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Applique Quilting

Polka-dots, Stipple Blocks and Creativity, Oh my! Part 1

I was recently discussing color schemes with my associate Sherry.  Sherry was working on a quilt using our newest collection, Stipple Fab Flowers & Medallions.  That’s when I caught the sewing bug.

Denise:  “Oooh!  If I were to stitch the blocks… I think I’d make one that was black, white and pink!”

A few minutes later I was off to the fabric store which is just a few blocks from our office.  (A store that close sure is handy!)

Although I tried to remain steadfast with my color scheme, at the last minute I switched to orange, black and white.  Not colors I’m normally drawn to but I liked the fresh, clean look!

Denise’s Tip 1:  Embrace Variety!

Have an open mind when you go shopping!  Embrace color schemes you might not ordinarily be drawn to.  Not all the projects you stitch have to be the same color scheme.  Look for seasonal trends in magazines, Pinterest or other online resources.

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The next step was choosing which blocks to use from Stipple Fab Flowers & Medallions.  I’m a huge fan of routine.  So it’s logical that I’d select one or two blocks to stitch over and over again.  Maybe I’ll introduce variations among the one or two blocks I choose.

The Stipple Fab Flowers & Medallions designs are organized by folder:  Small, Medium and Large.  I opted to use the small blocks—so I chose the 7 Half-Block Dots_Small design.


At the Computer

The 7 Half-Block Dots_Small design is versatile.  Each appliqued dot can be a different color—or get creative by alternating colors.

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I chose to make all the applique designs one color.  To streamline this process I opened the design in software and changed all the appliqued dots to a single color.  The end result was a single design with two thread color changes:  color 1:  the stipple and color 2:  the appliqued dots.

C:\Users\dholguin\Documents\Denise\Editorial Ideas\Stipple Fab Flowers\image1.jpg

C:\Users\dholguin\Documents\Denise\Editorial Ideas\Stipple Fab Flowers\image2.jpg

Following the instructions included with the Stipple Fab Flowers & Medallions, I cut the fleece batting, top and bottom fabric into long strips and combined the layers to make a quilt sandwich.  Then I hooped the quilt sandwich using Monster Snap-Hoop.  Have you ever used Snap-Hoop or its recent companion Monster Snap-Hoop?  These hoops changed the way I approach embroidery!  Now I actually want to stitch and I stitch with confidence!  The hoops have a top and bottom frame making hooping fool-proof.  Just lay your fabric on the bottom frame, then put the magnetic top frame on top of the fabric.

Since hooping is so easy with Monster Snap-Hoop, I decided to go crazy.  After finishing a few blocks I flipped my fabric sandwich to change the background color for my blocks.  Some blocks will have a black background while others will have white. Yes, that’s my idea of going crazy!

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Denise’s Tip 2:  The Assembly Line Technique

The blocks are so quick and easy to stitch I got a bit carried away.  At last count I’m up to 25 blocks.  If I stopped to trim the blocks after each one finished I wouldn’t get as many complete in the same amount of time.  I like to see fast, easy results.

So for efficiency I decided to focus on embroidering all the blocks without cutting or trimming.  I piled all my blocks together in a stack and admired them at the end of each day.  Then when I had some downtime one evening, I sat down at the table and trimmed away all the applique fabric.  I found the process very relaxing.

Once the applique was cut away I trimmed all the quilt blocks down to size.  Try to look for ways to create this assembly line technique.

Denise’s Fave Feature:  I love the Stipple collections because trimming the quilt blocks down to size is EASY!  Just cut ½” away from the stippling.  There’s no complicated measuring or squaring up of fabrics.  I love flawless, precise results that don’t require a lot of thought or skill!

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C:\Users\dholguin\Pictures\Stipple Medallions\IMG_0357.JPG

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Now to decide which blocks to introduce to the mix next.  I’m thinking it’s time to stitch some flower blocks….

Read Part 2 next week.


Here’s your assignment this week:

Last week we read some great ideas on hoop storage.  This week we’d like to know how you store your stabilizers.  Leave a comment and a random person will be chosen to win a $25 shopping spree to the new Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Leave a comment below and tell us how you currently store your hoops. One comment will be chosen at random to receive Perfect Placement Software for Wearables by Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman – now available at a lower price of only $39.99! Thank you for sharing and good luck.

