Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tootie Fruitie Citrus Table Runner

When I was cleaning out a section of my sewing studio last week, I unearthed a pile of citrus-y scrap fabrics, a bright and fun citrus focal print, and ten 5-1/2" quilt blocks in lime greens, lemon yellows, and juicy oranges. Hey, at least when I abandon a project, I'm organized about it! They were perfect to create another Orphan Block project, part of the GREAT Summer Orphan Block Challenge.

The blocks were made for a sampler quilt that never really 'floated my boat.' I made a few blocks, got frustrated, bored, or 'whatever' and moved on. Sound familiar?

The new-found blocks are really pretty. And I love the citrus theme I selected. With 10 completed blocks, I wanted to even up the numbers to twelve, so I could make two place mats. I made two more blocks, six blocks for each place mat. Pulled out some black fabric to make a skinny sashing and all of the sudden, these blocks wanted to be a table runner, not place mats. So I listened to them.

Tootie Fruitie Table Runner 

(14" x 36")
To make the table runner, I used about 1/4 yard of solid black fabric. I chose black because I wanted the bright citrus colors to 'pop!' And 2/3-3/4 yard of a focus print for the borders and backing. Plus the 12 orphan blocks that will finish to 5" square. I cut a 16" strip from my focus print for the backing. Then I used three 2" strips for the borders.

In addition I needed a piece of batting, about 18" x 40". I used Inn Control, by Innovative Craft Products. It's stable. It's fluffy. It washes beautifully, and most importantly for a runner, it lays flat when all is said and done. This stuff is great for tableware, wall-hangings, and bags.

If you want to make this project, you may need to adjust the fabric quantities a little bit if your orphans are a different size. A 5" finished block size isn't very common, so this project is easily up-sized or down-sized to suit your orphans. Or replace the blocks with several different prints from your stash, cut to 5-1/2" square.

After arranging the blocks, sew a 1" x 5-1/2" black strip between the blocks in the 2-block rows. Then add a 1" x 11" black strip in between rows. As you add one row to the next, pin carefully and watch the alignment from row to row so the narrow sashing line that runs down the center of the length of the runner stays straight. With such high contrast colors, a little wobble here and there might be noticeable, if that kind of thing bothers you.

When sewing narrow sashing or border strips, measure strip lengths carefully, use lots of pins, and sew with accuracy to keep the narrow strips from distorting from variable seam allowances.
Add 1" x 5-1/2" black sashing strips between blocks in each two-block row, then add 1 " x 11" black sashing strips between rows. Sew and press seams toward sashing. Add 1" x 33" side borders, and 1" x 12" end borders.

Most of my rulers are about 12 - 14" long, so getting precise measurements for the longer borders can be tricky. I prefer not to measure, but to use the quilt, or in this case, the table runner to do all the measuring, math, and numbers. First, to measure the side borders to the correct width, I fold the runner in half, right side together, wrong sides together, either way, doesn't matter.

Then I fold the border fabric, cut to size, 2" wide in this case, and lay it on the folded quilt top, so folds are aligned, and the edge of the border strip aligns pretty well with one of the seam lines. To cut two borders at a time, I put the second border strip in place, too. Line up a ruler with the end of the quilt top, and cut the border. Perfect! No math!

From there I open up the quilt, pin each end of the border in place, and ease the center of the border onto the edge of the quilt and pin some more. I do a lot of pinning!

Ta da!
The top is done

Since it's summer, and I like the get-it-done-kind-of-project this time of year, I chose to do a pillow-case finish, rather than a traditional sandwich, quilt, and bind. As a bonus, no extra binding fabric is needed.

Layer the Inn Control batting, the backing fabric, right side up, and the quilt top, right side down on your work surface. Smooth everything out nice and flat!

Then pin around the perimeter. Next you will sew a 1/4" seam along the quilt top edge, leaving an 8" opening to turn everything right side out later. When I do this kind of finish, I tend to zip right along, sometimes forgetting to leave an opening. (I'm sure that has never happened to you!). Any way, for a little insurance, I like to put two pins close together at the point where I want to stop sewing. The pins remind me to stop being so speedy!

At the beginning and at the end of the round, I take a few reverse stitches to keep the stitches from popping open when turning. I'm using a dual feed foot, but you may prefer using a walking foot to keep stitches even through several layers.

Trim 1/4" away from the seam

Be sure to trim off the pointy ends to reduce bulk. Be careful not to trim through the seam.

Turn the whole kit and kabootle right side out.

Now you've got a potential mess on your hands. To make sure everything ends up nice and flat, hand press the layers together, smoothing out any bulk or bubbles. At the turned edge, squish the edges like a toothpaste tube, to align and compress the edge, then pin around the  perimeter as you squish, maybe every 2" or so.

I prefer to avoid hand sewing the closure, as some might suggest. Instead, at the opening, turn the seam allowances under, including the batting thickness, and hyper-pin--maybe one pin for each 3/4" or 1" just at the opening.

Step back and take a look at the opening section. Make sure the edge forms a straight line. You don't want the opening section to tuck in too much seam allowance or it'll look like someone took a bite out of your runner!

At this point, I like to pin baste the quilt center a little bit too, so everything stays stable!
Pinned edge. Pin-basted center

Pull out an open-toe foot (or your walking foot), select one of the decorative stitches on your machine and edge stitch all the way around.
A decorative stitch along the edge for a nice finish

Pretty! The decorative edge stitch serves three purposes. 1) it closes the opening without having to do hand sewing. 2) It compresses the extra bulk created by the fabric and batting seam. 3) it's pretty! And it gives you and excuse to use something other than a quarter inch foot and a straight stitch!

Add a little quilting in the center. Then press the runner flat.
Tootie Fruitie Table Runner
Finally, if your quilting makes the runner ripple a little, don't despair! That's why I liked using the Inn Control batting for this project. A little bit of steam pressing and the runner becomes perfectly flat. Since the batting is polyester, it'll stay nice after many washes. Want some? . . . Win some! A package of 18x 58" Inn Control is now in the prize package for the GREAT Summer Orphan Block Challenge! Or you can purchase it now in the Hummingbird Highway cart. This is the same stuff that Aunties Two uses in many of their bag samples, Exact same stuff!

Now, orange you so glad you read this! (nyuk-nyuk)

Happy Stitching!

1 comment:

  1. Greetings from Finland. A great blog you have.