Creative articles about quilting

Preparations Crazy Colors Mystery Quilt 2017

Time flies, Christmas is coming, New Year’s Eve… and hello 2017! A new year with lots of new creative projects: one of these is this Crazy Colors Mystery Quilt 2017 (CCMQ2017).

Starting mid-January, and every 15th of the month, you can find directions for this Mystery Project at the BERNINA BLOG: a project specially designed for the use of decorative stitches of your own sewing machine.  It doesn’t matter which machine you own: every machine has decorative stitches, even regular stitches like the straight stitch can be used to decorate. And what about the zig-zag stitch, and lockstitches?  Once you are working with machine quilting threads or other special (metallic) threads,  there will be a decorative effect.  Of course it will be fun to use many different stitches, if your machine provides these, but did you ever used them all, every one of them? Probably not. Mostly there are a couple of favorite stitches that we use over and over again, and a lot is ignored. Not because you don’t wánt to use them, it’s because there never is a project suitable for using them all – and now there is!

So: find your manual, or check the information on your machine, and see how many wonderful decorative stitches you can use on your machine.

I will be working with my BERNINA 770QE; I am using this machine for over a year now, love it! I would like to use all of the decorative stitches that are available, but I will also make combinations of my own: this is possible on many machines, to make fun combo’s: check your manual for this option.

There will be many possibilities for working with decorative machine threads, but also with ribbons, trims, strings (couching) and freehand quilting with this project. But that’s not the only decorating you will do: using sequins and beads to complete everything is a ‘must’, because that belongs on a Crazy Quilt!

If you participate with this project, you can use lots of materials of your own stock: check cupboards and drawers, and all your storage boxes for (machine) threads, ribbons, trims, strings, yarn, sequins and beads. If you want to make the quilt like the one I am making, you can order (basic) kits on my webshop Sylvia’s Art Quilts Studio, and use (batik) fabrics, non-woven interfacing Vliesline L11, batting and backing of these kits: working with bright colors, for that is the purpose of this project. The picture above shows the fabrics and just a small part of my own collection of decorating threads etc. (the 9 Batik fabrics are in the large kits). I will use anything I can lay my hand on during this project, so the appearance of the quilt can change compared to the basic colors you are seeing now. And that is where freedom of choice comes in: use anything you like and it will be a wonderful project!

The fabrics for the top of my project are Batiks, almost solid: black (which will be used in December), and 8 wonderful bright colors: yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, blue, turquoise and green. You are free to use any of your own fabrics, but do use solids or semi-solids – the effect of the quilt will come from using variegated and solid threads, and combining other items. Again: if you would like to make this project simular to mine, order one of the kits on my webshop.

To participate with this 12-Month project, please consider the following:

1)All patterns and directions are FREE: they will be updated once a month on this BERNINA BLOG.  Many directions and step-by-step pictures will guide you through the many possibilities of using decorative stitches. You will find tips and tricks, not only for using the pre-designed stitches, but also for making your own, sometimes by freehand quilting, or combining stitches, and adding decorative material. You will find a list HERE with yardage, items to use, tools and pressing feet which you will use while working on this project. Remember this is the basic list: you can add whatever you want!

2)THIS PROJECT IS AVAILABLE FOR EVERYONE! You don’t have to be a member of anything, just check this BERNINA Blog each month on the 15th  for the next patterns and directions. Pictures and directions will remain available on this blog, so you can check any time of the year, even if you will start this project at a later date.

3)You will work on separate blocks: finished sizes 25 x 25 cm, 12,5 x 25 cm and 12,5 x 12,5 cm. Each block will be quilted during stitching (quilt-a-you-go); easy to handle on your sewing machine. And no: this is not a project for handquilters. The only items that will be stitched by hand are sequins and beads. At the end of the project –  month 12 – you will cut sashings for joining the blocks, decorate the quilt even more and finishing the quilt.

4)Use a presser foot for making decorative stitches; I am using the Open Embroidery Foot 20C . There is also freehand quilting involved, so check if you have a Darning Foot for free motion quilting. You will NOT use your BSR, if you own one – you are free to make irregular stitches! For couching etc. you will use a Braiding Foot,  a 3-Groove Cording Foot or simular feet. But don’t worry if you don’t own these presser feet: there will be lot of opportunities to make your own stitches, also without these! So many possibilities….

5) To share your creative ideas, and to show what everyone is making, I have created a special group on FaceBook: Crazy Colors Mystery Quilt 2017. Join this group (for free!) and encourage other quilters to join: the more the better. It will be a wonderful platform to share all our work.  If you post anything on FaceBook or other social media, please use the Hashtag #berninamysteryquilt .