And the winner is…Linda L. – “I have two wreath, over-the-door hangers and use them for hanging my hoops. I use two to balance them out so they are not hanging on an angle. I placed a towel under the hangers for the hoops to have a soft surface and as not to scratch my doors. Works great for me and they are easy to spot, choose and select.”




  • Cynthia Wentworth

    Right now, my stabilizersarestoredinplastic bins. I have snap bands on the rolls marked so I can quickly find the stabilizer I need at the moment. I store my wash away stabilizers on plastic bags because of the high humidity. Then they are placed in a drawer.

  • beth daniels

    I keep my stablizers on two places. The place where most of them are in one of the plastic drawers in one of the three drawers cabinet. These are the ones I use the most of. The other place is a wicker basket on the wooden shelf of a two shelf open cabinet on rollers. I can get to them very easily and no hassle.

  • Kath H

    I created a hanging holder and blogged about it “Stabilize It Mod”. It has become very handy in my work space.

  • Ginger Sheppard

    I store all of my stablilizers in drawers. I have a double plastic drawer stacked and have each drawer labeled with the kind of stabilizers inside! So convenient!

  • Donna N.

    I got a shoe storage cubbie with 9 cubbies and I put like stabilizers in each one, ie.: water solubles, tear aways, cut aways, fusibles, knits, etc.

  • Barbara

    I store my stabilizers in stackable plastic drawers with wrap around labels. My wash aways are stored in a separate plastic container that snaps closed.

  • Mary Haggenmaker

    In my sewing room I have an old kitchen dining table thst has legs on each end that have a crossover about a third of the way down. I have a shelf that I had purchased once upon a time, resting on those crossovers that gives me plenty of room to sore my stabilizers that I am also making labels for so I can quickly identify them and also categorically store them.

  • Anne Marie Reilly

    I have an office type file cabinet in my sewing room and I keep my stabilizers in two of the drawers which are quite large. They all have their lables. The dissolvable ones are individually packaged in ziploc bags and also stored in the file drawers with their appropriate labels.

  • Cande Gordon

    I store my stabilizers in a cabinet so they are protected from dust. They are all labeled with the type of stabilizer they. I store the water soluble stabilizers in BIG Zip Lock bags to protect them from humidity.

  • Doris Van Peeren

    I store each stabilizer in a plastic bag – I tape the name of the stabilizer to the outside of the bag so I can see at a glance the one I want. (If I don’t have a plastic bag, I make one out of a larger bag by sewing the bag lengthwise so the stabilizer fits perfectly.) Most used stabilizers are in my sewing cabinet and the rest are in a dresser drawer in the sewing room.

  • Pat

    My stabilizers live in stacking plastic drawers that are labeled on the front. The already labeled drawers also are great for storing any reusable pieces. I never have to wonder which stabilizer is which.

  • Lynne Wurzer

    I store all of mine in hanger that I made and embroidered. It has 4 “pockets” that are open on each end. Think hanging shoe rack, but much prettier. Each one holds up to 4 rolls of stabilizer depending on how much has been used off the roll.

  • Nancy N

    I store my stabilizers on a Container Store Elfa gift wrapping rack that I can move around on wheels.

  • Enis

    I’m not too fancy with storing my stabilizers right at the moment. I keep them all in draws of a repurposed dressed. I have all my cut-away and tear-aways in one draw and the soluables/toppers in another. I tuck the original labeling inside each roll of stabilizer so I can tell which is which and I keep scraps in labeled ziplock bags in the appropriate drawers. Works for me.

  • Paula Roney

    I use an over the door canvas shoe holder to hold my stabilizer rolls. I label the pockets so I don’t forget which stabilizer is which. I try to keep the labels inside of the cardboard roll, but sometimes they slide down inside or fall out. I can open the closet door when I need to choose a stabilizer, then close it to keep them out of site and clean. Cheap solution that’s worked well for me.

  • Virginia

    I have created a stabilizer holder that hss pockets and hangs like a wall hanging. I will share pictures if you would like.

  • Kim M Harrington

    I have a shoe hanger in my sewing room that hangs from the top of one end of a shelving unit. It works great for the “normal” size stabilizers. The really long ones for my big hoops are on top of the same shelving unit. I use Hugo’s Amazing tape to keep the label on the roll.

