Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Winter Blues were stitched away!

I was beginning to think I would "bearly" make the deadline for this sweet opportunity to post here at Stash Manicure. I had a plan to "stitch the winter blues away" but sometimes the "best laid plans" just do not work out like you think they will. That's when friends become really important, like my blogging buddies and, like my faithful bear buddy, Minnie. She was sure I could get this project done and kept watch over it as I worked. She has claimed it for her own now that it's finished and has asked me "why would you use this as a table runner when it makes such a nice quilt for me?" I'm always willing to share so I'll let Minnie use it when it's not on the table. :-)

And because I love to share, I'm going to show you all how you can make one of these table runners from your own stash! Perhaps I should introduce myself.......my name is Sandi and you may be familiar with my blog A*Legacy*of*Stitches. If you recognise me, you may have seen this runner in a simplified version on my blog as the SewManyPossiblitiesTableRunner. It's a quick and easy project that can use "orphan" blocks and scraps or you could always buy some fabric for a truly coordinated look!!

For this tutorial, I began with a pile of mostly blue and white snowflake/snowman themed fabrics. I keep them in a fabric covered box with a lid. I have this thing about "color-coding". The navy fabric with snowflakes that you see in the background is what the box is covered in and so when I want my snow-themed fabrics, I just grab that box. Same for Valentine fabrics which are in a box covered with heart print fabric, St. Pat's in green and so on.

From the fabrics you see in the photo above, I chose several that were in the same blue color way. Isn't amazing how there can be so many "color-ways" in fabrics? Blue is blue until you are looking for just a certain blue and then you find you have almost none of it in your stash. This usually means a trip to the fabric store.............but not for this project. I was determined to make it only from fabrics I had in my sewing room stash!

Here are the requirements for this project.....

1/2 yard fabric that will be your borders and the backing fabric plus miscellaneous fabric scraps for the center block and side panels. Left-over bits from charm packs and jelly rolls work well for this project. Left-over 12-1/2" blocks can also be used for the center of this table runner!

Coordinating thread
Batting 17" x 30" - This can be scraps left over from a larger project and any batting will work. I personally like either Warm and Natural or Quilter's Dream Poly for table runners.

Rotary cutter, mat, and ruler.
and your Sewing Machine!

Once you have selected your fabrics, you can begin to cut. Feel free to change your mind and switch fabrics if needed. I did!

I had always liked the blue and white glittery plaid that you see on the left, so I chose it for my borders. I liked the fat quarter that had those big snowflakes on it but had never found a project that could use them. I found a few other snowflake prints and I was ready to go.

Cut the following pieces:

For the center block, cut four 6-1/2" white squares and sixteen 2" squares of blue fabric.
Cut sixteen 2" x 5" strips in assorted fabrics for your side panels.
Cut the following strips from the fabric that will be used for borders.
Cut 4 strips that measure 2-1/2" x 12-1/2"
Cut 2 strips that measure 2-1/2" x 29-1/2"
Note: at this time, you may also cut your backing piece which will measure 16-1/2" x 29-1/2"

Step 1. Sew the 2" blue squares to the corner of each 6-1/2" white square. Look closely at the photo and you will see that you sew across the square so that a corner triangle is formed.

Step 2. Fold blue fabric back to corner to create a "Snowball" block. Press.

Step 3. Place your four blocks together and make sure your corner triangles will match up fairly closely. :-)

Step 4. Sew the two top "Snowball" blocks together, then sew the two bottom "Snowball" blocks together. Seams on this project are 1/4". Press the seam open on each of these sections. Then sew top section to bottom section and again, press seams open.

The photo above shows how the seams look when pressed open. This makes for nicer quilting when the project is finished. I generally press seams open on small projects as they lay flatter and quilt so much easier this way.

Step 5. Lay out the side strips in a design that pleases you. I had originally chosen to alternate four fabrics, but found I needed another lighter fabric. Sew the strips together into two strips with eight 2 x 5" strips in each side panel. Press seams open on these strips, too.

Step 6. Your center block and side panel strips are complete. It's time to add the borders/sashing. Lay out the pieces and make sure you like the placement of all your fabrics.

Step 7. Pin a 2 x 12-1/2" strip to each side of your center square. Then stitch in place. Remove pins and press. At this point, I now press the seam away from the center block.

Step 8. Pin side panels to the strip that you just stitched to the center square. Stitch and press. Then pin remaining 2 x 12-1/2" strips to edge of side panels. Stitch and press.

Step 9. All that remains to create the table runner top is to add the top and bottom borders/sashing. Pin and stitch the top strip in place. Then pin and stitch the bottom strip. Press and your top is complete.

Step 10. Place the pressed table runner quilt top on your batting. My preferred method is to use Quilt Basting Spray so that my top does not move around when quilting.

