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Monday, December 8, 2014

Table Runners Galore!

Okay, so maybe just two of them!  I proudly present the Too Square Table Runner and the Noel Table Runner:


The first one also happens to be my very first table runner ever.  This one was made from the Eazy Peazy Quilts pattern Too Square Table Runner.  I was all geared up to make this table runner along with my guild sisters at our November monthly sew day, but I punked out and didn't feel up to leaving the house that day.  This led to it being half-done for quite a while. 

Anyhow, I've had this super-cute coffee themed fabric laying around for a while that I bought at Heart to Heart's location in Winter Haven. 

This isn't the project that I had in mind for it (its intended ultimate use is a super-secret Christmas gift for someone I love very much!), but I purchased an entire yard of the fabric, so I have plenty for both. 

I fussy cut the squares for the runner...

...and it really was easy to put together.  I normally can't get my patchwork to quite match up correctly, but this wasn't hard at all!

To save time, I opted to machine quilt this piece by stitching in the ditch, and only where the seams were obvious.  I opted not to quilt the yellow-on-yellow seams.  This will just sit on our little coffee buffet, so I'm not too concerned with the quilting being far apart.

Then comes the binding: I really wanted to make this project completely from my stash, so I went with this really bright green broadcloth I had tons of.  I got really lazy, so I used Steam-a-Seam (which I now absolutely love, by the way) to iron on the binding.

And here it is!  My very first table runner.


Now for some Christmas fun: I scored this fun book by Nancy Halvorsen:

The projects inside are super-adorable!  There's even a soft nativity that I'm itching to make.  At this point, that'll have to wait for next year.  Or maybe a Reyes gift for my mom???? Hmm.  Anyhow, I started with the table runner. 

I traced the templates onto freezer paper. 

Does this count as a "selfie?"
I then roughly cut the templates out and ironed them on the wrong side of my fabric, since the patterns are presented in reverse in this book. 

I'm still not quite used to using freezer paper, but gosh, did it come in handy this time!  So far, it's been great to use for templates where you don't need to use fusible web, or you don't want to trace a template directly onto the fabric. 
I did fail to follow the instructions on this one--you are supposed to fold your fabric, right sides together so your back and front are cut out at the same time.  I took the longer path of doing them individually.  Lesson learned.
I pinned all three layers together and decided to sew right through the freezer paper, then trimmed the letters before removing the freezer paper.

Peeling the paper was actually kind of fun, but a little bit messy.  Not my favorite method, but it did ensure that my seams were accurate, which I appreciate. 

The "O" in "NOEL" is the main feature of this table runner.  It is prepared with fusible web on contrasting fabric. 

I chose a Robert Kaufman Japanese print that has a gold leaf-like pattern throughout, so I thought it'd be nice to embroider it with some gold metallic thread I inherited from my mother-in-law when they moved.

This was my first time using metallic thread.  Sandy from The Fabric and Sewing Shop in Sebring warned me that you should use a special needle for metallic thread if you plan to use it in your sewing machine.  I opted to sew this by hand, so I used a regular embroidery needle.

A few things I learned about metallic thread:

  • It frays, it frays, it frays!  I started cutting shorter lengths of thread because the wear on the thread as it passes through the fabric encourages fraying. 
  • It gets all over the place!  This is definitely something to work on at home, not on the go.  I'm still picking up tiny filaments of gold thread from the floor of my sewing room.
  • Use a thread conditioner.  I used Thread Heaven, but beeswax should work, too.  I noticed a HUGE difference in the ease of sewing once I coated the thread. 
  • It might be a bit of a pain, but it's worth it!

Every time I thought about cursing this thread, I reminded myself that I was stitching around an image of Baby Jesus, and that calmed me down.  My NOEL table runner is now proudly displayed on the door of my office.  One more tip: I ended up having to use double-sided tape to keep the table runner looking nice on my door.  If I were to make it again, I would use some sort of interfacing (maybe foam, or Peltex?) to keep all of the letters nice and stiff without additional support. 

What do y'all think?  I had a good time making these.  As I write this, I've already completed another project, so expect another update soon!  God Bless.

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