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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Finished the Bright Project

I finished the last two 12-inch blocks on the tulip runner last night.

I ran out of the green for the leaves, so I used a darker color for the center section.

I will use a bit of that same dark on the ends to make it look planned.

I left the runner on the floor while I surfed a few blogs. Now and then I glanced over to try to visualize what might work for the ends. I decided to use just a portion of the six-inch foundation – only the tulip head and stem. I thought the big green leaves would be too much.

So I set about sewing two more of the altered foundations.

This is the end result:

Now I think that I should have used the leaves!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Bright Project on a Dreary Day

We have had so many cold, rainy, dark days this month that I decided to make something very bright for my next project.

This six-inch tulip block is a fun piece.

How can polka dot tulips not be fun?

I am still big on pink and orange. It seems others are finally beginning to appreciate the color. I just read that orange is a hot color for decorating this year.

I also used a couple of the greens in that striped fabric I bought last week.

In case you didn't see it, here's another pic:

I just love to have all those coordinating shades of green to add to projects like this one.

I made four six-inch blocks and put them together to form a 12-inch square of polka dot tulips on point.

Doesn't this look like a fun one? It's from Carol Doak's book, 40 Bright and Bold Paper-Pieced Blocks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I am Thinking of Leaving this One as a Rectangle Without Triangular Ends

I know. . . I know....I keep saying I don't like runners without tapered ends. While usually I don't, but this one seems to look best like this.

It's not a pattern that works well tapered off. I think that is because it ends with full patterns. What do you think? Should I just leave it like this?

Today I set the dining room table with the runner I made last week.

I am pretty happy with how it turned out.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

24 blocks down and at least 24 more to Go

I had forgotten how long it takes to make something out of a 3-inch block! Thank goodness it's an easy pattern.

I have decided to continue on with the pattern I showed yesterday. I did make a sample pinwheel block, which I really liked, but I made it the wrong size! For some reason I thought I needed a 4.5-inch block, when I really needed a 6-inch. I was too frustrated to make a bigger one and just decided to go with what I had originally planned.

Those who commented said they thought the pattern worked nicely and I agree. You can see the pinwheel block sitting alone. I like it, but I think I like the other better. If I feel very ambitious, I may make chair backs with the pinwheel blocks....maybe.....that's a lot of work.

I have no ideas yet how I will finish the ends. I never know until I get to that point.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bargains Galore!

There is only one fabric store in my small town.

For the past two weekends they have had my favorite sale--half off the already marked down fabric. I live for this sale!

I got 27 yards of new fabric for an average of $2/yd.

Some of this fabric was originally $9.99/yd.
Doesn't this one have exciting possibilities?

I love these two. I bought two yards of each and will cut them apart to get 8 different coordinating fabrics from each.

Thread was also half off, so I stocked up.

Can you believe the regular price is over $5 a spool! I think that is outrageous, so I only buy it at half off.

I have already used a couple of the fabrics. That white polka dot is being used in my current Christmas table runner. The lovely orange (which you can only see a small slice of) was used in the runner I just finished.

Did anyone else get in on the big sale?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Just Started My Next Project

which was inspired by what's inside this box.

I bought this last February when it was marked down to a price I just could not resist.

Any ideas of what might be in the box?

Well, let me show you.
There are four Christmas dessert plates in the box.

Each rim is slightly different, but all are green, red and white.

I thought it would be nice to make a coordinating table runner.

I really don't want the runner to shout "Christmas!" because then its use would be limited to just one month per year.

If I make something in just the green, red and white colors, but don't use holiday fabrics, then I could use it for other dinners.

I am thinking Italian is the Italian flag: The colors are the same as Christmas colors.

So I picked out these three fabrics:

I found a simple pattern and made a couple of test blocks.

I think this pattern will work.

I originally wanted to make a few pinwheel blocks to echo the pinwheel pattern in the dishes. I am afraid that pinwheels may make it look to holiday-ish, so right now I am at a standstill.

Maybe I will make a pinwheel block or two to test it. If I use the pinwheels I would put them down the middle and use the blocks above on each side.

Decisions, decisions....................

I am reading Jennifer Chiaverini's latest Elmcreek novel.

I am only on page 90. This book continues the saga of Joanna from The Runaway Quilt .

Have any of you read this yet?

I think it is going to be good.

I promised I would show you the witch runner when I used it, so here it is on my table:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It Pays to Be Flexible When Designing Table Runners

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I like to finish my table runners with pointed ends. I thought I would illustrate my thought process as I finished a table runner. I am sure others have different methods. I am not saying my way is the best. It's just what works for me.

I could have left this runner like this:

But I find the harsh jolt when the eye meets the end to be unpleasant.

I want the eye to flow to the end, so I take the time to devise some sort of gradual end to each runner. Just adding an orange triangle like this would have been the easiest.
I find it better than the straight finish, but to me the eye does not flow to the end. I really want that center star to be finished.

So I folded the runner ends into a triangle , then folded that to the back

then back to the right side to see what it would look like if I just continued with the same pattern.
I think it's much better; definately the best option of the three.

I flipped it to the back side to see what foundations I will need to sew. This is one reason I always leave the paper on until I sandwich the runner.