If you double-click and enlarge this photo, I believe you can see that I also stitched around the edge of the quilt top. In this case it is so that I will stitch along the same line in this plaid fabric. At this point, I'll share that as much as I loved that fabric, it was awful to work with. It was not "on the straight-of-grain" and I had a hard time getting pieces that aren't skewed. I thought I had all straight pieces and had cut two diagonally and two horizontally when cutting the 2 x 12-1/2" strips. Then I discovered that the plaid squares aren't quite square so I had to use a piece that is skewed on the right side border.

Pinning and sewing on the straight line as much as possible helped this project come out a little better than it was looking mid-way through the stitching process.

Step 11. I used white muslin for the backing. I wanted to use blue fabric, but there was no length of the "right blue" in my stash so I opted for white. Sometimes I sew pieces together to create a backing but I wanted a solid backing for this piece. Place the backing fabric over the top of your finished table runner top. Pin and then stitch around almost the entire perimeter of the table runner, leaving a 6" opening on one side. I like to leave my openings on the bottom edge of any project.

Step 12. With the table runner pieces sewn together, it's time to turn the table runner "inside-out" or is it "outside-in"? :-) Anyway, you know what I mean. I use my Purple Thang, a little tool that I bought several years ago and am so glad that I did! If you do not have one, check your local quilt shop and see if they carry them. It's a great little tool!

Step 13. When the table runner is completely turned out, press carefully and then slipstitch the opening closed.

Step 14. Time for a little quilting. You can do this by hand or machine. I like these extra long pins when I'm quilting small projects. They make the piece lie flat which makes stitching easy.

You can see in the photo on the right, that I am "stitching-in-the-ditch". I chose to do that on the side panels because I really liked the fabrics and wasn't sure I wanted them covered by lots of stitching. In the photo below, you can see that I "stitched-in-the-ditch" around the center square and then I stitched just inside the edge on each of the "Snowball" blocks. It's all done but I may go back and add some hand-quilting in a silvery thread. I'm thinking some curly-Q stitches over the side panels and maybe some snowflakes in the "Snowball" blocks.

I'm going to leave it just as it is right now, because my "winter blues" have been stitched away and because Minnie says she's ready for a nap and wants to use it. I can let her borrow it for a bit because she was so thoughtful to never say a word when I got upset over that skewed plaid fabric. LOL!

Minnie has a special story to her origins........she is hand-made but I don't know her maker. I found her in a trash can at the apartment complex where my mother used to live. Someone was cleaning a unit and had tossed out lots of things. When I went out to empty the trash for my mom and lifted the lid, there sat this gorgeous bear. I brought her in the house and showed my mom, then promptly gave her a bath although she wasn't dirty at all. I added that blue bow because it's my mother's favorite color. Minnie got her name from my Dad. It was his nickname because he was called "Skinny Minny". :-) If it weren't for my mother and dad, I wouldn't be stitching today. Thanks to both of them! And thanks to Madame Samm for letting me share my stitching fun with all of you! Now go grab some fabrics from your stash and stitch up a little table runner for you or a friend. Enjoy!!

Sandi at A Legacy of Stitches


  1. Great tutorial! I appreciate all the detailed steps and will have to give this one a try. And I love your little Minnie. :) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Very well planned, photoed, and scripted tutorial Sandi. So many possibilities with this pattern for sure; as well as a great way to use up what is in your stash. I would have loved to see your color boxes for stash storage. Thank you for a lovely post today on Stash Manicure.

  3. Excellent tutorial Sandi! Love the runner and all the possibilities you've described ... heck, all that needs to be done now is picking the material from the stash and get sewing!! Thank you for sharing!!

  4. Oh I love your tutorial. This is such a great table runner. This was a great post!! Hugs Ariane

  5. Sandi, The blue fabric with the little snowmen made me smile. I have the tiniest bit left in the dark blue, and it is one of my favorites. I think Minnie should have the quilt :). Pam

  6. Love those blues! And it is such a great project! Thanks so much! Good idea to stitch the winterblues away!

  7. Very fun and easy. I am sure most of us have enough stash to make up one of these fun things. Thanks to you and Minnie for sharing with us!

  8. Sandi, thank you so much for sharing and taking the time to make such a comprehensive tutorial. I love the colours you used. It had me dreaming of winter, as it is currently 95 degrees F. Minnie is an absolute cutie and I can understand why she wants to keep the tablerunner as a quilt for herself. ;) I'm "saving" making this one as a reward for myself in a few weeks when I finish a few UFO's....I'm bribing myself with it. :) :)

  9. Sandi,

    Thank you for sharing. And a "beary" special thank you for sharing with your Minnie. I see by her bow that she loves the color blue (me too).

    Having a teddy bear to confide in always makes a project easier and faster to complete.

