The Free Motion Quilting Project: Embroidery Tutorial: Chakra Wall Hanging

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Embroidery Tutorial: Chakra Wall Hanging

On Sunday I felt inspired to make a gift for several yoga friends, and what better inspiration than the chakras, or energy centers of the body. Chakras have associations with both color and symbols, which make them a fun inspiration for many creative projects.

I used designs from the Expressions of Textures embroidery CD to stitch out seven beautiful designs to make this skinny wall hanging:

machine embroidery | chakra wall hanging
Click Here to find the full tutorial and materials list for the Chakra Wall Hanging

This project was SO easy and fast because my machines did most of the work! I was able to edit some videos and cut fabric for another project while my machines stitched out the designs.

Just in case you're wondering about my machines, I have two embroidery machines: Janome 15000 and Bernette Deco 340. I've had the Janome for a few years now, and picked up the Deco last December so I could test my designs on more than one machine.

Bernette Deco 340 Embroidery Machine
 Hoop A on the Bernette Deco 340 Embroidery Machine

But this project did generate an interesting question on Facebook - where is the skill in embroidery when the machine does all the work for you?

I honestly used to feel the same way. I had no appreciation for the effort it takes to digitize a good design and make it work in multiple formats and sizes on hundreds of different machines. I just felt like hitting a button was somehow cheating the creative process.

embroidery design | machine embroidery
Fast forward many years and I've totally changed my tune! It took watching many machine embroidery Craftsy classes for me to start understanding embroidery better and how fast and fun these projects can be.

And yes, there definitely is skill involved! Knowing how to hoop your fabric, using your machine efficiently, and stabilizing the material is a huge learning curve.

As a designer, learning to digitize is an awesome opportunity to share my designs with quilters who don't have the time or energy to learn free motion quilting. It's also wonderful to be able to stitch out 21 squares in a few hours and make an awesome gift for several friends!

So if you have a hang up about machine embroidery, take a minute to actually try it out at a show or shop. These machines have the ability to create beautiful, finished projects in far less time and with much more dependable results. What in the world is wrong with that?!

Let's go embroider!

Leah Day


  1. Years ago (15 or so) I remember thinking that machine quilting was "cheating" because it didn't require the same skill set or time commitment that hand quilting does. I am now in the "machine quilting is awesome" camp. I'll hand stitch something for decorative purposes here and there but I have changed my tune about machine quilting! Because I'm able to finish machine quilting a quilt in a week versus 2 months of hand quilting (and it's easier on my wrists!) I'm able to make and finish more quilts!

  2. I love this. I was actually looking at a this at yoga and thinking how nice it would look as a quilt. I don't have an embroidery machine, so won't be making one soon, but love how it turned out.

  3. Yeah, for me the fun is mostly in the stitching process, so I'm not a good candidate for an embroidery machine. I would stitch it out on my sewing machine...definitely not by hand, so there you go! One of my closest friends uses an embroidery machine and a long-arm quilter all the time and she loves the digital design process more than the embroidering and quilting...ergo her methods. Different strokes for different folks, as the saying goes!

  4. Oh, and forgot to say, I LOVE the chakra wall hanging! My Reiki instructor would probably like one of these, so I may make one for her. Thanks for the inspiration!


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