Saturday, February 2, 2013

Class 150: Project Table Runner

My fabric arrived! Unfortunately I felt so underwhelmed that I carried the box to the sewing room, looked at the fabric for 2 minutes and went back to bed.  I must have been sicker than I thought because I would not have guessed that after waiting almost 2 weeks to get to this next project, that I would rather sleep.  Now, I'm feeling better and have set myself to sewing.

The mock-up from lesson 5 was first on my list.
First thing I did was make photo copies of the fabrics, which didn't work so well. It used ALOT of ink, and the colors still didn't turn out correct. The solid "brownish" strips in the rail fence are actually a green. The center squares are black, and the 2 other squares in the 4 patch are a solid tan. UGH.  So much for getting a real idea of how these fabrics will work. But, I like them when I lay the fabrics together, and since this is what I have I will continue! Note to self: next time just cut the real fabric for the mock up. Here is a picture of the fabrics together, even though they still don't show well. My camera is away on a journey, so I'm using the ipod here. I find it moves when I snap the picture. Sorry, all these photos will look a bit blurry.

Next step was to press and align the fabrics.  I was doing fine until I came across one fabric where it seemed that when I had my torn edges and salvage aligned in the first fold, it appeared that the torn edge bows inward. Sure enough, when I fold the fabric again there is NO WAY I am going to get my torn edges to meet and still have the top edges straight.  How can that be??  Has anyone ever torn fabric where it bows like you were rotary cutting badly?  If it is terribly off grain before we tear it, wouldn't that mean that when we cut at the fold, it is NOT going to tear straight?  Please leave comments!

The floral fabric was purchased in a 1 yard increment, and when I folded it after ironing out the center crease, there was no way this fabric was going to align.  I've never had to "work" a fabric this far. It had at least a 1" fold half way down.  I went back to the book and re-read about re-aligning fabric. I cut the yard in half so I would only work with 1/2 yd at a time and got out my pins. I pinned the salvage together and worked from there down and toward the center and what a surprise!  After a good 15 minutes of being very gentle and patient with my iron and fabric, I got it to re-align the grain so that all edges are straight. I had never had something so far out of wack, so this was a first and came out well.  Here's a case of "trust Harriet, it works!"

Here is a picture of the work in progress:
I've gotten better with keeping all the attached lines moving through the needle, somewhat.  I also have found that using a paper weight to keep my place on which row I'm working from on the right side helps.

I'm not feeling the excitement with this project.  I think the colors just aren't that exciting. I really like the floral pattern.  It was what I was looking for at the quilt shop, but couldn't find anything close.  The patterns work. I have a floral, solid, 2 tonals, and small print. I'm thinking the green tonal should have been lighter?  And, I think I just have a preference to more colorful fabric.  This is.... blah. I'll chalk this up to learning experience.

After I completed sewing all the blocks into rows, I found the next step was to sew the end pieces. This is not a square runner, it has nice points at the ends.  I've noticed others doing these projects have omitted the pointy ends, so I'm anxious to see how it turns out.

I sewed the line of three down, but can't get the end piece to sew on. As you can see, I would be sewing right over my seam lines and the edges would be "out there" flopping around.

And, If I sew the end piece on first it will obviously give me the same problem with overlap outside the seam allowance on the top and bottom seams. 

The instructions do NOT get me the corner units as I would envision they need to go. There is no explanation as to how it should look different than normal. ie. "notice your seams are not all tucked under" etc...  I don't think that when I cut the diagonal that it would get sewn inside the seam allowance..??

I do not have sewing experience.  I've enjoyed quilting because it is not like sewing patterns. I am stumped because clearly there is some assumption here that I'm not getting.  Anyone out there with some clearer instructions?  I think I know why others made it square!  We have not been given lessons on this kind of piecing yet.

In the mean time, I went to sew my rows together, and I've not yet had this problem either!!
My blocks are not meeting up in the corners.  Since I don't feel like seam ripping at the moment, I think I'll go find something else to do for my Saturday afternoon!


