Thursday, February 9, 2012

Quilt retreat

In terms of my sewing projects, I hit this month running!  Last weekend I met up with dear friends at a retreat hosted by the local quilt shop.  It's a glorious four-day weekend of nothing but sewing - and I mean that literally (well, okay there was a good amount of eating involved and some sporadic sleeping).  We set up our sewing machines and watched the project piles dwindle.  All you could hear, over the sounds of raucous laughing, was the *bing* of sewing machines marking the emptiness of yet another bobbin.  Really, one of us should have figured the equation [numbers of bobbins used X yards of thread per bobbin = miles sewn].  It would have been astounding. 

One of the projects I took along was this table runner made from a line called 'Giddy' by Sandy Gervais for MODA. While I've officially jumped off the charm pack band wagon, this one did have a lot going for it: (1) I'm currently in a pink and aqua phase; (2) it's been clinically proven that cherry prints make me happy; and (3) I stared at it too long while I was waiting for my fabric to be cut.  Add that all up and I simply could not resist another charm pack.  I passed it very discreetly across the checkout counter.

I made four-patches by sewing a light and dark print together, cutting them apart, shuffling and sewing again.  I even took the time to "spin my centers."  A nifty little technique that takes the bulk out of the center point where all the squares join.  To do this, sew your four squares together as normal.  When complete, carefully open the salvage in the center and press all the joining seams in a rotating fashion.  Here the seams all spin counter clockwise.  You may need to pick out a few stitches in the salvage only to get the seams to lay the right direction.

I was able to finish the top of the runner at the retreat (then I was on to other things!) and did the machine quilting at home.  Obviously my '47 Singer does not have a stitch regulator or 'needle down' function, but she's willing to tackle anything.  I can drop the dogfeet and with my free motion foot, she's good to go!

Click to enlarge

This is a photo of the back of the runner.  I experimented with a meandering heart-shaped leaf pattern.  I've quilted stippling and meandering in so many other projects that I'm ready to try out some simple shapes.  It's jerky and awkward in places, but consistently so, so that perhaps you don't notice as much!  ;)

I didn't add any borders and bound it with the same fabric as the backing.  The pointed ends fit my oval dining room table nicely, and the cheery colors are welcome during these cloudy winter days.

I had a few four-patches leftover, so my friend suggested I make coasters.  These quick little dears are simply two blocks, wrong sides together, with a piece of cotton batting (cut slightly smaller) sandwiched between.  I stitched an X on each one and pinked the edges.  Perfect for ice tea in the summer!

So I can check off the infamous To Do List (you know how I obsess over it!) a February Valentine table runner that will surely perk me up in the mornings.  And in case you're wondering, coordinate with most of my summer wardrobe!


  1. Cute table runner! Love the colors.


  2. Sounds like a blast. I am envious of your weekend of sewing.

    I learned to quilt on an old Singer, too. Mine didn't have the drop feed dog feature, so I did the free motion quilting with the feed dogs up. Now that I have a machine with all those bells and whistles, It's so much easier. But I still think that I owe my skill in quilting to that Singer. And I still love it!

  3. Hey BoPeep, Well I just read my first blog, yes first. You are VERY creative with your writing skills. Really enjoyed seeing you and the "Wild" child this past weekend. Hope to see you again soon. Till then take care.
    Signing off,

  4. OOOOoooo I covet it. Very nice! I just read that Bernina came out with a foot designed to regulate the stitches to your speed so you always have even stitching when doing free motion. I may have to check that out. Love it and I am also jealous of your quilting retreat ;)

  5. Is it a treadle or electric? Either way, you're really good, and it's so cute. I love charm packs but need some ideas of what to make. I like the coasters. I have a treadle- it's a brand called Free but I haven't tried sewing with it. I want my husband to help get it upstairs into my girl cave with the other machine and then I just might give it a try.

  6. What a great way to kill time... sewing with the gals. I LOVE your old machine. It looks to be a 99K? Maybe? I used to have one and man, did it sew through anything (my hubby borrowed it without asking to sew car upholstery for an old 31' coupe) I nearly killed him, but the machine was fine afterwards. I'd die if he tried that with my fancy shmancy computerized modern machine. It would not survive it.

    Looking at your machine quilting I want you to know that I am very impressed by your steady curved stitches and stitch symmetry. I have a longarm with all the bells and whistles and I think what you've shown in this post looks alot better than some poor quilts I have seen done by longarmers with stitch regulators. You're a natural. Longarming and machine quilting are really apples and oranges. What YOU are doing is much more difficult. Great job!

    I love aprons too and I have got to check out your apron posts next. Have a great week and thanks for sharing such a fun post on Farmgirl Friday.

  7. I love the coaster idea, I might have to make one for my desk at work.


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