    Hugs to you & Minnie
    Joyce (& Prudence Clearwater, my bear-in-chief)

  10. This is such a sweet table runner! I really love the blue! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Perfect January project!! And snowball blocks too!! Thanks for sharing, I definitely plan to whip this out sometime this week--my table needs a January runner!

  12. Good Morning Sandi...I love your tut..and clearly blue being our theme for the month, it goes perfectly...looks like giant snowballs. The time you put into this is not overlooked. Your project is one that many no doubt will consider doing...
    Oh I note your purple thing...one of my fav tools it is....thanks for coming out today...our days is sew much brighter because of you...

  13. Thank you Sandi for a lovely tutorial! Its beautiful. I had to go back up and see the purple thing. I had no idea what that was! Thanks!

  14. What a super fun tutorial. And as you mentioned each of your different colored boxes I started thinking, "I could make a set for that holiday, and that holiday". I think I will be making up quite a lot of table runners!!

  15. Awesome tutorial! Thanks for sharing!!

  16. Sandi, that was a great tutorial...good job! And I just love all that blue! I will be adding this to my "go to quick table runner" patterns!
    Thank you for sharing!

  17. Sandi this was a great tutorial - I loved the pictures and it was so easy to understand. I also love the idea of the fabric covered boxes...like another commenter I'd love to see those! blessings, marlene

  18. Sandi, your runner looks fantastic, and just fits in so perfectly with the blue theme here on Stash Manicure this month.. you must be psychic.. Your tutorial is wonderful and I think your organization is genius!

  19. I especially like this pattern for using orphan blocks, of which I have many. Great job on the tutorial.

  20. Great job, Sandi! Wonderful to see you here on SM and I look forward to making this wonderful runner.

  21. Great tutorial - thank you for sharing. Minnie is absolutely wonderful - how could anyone throw something away that has that much love left in them.

    Hugs - Marie

  22. That's beautiful! What a great tutorial! Thank you for sharing.

  23. Thanks Sandi! I love the blue and white check. Great tutorial :-)

  24. It is a perfect tutorial for this time of the year. Very sweet.

  25. What a wonderful tutorial. Love the colors.

  26. Thanks, Sandi!! I am a newbie quilter and I appreciate the detail you put into this tutorial! Beautiful!

  27. Lovely, and my favorite color, too!!

    In stitches,
    Teresa :o)

  28. Thank you Sandi - your blog is new to me but I will certainly go and read it!

  29. Perfect!! I so need something for the winter on my kitchen table and this would be perfect! thank you for a great tutorial!

  30. Thanks for the FANTASTIC SUPER EASY TO FOLLOW tutorial! <3 Mother's Day for the M-I-L just came into focus! Maybe with little hand prints in the center blocks... ;-) Four grandkiddies, four 'ball' blocks... I think this is do-able!

  31. Now talk about inspiration. what a wonderful way to begin our N.Y. Thanks Sandi, this is terrific. I love tutorials and this one seems easy for me who is new to quilting and to blogs. No blog yet but I think that will change to. I love the road this blog is going, filled with great moments.
    hugz Catherine in Ireland

  32. What a nice and fast little project to make. Thanks for the tutorial! The blue quilt and bear make such a pretty picture.

  33. I love the story of the bear. How sweet that you saved her. She looks so happy. I love that toblerunner. It looks so easy. Thank you for sharing your idea.

  34. Sandi, what a great tutorial. Your blue snowball table topper is perFect no January blues today. Love your rescued teddy bear....

  35. this is a wonderful project, how generous of your time to do this for us. love the blues hugs Claudine

  36. I love the table runner and already am thinking of fabric I have here that would work really well with that pattern.
    Thanks for sharing.

  37. Thank you to all of you that have commented on my post here at Stash Manicure. I'm glad that you may be inspired by the project. Jacqueline, so glad you are inspired to make it as a gift for you MIL! :-) If any of you make the topper, I'd love to see pics. Just e-mail me. :-) I've sent my thanks to Madame Samm for allowing me to share my creative fun with you. Now it's back to work on a spring version of the runner. Happy Stitching!

  38. Thanks so much for being so detailed in your instructions. I can see lots of opportunities for great color variations. This will definitely be on my to-do list!

  39. aaaah............blue is my favorite color. This is such a cute pattern and the tuto makes it seem such a zip to sew up! thanks for taking the time to take pics and share!

  40. This is a great tutorial... Thank you. It doesn't hurt that blue has always been my favorite color--must be why I have so many blue fabrics!

  41. I love the blue theme. What a cute tablerunner.

  42. I just wanted to say I love what you have done with Bonnie's blog it looks wonderful.


  43. Very nice blog/tutorial. Good pictures. Thank you.

  44. Great tutorial and I love Minnie's quilt!


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