Category Archives: table runner

First Light Designs: Best of 2021

For the sixth consecutive year, Cheryl at Meadowmist Designs is hosting a “Linky Party,” inviting quilt bloggers to share their top five posts of the year. It’s a fun way to look back on the past 12 months and identify some of the high points as well as see what marvelous things other quilters are creating. So thank you, Cheryl. I’m delighted to join the 2021 party!

Clicking on the links below will take you to the original posts where you can read more about the finishes and see more photos.

Number 1. Best Tutorial:  Oven Mitts that Fit

I’m still waiting for the quilting and crafting world to discover my tutorial on quilted oven mitts. I worked really hard on writing this tutorial and loading it with pictures. So much so that the tutorial is in two parts with a prequel!

Oven Mitts that Fit: the Prequel gives the background for my taking on this project and shows you how to make your own pattern based on the size of your hand.

Part 1 covers fabric requirements, instructions for downloading and printing the pattern, assembling the layers, and quilting the resulting “quilt sandwich.”

Part 2 covers the sewing of the mitt and contrasting band around the cuff edge as well as the final step of tacking the band down before turning the mitt right side out.

These mitts make great gifts for friends and family. I invite you to take a look!

 

Number 2. Best UFO Finish

Okay, I confess:  This is the only UFO (UnFinished Object) I busted this year. It’s an updated version of the traditional pattern Grandma’s Surprise. I started working on this quilt in 2015 in a class taught by Joyce Gieszler. Her book Then and Now Quilts (Kansas City Star Quilts, 2014) had come out the year before and Grandma’s Surprise was one of the quilts featured in the book. My version of this design is called Currant Affairs (there’s a pun in that name).

 

Number 3. Best Quilt Made for a Car

You read that right. I made this quilt for my 2019 Subaru Forester aka the Green Goddess. I’d been wanting to make a car quilt for some time and was prompted to do so when I discovered the line of “Jungle Paradise” fabric designed by Stacy Iest Hsu and the free (and very easy) pattern State Fair by Melissa Corry. This is my Green Goddess Car Quilt.

 

Number 4. Best Quilt Made from a Jelly Roll

I don’t use precuts very much, mainly because I like to prewash my fabrics. But in my stash was a Jelly Roll (2½” strips) of “High Street,” a line of fabrics by Lily Ashbury for Moda Fabrics. I used the Jelly Roll in a free pattern called Tea Time in Bali and wound up with a quilt I named Tea Time on High Street.

 

Number 5. Best Red and Green Quilt

It’s a tie! I made two quilts this year using red and green fabrics. First up is ‘Tis the Season:

It’s actually my first quilt finish of 2021 but I saved it for the fifth slot because we’re still celebrating the season. ‘Tis the Season was made using the Missouri Star Company’s pattern Quatrefoil and Corey Yoder’s fabric line called “Holliberry.”

My second red and green quilt of 2021 is the very recently finished Winterwood, based on my pattern Season to Taste:

It can be a wall hanging or a table runner. I gave it to my sister Diane for Christmas so now we know: it’s a table runner:


With five days left in the year, there’s a good chance I’ll be able to add a third red and green quilt to the mix. (You may see it in next year’s Linky Party.)

Be sure to check out the top five posts of the other quilting/blogging partygoers. If you’re a quilter, you can join Cheryl’s Best of 2021 Linky Party, too. The link is open until January 2. Thank you for visiting First Light Designs. All the best in 2022!

 

 

 

Posted in home dec, kaleidoscope quilts, oven mitts, Quatrefoil, single-fold binding, State Fair quilt pattern, table runner, tutorial, update, wall hanging | 8 Comments

An Early Christmas Present

Winterwood, the winter version of my Season to Taste table runner/wall hanging series, has a new home:

My sister Diane seemed quite taken with it when she read my previous posts about it so I decided to surprise her and send it to her for Christmas, with instructions to open the package upon arrival rather than waiting till Dec. 25. It arrived yesterday and Diane has already found the perfect place for it. The runner fits the table in the main entry hall perfectly. It was meant to be!

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, kaleidoscope quilts, table runner, update, wall hanging | 7 Comments

Cue Vivaldi

Imagine you are hearing the strains of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” as you view all four versions of my Season to Taste table runner/wall hanging design:

Four versions of Dawn’s pattern Season to Taste

Aligning with Vivaldi’s concerti, the presentation begins with spring, followed by summer, fall, and winter. The winter version, named Winterwood, was the last one to be made:

Winterwood (2021)

When I started working on this quilt using fabrics with a holiday vibe (red and green prints, though not overtly Christmas-y), I thought about making a second winter version that is weather-related, i.e. not associated specifically with the holidays. The other day I found a piece of fabric in my stash that may just fill the bill. I’m not sure when work will begin on it but I’m giving myself until winter 2022 to finish it. (Do you think that’s enough lead time??)