  • Nancy

    I have one cabinet devoted to stabilizer only – if it’s not stabilizer, it’s not in there -easy peasy

  • Linda S

    I bought a wine rack meant to go inside a kitchen cabinet. I have it on a wheeled cart and store my stabilizers in the “boxes” meant for wine bottles

    • Nancy

      Like this idea, Linda!

  • Liz

    I store my flat stabilizers in a plastic drawer and the ones rolled on tubes go into my wine rack. It can be placed on the counter top or on the floor close to the machine as I need it. Very handy!

  • Mary

    Trying to keep the stabilizers organized was beginning to get bothersome and finally decided, while shopping one day, to purchase a shoe bag that would hang in the closet. Instead of the closet, I bought an over the door holder and hung it on the back of the sewing room door. It is clear plastic so you can see what is in each one. Works great and keeps all the stabilizers together. Better than the drawer they were in.

  • Chris

    I store my many rolls of stabilizer in an over the door shoe holder. The holder has 24 compartments and each has 3 parts, a large one for the roll and two smaller ones. Lots of room for lots of stuff.

  • Frances Powell

    I store my stabilizers in a shoe storage cube. The cube is divided into other little cubes that help keep the stabilizers organized, provided I put them back where they belong after using them. It is located by my six needle, so I can put my computer on top of it when transferring a design from the computer to the emb. machine.

  • Jill

    I bought a shoe storage cabinet that has dividers for shoes from Target. It has 6 sections across and 6 sections down so 36 in all. I put a roll of stabilizer in each section. I have labeled the each section with the type of stabilizer in the section. The cabinet was the right height for a cutting table. I turned the cabinet so the side was facing forward (sections open to outside) and put a bookcase same height 3 feet from that cabinet with a board across the top. A large cutting mat on top, it all works great together.

  • Cathy Rosynek

    I have my stabilizers in a shoe cubby but have seen a hanging organizer that I want to make, with embroidered panels – still trying to find the time to do this!

  • Melinda

    I store my stabilizers in Sterelite airtight containers.

  • Jean

    I store my stabilizers in a plastic bin. Each roll is labeled with the stabilizer ‘type’ and a loose rubber band holds like “types” together.

  • Becky3580

    I store my stabilzers in a tall canvas bag that I made. It is tall and wide enough for a standard bolt of fabric or stabilizer and deep enough for several bolts or rolls of stabilizer. It has a nice sturdy handle on it so it is easily portable at a moments notice.

  • Linda Seemann-Korte

    It is rather boring but I store them in a large plastic bin – making sure that the water soluble ones are covered in an airtight zip lock bag. I could be a bit more creative and perhaps store them in a wine bottle holder – hmmmmm …… may have to consider repurposing the wine storage unit! Since it is a cabinet – the top could hold a small cutting board and it would be the correct height for rotary cutting!

  • Valerie Brown

    My stabilizers are in a large clear plastic tub that I keep on a closet shelf. Some of the rolls are too large, so I have them on the shelf by themselves. I try to keep the rolls in the plastic sleeves they come in so that I can tell what they are. It’s a bit of a jumble, but it works for me.

  • Ruth Peterson

    I store stabilizers in a fabric bin on a shelf in my sewing studio. I am very careful to keep the wrapping on each roll so I know what kind it is, using a self-adhesive wrap to keep the label handy. When you embroider only occasionally, you forget what each type feels like when you haven’t done it for a while!

  • Carol K E

    My husband and son built my cutting table and sewing storage. I have dowels on one end for anything on tubes and a designated slide out shelf for others. The stabilizers are just below the hoop drawer. I have to admit, that sometimes there are several kinds on top where I am hooping — I am not the most diligent when it comes to clean up when I move to something out of the sewing room.

  • Kathy H

    I keep my stabilizers on a shelf in the closet.

  • Barb Miller

    I place the sticky and fusible in ziplock bags. The other are stored in plastic or original containers. I store them all in a plastic shelving unit with wheels. I fit four or five to a drawer.

  • Judy Parker

    I used pvc pipes inside a square wooden box…stacked up the pvc piping and all my stabilizer rolls fit neatly into the pvc ..I use Stablizer straps around the stabilizer to easily identify which stabilizer it is…works like a charm and my friends think is kept very neatly

  • Bettie Fennell

    I bought an inexpensive metal wine rack that holds wine bottles horizontally to hold my rolls of stabilizer. I use a permanent marker to write on the end the kind of stabilizer in each slot. I also use a rubber band to keep the paper wrapped around the stabilizer that also identifies it.

