would definitely jump start this project ! ! ! ! !

  • April 22, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I really love the Sashiko look and have been wanting to give it a try myself. My embroidery has been done with the DMC threads for the most part. I guess I should broaden my horizons as I did not realize that Aurifil made embroidery thread.

  • April 22, 2012 at 9:44 am

    My friend made a Winter quilt with snow scenes in Bluework.Is beautifull.Love the Aurifil thread.

  • April 22, 2012 at 9:48 am

    I haven’t hand embroidered for a long time. I’ve been wanting to try some redwork just to have something to do while I’m sitting and watching TV.

  • April 22, 2012 at 9:55 am

    I like to do traditional surface embroidery the best. I use DMC cotton & metallic floss, as well as some different brands of overdyed floss.

    I use a tapestry needle, size 24, I guess. I think they are just Prym-Dritz. Not much available where I live.

    I need to buy Aurifil online, as no place here sells it. Even Walmart is carrying mostly 100% polyester now, not the nice all-cotton of times past. I could surely use that box of Aurifil thread!

  • April 22, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I love Silk Threads and Brazilian Embroidery and Stumpwork.
    I love the gold John James Needles and use Tapestyr #26.

  • April 22, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Thanks for the contest! I just invested in an embroidery machine. I am still attempting to learn about thread. Superior has lots of information available. For hand embroidery, I am a Valdani snob! I cannot say enough about this thread: colors, variegations, weight, ease of use! Love it, love it and love it. Most recently, I finished a BOM that called for a thread called Silken Pearl. OMG!!!! I think it is my new favorite and the bullion stitch should be placed on every open corner!!!! LOL!
    I would love to win your sampler and make these threads my new favorites too. chris beresford

  • April 22, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I love to do Sashiko as an accent on my quilt projects.

  • April 22, 2012 at 10:34 am

    I love counted cross stitch and redwork the best and I usually use DMC floss. I am looking forward to trying Sashiko soon because I love the patterns. Thanks for the chance to win the beautiful thread!

  • April 22, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I loved all the examples in the post. Aren’t the sister/friends adorable? I usually use DMC floss to outline my quilted wall hangings.

  • April 22, 2012 at 11:55 am

    A few years ago my husband bought me a book on Sashiko and I made a small wallhanging. Unfortunately I don’t remember what thread I used, but it was a fairly heavy-weight cotton. I still love the results.
    I also do counted cross stitch projects and use DMC floss.
    The Aurifil thread has such beautiful colors and would be great to win!

  • April 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    This is the first time I have visited here. I’ve done embroidary off/on for many years. Usually I use DMC floss. Recently I started a quilt that uses crayons and floss provided by Crabapple Hill. It’s varigated and amazing. Would love to try some of your threads also.

  • April 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I use the DMC floss, it is beautiful and durable and has been on the market since I learned to embroider.

  • April 22, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    ■What is your preferred size and brand of needles to use for embroidery?
    I love to hand embroider, and have finally found a needle that I love. I use size 7 John James. They are perfect and do not bend like some of the others i have used.
    I would love to try Arfil thread on my embroidery machine though. I seldom use it but would certainly love to start.

  • April 22, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I have done counted cross stitch in the past, with the DMC floss, and now am learning to machine embroidery. I use Rayon Madeira thread so far…

    I would love to try the Aurifil for the hand quilting things in my projects.


  • April 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I love to do redwork. Its easy, one color, many, many, choices of patterns, projects, and very relaxing. You can prepare small project kits to take with you when traveling, going to doctors/dentists/hospitals, and sew till you drop. Much better than taking a pill to relax. No side effects.

  • April 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I mostly use DMC floss, simply because that is what I have lots of. But I’ve always been interested in sashiko and keep wanting to try it. I have a few Aurifil threads which I use for hand piecing and also for appliqué, and it is by far the best thread I have been able to find. So I’d really like to win their threads!!!

  • April 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Aurifil is my fave! I discovered it a few years ago, so much less lent in my machine and it just glides through my fabric, I don’t use anything else.

  • April 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I like to do redwork and “regular” embroidery as well as counted cross stitch. Preferred thread for all? DMC. It’s what I started out using and I still love it for the colors and the sheen. Good stuff!

  • April 22, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I like to use size 14 schmetz embroidery needles. They seem to be the correct size for the simple embroidery that I do. Love your work and can’t wait to see your new fabric designs.

  • April 22, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    I wanna Sashiko! Sounds like fun and I can see lots of ways to use this stitch….. especially if I had the thread!

  • April 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Beautiful….someone just gave me a sashiko kit….some new aurofil threads would be a nice addition!

  • April 22, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    My daughter bought an embroidery machine a few years ago and I was never really all that interested. I’m a quilter and last month I needed to add a little something to a quilt that was a gift. My daughter suggested machine embroidery, now I’m hooked. I love all the variety that machine embroidery has to offer. I am still playing with different threads, so I don’t really have a favorite, yet. I’ve started a “thread stash” that I am sure will rival my fabric.

  • April 22, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    I love to make crazy quilts and use many different kinds of embroidery thread. DMC is most easily found, but I have collected many threads at quilt shows and in classes over the years, including hand dyed threads. I have also hand embroidered a Christmas quilt, a Noah’s Arc baby quilt, and am currently working on embroidering some of my grand daughters pictures onto quilt squares. Hand work is most relaxing for me and somehow it feels more creative.

    I have a machine that embroiders but I haven’t gotten into that. So many things to do, so little time.

  • April 22, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    I am just gearing up for my Magnum Opus Crazy Quilt. Up to this point I have just done tea towels, pillow cases, quilt blocks. Wish me luck (and perseverance!)

  • April 22, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Because I’ve done a lot of crazy quilting I have heaps of different threads. I must admit I haven’t used Aurifil, but would like to have a go with it.
    I have a lot of DMC thread that my mum passed on to me, she did a lot of cross stitch, but I like to use something a bit different, a bit unusual.

  • April 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    My favorite type of embroidery is the basic embroidery, but I admire the crazy quilt embroidery and sashiko that many people do. Those are certainly on my bucket list.

  • April 22, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    I did lots of embroidery as I was growing up in the 50s and 60s. A few years ago I bought a home sewing machine that also does embroidery. Now that I’ve started reading quilting blogs, my interest in hand-embroidery is being rekindled! I saw a sampler recently and loved the look so have the pattern ordered. I usually always used DMC cotton embroidery thread but am thinking I may go with silk thread for this sampler.

  • April 22, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Dear Pat and Aurifill,
    What a wonderful bunch of thread to give. I do like to do embroidery, have not tried aurifill, but would love to win and have that chance. Thanks, Patty B

  • April 22, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    I primarily use DMC floss and pearl cotton. I’ve recently purchased Valdani #12 Pearl Cotton and love it! I do have access to hand dyed threads that are fun and beautiful. Thank you for showcasing the three styles of thread work! Shashiko is on my bucket list as well as crazy quilts.

  • April 23, 2012 at 2:27 am

    I was given about 50 skeins of Venous cottons as a B’day gift 5 years ago, lovely colours also a chart to convert to DMC. I do lots of stitcheries as they are my passion, incorparated in patch work, when I have the oppertunity to shop away from my little town I seem to purchase DMC cottons and have had very good results. I am looking forward to trying shashiko and aurifil as I have never heard of them until I read the above comments.

  • April 23, 2012 at 2:29 am

    I have never had the pleasure of using Aurifil as I have not seen it in South Africa. But I believe they will be at the IQC and would love to look at all those gorgeous colours. I have only read good reports, so here is hoping to be able to sample them. :)

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