  1. Dawn, So sorry you are having problems. I did not do this project so I don't have any experience with the diagonal ends but I see what you mean. I think it will solve itself when you do the trimming but I am not sure. Harriet or Carrie will answer questions if you write them. About the fabric, I think there is some fabric that is just too screwed up to straighten to perfection. Don't be too discouraged. You are doing great. I enjoy your comments very much. I think your fabric is fine, I love the floral print. Sandy

  2. Leslie's 12/27/09 blog talks about her table runner. She too had trouble understanding the directions.

    1. Yes, she did have problems with the instructions, and I remember seeing her table runner square, but didn't see the original post where she did do the pointy ends and found them to be confusing too. I wish she would have addressed how she attached them.. she had trouble with the cutting of the angles. I guess on Monday if no one else knows how, I'll shoot off an email to Quilter's Academy and see how they respond. I wanted to have something new to learn, but not with this much angst! Thanks for your responses :)

  3. Hi Dawn, I love the prints you chose for your table runner! I havn't run into any fabric that has been badly off grain as yours was... but i was thinking as i read your post that Harriet says to keep working at it. and you did! if i run into problems with that i know who to turn to now :)
    The bottem picture of the end pieces looks right to me. I went and looked at mine. I sewed the two plain blocks to the rail fence one, trimmed evened up etc Then i laid the very end piece facedown on the top of the rail fence and eyeballed it so it had about a quarter inch past each end of the rail fence seam.

    when you trim the ends of the runner you will have about a 1/4 inch out from the corner of the blocks left and the border seam should butt right up to the edge. I hope that makes sense? I sometimes have trouble explaining things in words lol

    I have had seams off like that lots of times, i usually pick them out and resew. One thing i learned from reading someones blog, is that when are sewing something and have to match the seams they pin and sew right up to the pin and stop with the needle down in the fabric before taking the pin out. I use that method quite a bit when i am piecing.

    hope i have been of some help , if you need any clarification on the explanation of the ends of the table runners just let me know.
    I am off to the fabric store now as i need a new blade in my rotary cutter,very very badly

    I cannot get a comment to publish using Wordpress??? arrrrrgghhh!

    1. Hi Vicki..
      Sorry about the publishing comments... It's not your issue :) I have moderation on, so all comments I publish after reviewing them. I'm going to hope no spam comes my way, and I've turned that off for now. You shouldn't have issues any more.

      I'm having a hard time believing that I can just sew these pieces on overlapping on the outside and then the seam allowance sewn on the diagonal will cover it up. Wouldn't the picture in the diagram, or some instruction alert us to that? The picture looks like all other blocks sewn together. I'm thinking there is a trick to it, and it comes later.. or maybe I'm just being picky mathematical me? You think yours will cover up fine when you add the border?

      I'm ready to just skip them. My regret is that then, my length will be a tad shorter than I would wish. Which means I need to go back and add more on the edge before I sew my rows together. Guess I'll get to the seam ripping first.

      Yes, sharp blades make for nicer cuts! Thanks for your input.

  4. Just got back from Fabricland, got my cutter blade...... um and a bag of fabric LOL I got some fabric to back the Country Lanes runner, for only $6.50 a meter! nice, did i tell you i had made mine shorter than the one inthe book? I think i took out 3 rows from the runner and sewed them together to make a little square ??? whatever LOL
    I think mine will cover up fine when the border is added, If you look at the picture on page 62 it shows the diagonal end being trimmed. line up the 1/4 inch line on your ruler right on the junction with the rail fence and plain blocks and cut along that right up to the tip of the very last block. repeat on the other side and those seams from the where you joined the last plain block on the very end of the runner will be part of the seam allowance when you sew on your border. Trust the process and try it, just like you did with the fabric straightening.
    If you email Harriet, I would love to hear what she says about it :)
    Good luck with your seam ripping and resewing! I'm heading back down to cut some segments that i sewed together earlier, should be easier now with a new blade! gotta watch those fingers though!


    1. Can't go to "fabricland" and not get any fabric!

      Good idea to make a table runner and a square rather than make one LONG runner :) I probably would have had to do that had I not noticed it being so long before I cut.

      I will probably trust that process if I don't get a reply from Harriet, because I do want to attempt a mitered border on this. All our other borders are straight.

      Happy cutting. I got a new rotary cutter before this project, and I know what you mean about watching fingers. New blades are absolutely scary!