Friday, April 26, 2013

Week 17 Craft: Quilted Table Runner

Imagine it's October as you read this.  Just picture it - warming your hands on your cup as you sip on a hot cider, the crisp air, the howl of the wind sending a chill down your's halloween.

If you have a sewing machine you can create this table runner and impress your friends with your mad skills.

What you need:
How much fabric you will need depends on what size you want to make your runner.  Mine is 55" long by 14" wide.  I used about 1/3 of a yard of five different fabrics and 2 yards of my backing fabric.  Yes, I am aware I could have bought MUCH less of the backing fabric, but I didn't want a seam, and I plan on making several of these.
1/2 yard of Warm and White cotton batting
Sewing machine
Lots of safety pins

1. The rules are there are no rules.  The whole point of this table runner is to have it look a bit off.  Start cutting strips of fabric in various widths.  Mine range in width from 1 1/2" to 4 1/2".  Mix it up!  I even cut different widths within the same fabric.

2. Lay your strips on a flat surface (otherwise known as my entryway) and play with the arrangement until you are satisfied.  Again, no rules.  I didn't place the fabrics in a particular order; I didn't even use the same number of each fabric.  I ended up using 23 strips.

3. Pick one end as your start and sew each strip together using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Mark your "start" strip by folding one corner and pinning it.  There is nothing worse than forgetting which end you started with, sewing your strips out of order and having your table runner look all funky.  NOTHING WORSE?  OK, maybe I need to reset my priorities...

4. Once your strips are sewn press the seams.  You can press them to one side or press them open; it's a personal preference.

5. On a flat surface layer your backing fabric wrong side up, the batting and then your runner (right side up).  Smooth everything to make sure you have no wrinkles and then pin the heck out of it.

6. Select a longer stitch length on your machine and adjust the tension until you are happy with it.  

7. Pick a strip in the middle of your table runner and start sewing.  You want your lines to be not quite straight; let them wander a little left and a little right.  You can even let them cross over each other.  Just make sure you stitch and stitch and stitch - and then stitch some more.

An important thing to keep in mind is that you don't want to pull too much on your fabric as you sew.  It's so tempting to keep it pulled tight to ensure no wrinkles, but that can cause the batting to stretch and you can end up with a wavy edge that won't go away.

8. Sew to one end and then starting in the middle sew to the other end.  

9. Once all your rows are sewn trim your runner to straighten the edges and then bind your quilt.  If you have never done this before here is a link on how to bind a quilt.

10. All that is left is to sit back and admire your work.

I used orange thread in my bobbin so the quilting on the back would stand out more texturally.  And yes, this is reversible, so you've just created two looks for the price of one.  Go ahead, be even more impressed with yourself.

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