Ringlets Table Topper



I recently came across a fun free pattern for a Ringlets Table Topper designed by Darci Schipnewski of Pastthyme Patterns. For a link to the pattern, click here. What appealed to me about this project was that it was an easy pattern with a result that appears difficult and it gave me a chance to practice machine quilting with a decorative stitch and 12 wt. thread (equal to two strands of embroidery floss).

The pattern is designed to work with twenty-three 5″ squares from a charm pack cut into four 2-1/2″ squares. Since I didn’t have a charm pack, I chose a patriotic theme and used fabrics from Liberty for All, Hometown Summer (2014), and Quilter’s Candy Basics. I probably ended up with about thirty fabrics, which I divided into lighter (white background prints, light blue, and light grey) and darker (reds and blues) fabrics.


Initially, I arranged the 2-1/2″ squares into nine Nine-Patch blocks as the pattern suggested. Since I planned the Nine-Patches with alternating lighter and darker fabrics, a scrappy checkerboard resulted. It was important to pay attention to the center square of each Nine-Patch because it would become a focal point, being the only square not covered partly by the appliquéd shape.

I placed squares for two rows at a time on a ruler, took it to the sewing machine, and chain-pieced each row – concentrating on keeping the fabrics in order which wasn’t always easy!


Odd-numbered rows were pressed to the left, and even-numbered rows were pressed to the right. This facilitated the nesting of seams as the rows were joined. Then 3-1/2″ (unfinished size) borders were added.


The pattern shows how to use a specialty ruler I did not have, but the printer-friendly version of the pattern has a template for the leaf shape to be appliquéd to the pieced background. I used template plastic to make the leaf template. Using my favorite fusible web, Lite Steam-Seam 2, the shapes were traced, cut out, and fused to the leaf fabric.


After using an iron to fuse the shapes to the quilt top, I basted the layers of the quilt sandwich (backing, batting, and the quilt top) with 505 Spray & Fix. Oops! Forgot to photograph this step but you can see the shapes below in the finished quilt.


Here are some close-ups of the feather stitch with a 12 wt. blue thread. I used a 110/18 needle.  Mari told me I would need to lower my top tension and it ended up at zero! I used Bottom Line in the bobbin but would rethink that in the future. The front looked good but the tension on the back did not!


It’s not perfect but was easy and kind of fun to do.


Since, I used the decorative stitch to appliqué and machine quilt, all I had to do was add the binding when I finished stitching.


Wanting this to be a quick project, I chose to use flange binding – sewn by machine only. To learn more about this technique, please read Part 1 and Part 2 about Binding Completely by Machine.

Another quick project finished! I like the feather stitch for machine quilting and will use it again later in the month on some place mats – so please check back!

I would appreciate any hints on thread for the bobbin with a heavy thread like the 12 wt used for this project. Any suggestions?



  1. pauline - May 13, 2015

    I Love this, looks so fun to make. I want to do it soon with my Red, White and Blue
    stash. Thanks for shearing.

    Could you tell us again how to save the instructions on our computer without a lot of
    pages to print? Thanks!

    • Ann - May 19, 2015

      Thanks Pauline!
      I like to print the blog, preferably double-sided, since I am still a hard copy kind of gal. You can do a search on Notions to find a old blog and print it later. I think I will try the “smart way” discussed in the link below in the future.

      If you want to save paper when you print, my coworker Jenna recommends the following:
      To save the blog text on your computer, you can look up how to save the blog as a PDF and save it in a file.
      Hope that helps!

      • pauline - May 29, 2015

        Thanks sorry it has taken me so long to answer.

        You have been a lot of help.
        Thanks Much!

  2. Judith Green - May 13, 2015

    Love this project, and so easy. Adding to my to-do list! Note that balancing thread weights improves stitch results. However, #12wt would more than likely have to be handwound and may be too bulky at the intersections. If your sewing machine can handle it, try nylon invisible thread for durability and yet, less bulk. Or #40 wt thread might help. Experimenting with various combos on a sample piece will reflect what’s best suited for this project. All said, you did a beautiful job!!

    • Ann - May 19, 2015

      Thanks Judith! One of the reasons I wanted to make the project was to try doing appliqué and machine quilting with with 12 wt thread. The bottom tension on the back was secure but messy. It was recommended to me later to try a thread closer in weight in the bobbin (like the 40 wt. you mentioned), use a 90/14 top stitch needle (large eye, smaller shank), and a low top tension (but higher than zero). Thanks for your suggestion.

  3. Janice Young - May 14, 2015

    Is Binding Completely by Machine a reference book? Or where is this info?
    Love the quilt it is so happy.
    Thank You for your time to answer.

    • Ann - May 14, 2015

      Thanks Janice! Binding Completely by Machine refers to two Notions blogs I posted on July 4th & 11th, 2014. You can access them by clicking on the Part 1 and Part 2 links in the text above or typing the title in the search box on Notions. Part 2 has more about the binding technique, but you may want to read both.
      I also used the method in a blog posting called The Good-bye Quilt on 4/3/15.
      This method works well for quick projects and has the added visual interest of the built-in flange. Enjoy!

      • Janice Young - May 16, 2015

        Found it and also looked on line and found Aunt Marti’s Quilt Totorial.
        Our quilt guild had a nationally know quilter (Marla Yeager) do a trunk show and she finished all her quilts this way and one of the girls was wanting to know how so i set out to find out and saw the binding on the ringlet table topper and said there it is.
        Again thank you for taking the time to answer my post and help me find the info.

  4. John - May 19, 2015

    I just ordered supplies for this project. I am really excited to give it a shot. Using a different colorway… going with red and black. Thanks for the tutorial. I love simple projects that look complicated.

    • Ann - May 19, 2015

      Thanks John! It is a simple project with interesting results. Please see my reply to Judith above about the thread tension issue. Apparently my bobbin thread was too thin and my needle too big (so the thread could flop around). I think our Essential thread or Essential Pro in the bobbin may work well. Hope you enjoy making your red and black one!

  5. John - May 21, 2015

    I will most likely do a simple appliqué with standard weight thread. I’m not brave enough to try anything else… I’m very much a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of guy. Is there a way to share pictures once it’s done? I would also love to see others’ final projects. I will tag CT on Instagram when I’m done.

    • Ann - May 23, 2015

      Thanks John!
      I know there are ways to share photos but I will ask on Tuesday (after the Memorial Day holiday) how is the best way. I would love to see photos also!

      • Ann - May 23, 2015

        Here is the answer – I had it already. You can post pictures by going to:
        http://www.facebook.com/connectingthreads, or on Instagram by tagging us in your post. To tag us, either write @connectingthreads or #connectingthreads.
        Look forward to seeing yours!