Star Tablerunner – version 2

Last week I finished a star filled table runner using a mix of green, red and gold 2½” squares to create the background.


‘Starry Christmas’ table runner

I was intrigued to see what the runner would look like using just one fabric for the background. Over the weekend I cut out the pieces from a white on white fabric for the stars and the background pieces from a sort of scandi/folksy print called ‘Joy, Love, Peace’ by Lucie Crovatto. I made 56 half square triangles (whew) – 48 for the six 4″ stars and 8 for the 8″ star (see previous post for cutting instructions for these Sawtooth Stars).

This morning I got to work putting all the pieces together. First the 8″ star with 2½” borders (2 cut 8½” long and 2 cut  12½” long).


Next the six 4″ stars each with two adjacent 2½” borders (1 cut 4½” long and the second 6½” long).


I then arranged them on the design wall with six background squares cut to 6½” before stitching them all together to complete the top.


The completed top with the red fabric I’m going to use for the binding.

This all took me the best part of 3½ hours and reminded me yet again that I only have a very loose grip on exactly how long I spend on each of my patchwork and quilting projects! At the start of the morning I imagined I’d have the runner at the quilt sandwich stage and the binding prepared before my deadline of leaving the house at 12.15pm! Reality check!!

img_2628I had to be in town for my little shop-keeping stint at the pop-up craft shop. The town centre is busy now and it is noticeable that people are actively shopping for Christmas rather than just browsing for gift ideas. Sales in the shop have been increasing and it’s great to see such clever handiwork being displayed in lots of imaginative ways. My sales have stalled a bit so I had a go at re-arranging my space but honestly it doesn’t look that different after my efforts. Maybe I need to do something a bit more radical?

Linking with Judy for Design Wall Monday.


Posted in Christmas, Fabrics, Selling craft, Tablerunners, Tutorial, Works In Progress | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Star Tablerunner – quick pattern

First of all thank you for the thoughtful and encouraging comments I received following my post earlier this week🙂 I’m glad to have read those and also to have had opportunities to sew and to meet with friends during the week – all part of the ‘mind-settling’ process I so needed.

A little catch-up. A couple of weeks ago I shared a finish: a Christmas mantlepiece runner for a friend and  now I have a photo of it in-situ.


Keeping to the Christmas theme, I have been busy designing and making table runners. The inspiration for the most recent finish came from a mixture of necessity – I had so many little pieces of Christmas fabric that were far too gorgeous to throw but which were clogging up the drawer so badly that I couldn’t see what I had – and a desire to keep the star theme going in the runners I make – stars being classic patchwork subjects and an enduring symbol of Christmas even in these secular times.


I planned the runner around a large Sawtooth Star and several smaller ones, all in very light fabrics. As I sorted through the other fabrics I found plenty with green backgrounds, some with red and others with gold all of which would contrast well with the star fabric. I cut as many 2½” squares from each as I could and hung on to some pieces to make the half square triangles needed for the stars.

img_2592For the 8″ star I cut a 4½” square for the centre and four 3″ squares to make the HSTs. I matched these with four 3″ squares of the dark fabrics, then made the HSTs*, trimming each one down to 2½” square. Choosing four 2½” dark squares for the corners of the star block, I stitched the pieces together. I then made four strips to surround the star – two strips from four 2½” squares and two strips from six.

*Click here for Alyce’s HST tutorial.


img_2593I made six 4″ stars, first cutting the centre 2½” squares and then cutting 24 pairs of light and dark fabric 2″ squares to make a total of 48 HSTs all trimmed to 1½” square (that’s teeny tiny in my books!). I cut 24 1½” dark squares to provide the corners of the star blocks and stitched the pieces together. To complete the blocks I used some of the 2½” squares to surround the star on just two adjacent sides. The blocks measured 6½” square.

I then had fun mixing and matching the dark 2½” squares to make six nine-patch blocks each finishing at 6½” square. I paired these up with the little star blocks and stitched them together so that the stars alternated up and down along the runner.


Backing fabric and binding showing the stitching around one of the star blocks

The finished top measured 12½” wide by 48½” long. To complete the runner I used a length of Hobbs 80/20 wadding and ran up to my local haberdashery shop to discover the perfect backing on a bolt 54″ wide – a yipee moment! For the quilting I used a 40wt Aurifil thread, a lovely dark gold, colour 2975, stitching in the ditch around the stars and across their centres. I had a few changes of mind about how to quilt the open spaces of the runner and in the end decided to fish out a star stencil and just just stitch the outline.


Look closely and you might spot the quilted star outline!

For the binding I cut 2¼” strips of a cotton fabric with lots of gold in a tartan style pattern that I think makes a really great border. I handstitched the binding to the back of the runner and ‘hey presto’ another FINISH!




