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

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Finished Quilting My Second OBW (One Block Wonder)

Finished Quilting My Second OBW (One Block Wonder)

I worked really hard yesterday on finishing my One Block Wonder top that I finished a couple weeks ago (see previous blog).

Having the rainy, humid Sunday afternoon helped get me get out of the garden and get the ambition to go down to do the quilting on my Tin Lizzy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And while I hand sewed the binding to the back of the quilt, I was able to catch up on a few episodes of  “Call the Midwives” before the big finale Sunday night. (I was finished in time to give the final episode of  “Selfridge” my full attention… LOL!)OBW6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like the way it turned out.  I tried to echo the flowers in the pattern of the “Samba” fabric, by quilting free-hand swirls and flowers throughout.

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I think the deep blue border & binding help “reign” in the color explosion!

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…as well as the calm blue backing.  Do you agree?

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I can’t wait to do this again.  One Block Wonder’s are so much fun to do.  I think it’s the surprise you get when you start cutting out the 60 degree triangles and sewing them together.  It’s amazing how fabrics off the bolt turn out in the final project.  On my travels to visit my sister in Michigan—I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for a fabric that will make another interesting One Block Wonder…

BTW, this OBW is for sale in my Mulberry Patch Quilts Etsy Shop

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

My Second OBW (One Block Wonder)…Samba Fabric

My Second OBW (One Block Wonder)…Samba Fabric

I couldn’t wait to cut into my “Samba” fabric that I mentioned at the end of my last post.  When I saw it at Quilter’s Compass, I thought it would make a very interesting kaleidoscope effect.  It has so many colors and so much movement.  What a difference from my earlier, more subdued floral table runner!

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After tearing the fabric down the middle lengthwise (the scariest part), I layered six panels of fabric together and cut out strips—then subcut the strips into 60 degree triangles (6 of each).     

With each hexagon “kaleidoscope” there are three possibilities—because you can “turn” each triangle three times to create 3 different looks… Here’s an example of one set:

After sewing half-hexi’s (nicely pressed open), I arranged them into piles by color…

I tried to make some sense of the color scheme on my design wall before actually piecing the hexi’s all together… putting the reds off center and then blending them into the blues and yellows and greens.

Here’s the center of the finished quilt top.  A little “LOUD” isn’t it?  But it was fun!

I’m hoping the beautiful deep blue fabric (I went back to Quilter’s Compass to purchase) will calm it down a bit as an inner border.   I’ll add an outer border of the actual fabric yardage and then frame it with blue binding.  I’ll post a photo when it’s all done so you can see how it turns out.

I had a little bit of the fabric (in the 6-layer stack) left over…so I cut some of it into squares, and subcut them into triangles.  I pieced them together to make small kaleidoscope squares (about 4” each).  I want to “challenge” myself to design another quilt or two using these little squares in the center of some kind of blocks.  I’ll share with you what happens in the my blog post…

Until then, HAPPY QUILTING! and Happy Spring!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Winter Quilt Retreat at the Jones Mansion Retreat Center–Priceless

Winter Quilt Retreat at the Jones Mansion Retreat Center–Priceless

I just got back from a week-end quilting retreat at the Jones Mansion Retreat Center in beautiful Mineral Point, Wisconsin.  The February weather was cooperative–no icy or snowy roads to contend with.  Mineral Point is only an hour’s drive southwest of Madison, but I still hate to drive on icy roads.  I’ve been coming to the Mansion for over ten years, and every time I step over that threshold I feel like I’m being transported in to a simpler, more peaceful time in history and instantly feel relaxed.  What a great place for a quilting retreat!

Front Entry to the Jones Mansion in Summer

Front entryway to the Jones Mansion in summertime

This retreat was organized by the owner, but there are other retreats to join in with–or you can create your own.  For this retreat, I came with a friend, and others joined us–some I knew, some I met for the first time.  (Aren’t quilter’s the best people?)  We all brought our own projects to work on, and because the third floor has been made into the perfect work space, we can easily share ideas, chat, and just enjoy the creativity going on in the room.

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I’m an early riser (still PJs)–anxious to start a new project.

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Looking at some “show & tell”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve got the freedom to quilt whenever we feel like it–early in the morning, or late into the night.  There’s several tables in the room with extension cords, Ott lighting, and the dormers each have large ironing stations and cutting tables with mats (which means less to pack!) 🙂  It’s fun to see what everyone’s working on.