The 45-degree triangles in the spring and winter versions were made with a selection of fabrics while the summer and fall versions, seen below, were each made with one focus fabric for a true kaleidoscopic effect:

Sun Flowers (2015) and Autumn Reflections (2014)

The fabric I have in mind for the second winter version would yield this kind of design.

I’m happy with the way all of of these turned out but I confess I have a favorite. It’s my spring version, Under Paris Skies:

Under Paris Skies (Sous Le Ciel de Paris) (2014)

The quilt contains fussycut images of street scenes of Paris that always make me smile (in addition to which spring is my favorite season). Here are a couple of those street scenes:

So . . . what about you? Of the four quilts pictured here, do you have a favorite?

 

 

 

Posted in free motion quilting, home dec, kaleidoscope quilts, Paris, table runner, update, wall hanging | 6 Comments

Winterwood: Almost a Wrap

With the holidays fast approaching, I decided it was time to finish the winter version of seasonal wall hangings based on my pattern Season to Taste. This is Winterwood:

I finished the top in June and wrote about the making of it here. If you’re curious about where the name Winterwood came from, you’ll find the explanation in that June post.

Winterwood is quilted very simply with horizontal lines. Unfortunately, I forgot to extend the stitching lines across the borders, and now that the binding is on I’m not entirely happy with the result. I’m going to give it a good press and then decide if I need to add some after-the-fact quilting in the borders.

Winterwood was made to be a wall hanging but I decided to piece the back in such a way that it could double as a holiday table runner:

That’s a 7″ inset circle in the middle. I’m going to make a label using a compact disc as a pattern and put the label on the circle, figuring that I can put a candle or plate on top of the label to hide it. Because the tree fabric is directional, I deliberately arranged it so that the trees go in both directions.

Once this winter version is finished, I’ll show you how it looks with the spring, summer, and fall versions. Do I have a favorite? Why yes, I do. Perhaps you will, too!

 

 

 

Posted in home dec, kaleidoscope quilts, quilt labels, single-fold binding, table runner, update, wall hanging | 1 Comment

“Just So”

In my last post I promised to explain my method of getting the narrow accent strips on my kaleidoscope blocks to line up just so:


In this example I’m starting with a 45˚ triangle cut from a 6½” strip of fabric using the Marti Michell Kaleido-Ruler . . .

. . . but this technique will work with other sizes of triangles and strips.

Eight of these triangles (from a 6½” strip) sewn together result in a 12″ kaleidoscope block. With the addition of the narrow and wide accent strips, the block will finish at 15″ square:


The narrow accent strips finish at ⅜”. This calls for ⅞”-wide strips, to allow for ¼” seams on either side but I find it difficult dealing with strips less than an inch wide, especially when it comes to pressing. For this reason I cut my strips a quarter of an inch wider — 1⅛” — and trim them to size after sewing them on to the wider accent strip.

So:  my narrow accent strips are cut 1⅛” x WOF (width of fabric). The wide accent strips are cut 1¾” x WOF. The narrow and wide accent strips are sewn together with a scant ¼” seam:

Before pressing the seam open, the strip is subcut into five 8″ lengths:

(I need eight of these strips for one kaleido block so a second strip set is needed.)

Why do I subcut the strip set before pressing? Because it’s extremely difficult to press a seam on a 45″ length of fabric without creating a curve. By cutting my long strip into shorter pieces, I can carefully press the seam on each piece open using just the tip of my iron without much distortion:


The next step is to trim a quarter inch off the narrow strip. I do this by aligning the ⅝” line on my ruler with the seamline . . .

. . . and trimming the excess quarter inch:

Now I can chain piece the triangles to the trim pieces, centering each triangle on its trim strip:

 

I press this seam open as well, taking care to use the point of the iron (no steam) and not letting the iron touch the bias edges of the triangle:

Note that with both seams pressed open, the seam allowances on the narrow trim overlap each other slightly.

Now I can lay the Kaleido-Ruler over the triangle and trim the right side:

I’m cutting this one on a rotating mat, which means I can turn it around and trim the other side just by moving the mat. If you don’t have a rotating mat, it’s very easy to butt up a second ruler right next to the Kaleido-Ruler . . .

