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Friday, March 21, 2008

Designing Paper Pieced Tablerunners

I have really been enjoying designing table runners to match some of the dishes I own.

I decided to make a runner to coordinate with these green plaid plates that I bought two years ago at the Farmer's Market garage sale day.

I took a 4.5 inch block and changed it until it looked similar to the dish pattern. Before starting to sew I put a bunch of the pieces together to see what design I would end up with. I wasn't sure it would work. It's pretty hard to tell what it will look like without the colored fabric.

I decided I'd make a few blocks just to see what I had.

I was very pleasantly surprised.

I think this may be my favorite so far.

I still need to decide whether to make a triangle piece for each end. I really don't like my runners to just end in a straight line, but this one may be an exception because it's so much wider than I normally like. I felt like I needed the extra width to get a good pattern design.

I wanted to take a vacation day today, but the Big Kahuna thought I should be at work. That's what happens when you wait until the last minute to request a vacation day. I guess he didn't feel like going in early to cover for me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sometimes a Shortcut Isn't

While rummaging through my basement fabric stash, I came across a bag with 2 of these huge green pillows.

My brain was immediately lit by the flash of a light bulb.

Why not use one of these for my big deck pillow?

I do love to find a use for things I should have tossed, but didn't. It makes me feel so much better about saving the junk. :)

If I use this pillow, I will save fabric, stuffing, and a lot of time. Right?


While trying to stuff the huge pillow into the new pillow case, look what happened. must be a 3-inch rip. I should have left a bigger opening. Now what?

Well, I certainly was not picking out 8 seams of tiny stitches, so I had to find a way to mend it. I took a quick look at some of the fancy stitches on my new machine. I was in no mood to figure out how to use a new stitch, so I just picked one that I could touch a button to make it work.

It held the tear together very well.

Then I had to think of some way to hide the stitches. I decided to sew a green strip right over the top. It worked fine, but I couldn't have just one strip at the top of the pillow. So I added two more. The top border now looked out of place with the bottom.

So I had to add three to the bottom...then the sides looked out of place...........

After I had added twelve green strips, I was almost happy. It seemed like the strips needed a little something to give them purpose. I decided to mull it over while I slept.

After work I went back to the basement to rummage through my small collection of beady things that has been sitting in a clear fishing tackle box for years. I found some orange ones that worked perfectly. I wasn't that thrilled to hand sew 12 of them with invisible thread, but I must pay the price for my hasty decision to attempt to stuff a 24-inch pillow in to a 12-inch opening.

So I sat and sewed while watching New York's new Governor air his dirty laundry. What an ironic situation that was!

Needless to say, I did not save any time, but as I watched the new Governor fall (or just take a little tumble) from grace, I finally finished the darn pillow.

In the end, I like it. I think those twelve strips and beads really added textural interest. I took a pic of it with the little star pillow so you could get an idea of the size difference.I think that was my 6th (and final!) pillow for the deck.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Scrap Happy

It's amazing what can be done with a box of little scraps!

I have found that if I put away little scraps, I probably will never get them back out. Therefore, I try to use up as many little pieces as I can before I clean up the fabric from current projects.

See this little mound of scraps?

Look what came out of it in less than an hour.

It's a little star pillow to match all the other deck quilted items. It barely made a dent in that pile of scraps.

I had planned to make a little doily-like thing for the outdoor table, but the center pouffed out a tad too much, so I spent a few minutes considering what else I could do with it. Hmmmm...maybe a star pillow? I sewed a backing to the diamonds and then this cute little flower button right smack in the middle, which took care of the pouffing.

What is really amazing is that the diamond block I used for this pillow is the exact same one I used for the pink Christmas tree skirt.
Two such different items from the identical block!

I am planning to putter around the rest of this week making little 3-inch blocks from these scraps. In addition to the pillow, I made 22 other blocks, 18 of which I have put together into these two star blocks.

Isn't it amazing what can come out of a box of little fabric pieces that most people would toss?
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