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Cutting table in one of the dormers (ironing station on right

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View from the 3rd Floor in Fall

I was in my favorite room this time–“the Master”, although I’ve stayed in almost all the rooms at the Mansion and love each one.  Every bed has a hand made quilt…some share bathrooms, some have adjoining bathrooms, most have 2 twin beds, one has 3, and a few are single rooms…but all are very comfortable and welcoming.  I don’t have photos of all the bedrooms, but here’s a few…   the Mansion will hold up 12 very happy campers.

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Each room has its own personality

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Each bed has a hand-made quilt

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Claw foot tubs & beautifully renovated fixtures

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This room looks out onto a porch.

Each of us shared the cooking responsibility–we had Saturday night (soup and salad)…simple.  We all eat in the downstairs dining room.  Such beautiful woodwork and hand-painted wallpaper (original).  Lori (the owner) can tell you all about the history of the house and how she so lovingly restored it back to its former glory.

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Notice the beautiful built-in cabinets

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…hand painted wallpaper (orig), fireplace & deep window seats

Sometimes we relax with tea and snacks in the sitting room.  And at night (one of the perks of being there in the wintertime), Lori can start a wood fire in the fireplace.  We bring our knitting and handwork and enjoy it.

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Friend (Jean) enjoying tea & treats.

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Sitting room with fireplace & large window seat.

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Becky showing us her new quilt

My favorite spot in the Mansion is the front staircase with the large balcony overlooking the first floor entryway hall…

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2nd Floor Balcony overlooking the first floor entry fireplace with stairs behind

And if you look up, you’ll see the beautiful stained glass skylight that floods the second floor with light.  Each of the bedrooms have large transoms that filter light into each room.  Wasn’t the builder forward thinking for 1906!

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Close-up–this would make a great quilt!

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Stained Glass Skylight

Here’s what it looks like from the third floor…or course there’s a quilt on the wall!  …and a photo-op with the lovely owner & hostess, Lori Bartol.

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3rd floor view of skylight (stained glass is below)

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Lori (the good looking one on your left) at summer retreat

Wish I had taken more photos–once I’m there, I’m so wrapped up in talking with people, sewing, and eating I forget to take any.  Lori has wi-fi at the Mansion, but I hardly checked my email.  In February it was so cold outside, but so cozy warm inside the Mansion that we didn’t want to leave, so we didn’t go downtown for a shopping spree this time–but downtown Mineral Point has a lot to offer in the way of unique shops and restaurants.  However, we did manage a quick side trip to the quilt store in Platteville called Hidden Quilts.  It’s not as “hidden” since they moved to a larger location on Main Street, and it’s always fun to go there.  I didn’t do too much “damage”–but couldn’t get away without buying something.  Be sure to stop if you’re in the area.

We also missed going to Hook’s Cheese, but if you ever go to the Mansion on a retreat, you HAVE to stop downtown Mineral Point at Hook’s Cheese on the day they make the fresh cheese curds!  …wow!  They also have award-winning Blue Cheese.

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Making the fresh, squeaky, cheese curds at Hooks. YUM!

I’m coming home refreshed with all kinds of new ideas.  Isn’t it great to spend time with other quilters?  Each time I go I get what I like to call “Pearls of Wisdom from the Mansion”.  This time I learned about a new quilt store to check out in eastern Wisconsin that just opened, and learned how to create an apron from a recycled men’s shirt (Lori showed us how).  So cute.

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“Modeling” our new aprons (Lori, Jean, me & Kathy)

For more history on the mansion, see the website on the history of the William Jones House.:   (But note that many of their photos are not up to date; they show the mansion in various stages.)

I can’t wait until the next time.  If you’d like more information, contact Lori at: The Jones Mansion, 215 Ridge Street, Mineral Point, WI 53565   (608) 332-7210, e-mail: jonesmansion@gmail.com

The Jones Mansion Retreat Center Website

Until next time,

HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honeysweet Quilt Done–An EQ7 Experiment

So I created an EQ7 (Electric Quilt) challenge for myself —

...try designing a new lap quilt using EQ7 from start to finish, downloading the exact fabrics (before even seeing or buying them), and then make the quilt almost exactly as shown…

As you know, I fell in love with Moda’s “Honeysweet” fabric, so I downloaded the line from their website HERE, so I could import it to my “fabric library”.  EQ7 software makes it so easy to do this.

Then I could “paint” the quilt with the fabrics to see how they might look.