. . . slide the Kaleido-Ruler out of the way, and make the second cut.

Here’s the trimmed triangle:


Now to sew it to another triangle! Here’s how I pin the two triangles:

After lining up the seams on the two triangles, I place pins to hold the seams in place. Note that the points of my pins are toward the outside edge. When I flip the triangles over and pull one side back from the edge, I can clearly see that the trim seams on my triangles match exactly:


I can repin if necessary (and sometimes must) to make sure the seams are properly aligned.

When I’m ready to sew the seam — starting from the wide end and going toward the point — I can pull each pin back slightly so that the point is not in the seam allowance, leaving the pins in place until the seam is completely sewn.

The seams are pressed open — again without steam and again using just the tip of the iron to nudge the seams open:


Once the block is complete and I’m satisfied my center points match, that’s when I move the iron setting to steam! I sometimes use a bit of starch or starch alternative (like Mary Ellen’s Best Press) to make sure my finished block lies nice and flat.

I hope you found this post helpful! I’m going to add it to my Tutorials page as a companion piece for my Season to Taste pattern.

Thanks for stopping by — and happy first day of summer!

 

 

 

Posted in home dec, kaleidoscope quilts, table runner, tutorial, update | 5 Comments

Winterwood

Here’s the completed quilt top of my winter version of Season to Taste:

It measures 18½” x 55½”.

Season to Taste is a kaleidoscope quilt pattern I created in 2014 with the idea of making one wall hanging or table runner representing each of the four seasons. You’ve seen my spring, summer, and fall versions before on the pages of this blog. I’ll post a photo of all four when I get this last one quilted.

My winter version will be called Winterwood in a nod to one of my favorite songs, written by Don McLean. You may be more familiar with his blockbuster hit “American Pie” from the album of the same name. “Winterwood” is from the same album which was released in 1971. Oh my! That means it’s 50 years old this year.

In my next post I’ll explain my method of getting the narrow accent strips (they finish at ⅜”) on my triangles to line up just so:

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in home dec, kaleidoscope quilts, table runner, update, wall hanging | 3 Comments

Season’s Greetings

What?? Here we are midway into a glorious spring in Portland, Oregon and my thoughts are on winter. Why, you ask? Because I have finally started work on the fourth and final quilt based on my Season to Taste pattern. This is the first of three blocks:


When I designed the pattern in 2014 I envisioned making a wall hanging (or table runner) for each season of the year. I started with the fall version, naming my quilt Autumn Reflections, and the spring version, Under Paris Skies. Those are the ones you see on the pattern cover above.

In 2015 I made a summer version named Sun Flowers. All three were on display last month at Montavilla Sewing Center in Lake Oswego:


Every so often I would think about making a winter version but I could never settle on fabrics. Did I want something in red and green to evoke the holidays or something in wintry hues of grey and dark blue? Did I want to make kaleidoscope blocks using eight repeats of the same print or a scrappy version using eight different prints?

Months passed. Years passed. (Hmm, my last post was about a quilt I started in 2015 and finished just this year. Do you see a pattern here?)

Then a few weeks ago I saw a photo of a quilt my friend Linda D. had made using a lovely collection of green and red prints. When I inquired about the fabric line (which turned out to be “Northern Light” by Annie Brady for Moda Fabrics), Linda generously offered to give me her leftover fabric. She actually made two bed-size quilts from these fabrics. When she dropped off the “scraps” I could see there was enough fabric in the sack to make a third bed-size quilt!

Today I stopped by Montavilla LO to pick up some background fabric. (Hard to believe but nothing in my stash seemed “just right” for this particular project.) At the shop I found a piece of “Grunge” by BasicGrey for Moda Fabrics that seemed like it might work — a creamy white with just a touch of green in the subtle texture and shading:

Alas, the green looked too minty when placed next to my kaleido block. I was about to give up the search when it occurred to me to flip the fabric over. You may not be able to tell from the next photo but trust me: the wrong side of the Grunge fabric is perfect:

 

 

 

Posted in kaleidoscope quilts, table runner, update, wall hanging | 2 Comments

Hip Hop Hooray!

Rally ’round the maypole, folks — I have a May Day finish to report. It’s Hip Hop, my kangaroo table runner (or wall hanging — I haven’t decided which). There was just enough late afternoon light left on this overcast day in Portland to snap a photo outdoors:

In a prior post I described how I quilted the background of each block, some with a walking foot and some with free motion quilting.