The top fabric is ‘Joy, Love, Peace’ by Lucie Crovatto and I plan to use it as the background. The red is Winter Wonderland by Moda and will be the binding. The backing fabric is nameless😦

I’ve decided to use the pattern again but to have just one fabric for the background. So I’ll cut 2½” wide strips of the fabric to border the star blocks and cut six 6½” squares in place of the nine-patch squares. Well that’s the plan anyway…



And I’m hoping to be able to share my patterns more easily in the near future as I’ve treated myself to the EQ7 quilt design software! Sales at the pop-up shop in town have been steady so I have some spending money🙂 And with Viv’s encouragement three patterns of a tablerunner I taught at Purple Stitches  have been sold and given me the incentive to take pattern designing on a step and see where it might lead…



My bundle of treasures including EQ7, a big spool of Aurifil 2600 for piecing, along with a spool stand and some new pins – I have a knack of bending pins!

Linking with Amanda Jean for Finish it up Friday and with Myra for Finished or not Friday.





Posted in Christmas, Fabrics, Inspiration, Quilt Blocks, Quilting Techniques, Tablerunners, Tutorial | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Joy to the world…

I must confess my heart is full and much of what is on my heart isn’t for this blog but I shall trust you can read between the lines and will forgive me my jumbled misif. At the start of the year I adopted the idea of having a word(s) for the year rather than a New Year’s resolution. My chosen words were ‘home’ and ‘family’. The year isn’t quite over but, let’s be honest, there’s really not much chance of making up for lost time in the run up to Christmas! So, I have to conclude that our home has not received any extra attention from me this year – the two pot holders I made in February are used every day but hardly constitute a wholehearted home-making spree!

IMG_0547 In the latter half of this year our little family has experienced some big changes and the consequences are still unfolding. As a parent I am so grateful for the support of my faithful, level-headed spouse, my own, thoughtful, kind and generous parents and most especially for the God who knows us all and holds us in His big plan. It’s important that we remember God offers us joy that can not be defined as ‘happiness’. Jesus says He will give life to the full to whoever follows Him: looking around us we see that not all Christians experience good health, material riches or, indeed, wall to wall happiness. So we know joy and a full life can not be measured by our worldly ‘well-being’ or materialistic standards. No, we have to learn to trust God, to be assured that whilst we may not be able to bring about justice here and now He will ultimately bring His justice to prevail. Wait up! That’s a scary thought for us sinners – I point one finger at someone else’s sin and then look at my hand – there are three fingers pointing back at me! The joy comes in knowing that in his mercy and His love for the world (that’s us):

God gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Christians live with a sure hope, knowing ultimately good will prevail over evil, light will extinguish darkness. Wow! Jesus is the Light of the World and, as the days get shorter and darker here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are on the Advent countdown to the remembrance of the presence of God here on Earth 2000 years ago and the promise of a joy-filled life as we follow Him now and a light-filled world to come.

On Sunday we sang Joy to the World (here’s a link for Nat King Cole’s version), it felt so strange plunging into a Christmas song before the end of November but, with an eternal perspective, these words are true all year round aren’t they?

Joy to the world! The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love;
And wonders of His love;
And wonders, wonders of His love.

Joy to the world! The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing

Written by . Traditional, Sidney James • Copyright © EMI Music Publishing, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group
How strange! This wasn’t the blog post I had intended at all! Thank you for reading to the end. My heart feels so much more at peace for having shared these words and for having released the thoughts behind them.
Linking with Word Filled Wednesday at Woman2Woman Ministries.
Posted in Awe and Wonder, Family, Home | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Mantlepiece Runner and Keeping the Festive Spirit


I have a lovely Christian friend who delights in her family, her friends and Christmas – especially all the pre 25th December preparations.For the past three or four weeks she has been busy at her kitchen table making cards and she had twinkles in her eyes as she informed me all the gifts are wrapped! The only shadow in all this activity and anticipation has been caused by the mis-laying of one of her decorations: the runner that added festive colour to the mantlepiece. Her decorations are mainly handmade and all lovingly placed around the house as a means to pass on her pleasure in the Season to family and guests.

What could I do but rise to the challenge of creating a replacement for the missing runner? Trouble is my needlework skills are confined to the making of bunting and quilts. I’ve never completed a garment or made household items such as curtains or blinds. I recalled my friend saying she had added tassles/bells to the lost runner which made me thing I’d better add some ‘dangly’ bits to the horizontal runner to make sure she has scope to add her own trimmings. I had no choice but to approach this project with the mind of a quilter. After thinking through several different ‘construction techniques’ I decided to make a simple quilted runner to fit along the length and width of the mantlepiece and then add bunting triangles to hang over the edge. I began with no clear idea of how these two elements were going to be joined… but I’d had enough of thinking and needed to be doing so I began anyway!


My Christmas fabric stash… (or should I rename my stash my ‘collection’ as another blogger argued earlier this week ? Can I find that post to link up? No!.. so frustrating!) Anyway, as I was saying, ‘My Christmas stash’ yielded just enough red fabrics to piece together the top of the runner and six bunting triangles. Two other red fabrics became the backing for the runner and flags. I layered and stitched the runner layers in this sequence: wadding on the bottom; then backing, right-side up; then runner top, right side down.Once I’d pinned the three layers together I stitched a quarter inch in from the edge all the way round apart from a small gap to allow the runner to be turned inside out.I then re-pinned the layers and stitched some simple quilting lines.

