DIY Four Circle Table Topper with Bernina Circular Embroidery Attachment

DIY Four Circle Table Topper with Bernina Circular Embroidery Attachment

I’ve been eyeing a special attachment for my Bernina sewing machine for quite some time.  I was at Mill House Quilts in Waunakee this past week, where they have all the newest Bernina sewing machines along with a great assortment of attachments and feet.  Then I saw it, they had it in stock!, so I finally decided to buy it — the Circular Embroidery Attachment.  (cue the trumpets) Ta da!

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I have lots of ideas of how I  want to use the attachment (none of which included embroidery–hehe), so I got online to find a few YouTube videos to visually see how to attach it to my machine and how they used it.  Here are some great links if you’re interested:

The attachment comes with 2 screws and a nifty small screwdriver, and attaches to the bed of my machine with one screw in the hole on the right of my pressure foot.  One video suggested taping the other end near the pin to be sure it doesn’t wiggle (which I did—see blue painter’s tape in the second photo below).

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There’s a sharp pin under that plastic nob on the left of the tape (see above).  You carefully take off that plastic bit and poke the center of your fabric through the sharp pin and replace the plastic bit, and that’s all there is to it.  You place the fabric under the pressure foot and “step on the gas” and it glides around in a circular pattern all on its own with little help from you.  You do need to stabilize the fabric so it doesn’t wrinkle and bunch up, but if you’re doing the project I’m doing, it’s not necessary.  The directions recommend using a open embroidery type foot, but since I’ll be sewing through a few layers with batting I’m using my walking foot.

The pin is on a sliding mechanism so that you can adjust the size of the circle you want to sew.  The distance between the pin and your needle x 2 = the size of the diameter of the circle.  So for this particular project, I measured and slid the pin at a distance from the needle so the circles would measure around 8-1/2 to 9 inches.

So here’s my first project using the Circular Embroidery Attachment – A Four Circle Table Topper.

I went through my stash of unused layer cake squares and chose 8 coordinating fabrics (4 peach/pink and 4 mint green), and cut 4 squares of batting to match.

Then I layered them starting with the batting on the bottom, mint fabric face up, then peach/pink fabric face down (so the 2 fabrics are right sides together).

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Line them all up and use your ruler to find the center and mark a dot lightly with a water soluble marker (or other washable mark).  Then take it all over to your sewing machine and put the pin of the circular embroidery attachment through all the layers at that center mark and feed the right end (edge) of the fabric under the pressure foot.

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It’s so easy!  It walks (sews) itself around in a perfect circle and comes back to exactly where it was started.  LOVE IT!

Here’s my short (very short) YouTube video showing how it works on my machine…(my very first one)…

After trimming around the edges with a pinking shears (or pinking rotary cutter if you have one), you cut a small slit along an edge being sure to only cut the top fabric.  Be sure the cut slit is in a spot where the fabric will eventually be folded over (so the it will be hidden).  Then turn the circle inside-out, using a blunt ended tool (like a bamboo paper folder, purple-thang, or bamboo skewer) to be sure all the edges are nice and crisp, and press.  OH, you might want to use a tiny bit of water to get rid of the water soluble mark you made in the center…you don’t want to permanently heat set it into the fabric with your iron.

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Use a ruler and a water soluble marker or chalk, draw a square box within the finished circle (being sure that the cut slit falls beyond the square in the outer edge (see top of the photo below).  Each of the corners of the square should just touch the edge of the circle.  I was lucky enough that my square ruler was a perfect fit.

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After making four of these, place them on a flat surface and see what arrangement you like best, turning up two edges on each one to expose the fabric underneath… it’s important that the “flap” that has the cut (used to turn them right side out) is in one of the seams so it’s covered.  Then it’s similar to sewing a 4 patch together—Take the 2 upper circles and match them BACK to BACK using the drawn lines as a sewing guide, pin,  and sew them together edge to edge, do the same with the lower 2.  Then sew the top 2 with the bottom 2 and it will look something like this..

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Iron the flaps down and use your favorite decorative stitch around each edge of the flaps (petals) to finish.

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I chose a blanket stitch in green variegated thread, but you could opt to use a straight stitch, any decorative stitch, or just tack the flaps at each center point.  You could even hand sew them down if you wanted to.  You need to at least tack them down (or sew them) to be sure that the cut you made to turn the circles inside out is completely covered.

And here it is, all finished

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What’s nice about this pattern is the quilting is done as you go, and the back is as interesting as the front…

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So it’s completely reversible.

And no worries if you don’t have the attachment…you can create these table toppers by tracing a circle (using a platter or template) onto the fabric and carefully sewing on the line.  That will work, but I’ve found this is a time saver, I can make any size circle,  and just looks a bit better too.

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I think they make a wonderful gift—Mother’s Day is coming up.

So I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and that you’ll try making a reversible 4-circle table topper.  I have them for sale in my Mulberry Patch Quilts Etsy Shop if you’d like to purchase one instead, along with lots of other ideas for Mother’s Day.

I’ll be posting other ideas for using my Bernina Circular Embroidery Attachment in the future…hope you’ll come back again! And be sure to post a comment below on how you use your circular attachment—any tips or ideas?

Until next time,

HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Quiltsy Team Charity a Day for National Quilt Month

Quiltsy Team Charity a Day for National Quilt Month

March is National Quilt month!
My Quiltsy Team (a group of quilting artists who sell their work on the Etsy.com website) is celebrating by featuring a different member each day and the charities they support.  So today I’d like to share photos of donations I’ve just finished up to give to Mikayla’s Grace.

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Mikayla’s Grace is a local charity in my area that supports families with a baby in the NICU (neonatal ICU) and those who experience the death of an infant at hospitals throughout Wisconsin by providing NICU care packages that offer both practical and emotional support for parents.  They also reach out to comfort women who experience miscarriages.

I’ve knitted quite a few preemie hats throughout this past year, but when a call came out for special small items, it was an opportunity for me to try a new technique…combining quilting with crochet!  I’ve seen quilts that were made up of squares with crocheted edgings and then put together like a granny square afghan.

So, starting with small squares of cotton and soft flannel, I made little tiny quilts by sewing them right sides together,

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with a quarter inch seam (leaving an opening to turn)

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And then turning the right side out and top stitching around the edges.

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I found yarn was too thick, but white pearl cotton was just the right size, to do a blanket stitch around the perimeter of the square.

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That gave me something to anchor my crochet edge stitching to.  And then it was a matter of crocheting whatever edge stitch I desired around the entire square for several rows.

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Here’s a few simple edgings done in green baby yarn (top) and blue cotton yarn (bottom). I liked using the soft baby (or sports weight) yarn the best.

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And here’s a few more in coral and mint green.  You can see I tried to use the yarn to do the blanket stitch (one on the right), and although I like the look of it better I found it very difficult to thread and poke through the edging, so I went back to using the pearl cotton.

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By folding, they make the cutest little wraps—you can see how small they are next to my hand…

Next I decided to make some little quilts for preemies out of some beautiful cotton fabrics and soft flannel.

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Squares put together and backed with soft flannel.

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Aren’t the chicks cute?  I love the bright, cheerful colors.  And here are a few more pieced in strips across the quilt with soft minky fabric on the back.

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Last but not least, I added a couple of tiny knit afghans that I made out of soft yellow baby yarn with a blue crochet edging.  Can you see the “heart” created by the pattern? So fun.

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I hope these small gifts bring love and comfort to the families they go to!

I’m so blessed to be a part of such  great Etsy Team.  Each member is not only creative, but so caring and generous.  Just this past month when one of our members found out about a need for quilts for victims of fires in Tennessee, our Quiltsy Team immediately went to work and made 67 quilts to donate to them–yup SIXTY SEVEN!!  An amazing group that I am so thankful for.

Until next time,

HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Quilting Up My Scraps

Quilting Up My Scraps

Do you, like me, have tons of scrap fabric you’ve been saving to use…someday?  I’m embarrassed (or proud?) to tell you that my stash of scraps takes up two bookshelves in my sewing studio.  They’re nicely sorted by color, and look very pretty, but one of my New Year’s Resolutions this year is to start using up my scraps.  Not that I won’t create more scraps that’ll grow yet again—but I need to use them up before they take over my studio!

I was watching a TV program on Sewing with Nancy—click here to view the episode  on PBS with Nancy Zieman that featured a guest speaker with great ideas for using up those scraps.  Lynn Harris has written a quilt book entitled, “Every Last Piece” (see Amazon here).   She suggests cutting your scraps into strips of various widths and sewing them together, and cutting them to size with a standard 6-1/2 inch square ruler.  These squares can be used in any traditional quilt pattern out there.  Genius!  I was completely enamored with the first quilt she showed on the program—The Garden Window Quilt.  But there were so many more possibilities!

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These are the smallest of the scraps I keep—they’re not even big enough to be sorted in my bins by color.

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They are spewing out of washed salad tubs where I store all the “orphan” bits and bobs.

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I spent an afternoon with my music blaring cutting all those scraps (every last piece) into various sizes—5 inch & 2-1/2 inch squares, & long 2-1/2 inch strips.  These were put away for another day.  But anything smaller was cut into strips of different widths (all under 2-1/2″) and at least 6-1/2″ long.

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Once sorted, I had four piles—a selection of Black & Whites, a pile of Christmas fabrics, a pile of baby/kid’s prints, and a pile of great “earthy” traditional/county colors.

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After sewing enough strips together, I cut them to a perfect 6-1/2” square with my rotary cutter and ruler.  Easy-peasy!

I found that I had quite a lot of back and white fabrics—stripes, polka dots, herringbone… so decided my first quilt would be black and white…

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Then I found it … some fabric panels in my stash that  I had purchased a long time ago (note big monitor & 3-1/2” drives).  I LOVED this panel, but I never found the right quilt pattern.  It features a black cat getting into “trouble”, as cats often do.  Sitting on the warm monitor, …

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or playing (and getting tangled) in the yarn.  I just HAD to use it.  It’s called “Kats by Kelly’” for Timeless Treasures (I found the title in the selvage, which I added to a block).

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The scrap blocks were arranged to surround each of the cut panels (which magically cut to the perfect 6-1/2” size! …It was meant to be!).

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Kitty in the yarn again!

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Here I’m auditioning different fabrics for an inner border & outer border — too much!

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Not bad…but I don’t have enough (and it’s still a bit loud).

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This is more like it…but not quite.

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In the end I went with a narrow black inner border and some cute (lighter) fabric for the larger border, which I’m using for the backing as well.

All that’s left is quilting & binding.

Three more scrappy quilts to go:  1) Christmas; 2) Baby/kids; & 3) traditional/country fabrics.

So what do you think?  Isn’t it a great way to use up scraps?  I’ll share a pic of the finished quilt with you in a week or so.

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Chickadee Mountain View Art Quilt

Chickadee Mountain View Art Quilt

I’ve been wanting to create a second art quilt using a pattern by McKenna Ryan as the inspiration.  It’s a peaceful mountain scene featuring a branch in the foreground with Chickadees.

The challenge for me was to try to find just the right fabrics for each portion of the scene by auditioning them one by one.  I wanted choose the best fabric to give  the contrast needed in the composition.

I started by creating the background, including the borders (so that the branch could be appliqued to extend into the borders.

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Then I draw each part of the landscape onto a sheet of Seam-a-Steam 2 Lite.  (I’m so glad this product is back on the market again.)  I love it because it a double-faced fusible that has paper on both sides.  You peel one side off, and it’s “sticky” so it clings to the fabric you want to use, but it repositionable.  Then you fuse it with the iron, and wait for it to cool down before cutting and peeling off the second paper to fuse it to the background.

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I started with the background and then cut and fused the individual items to it, starting with those furthest back and ending with those closest to the foreground.

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I “auditioned” several fabrics before deciding on which ones to use, and which ones didn’t work.

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The log cabin and trees were fun to pull together.  For the chickadees, I created each bird separately and fused the pieced together as one and then set and fused them to the branches.

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Here’s the chickadee & log cabin after they’ve been quilted with a bit of thread painting.

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After everything was fused down, I quilted and thread painted with different colors of thread.  My favorites are Aurofil and Sulky Blendables.

Here’s the result after quilting and binding.

 

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I immediately put it for sale in my Etsy shop, and it’s been sold and is on it’s way to it’s new home in Toronto, Ontario.

Until next time,

HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

2 Minute No Sew Christmas Napkin Ring

2 Minute No Sew Christmas Napkin Ring

Want to add a festive touch to your holiday table but don’t have a lot of time?  Here’s an easy, no sew, way to make a colorful poinsettia napkin ring in 2 minutes flat.

It’s a technique my sister-in-law taught me over (well we won’t mention how many) years ago.  I’ve perfected the pattern, but the idea is the same.  There’s no sewing involved, and all you’ll need is some inexpensive red and green felt squares (available at JoAnne Fabrics, and lots of other stores — be sure to use your coupon).

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Click on the PDF pattern above and print it off (or create your own using mine as a guide) and cut out the three pieces.