Here’s my first try:

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Another version:

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And my final version that I decided to work with:

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I liked playing around with the dresden plate, which reminded me of flowers (the hope of spring to come!)….

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EQ7 doesn’t realize some short-cuts–I had to re-draft the pattern a bit so I could create the points of the “petals” by making a seam, turning it, & pressing.

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It also doesn’t know that I take a short-cut doing corners on this alternate block by using a smaller square & sewing the seam corner to corner.  So I had to make some changes in my pattern & accommodate for extra rose & green fabric.

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But it was a lot of fun! 🙂

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And here’s how it turned out…

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I decided not to quilt inside the Dresden plate–but to “echo” the secondary square instead…

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And add a hand dyed floss “tie” to the center of each “flower”.

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All in all, it was a fun experience…and I may try doing it again.

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On the to next…

Happy Quilting!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

The “Go Pack” Baby Quilt

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During the Wisconsin Shop Hop, I found these great Wisconsin fabrics at my favorite quilt stores.  The green and yellow just screamed Green Bay Packers–so I had to find a few other fabrics to go with them into a “Go Pack” Baby Quilt.

Have you discovered the spectacular YouTube Tutorials from the Missouri Star Quilt Company?  (If not, be sure to click the link on their name to view them).  I just love Jenny–she’s inspiring and fun.  Anyway–Even though I used her YouTube Tutorial on the Disappearing Nine Patch I had to “sketch” it out myself on the computer using EQ7 (Electronic Quilt 7 software) first to be sure of the size and amount of material:

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Then I cut out the squares…

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…sewed them into 9-patches (first rows, and then sewing those rows together).

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Don’t you just love the football-theme fabrics?  As I mentioned, several of them are from the Wisconsin Shop Hop (designed by Kim Schaefer for Andover Fabrics).  One has the names of Wisconsin cities printed on it).  There’s also a referee-type stripe, some random green & yellow circles/stripes, and even green turf with yard lines.  I added some fabrics with footballs and helmets (Robert Hoffman).  Fun.

The next step was to cut each of the 9-patch blocks right down the center–both ways…

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And then put them up on my design wall and scramble them–making sure no two seams matched…

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My backing wasn’t wide enough–so I had to add a few strips of fabric, which just screamed–add the words “Go Pack” in green on the yellow strip!  So I fired up my Cricuit to cut out some paper templates, traced and cut them out of green fabric, and added them to the backing with a zig zag stitch.  Now the back is big enough…

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I think deciding what design to quilt is the hardest part.  Do you agree?  I always get stuck.

I decided to follow the fabric designs–going around the little helmets, footballs, and do an overall loop-DE-loop in-between.

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It was fun to make, and is now for sale in my Etsy Shop.

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Next time I give this a try, I might do it in pastels — I loved the scalloped border that Jenny used in her tutorial, so sweet.  (hmm…I might need to get that special scallop ruler… Can we ever have enough plastic rulers?)

Thanks for stopping by!

That elusive quarter-inch seam…tip

That elusive quarter-inch seam…tip

As a quilter, I’m forever seeking that perfect scant 1/4″ seam.  You’d think by this time I’d have it perfected…but it’s still elusive and difficult to achieve!

However, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve to help me.  I hope they’ll help you too.  This one is cheap…all you need is some painter’s tape (or a post-it note) & your ruler.

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Place the ruler under your pressure foot & line up the 1/4″ mark just a hair to the left of the hole your needle goes through (in the base of the machine throatplace)…

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Or, using the hand wheel, you can very gently lower the needle to the ruler to test the placement.

Then stack several layers of painter’s tape (about 2″ long each) on top of each other & tape them onto the throat plate next to the ruler’s edge (make sure you don’t cover the feed dogs).

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As you’re piecing, you’ll line up the edge of the fabric with the edge of the painter’s tape.

To test it, cut three strips of fabric (any length)  1-1/2″ wide, and sew them together (using the edge of each seam with the tape).  After ironing the seams, the center strip should measure 1 inch.

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If it doesn’t, you’ll need to re-adjust the tape and try again…

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Once it’s adjusted correctly, you can go to town…and piece away!

Next quilt idea…

So, when I was at the fabric store a few days ago (see earlier blog), I simply fell in love with some of their fat quarters and couldn’t resist buying some for the next quilt I’m thinking of…

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Very different from what I’m usually attracted to…we’ll see…

…to be continued!  🙂