  • Cornelia du Preez

    My stabilizers are stored in plastic bins

  • Kandy

    I store my stablizer on pant hanger on the back of the door. This way I can store several of them on the hanger with little space. I store the instructions inside the roll. And I store smaller pieces in a small basket on my cutting desk.

  • Barbara Jones

    I have a three-drawer cabinet — the top drawer is dedicated to crystals and specialty tools, the second to serger and odd spools of thread and the deep drawer is perfect for my stabilizer — until I get busy and leave the roll on the cutting table! I really like the great ideas that your readers have submitted. It makes me want to make a hanging stabilizer storage unit!

  • Wanda Padgett

    I store my stabilizer on a trouser hanger that can hold 4 or 5 trousers. When I need a piece, I just pull, measure and cut it. I have my stabilizer ready to use.

  • Linda Lee

    I store my stabilizers (with an identification snap ring around them) in a looped hanging shoe holder/organizer with a clear front. Neat, never creased, easy to see and identify. It is right next to my hooping area for easy grabbing.

  • Fonda

    I have my stabilzer in two different areas. I have one kind in a drawer and the water soluable is in large plastic containers with a screw on lid. I live in a humid climate and don’t want them to get sticky.

  • Linda W

    I have a pattern to make a hanging holder with pockets, but that hasn’t happened yet! For now, my stablizers are stored in a cabinet. Each roll is labeled as to type and includes a descriptive use of the stabilizer.

  • Peggy

    I store my stablizers in a cardboard 6 pack container with the type in the roll. Have also used empty wax paper boxes with the cutter thing.

  • Kathy Reilly

    I currently store my stabilizers in one of the drawers in my cutting table–always handy!

  • Ruth Thompson

    I have a very large produce basket and I stand the rolls of stabilizer up in it, then I keep that right next to my sewing table with my embroidery machine.

  • Rosalyn

    I keep my stabilizers on a self in my sewing room. The shelf was adjusted in height so that they are able to stand up right with snap bands around. The water soluble stabilizers are stored in Ziploc bags in a Rubbermaid on the shelf.

  • Vicki B.

    Don’t read this….This is so sad, I store mine in a garbage bag!

  • Becky

    I store my stabilizers in a plastic tub and the rest in a drawer of my sewing desk. Its my attempt at being organized and it works pretty well for me.

  • Cheryl

    I use the unused wall space behind the door . First I cut a strip of trim board painted it then attached some of the large clips from the office store works great. You can clip a roll or a zip bag of stabilizers and all those pellon products. Also great place to clip your hoops.

  • JudiC

    I keep all my stabilizers in a wooden shoe divider section of my wall storage. It nicely holds different sizes of each type in each cube. Can’t wait to see polka dots stipple part 2 next week.

  • Greta Kanegae

    My stabilizers are all on bolts or rolls, infrequently used types I have in a box, the ones I use most of the time are on my cutting table. My neighbor is a carpenter and I had him make me a cutting table with the top the exact size of the JoAnn’s cardboard cutting guide, so it is quite big and has plenty of room for me to have frequently used items at hand.

  • Penny Kitzmiller

    I store my stabilizers in their original packaging in a three drawer cabinet. For the ones that aren’t in a package, they are labeled and neatly folded.

  • Nancy Owens

    Hi Eileen,

    Right now my stabilizers are in a box that they came in, but my goal is to find get a old wine rack and “re-purpose” it so my stabilizers can be hung on the wall and not take up very limited storage space in my sewing room.

  • gayle

    I store small pieces of stabilizer in a storage box with a lid, all named of course.. I put my WSS in a plastic bag and store my rolls of stabilizer standing up in a basket with the slap wrist braclets to stop it coming undone, with the name of the stabilizer written on the braclet.

  • Linda E

    I store my rolls of stabilizer in a wine rack. My bolts of stabilizer are stored on an open shelf with the labeled ends sticking out for easy access.

  • Shelly C

    I am not as organized as I should be I have been buying the large rolls of stabilizer and I have them on a shelf next to my thread so I pull the roll out the lengthen of my hoop and cut it off, then I keep the large scraps in a basket under my sewing table. I also have a Hard cardboard case that I keep my special stabilizers in and I keep it under my machine stand.


