Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Twilling: Embroidery on Quilts


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Lately, I’ve gotten quite a few requests for a video demonstration of twilling, an embroidery technique used in quilting that’s become very popular here in the Midwest. Well, I’m very happy to oblige with a video – no problem at all!

This is what twilling looks like:

Twilling stitch or Palestrina Stitch

Surface embroiderers will recognize the stitch in the photo above as Palestrina stitch.

Twilling stitch or Palestrina Stitch

Quite a while back, I used the Palestrina stitch on this hand embroidered linen pouch, which is where the photos above came from.

Twilling on a Quilt Block

A couple weeks ago, Georgene sent me a photo of her recent tone-on-tone twilling on a quilt block. Georgene used the Golden Circle Hungarian embroidery pattern for her twilling design, and the whole thing is stitched in twilling stitch, also known as Palestrina stitch.

Normally, from what I’ve read (and I’m open to plenty of correction here – I’m not really a quilter, so I’m not too up on the quilting scene!), in the past, quilling was generally done white-on-white (or off-white-on-off-white, tone-on-tone, etc.) Today, quilters are incorporating plenty of color into their twilling adventures. The stitching is usually done in heavier thread, like a #5 pearl cotton, but finer lines can easily be stitched in a couple (or three) strands of embroidery floss, too.

I love it when the various textile arts cross over like this! Surface embroidery… quilting…. twilling. Great stuff!

If you’re looking for a video on twilling stitch, look no further – you’ll find it under the Palestrina stitch in the How-to Videos here on Needle ‘n Thread.

Twill on, says I!


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(4) Comments

  1. Thanks Mary. I had no idea about twilling until I read this. Palestrina is one of my all-time favourite stitches and now, when I use it on a quilt, I’ll know I’m twilling away.
    Warmest regards, Suzy B in Melbourne

  2. Mixing media seems to me the loveliest creative enterprise. I donĀ“t see why one should wear the name of a certain tecnique (quilting, surface embroidery etc) as a sort of straight jaket. Express yourself with any creative tool you need is my philosophy. happy stitching!

  3. That looks quite interesting. I haven’t done any quilting before, myself, but I’m starting to learn it, and I really like how twilling looks, so I’ll have to find more information on it. Thank you!

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