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Topic: First adventures in quilting - making a table runner  (Read 321 times)
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ebygomm
« on: February 09, 2014 08:55:30 AM »

I'd had the idea in my head for around 6 months to make a table runner with the fabric swatches I'd built up but every time I got them out and tried to decide how to arrange the layout there were just too many choices.

Eventually I decided I'd just have to bite the bullet otherwise it would never get done and I decided to go with 4" squares. I cut all my fabric up and then spent literally hours rearranging squares trying to get a layout I was happy with. Is there a secret to this? This was a fairly small project anything larger and I think i would be incapable of settling on a layout.

So I took a picture of how I wanted the final arrangement, carefully laid out the blocks in threes and started sewing, unpicked the second row I'd sewn as I'd put them together in the wrong order! Repeated that on the 5th row, decided I'm probably not cut out for quilting but managed to get to the end without further incident. (Actually that's a lie, but the other error I didn't spot until after I'd put the binding on Smiley ).

Quilted the two sides together (the underside is just a plain fleece) and attached the binding and it was finally done. And I'm fairly pleased with the result. The actual sewing took less time than the decisions about layout. Is this something you get better at with practice?


World Food Table Runner by ebygomm, on Flickr
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Antidigger
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2014 12:16:40 PM »

What a great first effort, any table would be proud to wear it. Smiley
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Look twice, buy once. Nooooo
Look twice, decide I can make one instead.
stillatthetop
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2014 02:52:21 PM »

No, sweetie...no practice will ever tell you how to do it. And you will always second guess your choices  Grin
You did a wonderful job. One hint I can share is to put it together {not sewn...just in your order of things} then squint at it. This allows your eyes to see the color matches without seeing the patterns. Then if you have too many darks in one spot, etc. you can adjust that before you stitch. Your squint will ignore the actual prints, and just see the general colors. But you did a great job.  Grin

~T
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Wanting 6" x 6" I spy panels. For a quilt like this:
http://www.grammasbabystuff.com/I_Spy_-_Hill_3_Finished_Smaller.jpg
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson.
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waggonswest
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2014 03:51:57 PM »

Very nice job. 

Fabric selection and placement is a big part of the fun of quilting.  It can also be stressful if you are used to perfect.  But the great thing about quilting is that perfect is fun to imagine but seldom ever achieved.  Nor does it have to be.  Every one who quilts can show you the spot in each quilt where the pattern is upside down, the line is crooked, the corners don't meet, the fabric is upside down, the coffee spilled, the misplaced block we just didn't have the patience to rip out and re-sew...  The point is that we are making something that is beautiful and functional.  And we learn eventually to either applique or two explain in our most art critic-y voice that the block that breaks the perfect sequence was placed there to create movement and tension in the piece  (always call it 'the piece' when using your art critic-y voice). 

That said, there are some tricks for making fabric placement easier. 

You can create a design wall (flanned pinned to the wall will do) where you can place your blocks and shift them around without crawling around on the floor or covering your table for weeks.  Keeps them from blowing around too.

Label your rows with pins or sticky notes to keep them in order.

Try (easier said than done for me) to be methodical and repetitious about how you pick up your blocks, how you move them and how you place them next to your machine for sewing.   A good habit works wonders.
 
Keep a sample block by your machine for reference as you sew. 

Take a picture for reference.  If you are tech savvy you can convert your pic to gray scale to see how your values match. 

Turning it upside down can help you see placement issues as well (easier in a pic than standing on your head in front of the design wall).

Walk away for a few hours or a day and then take a fresh look. 

Share your layout with others and get their opinions. Be confident that whatever YOU decide is the RIGHT way to do it. 

Become a liberated quilter and just do whatever.  (All together now... "corners don't match and I don't care...)

You have a lovely quilt that I know you will treasure for a long time.  It is a wonderful first quilt.  I sincerely hope that you continue and make many more. 

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Taramor
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2014 01:42:23 PM »

I like it very much!
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