The last thing I did was stitch an outline around each of the five kangaroos. I was lucky that the fabric (from the “Walkabout II” line by Paintbrush Studios) included five separate ‘roos so I could put a different one in each circle. In these close-ups you may be able to see the outline stitching as well as the stitching-in-the-ditch around the inset circles:


Last but not least, the label:


The label is a finished edge appliqué circle, my preferred method of making quilt labels. It’s fused in place but I will also appliqué around it by hand to make it really secure.

I’m really happy with my choice of turquoise for the binding. The acid green fabric used between the blocks would have been too strong, I think.

Hip Hop measures 16″ x 59″.

 

 

 

Posted in free motion quilting, home dec, table runner, update, wall hanging | 6 Comments

April in Paris — er, Portland

April is my favorite month of the year. It’s the month when the promise of spring in Portland is fully realized. Lawns are emerald green, and the profusion of colorful azaleas, tulips, and other blooming things makes my heart sing. Today is a gloriously sunny day, one of the first of the year warm enough for Portlanders to open all their windows and let the fresh air in. I can hear the sound of a lawnmower starting up and if I’m lucky it will be followed by the scent of new-mown grass.

In honor of spring I hung Under Paris Skies in the master bathroom:

This is the springtime version of my pattern Season to Taste, designed and made four years ago as part of a series based on the four seasons. The summer and fall versions are done but I must confess the one for winter hasn’t been made yet, though I do have the perfect fabric for it in my stash.

This is the first time Under Paris Skies has been on display in my house. All this time it’s been hanging in the Pine Needle, the quilt shop in Lake Oswego where I’ve been teaching the last eight years.

After 25 years running the Pine Needle, owner Geri retired and closed the shop at the end of March. Several of my quilts had been hanging in the shop, and all of them got to come home with me. (Happily, Geri is still involved in the quilt industry and the Pine Needle location is being taken over by a local family-owned sewing business. More on that in a future post after an official announcement has been made.)

Back to Under Paris Skies for a moment. First you have to imagine April in Paris. Think of Ella Fitzgerald singing “April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom, holiday tables under the trees . . .”

Those are real chestnuts in blossom, taken on my trip to Paris three years ago this month. If you look carefully you can see the Seine in the background. Now imagine clusters of people sitting outside at cafe tables, taking in the fresh air while sipping a citron presse or café crème, like the two below (apparently still waiting for their order to be taken):


All three blocks in this kaleidoscope quilt contain two different images of outdoor Parisian life, carefully fussy cut to fit in the confines of the triangles. Here’s another scene that always makes me smile:

When the rains return (which they will, because it wouldn’t be spring in Portland without them), I’ll look at these bright and cheerful scenes of Paris in anticipation of the next sunny day right here at home.

 

 

 

Posted in home dec, kaleidoscope quilts, Paris, table runner, update, wall hanging | 7 Comments

Hip Hop: Almost a Finish

Earlier this week it hit me that I’ve finished only one project since 2018 began. Only one! Plenty of things started, of course. I decided to spend some time this week addressing that rather pathetic record.

I quilted Hip Hop, the wall hanging/table runner pieced in January using my Full Moon Rising pattern. The quilting motifs were suggested by the fabric, a lively aboriginal print featuring kangaroos hopping around in the bush. The kangaroos were fussy cut and centered in the circles, which are inset (not appliquéd).

Here’s a look at the entire quilt, measuring 15¾” x 58″ after quilting and trimming:

All told I used four different quilting motifs. You can see three of them in this close-up of Blocks  1 and 2 bordered by the end piece:

Block 1, with the turquoise background fabric, was quilted with uneven wavy lines patterned after the wavy lines in the fabric design. Block 2 was quilted in a simple loop-de-loop design suggested by the dotted batik background fabric. For the end pieces I quilted angled straight lines at random using my walking foot. All the quilting in the other blocks is free motion.

Here are Blocks 3 and 4, stippling in the dark blue background of Block 3 and a repeat of the waves in the turquoise fabric in Block 4:

Here are Blocks 5 and 6 and the other end piece, with repeated quilting motifs:

Still to do: outlining the kangaroo in each circle using white thread, just following the lines on the fabric. I already did it in Block 1, though it’s hard to see in the photos.

My binding is already cut and sewn. I’m using the turquoise fabric, cut on the bias to show off the wavy herringbone pattern to better advantage:

I’m very happy with this little piece and will be even happier when it is bound and labeled. Only then can I claim my second finish of the year.

 

 

 

Posted in free motion quilting, home dec, table runner, update, wall hanging | 2 Comments