I will need two whole 4-inch blocks and 4 half blocks. Can you see that? The hash marks are where I need to cut to get the triangle shape. I am NOT cutting this piece. I am just finding out the number and how to cut the new foundations I will sew for the triangular end.

I took one of the 4-inch fondation blocks and folded it in half. The fold is the sewing line.

Then I marked a quarter inch seam allowance just outside the folded area.

After cutting along the seam allowance line, this is what the 4 foundations will look like: It's just half the regular foundation with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

So I went about sewing them. When I finished enough for the first end, I assembled them on the floor to make sure I had it correct before proceeding with the second set.

Imagine my surprise when I started to put the end pieces together and came up with this.

I love it! It's so much better than just finishing off the stars as I thought I was doing. It looks like I spent a long time devising a way to get the stars to turn into this rope-like design. Only I (and now you) know that it was just an error in laying the pieces out.

Don't you love it when an error makes the piece better?

This is how the units were sewn together:

Here it is all finished.

I can't wait to see what it will look like on the table. That will have to wait a while because I am planning a Halloween setting for later today.

Happy sewing,

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Making Progress

Just a quick pic to show you where I am with the latest runner.

I have completed 16 4-inch foundations and this is what it looks like.

Mattsmom asked me for some directions on a couple of runners. I am very sorry, Mattsmom, but I have no directions. I try to show my inspiration for many of the runners and quilts, which I hope will help you to get inspiration for your own designs. I just start to sew and keep going until I am happy with something--sometimes it's a full quilt; other times a runner; sometimes just a pot holder. I really never know what I will end up with!

I must get back to work now. I am hoping to finish this weekend.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Baby, You Make My Heart Sing

I had that moment a short time ago. You know when you realize that it all came together even better than you expected and you say, "Yes!" even though nobody else is in the room.

Let's start at the beginning:

I was in the mood to start a new project so I checked my foundation piecing disk to see if anything would enthuse me.

This block looked quick and easy. Maybe too easy, so I decided to play with it a bit on the computer to get a better idea of what it would turn out to be. I put four 4-inch blocks together, then four of those together and it formed this:
I decided I like it and looked around the room to see what fabric I had out on the shelves that would work. I tend to do that a lot -- no planning in advance on the colors; just going with whatever is easiest to grab (vs. going to the basement to rummage through bins).

I came up with three fabrics that I liked together. I decided the background would be orange and the stars would be the print with dark green edges.

I made 4 of the 4-inch foundations and sewed them into this:
I am loving that color combination, but I wonder if I have any dishes that will work with a table runner made in these colors. There is not much sense going to all the work to make a tablerunner if I won't use it. So I stopped right here and went to the kitchen to see what I could find.

Within minutes, I found these:

The combination made my heart sing. I will now continue the project.

I tried to do the witch table yesterday, but nothing was really working for me, so I gave it up. I will try another day.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's Almost Time to Bring out the Witch Runner

This post is not really a quilting post, but it does tie in with some recent piecing I did. I am all about making my quilted pieces tie in with my decorating.

I made this felt witch. She is hand sewn with tiny little stitches and stuffed with small pieces of leftover batting.
See the little stitches around the face? Even the stars are stitched down. A lot of people would just glue the face & stars, but I think stitching looks so much nicer than gluing. It also holds up longer.
I am not sure just what I will do with her, but she will somehow tie in with my witch table runner that I showed a few weeks ago. I also plan to do something with this witch hat for a centerpiece.

At the moment I have no idea what. I will post pictures when I come up with something.

Monday, October 5, 2009

An Update from My Last Post

I ended up making eight fabric flowers on Sunday.

Six of them match the back of the Autumn Leaves table runner, so they will probably end up as napkin holders.

I am not yet sure about the other two, but I am sure I will find something that they will embellish--maybe a tote bag Perhaps I will make a big bunch of them for a dining room centerpiece. I bet they would really liven up a cold winter table!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Welcome Autumn with a Seasonal Tablerunner

The cold rainy weather of a Michigan September reignites my desire to sew.

I've been wanting to make something with fall leaves. I found this 6-inch paper pieced pattern in Carol Doak's book,300 Paper Pieced Quilt Blocks. It's number 91.

It's a fast and easy block to piece.

After making 14 of them, I ended up with this table runner. I put it on my table this morning and then went out and cut some asters to fill the faux pumpkin. I think it sets the mood for an autumn roasted pork loin dinner, don't you?

I had originally planned to use the same off white textured fabric for the backside. After a little more thought, I decided the fabric was too boring. I found something I like much better and it was also used in one of the fall leaves on the runner.

I think this one will make a bold splash of color for a future table.

While surfing the net this morning, I found a fabric flower tutorial and whipped up this napkin ring to coordinate. I just glued the flower to a wooden napkin ring.

So far it's the only one I've made, but I really like it and will make a whole set of them before the weekends is over.

If you want to make some, check out this tutorial at Wisecraft. The post is a few years old and closed to comments, so I could not thank the author. If she happens to see this post, I just want to thank her for sharing her instructions and pattern. It always amazes how unselfish so many sewing/quilting bloggers are.
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