6) Again, if you would like to make the quilt like mine: there are different kits to start – with lots of material, but also small kits with the basic material. Check my webshop – you can order now to be sure you can work with bright colored Batiks and some beautiful machine quilting threads. We have also a lot of Mill Hill beads on the webshop, just in case you don’t have beads yourself…   Don’t be alarmed if the webshop is in Dutch: just send me an email via for support.

7) Participating is for the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland), and English quilters all around the world with Internet access: you have free access to this project: all you have to do is check the BERNINA Blog on regular base, at least at the 15th of each month in 2017. Check the Blog, download the patterns and comment below the post! Easy and fun!

8) To welcome you as participant, we will raffle a welcome gift: a pack with Machine Quilting thread  (9 colors, 200m each): all you have to do is comment below this post before January 9, 2017, 09:00 am, to tell us you that will make this project. We will draw one winner from all the names, before the actual beginning of this project, January 15 2017.

Will jou join us making this wonderful project? Post your creation in the Community Box of this BERNINA Blog, so we all can be inspired. How wonderfil will it be to see all the colorful quilt blocks!

OK, this is all for now… nothing more to reveal… after all, this is a MYSTERY PROJECT!

Isn’t this exciting?

For now I wish you all Happy Holidays, and a healthy and creative 2017!

Happy Quilting!
Sylvia Kaptein – designer/initiator  Crazy Colors Mystery Quilt 2017 (CCMQ2017)
Sylvia’s Art Quilts Studio
Mient 10, 1655KR Sijbekarspel, Noord-Holland, the Netherlands
mail me via if there are any questions about ordering the kits, or anything related to this Mystery project.


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  • Sally Baker

    I have just ordered a 770QE and can’t wait to collect it! I have just found this project and it will be a really great way to learn about my machine! I will be a bit behind everyone else but never mind!

  • Helen Bernard

    So looking forward to making this colourful quilt. Thankyou for sharing it. I’m using a product called weave line as I couldn’t find vliesoline L11. Is this to be bonded to the wadding?

  • Helen Bernard

    Thanks to Rhonda, the Sewing Gypsy, I’ve just found the Bernina blog and this wonderful Crazy Colours Mystery Quilt. Please count me in, it looks like a great learning project.

  • carol

    Hey, I was wondering if someone could help me. I am trying to use the alphabet on my Bernina 750QE to create some text on some circles for a quilt. I am finding that the lines of the text vary in size as I stitch them. Also sometimes it looks like the text will fit, but when I start stitching it doesn’t. I really don’t want to have to resize every word for length and width. Any ideas, greatly appreciated. Also my needle was getting gummed up when sewing through a stabilizer. Grrr!

    • Matthias Fluri

      Hello Carol, your project sounds very interesting. It is a bit of trial and error as there are several factors involved. Sewing at a slow constant speed is important and due to the nature of the letters being forward and reverse feed it is sometimes hard to control the length of the stitches. Try with the balance and or the dual feed as the fabric is also a factor and the foot can feed differently over different fabrics or thicknesses. We know that sticky back stabilizer is very quick and easy to use but the glue on the needle can also play a part. We would recommend a temporary spray adhesive and a tear away stabilizer. It is important that you clean your machine (remove the bobbincase holder) and check that there is no glue build-up down there. I am sure your BERNINA Dealer can give you more details. Happy Sewing!

  • carol

    I just found the Bernina blog, what a great resourse. I can’t wait to participating in the 2017 Mystery quilt. What a great way to create something colourful while getting to know all the decorative stitches on my machine! I like surprises too!

  • Kaz

    Definately in for this one, looks to be fun and I need a bit of excitement!

  • Carmen Aberg Gombarik

    I´m going to joining this projec. It will be exciting. I look forward on 15 January.

  • Carol Ford

    Sylvia, I am really excited to make this mystery quilt as I love using rainbow colours in my sewing and I also love working with batiks.

  • Maggie Harris

    How exciting. I have been looking for some fresh inspiration for 2017 and am delighted to have found it! The fact I can ” play” with the stitches on my bernina 780….just adds to the excitement. Thank you so much. Cannot wait for January 15th 2017.

  • Pamela Blackman

    Sounds great fun and looking forward to starting it! I love the bright colours.

  • Josephine Drummond

    What an exciting project. Looking forward to the 15th January.

    • Sylvia Kaptein

      It will be a wonderful project to work with the decorative stitches of your sewing machine, Kathy! And of course with machine threads!

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