Saturday, November 17, 2012

Quilt as You Go Tablerunner - Super Easy!

I so want Fall to get here already!  I put in a Creamy Pumpkin Wallflower in the washroom, changed out to the September Leaves Wallhanging, and am dreaming about cinnamon, pumpkin and apple delights.  While switching the tablerunner in the dining room I found I have Halloween and Thanksgiving, but not a true Fall one.  Guess what that means – you got it!  Time to make one! 

I started by google imaging tablerunners to get ideas.  I saw one that looked easy enough and I figured I could recreate it using my 2 ½ strip stash.  Time to get out that yellow legal pad again and get to calculating! 

I decided on a center square of my favorite fall fabric (and it matches my Thanksgiving napkins).  I cut an 11” square.  This was small enough to get the most out of my strips; I would simply cut them into thirds and they would be roughly 14 inches long.  I happily pulled my fall colored strips from my stash using my center square as a guide.  Oh, I love these colors!

But first, I will have to cut my backing and batting.  I save the batting I cut off the sides of my quilts for this exact reason.  A long continuous, narrow strip is perfect for a tablerunner.  For the backing I cut two 18” x WOF pieces and sewed them into one LONG 18” wide piece.  I don’t plan on making the table runner this big and will trim it when I am finished.  I cut an 18” wide piece of batting the desired length of my tablerunner. 

Here is where I decided to do a quilt as you go type of runner.  Save a step, right?  I had some spray adhesive and “adhered” my backing and batting.  P and U - that stuff stinks!  Be sure to do it in an open area and where the overspray will not hurt other fabrics or furnishings. 

Now I am ready to go!  I have my backing and batting attached, my center square, and my colorful strips cut down into thirds.  Time for some power sewing. 

I folded the batting/backing piece in half and marked the center of the runner with a pin.  Now, with batting side up, I placed my center square diagonally on my batting.  I used my 45 degree angle marking on my ruler to make sure I had it properly placed.  Pin it into place and double check all sides to make sure the angle is 45 degrees.  If I didn’t do this step, my runner would slowly trend to the edge and I would be off the batting and backing.  This wouldn’t matter if I was not quilting as I go… but I am.  So a few moments of planning will save time later (Sounds very Ben Franklin).

Time to start the strips!  I decided to begin with gold strips for the first round.  With right sides together take one of the strips and line it up with the square.  You will want your "tail feathers" to hang off the sides.  Pin in place.

Sew 1/4" from the edge of the strip through all the layers. I am using my walking foot since I am quilting it as I piece.  Press open.

For the next strip, I pin right sides together but this piece will go along the other edge of the center square as shown.  Again line up the inner edge, letting the tail feathers dangle on the side.  

Stitch 1/4" from the edge and press open.

Continue two more strips on the other side of the center square, always sewing through the layers and pressing open after each strip.

Choose another color and repeat with another two strips on each side.  I used green strips.  Remember to line up the strip edge to the center and let the ends fly free (they will all be trimmed later).

How quickly a project like this goes!  I continued adding different colored rows based on the strips I had.  When I got close to the end of the batting/backing, I stopped.  This runner is REALLY long, but so is my table.  You can make your runner any length you desire.

Time to trim.  I began by trimming away the tail feathers and just trimmed to match the batting/backing piece with which I began. 

Trim the batting away from the ends by following the edge of the fabric strip as a guide.

Repeat for the other corner.

At this point my runner was pretty wonky.  It wasn't centered and one side was longer than the other.  Time for some squaring up.  I use my long ruler edge to match up the center points of the rows.  This is giving me a true center line.  From this line I measure 8" and trim away the access.  

I continued all along one side, then flipped it and repeated it for the other side.  By doing this, my runner is a consistent width and is not a "crooked hot mess."

With my runner squared, I happily cut five strips for binding and got to it.  I choose green for my runner.

Overall I am happy with my one evening project.  By quilting as I went, it was super fast.  Using the spray adhesive (even though very stinky) allowed me to not worry about the backing remaining flat or developing puckers.  I was pretty scared to square up the runner and cut off the edges.  One wrong cut and it would have been ruined!  So we must measure twice and cut once, right?  

I also like the large center square.  Since I usually have a bowl on my table, this large square does not seem too big, but rather accents the decoration I choose to place upon it.  

To break the project into manageable steps, take three nights.

Night One:  Choose a focus fabric and cut an 11" square.  Next, gather strips that would compliment the center square.  I pulled way to many and could have finished my runner with just 16 strips.  Cut the strips into thirds.  Cut batting and backing.  Piece back.  Adhere backing to batting with adhesive.  STOP, enough for tonight!

Night Two: Tonight you will quilt your runner!  Quilt as you go until your desired size is achieved.  STOP.

Night Three:  Trim down the tablerunner.  Attach binding.


Note: I was so happy to have such a long table runner for my Thanksgiving table.  The table shown is a few feet longer with all the leaves so it seats 12 people.  I had to see how the napkins looked with it!  I grabbed my Thanksgiving napkins from the linen closest.... oh no.  I thought it was a different fabric!  And they do not match.  I was so disappointed.  Well, guess what this quilty girl gets to do - make another runner!  It SHOULD be done by Thanksgiving!