Earlier this week I had a wonderful opportunity to attend an event at the BERNINA Creative Center in Naperville, Illinois. Not only did I get the chance to learn about some of BERNINA’s latest products, I also got to know other passionate sewing and quilting professionals from around the country. Talk about fun!

One of the classrooms was dedicated to long arms and we got a chance to use them in a variety of ways. I was delighted with the couching foot, and even more so when I found out it would also fit my domestic machine! My previous experience with couching by machine had been using a zigzag stitch. Since I love to free motion quilt, this foot intrigued me as it uses a straight stitch and makes applying the cord a breeze. In MQU’s November/December 2015 issue Helen Godden wrote about using a couching foot to quilt some of her beautiful work. The amazing texture she achieved was inspirational, but I didn’t realize I might achieve a similar effect on my sit down machine.

Detail of Ornithology of Oz, ©Helen Godden

Once I got home I decided to try my new foot out on my domestic machine by stitching up a fast and easy ornament. I began by making some rudimentary marks to create a snowflake design on a little quilt sandwich.


I threaded some cotton yarn through the couching foot.


Since I didn’t want to worry about pulling through the cord and threads when I stopped and started, I decided to start the snowflake at the top of the design and run right off the edge. This is later covered by a fused binding.


As I stitched I eyeballed where the “V” shape were added, and stitched up and down each leg of the snowflake. I was done in no time! Stitching the actual snowflake took only a minute or two.


Here’s a view of the back. I love how tidy it looks.


I rubbed the chalk marks off and applied a quick and dirty fused binding and a hanging loop.


This was cute, but I decided to go back in and add a little more detail by quilting with just thread.


Now that’s more like it. One note, if I were to do this again I’d consider doing the plain quilting prior to the couching. My favorite foot for free motion work, the open embroidery foot, has an open ring and sometimes one of the ends got caught in the yarn. If I’d quilted with plain thread first it would have turned out a little bit neater, or alternatively I could have chosen a quilting foot that is larger and would “float” over the work more easily. Either way I’m eager to incorporate this fun technique into future projects. Give it a try!

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