  • Nancy Grove

    I store my stabilizer in a wire basket that slides onto a shelf but mine is slide above the frame, beneath the cutting board, for my Joann Fabric cutting table – the kind that can be folded down on both sides. I use cheap kids slap bracelets to hold the rolls with the thought/hope that someday I’ll actually embroider the type of stabilizer and cover them.

  • Tammie Wallace

    I store my stabilizer in an old dresser drawer. It’s not my favorite way to store it, but it works for now. I’m hoping to find something better so I don’t have to dig through the drawer searching for the stabilizer I want to use.

  • Donna

    I store my stabilizers in a wire wine rack and those that are too big to fit in the dresser drawer that is in my craft room

  • Chris W

    I store my stabilizers in a large canvas folding market basket.

  • Ellen Jordan

    I store my stabilizers in a rolling plastic cart with drawers. To keep track of what type stabilizer each roll is, I tightly roll up the label and put it in the middle of each roll

  • Linda Killi

    The Husqvarna website had a project to store stabilizers in an over-the-door holder with separate holders for each type of stabilizer. It was an easy project and looks and works great. If I could figure out how to post a picture in here, I would!

  • Linda Killi


    Here’s the photo. Hope this works!

  • crz

    I store my stabilizer two ways. The smaller rolls I store in a shoebag that has pockets for shoes and goes over the door. The second way is kinda very homemade lol I took dowels attaching heavy cord to the ends making it so each one hangs lower than one before. On the dowels I have my larger rolls of stabilizer, all cords hang from heavy cup hooks screwed into the bottom of my closet shelf.

  • Paule-Marie

    Right now my stabilizers are in a big bin. Just move into our new home and my room is a disaster. So I am looking at all the answers to find my solutions.

  • Ann

    Right now I store my stabilizers in a box that has
    dividers. Not perfect but they are in one place and

  • Berenice

    The WSS’s are kept in plastic zippy bags and the rest are kept in a plastic bin under the sewing table. I just have to reach under and can grab what I need.

  • Connie W.

    I usually try to buy the bigger and wider rolls of tearaway and cutaway stabilizers and they are pretty heavy so I store them standing up on their sides, right under the counter where I hoop. My toppers and washaways are stored in a drawer under the counter.

  • sharon brockhouse

    I keep my stabilizers in plastic covered containers according to types. It works for me.

  • Denice Weys

    I store all my stabilizers in a clear snap lock plastic tub. I keep them in the original packaging along with the manufacturers instructions and pertinent information. Useful left over bits are kept in labeled zip lock baggies. If the original packaging is not reusable I store the stabilizer in a large zip lock bag along with the manufacturers label.Keeping everything in one place is so much easyer and I allways know what I have and need.

  • Kathy

    I use a wine rack to store my stabilizers. Put a roll in each rack and it makes it easy to see.

  • Doreen

    I store my stabilizers in a huge seal tight plastic container. Unfortunately some are so tall I can’t close the lid so it’s not stack-able. I have them sorted by type within the bin. It’s really heavy.

  • Patty Schrock

    I have a shelf in my sewing room with legs on each end. I use tension curtain rods and hang my stabilizer rolls on them. I can just unroll what I need and snip it off with scissors. This doesn’t work for the huge rolls but does keep the normal ones off the floor!

  • Kathleen S

    I roll up my stabilizers and put them in an under the bed crate and store them under the bed….I am limited for space so this is the best idea for me…thanks for the giveaway…

  • Irene Sullivan

    I store my stabilizers in a stablizer rack that I bought from Nancy’s notions

  • Melli

    It is hard to keep so many different types and sizes of stabilizers organized! I have smaller rolls and flat packages in a rolling 3 drawer cabinet and the big rolls are just sitting on the floor by my machine. Being on the floor makes it easy to cut off pieces off the big rolls, but they are not very pretty!

  • Linda in TX

    I store my stablizers in 5 gallon plastic cans with a liner that goes over the outside with pockets. Each pocket has sewing motifs embroideried on them.

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  • Ann Kari

    I store stabelizers in a wine rack. Handy and easy to move when needed.

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Pingback: Polka-dots, Stipple Blocks and Creativity, Oh my! Part 2 | Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog on August 7, 2013