Friday, April 6, 2018

Show n tell - Table Runners

The times are a little intense at the moment. Just a lot of stuff going on and there's always prep work.

I taught a class on English paper piecing yesterday at Oh Look Fabric and of course, I had robbed my project bag of scissors and thread. Great - the teacher shows up with no scissors or thread. Let's just say the scissors and thread are back in the project bag. Those darn little hexies are so addictive. I just wish I could find that other little (well - it's not that little) project box that is filled with prepped hexies!

Speaking of finding things, I am going to reveal that mystery box, but I can't do it today. That's for tomorrow. Something bad (well not really bad, but bad for me) happened in the studio yesterday. Looks like a darn tornado went through it.

Today, we're going to look at the show n tell from the table runner class that was held a couple of weeks ago.

While the table runner class is technically learning free motion quilting, we're covering instructions on how to piece MANY of the table runners in the book. The book is amazing and there are so many I want to make. Oh - I'm prepping FOUR for the class at the end of the month. I've almost got the four of them cut out and ready to sew. The sewing part will be easy.

The book we're using is the Big Book of Table Runners and looks like this.

The Big Book of Table Toppers

We've covered all kinds of sewing techniques for assembling the table toppers. I'm very impressed with the results. The pressing of the runners has been exceptional - those things are flatter than flat. Seams are being twirled, seams are being matched. This class is on fire. What I love about the class is that it's great to see the following month what everyone has been working on!

Then I also give some tips on how to quilt the table runners. Could be free motion, could be walking foot. Could be both. This is the kind of class that just keeps on giving. The more effort the students make, the more they are learning. That's even for the piecing part. There's no required homework, but, some of these students are keen and many are making all the runners - the "official" runner of the month and all the others I give as extras.

What has me excited is when a student comes in, super excited about their project because they GET IT!I can tell students over and over again the mechanics of a free motion stitch, but until they do the exercises or some actual quilting, they don't get it.

We're all learning in this class and its loads of fun! They're a great group and lots of creativity.

Let's have a look at what they did. There are no strict rules on what table runner they show that month or even how they use the runner/blocks. Just MAKE SOMETHING is all that I ask.

I'm not going to put the names - I remember most, but in the event that I goof up - it's just easier this way.

The runner for February which would be March show n tell was made of string pieced blocks. Look at how creatively this person used those string pieced blocks I LOVE this quilt. A beautiful arrangement using the string pieced block, some panels and a wee bit of filler to make it all fit. This was quilted as well and the light bulbs went off for this person. She was SUPER EXCITED at the show n tell. My job is done!!!!

String blocks incorporated into a quilt

This person has gone gangbusters. She loves the technique and she's off making string blocks like no tomorrow. I love how the red pops that diamond pattern in the quilt. Almost makes those blocks look three dimensional. And how about that lighter fabric for the binding?  I love it!!!

A coordinated center string in the mitered blocks

Put your sunglasses on for this one. This is super cool. She has started with the string piecing with a center strip of purple. Then echoed the same colors on both sides. This is gorgeous. I can see an entire quilt done like this. Now I'm not sure I want an entire quilt this bright? But you never know. It's fabulous.

This one is BRIGHT

More string pieced blocks. This one uses the same fabric in the center of the blocks and then random colors that pick up the colors in the black background fabric. I love that she used the 20-minute table runner method to make points on the ends which also puts the binding (or finishes the edges) of the runner.

The 20-minute table runner using string pieced blocks

Ah - there's always a rebel in the group. I love the red/white and black color combo. It's gorgeous. The challenge is going to be in binding this table runner. Not only does she have outer points, but there are inner points as well. No worries, it can all be accomplished!  We'll have to wait until the next class to see how she made out with the binding.

Red/white/black color combo
 I get it that some people have busy lives and so sometimes we don't get as much done as we would like. But this person made one of the string blocks. I love it. Can you see an entire quilt made with this block? With that striking red in the center? Oh yes - that would be gorgeous.

One string block
This next one is so cute. That bright pink for the center of the string blocks is amazing. And the colors that she chose to go with it were so well coordinated. I love it. Shoot, I can't remember if this was going to be a bed runner or she was going to make a quilt out of it. Regardless, it was adorable.

Beautifully coordinated fabrics with a bright pink center
Next up, we have a half string pieced block. The one half is very scrappy and the other half is made from a solid. Isn't that effective? Again, it gives the illusion of a three-dimensional effect. I love it!!  An entire quilt like this would be awesome. OK - put that on my list of quilts to make. I got loads of lights that need to be moved!

Half-string pieced blocks
I had told the group that if they do not like the particular runner that I assign, that I'm OK if they don't make it. But I encourage them to at least make a small sample so they can experiment with some of the quilting techniques that I assign. One of the stitches was FREE MOTION stitch in the ditch. That's what this person did. She made four blocks and then free motion in the ditch on all the seams and did a BEAUTIFUL job. I was truly impressed.

Four blocks to make a quilting sample

That was the string pieced blocks. Then we had a couple of table runners from previous classes as well. There's no right or wrong time to bring in ANY of the projects.  This one is gorgeous. Not only do I love the pattern, but I LOVE the colors in this one. Just those little pops of lime green make it really stand out. I'm sorry, but the pictures just don't do justice to any of these projects.

Great choice of colors in this runner
 This next one is from a newbie in the class. BUT she's done an amazing job. The seams are matched perfectly and the color combination is awesome. The grey/yellow combination is very soothing and then there are those little pops of turquoise. I think we have a new quilter convert on our hands. Great job!!!

Another great color combination

This was also from a previous class. It's ready to be quilted and it's flat as a pancake thanks to all the seams being twirled along the edges. Again, great color choices - the two colors really complement each other.

Another great color combination

 This table runner is very funky! I had to laugh because when it got shown, a number of people in the room said: "oh - I have that fabric, but in a different colorway!"  Funny how that happens. I have it in purple! I do love the deep color contrasts.

High contrast colors in this table runner
 I love how it was quilted. Here's a close-up. She quilted it with angled lines using the block pattern on the runner. That's PERFECT. I love doing that and saves a heck of a lot of marking. Those lines may not be perfectly aligned, but do we care?  Nope - it's a table runner!!

Quilting detail

This is another runner that was previously assigned. She used the motifs in the center as guidelines for the quilting. Nice color combination. Those little strips of purple set off the big bold print perfectly.
A great color choice for this runner

That's it for show n tell this month for the Table Runner class. It's so exciting to see what everyone is working on. Great ideas for color choices for your future quilt/table runner. The table runners are small enough that you can experiment with a block/technique/quilting. If you don't like it, it's not a huge investment. It's also a great way to use up scraps. That's what I've been doing. I acquired a bunch of batik samples a while back and they are PERFECT for making table runners.

Kudos to all that are working on their runners. For the rest, if you can manage to eek out a block or two that would be great. If you can't, then at least try some of the quilting designs and if you can't get to the designs on the sewing machine, at least try them on paper!!!  You can learn all the machine quilting theory in the world, but if you don't practice, you can't get better. The more you do, the better you become. The more confidence you get and well - you know what I'm saying!

I'm hoping to run a couple of project/technique classes at my house in the next couple of months.  Anyone have any suggestions??  You can e-mail me and I'll see if we can fit it in.

On that note, I'm out of here!!!


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