Handi Quilt Sweet Sixteen: Using the couching foot

3 08 2014

I purchased the conversion kit and couching foot kit for my Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen a few weeks back, and had my first ‘play’ while on my annual quilt retreat with the girls a month ago. Life has sort of got in the way since then, so today was my first time back playing with the couching foot.

In the interim I’d bought some cheap yarn from Spotlight, so it was time to try it out.

First, here’s a video from Handi Quilter on using the couching foot. The instructions for starting off are around the 5-minute mark and again at the 8-minute and 10-minute marks. However, the instructions give you NO information on how to tie off/bury the yarn at the beginning/end of your stitching.

Here’s my first practice piece with both a variegated yarn and a gold metallic yarn. I was going too fast initially and thus my yarn wasn’t always caught by my needle — once I slowed down (25% speed or less), I had no trouble. I used the middle couching foot (2 mm, I think)


After I’d finished that piece, I decided to do something on a spare quilt sandwich I had in a navy linen-like fabric. I’d seen an image of a boomerang and thought it would quilt well, so I did all the inner couching with the variegated yarn, and the outer edge with the gold metallic yarn. Some practice still required!









It all looked a bit plain, so I filled in the inner part of the boomerang with a scribble stitch just using the brown variegated thread I had in the needle for the couching. Then I made up some elongated curved lines and spirals for the rest of the small sandwich, emulating the spiral pattern inside the boomerang.






It was fun! I’m not sure how much I’ll use it, but it’s good to know how. However, I still have to find a quick and easy way of tieing off at the beginning/end without doing it by hand, and without the cut ends of the yarn fraying.

More: If you are a member of QNNTV.com, then Helen Godden has a great 49-minute video on using the couching foot, including information on how she stops and starts and finishes off the ends. This video is available from: http://www.qnntv.com/videos/1896_qbn-couching-yarns-with-your-longarm-full-episode/




8 responses

3 08 2014

Looks great, Rhonda! inspires me to try it again, I have a couching foot for my DSM.

4 08 2014

From memory, couching feet on DSMs use a zigzig stitch to hold down the couching thread, which goes UNDER the foot. The couching foot on the Sweet Sixteen works quite differently as the yarn is caught through a small needle hole in the free motion quilting couching foot and the needle just does the usual thing it does when you’re free motion quilting.


3 08 2014
Mary Ed Williams

Love that look! Do you think the couching foot would also fit on the Tiara?

4 08 2014

Supposedly, the Tiara and the Sweet Sixteen are the same machines but branded differently. However, you’d have to contact your dealer or Babylock to find out.

4 08 2014

Hi Rhonda,
Thanks for this info, I have the couching foot and was really disappointed with my first efforts and how often the yarn was not caught, I did buy a susbscription to QNN as there is a good tutorial on there by Helen Godden, I was interested to see you used a a spotlight yarn as that was what I tried and I “assumed” Helen must have used something more expensive. I will try again at a slower speed, I have some great ideas but just have been disheartened by my practice pieces.
Thanks again

4 08 2014

Hi Daneen

I KNOW Helen uses cheap yarn from Spotlight — she told me so when she was at my house in March đŸ˜‰ She also said “How much fun can you have with a $2 ball of yarn!”

In her QNNTV video, which I watched AFTER doing my piece, she recommends not dropping the speed too much. So next time I try, I’ll increase my speed.


5 08 2014

I’m not sure I’m ready for that investment, especially since it would require the conversion kit and I already have the open toe and ruler feet. Great info….thanks………..

9 08 2014
Dawn C.

Thanks for the useful info!

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