November 17, 2018

Thanksgiving Table Runner Day 6

It's all about the batting ...


You've finished piecing your table runner top!  And now, you want to put the layers together and begin quilting! Begin by pressing the fabric you will be using for your quilt backing.  This will prevent folds in the fabric while you are quilting your table runner.

Lay your quilt top on top of a layer of batting and backing.  Make sure your backing is face down on your table, and your quilt top is face up as shown.  Smooth out all three layers, then trim about 1-2 inches around the perimeter of the quilt top. 



Your layers should look like this - all smoothed out with your hands, while the quilt is layered on your table.  Next step is to hand baste your layers together.  Personally, I prefer hand basting because it is fast and easy and holds all three layers together nicely while you are machine quilting.  Table runners and small quilts are easy to machine quilt.  Bed size quilts are a big problem to quilt by machine, especially if you are using a regular sewing machine as I am.



For basting your layers together, grab a thread that will stand out.  You don't have to be pretty when you baste.  I make about 1" basting stitches with a needle and thread.  After you finish machine quilting, you can pull out the basting stitches with no problem.



When I hand baste, I do a criss-cross stitching pattern, then down each side.  This holds all three layers together nicely.



Next step, you will want to start quilting!  I start in the middle of the quilt and work down a seam to where it stops.  Then, I turn the quilt around and stitch in the other direction down the next seam, and so on.  That way, you are not pulling the fabric of the quilt always to one end or the other while stitching, as this could lead to a pinch or pleat in the top or backing.  I hope that makes sense. 

Secondly, if you are working on a regular machine, as I am, the arm may not be giving you a lot of room to work.  As you can see here, I roll my quilt to fit under the arm of the machine.  It makes it easier to control your quilt as well.



This is the back of the quilt.  Not done quilting yet!  But it looks really nice, and as you can see, there are no pinches in the backing fabric.  That is why pressing the fabric before you baste, and basting is so important before you begin quilting.



Now, I'm going to share with you the mistake I made.  Well, it wasn't really a mistake, as much as it was an oversight.  I pieced together the entire quilt top with red bobbin thread and red top thread.  But after quilting the top on my machine, I didn't like the red thread on top.  Actually, I hated it.  I thought it detracted from the quilt pattern.  So, you guessed it, I grabbed my glasses, my scissors, my seam ripper, and a glass of sweet tea, and got to work ripping out all the quilting.  I bet that gives you a headache just thinking about it, but consider this ... I am also an artist in oils and pastels ... and an amazing artist friend, Richard Schmid, once told me "Never intentionally leave something wrong in your painting.  Never.  Fix it as soon as you notice it, even if it means starting over."  As tough as it is to correct mistakes or things you don't like, it is ultimately the best decision to correct them, rather than work around them, as soon as you find the mistake, or something you don't like. 

TIP: I took the seam ripper and snipped a stitch every 4-6 stitches on the back side of the quilt.  It's easier to begin ripping out seams on the side with one flat fabric, than on the side with the quilt top and all the seams from piecing together your quilt top.  After you snip every few stitches in a row on the back, turn the quilt over,  take your seam ripper, and starting at the top of the seam that was snipped on the back , pull the thread on the same seam on the quilt top.  It will all rip right out.  The whole dang thing.  Other than cleaning up the snipped threads, the seam comes out fairly effortlessly, and before you know it, you've ripped out all the seams. 

My hands, neck, and shoulders were hurting when I was done 6 hours later, but it was worth it.  YES, it really was worth it.  I'll try not to be in such a hurry that I make that mistake again.



Back to the drawing board!  As you can see, I am quilting using the method "Stitch-in-the-ditch," and I have changed my top thread to a beige/cream color.  MUCH BETTER!



It looks so much better!  You can barely see the top stitching of the quilting now, and that is great.  It doesn't distract from the quilt design.

Tomorrow, I will be putting on the binding!  And then Thursday ... it will be on the table for a delicious and wonderful Thanksgiving with family.





For those that don't know, I am making the"Adelaide" table runner kit offered by "Connecting Threads" .  This is a sew-a-long with me project.  You can order your kit online, and when you get it, just pop on back here and we can sew together.




November 14, 2018

Thanksgiving Table Runner Day 5


Today, we complete the Table Runner Quilt Top!  Just a few easy steps, and your quilt "top" will be complete.  We still have to put a layer of batting and the backing on, quilt the table runner, then do the binding, but finishing the quilt top is a big deal in and of itself!

We left off on Day 4 with the 3 quilt blocks sewn together.  Moving on to the next step, you will sew the narrow red strips to the top and bottom (the long sides) of the quilt top.  TIP: When you pin this first strip on, pin the ends first as shown above.  Then stretch out the quilt top to find the center of the strip and where it meets the quilt top.  Pin that.  Then stretch it a little, line it up with the edge, and pin in the center of those pins.  Keep going until you have pinned on the narrow red strip, each pin will be about 3" apart or so.