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Pin them to your felt–pieces A & C on RED and B on the GREEN–and cut them out with a scissors.

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For the center hole in pattern B & C, simply fold in half & cut, refold in half the other way & cut so you have an X shape in the center like this…

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To assemble, fold the RED A in half..

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Pull the tips through the center hole of the GREEN felt B

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And then through the center hole of the RED FELT C

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and fluff by pulling the tips apart

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Roll up your napkin (or fold) and slip it through the “ring” created by the RED A and your table is instantly transformed.

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Now get creative—change the shapes of the outside leaves & petals…use different colors and you can make all sorts of flower napkin rings for every season of the year!

Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas & Happy Holiday Season…And a very HAPPY and HEALTHY NEW YEAR!!

Until next time,

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Shimmering Winter Stars Quilted Wall Hanging

Shimmering Winter Stars Quilted Wall Hanging

I’ve just finished my “Shimmering Winter Star” wall hanging.

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From a distance, doesn’t it look as if the pieced triangles are twinkling or shimmering?

I started the design on my Electric Quilt 7 software with some ideas I’ve seen on Pinterest and the internet.  The triangles intersect the colors so they co-mingle and create a secondary design.  I especially love the work of Jenny Bowker “Shimmering Triangles”.  If you’re interested, she has a pattern for purchase online through Craftsy here.

Here’s a photo of the squares of batik Christmas fabric up on my design wall that I cut out of a layer cake to create the color scheme.  You can see the EQ7 sketch in the lower right hand corner.  (Sorry—my design wall isn’t yellow, but a light cream–I can’t seem to correct the color cast.)

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After organizing the color scheme, I got to work making the half square triangles.  It’s so easy–simply match up two contrasting squares …

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Put them right sides together, and

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(using a ruler and a disappearing ink pen) mark lines corner to corner, then across left to right and north to south.

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And sew  1/4 inch on either side of each line…

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Use a rotary cutter and ruler to cut them apart on the drawn lines…

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…open and press… and you have 8 half-square triangles!  Ta-da!

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If you line the 45 degree line on your ruler up with the seam line (corner to corner) on the half square triangle, it’s easy to trim each one down to size.

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After making dozens and dozens of them, I put them up on the design wall (to double check the placement) and then pieced them together into the blocks I needed.

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Here you can see how they’re coming together on the design wall…not yet pieced together.  (Sorry it’s a bit blurry)

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And here it is—all finished with a green batik border, quilted with a meandering star pattern, and ready to go!  I was so pleased to get it in my shop before December!!  Yippee.

Unfortunately, I have another project that won’t get done in time.  Oh well, there’s always next Christmas right?

Until next time,

HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Sweet Tea Fabric Party at Mill House

Sweet Tea Fabric Party at Mill House

I just wanted to share with you a recent event I attended.  A few days ago my quilting friend and I took a short road trip over to Mill House Quilts in Waunakee, WI,  for their special event featuring KariAnne Wood called “Sweet Tea Fabric Designing & Home Décor Party”.

KariAnne Wood designs fabric for Hoffman Fabrics and writes a very successful decorating & lifestyle blog:   Thistlewood Farms.  She’s been featured in Better Homes & Gardens Magazine, Country Living, Country Woman, HGTV Magazine to name a just a few.  And her work has been featured on several TV programs, such as “Tiny House Nation”.

And the event featured her newest line of Hoffman fabric called “Sweet Tea”in two different colorways … Here’s a link:  KariAnne Wood, Designer

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I expected to learn something about her new line (which we did), and maybe a thing or two about the process of how she designs her fabrics (which we also did).  But what I didn’t expect was to be delightfully entertained and literally “in stitches” laughing for over an hour.  She was wonderful.

KariAnne not only showed us all of her newest fabrics, but had on display dozens of ideas of ways in which to use her fabrics–not just in our quilts, but also in our homes.  She talked about aprons, napkins, tablecloths, chair covers, pillows…the list of ideas went on and on.

At the end of her lecture, we were each treated to a sweet charm pack of her fabrics including a spool of thread and an embroidery scissors!  So sweet!  Thank you KariAnne!

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So if you’re lucky enough to have KariAnne come to your area, be sure to go on a road trip to see her.  You’ll thoroughly enjoy her!

I only wish I had taken more photos of the beautiful sample items she had on display to share with you.  If you’re interested, you can check out some more photos on Mill House Quilts FACEBOOK PAGE HERE.  (see their mid-October posts).

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts