Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Cherry Blossoms Table Runner

I wanted to create a few table runners to celebrate spring. The first one was a playful, Pink Lemonade Spring Runner that now resides in Denmark. My idea for the second runner was something light that would highlight the beautiful cherry blossom fabric.
Starburst Design from Dot to Dot quilting
Starburst Design 

None of the patterns I had for table runners were suitable for what I had in mind, so I did what I often do, I adapted a large quilt pattern for the runner. The original pattern, Mod Cabin by Corey Yoder, is in the Fons & Porter's Easy Quilts magazine (Summer 2014). I thought that the modified log cabin blocks would look sharp within a runner and highlight the cherry blossoms fabric. To add a little punch I changed the direction of the middle block (actually I made a mistake but it looks good, so it's now a design element).

I had a lot of fun free motion quilting (FMQ) the runner. I used some of the patterns that I learned in Angela Walter's Dot-to-Dot quilting technique course  from Craftsy in the corners and the setting triangles.
First FMQ motif

I used a different pattern in each block for the space between the cherry blossom fabric. The first pattern was an element taken from a quilting pattern for a larger quilt. Once I finished the FMQ, I had to modify it since it really didn't give me the look I wanted.

Flower FMQ Motif
Flower FMQ Motif

The second and third blocks are great. One is a line of flowers while the other is a line of leaves. They were a pleasure to quilt. At my daughter's suggestion, I added a loop in the line between the leaves. That was a great idea!

Leaf FMQ Motif with loops
Leaf FMQ Motif with loops

I wanted something interesting but not too difficult for the runner's border. As you can see from the image below, I used an "orange peel" design. It's essentially a series of circles and quarter circles. I used a large pill bottle cap to mark out the design. It's a little tricky to quilt because of the travelling required to get from one circle to the next. Travelling in quilting is when you have to sew over a previously sewn line. If done well, you can barely tell but it does require a lot of precision (not my strong suite - but I'm getting better!)
Orange Peel FMQ Motif
Orange Peel FMQ Motif

I really like how the runner came out. It has all the elements that I was looking for in the project. It highlights well the beautiful cherry blossom fabric; it has a spring-like look; it wasn't too difficult to put together and best of all; I got to design and practice a variety of FMQ patterns. What's not to love. Finally, the best part will be giving it away to my aunt Édith. She's a wonderful lady who has gone out of her way to keep us connected to the family after my father died. As I get older, I realise the importance of family, even if they are not physically close by. This is my thank you to her.
Finished Cherry Blossoms Table Runner
Finished Cherry Blossoms Table Runner

What I learned:

  • It's probably a good idea to double check that all the blocks are facing the correct direction before sewing them together. Frankly, I think that having the blocks in different directions adds a lot to the runner but still, checking before sewing things together is a great idea! We'll see if I follow this learning through :-).
  • When I used the Dot to dot quilting technique on my Learning With Colours quilt, after the first block, I ended up marking all of the other blocks. Having quilted all those starburst designs, it was time to attempt them without marking. The results are OK. It's really not easy making those lines but they were more or less straight. The overall effect is fine. I'm sure that practice and attention will bring improvements!
  • Finding the perfect FMQ pattern to use is always a challenge. It's through experience that I'll learn what works. In the end, as long as it's not horrible, it's all about learning. Taking out big areas of FMQ is not what it's about - as many of the Craftsy teachers say "If you take out too much of your quilting, what you'll be good at is taking out!"

May your sorrows be patched and your joys quilted.
Enjoy the spring/summer! 

This post is linked to Fabric Tuesday from Quilt Story


  1. Hi Andrée! At the end of the post you talk about taking out areas of FMQ. Can you explain? Btw, I'm very impressed with you FMQ - great stuff!!

  2. Hi Rita, taking out areas of FMQ means picking them out! Not fun and I only do it when it's really, really bad!

    1. Oh, I see! I thought it might be not stitching/quilting in certain areas. I quilt on a frame and I used to 'take out' a lot more stitching than I do now. I am better at it than I was, but I'm also a lot more forgiving about what I do.


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