Rozsamaria’s Quilted Table Runner

Welcome to our blog!

For our inaugural post, I’m going to show you a project I’ve been working on for some time.

Mama and Papa S (well, Mama S) requested a coffee table runner months ago.  Mama S and I went through my substantial collection of fabric and she picked 12 or 15 prints she liked and thought would match their living room decor.  I picked the pattern myself and chose from the fabrics Mama S liked, based in part on what I thought went best together and in part on which prints I had enough of.  I did all the piecing by machine, using a Storm at Sea pattern from one of my quilting books (Quilt-Lovers’ Favorites, Volume 1, Better Homes and Gardens, 2001).

Storm at Sea runner pattern

A full-sized Storm at Sea quilt (from the same book)

I always do my piecing on the machine because it’s so much faster that way and the stitches hold better and are more even.

The quilting is always the hardest part for me.  I’m very slow at hand quilting but I have more control with hand quilting than machine quilting.   I have trouble sewing curves on the machine, even after all these years of sewing (Mama S’s mother taught me to sew when I was a little girl, and I’ve been quilting for about four years now).  Since I had decided to do circles as my quilting pattern I figured I’d be better off doing them by hand.  (I believe this quilting pattern is known as champagne bubbles.)  I knew it would be hard for me but I wanted to do something a little more ambitious – I won’t learn new skills well unless I try, and Mama S will forgive me if my circles are sometimes ovoid.

I traced a kitchen glass onto a piece of card stock (a White House/Black Market mailer, actually) and I used that as my guide.  I drew lines crisscrossing the circle and used those as guides, lining them up with the seams when I pinned it in place.  Then, I did my best to sew a neat circle around the edges.

The circle template I used

I quilted with a gold-ish colored thread that coordinates nicely with my prints but still shows up.

Close-up of the champagne bubble quilting pattern and gold thread

I’d originally planned to have a circle at each corner of the large squares, but I got about halfway done with that and I decided I didn’t like how it looked.  I added an overlapping circle along the top and bottom borders of each large square.

Ring of champagne bubbles with the overlapping bubble in the middle

I now have a row of circles going along the tops and bottoms of the large squares.  I’m not sure I’m explaining this well, but hopefully it shows up okay in the pictures.  I didn’t quilt the outer corners of the two end squares, but I think I’m done with the quilting at this point.  I think the design might seem more complete, had I done so, but I’ve been working on this project for so long that I’m ready to finish it up and give it to Mama and Papa S as a very delayed anniversary present.

I used a backstitch, which is the stitch I use most commonly for my hand quilting.  Sometimes I reverse it so that the underside of the stitch is what I show on top – I do this if I want to highlight the design with a heavier stitch.  For example, last Christmas I made ornaments for all of my relatives and I made a Yankees ornament for one uncle and a Mets ornament for another uncle.  I did the logos with backstitching, but using the reverse side as the front to emphasize the logos.

Backstitching on Mets ornament

Anyway, you’ll see that the stitching on the circles is thicker on the back but slightly messier.

The quilting from the back

The runner is thin, with no batting, since it’s not required for warmth, only decoration.

I still need to sew the edges, which I’ll do by machine.  I’ll have more pictures when the runner is finished!

Quilt top

A wide shot of the reverse side

My apologies, again, for the delayed posting.  Also, please forgive any weird formatting issues – I’m still learning how to use WordPress.


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