Sew this first red strip onto one of the long sides 1/4" seam always, and press it open.



Do the same with the other long side of the quilt top, pinning the ends first, pulling and pinning the center, until the next long side is pinned and ready to sew. 

Stitch the red strip to the other side and press open.



Pin the short end strips to the quilt top, matching the ends first, then the center, and so on.  Stitch and press open.



You are almost done with your quilt top!  Pin the wide floral strips to the long edges first, pinning the ends first, then pulling and pinning the center, until a strip is pinned on completely.



As before, you will want to press it open after stitching it on to one of the long sides of the quilt top.



Pin and stitch the other wide floral strip on the other long side of the quilt top, and then press open.  It looks great! Next, pin on the short sides of the wide floral strip, press open ...



And today you can celebrate having completed the table runner top!  Isn't it beautiful?!! 

Next steps are batting and backing, basting, and quilting.  Then we add the binding, and we're all done!



November 09, 2018

Thanksgiving Table Runner Day 4


Coming down the homestretch!!! Lay out the remaining pieces of your finished quilt block as shown



Working with the middle quilt block, turn one of the side pieces over so that they are right-sides together and begin pinning at the seams.  It is important to match up the seams.  Even when you do match them up they don't always come out perfect, but if you don't match the seams, it will really be a mess.



When you are done sewing one side together, press it open, then sew the other side, matching the seams and points first.  Press it open and this is where you will be in the process.



Sew the remaining squares to the sides of the top and bottom rectangles



Press them open, and this is what you have now



Lay out each quilt block with 2 rectangular pieces on either side, making sure you have it all laid out correctly



You will have more seams and points to match now!  Beginning in the middle, match the middle seams and points first, pin them in place, and work your way outward, pinning the seams and points, to each corner.



As I am pinning the pieces together, I am matching the seams before I pin them together and definitely before I sew



And when you are done sewing all three quilt blocks, they will look like this!



I feel this table runner is almost done!  I love the quilt blocks!  The design looks great!



Next step, you are going to pin a completed quilt block to one side of center quilt block.  And remember, start pinning in the middle working your way out to the outer edge, matching seams and points as best you can.



And we are going to finish off this day with the center section of our quilt table runner top completed!  This should be done in a day or two. 




For those that don't know, I am making the"Adelaide" table runner kit offered by "Connecting Threads" .  This is a sew-a-long with me project.  You can order your kit online, and when you get it, just pop on back here and we can sew together.









November 08, 2018

Thanksgiving Table Runner Day 3


I always get a bit excited as I see the pieces of the puzzle coming together.  And today, we will almost be finished with the 3 main quilt blocks for the table runner



Looking at the first image in this post, we are going to take the two center rectangles and pin them (right sides together) to the square pinwheel.  There's a trick to this, and no matter how many years you've been quilting, getting it perfect every time is nearly impossible.  But, I know I keep trying.  When pinning pieces together like you see above, start pinning in the middle, lining up the point (look where the yellow pin is located) to the seam of the pinwheel (see the first image).  Then line up and pin the outer edges.  The larger the quilt block gets, the more seams there will be to line up.  I've taken great care to line up points and seams perfectly, and they still are off at times.  If you don't have patience, quilting will drive you nuts.  But if you love quilting as I do, I think of every mistake and do-over as a part of the process.  Again, the end result will make it all worth it.  Promise.



After pressing the sides open, you can see that most points and seams are lined up nicely.  If I really wanted to be picky, I would have corrected the top right of the pinwheel.  Forget it.  It happens.  I'm not a perfect quilter.  Maybe these imperfections give it a bit of character.



As I complete the piecing, I end up with 3 "almost" completed quilt blocks



Beginning the piecing of another set of rectangles and squares, remember how important it is to mark the diagonal line on the squares, and stitch down that marked line.



After stitching the rectangles and triangles together, trim to a 1/4" seam as shown



Press them open and they should look like this.



Add a square to the other side and stitch along the marker line



Trim and press open and they should now look like this



Taking the remaining squares as indicated in the instructions, place the two squares together (right sides together), and stitch 1/4" on both sides of the marker line.  After you are done, using the marker line as a guide, trim the pieced squares into triangles.



Press them open and trim the corner tabs



Sew the pieces together, lining up seams and points, and you will have this nice long rectangle.


For those that don't know, I am making the"Adelaide" table runner kit offered by "Connecting Threads" .  This is a sew-a-long with me project.  You can order your kit online, and when you get it, just pop on back here and we can sew together.





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