Then it was time to make the bunting triangles. I stitched a little festive motif on the front of each one before coming to a decision about how to fix them to the quilted runner. It’s not a great solution but I chose to pink the top edge of the triangles then stitch them in place, on the back of the runner, using a tight zig-zag stitch. I reasoned they’d be secure and, as the runner will not be handled much, the exposed fabric edges shouldn’t deteriorate.


I don’t have a fireplace with a mantlepiece but I hope my mock-up gives an idea of how the runner should look🙂


My friend’s delight in Christmas and the pleasure she feels and shares as she prepares for the holiday are a reminder to me to keep perspective in all the activities associated with the season. In Bible studies this week we looked at ‘the fruit of the Spirit’:

… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

We reflected that these fruits are in fact a wonderful description of the character of Jesus himself. I am reading a chapter of Luke’s Gospel each day and intend to keep that list of ‘fruit’ close to hand so I can see them personified in the recorded actions and words of Jesus.

Paul concludes the paragraph about the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5 with these words to his fellow Christians:

Those who belong to Jesus Christ have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

When the rush to Christmas gets underway and the tension knot in my stomach tightens I find it all too easy to fall out of step with the Spirit, becoming less and less Christ-like even as I prepare to celebrate His birth! It would be naïve to think I will serenely glide my way to Christmas Day but I shall endeavour to pay more attention to the lead of the Spirit and readjust my actions and attitudes accordingly🙂

Linking with Woman to Woman Ministries for Word Filled Wednesday and Amanda Jean for Finish it up Friday.


Finishing with a ‘wow’ photo of the early morning sun catching the trees at the top of our road against some blue-black clouds (the lamp posts don’t lean like that -it’s camera lens distortion!)



Posted in Awe and Wonder, Christmas, Home, Tablerunners | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Making Jelly Roll Race Runners

I’ve been experimenting: inspired by a mini roll of ten neutral width of fabric (wof) strips and a Dashwood Studio fat quarter purchased from my local quilt store, Purple Stitches.

After a bit of umming and ahhing I decided to make a table runner (or two) using the ‘jelly roll race 2‘ method demonstrated by Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company.


Fussy-cutting motifs from the Dashwood Studio fabric

I began by fussy cutting eleven 2½” squares featuring the lollipop flowers from the fat quarter. Before stitching all the wof strips together, with a fussy cut square between each, I cut two extra wof strips from my stash just to make the final runner a bit longer.

Once I’d stitched all the strips together, end to end, I cut off and discarded 18″ of fabric from one end of the very long strip and stitched the first very long seam (This was enough of a battle for me – I can’t imagine trying to control a whole jelly roll sewn together end to end!). Once I’d cut the resulting double-width strip in half, I then stitched another long seam so I had a pieced fabric measuring 8½” wide (four jelly roll strips). I had intended to cut this in half and again join them together lengthwise (making a fabric 8 strips, 16½” wide) but decided the long, skinny dimensions of just four strips suited it’s use as a table runner better. I did cut the strip in half – to be made into two separate table runners, each measuring approx. 8½” by 62″.


Two runners, each four strips wide.

Looking at these long pieces of fabric in shades ranging from palest beige to light grey I was reminded of weathered planks of wood. This was my inspiration for the quilting pattern on the first of the two runners. I had a rummage through my little collection of Aurifil 40 weight threads and found several neutrals and a dark gold. Imagining the fussy cut squares were knots in the ‘wood’ I echo stitched elongated whorls around each and then began creating irregularly spaced lines of stitching between them to represent wood grain. I completed all the stitching using a walking foot.


Quilting the knots and wood grain pattern


For the second runner I used the same quilting threads apart from the dark gold which I felt might dominate the simpler quilt pattern I’d envisaged. This time I imagined narrow lengths of ribbon twisting around each other as I stitched lines the whole length of the runner.


Twisted ribbons quilting design

To finish the runners I added double fold binding cut 2¼” wide. For the first runner I managed to use the remainder of the fat quarter and a one half width fabric strip from a coordinating fabric. For the binding of the second runner I used strips of neutral fabric from my stash. I used Hobbs 80/20 wadding in each and backed them with soft quilters calico from Lady Sew and Sew.

I enjoyed adapting the jelly roll race piecing method to make these runners. Next I’d like to try making runners using fabrics of different shades of blue or grey and maybe have them finish a little longer by starting with 14 or 16 wof strips rather than twelve.

Linking with Yvonne for Tips and Tutorials Tuesday #3 and Hilary for Sew Cute Tuesday.



Posted in Fabrics, Inspiration, Modern quilts, Piecing tips, Quilting Techniques, Tablerunners, Tutorial | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments