Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Why Did I Quilt What Where - Let's Gather Table Runner

Something that doesn't get talked about a lot is the "why" behind "what" design / motif is quilted "where" on a quilt or in this case, a quilted table runner. 

I just finished quilting the patriotic version of my Let's Gather Table Runner and when I loaded in onto the frame, I thought it would be a quick quilt job.  But it ended up taking much longer as I decided it needed a really polished look included thread changes. 

Here's a breakdown on the "why" I quilted each section the way I did. 

First I started with the background or the solid white. I wanted this area to truly be the background that the rest of the quilt would stand against.  Thus I wanted it to be quilted densely and using white thread.  No distraction here - just a bit of texture and nice and flat.  Originally I intended to do a tighter meander / stipple but swirls came out as I started to move the machine and I was good with that.  All the straight lines in the piecing needed a bit of curviness to contrast with them. 

I have a signature stylized swirl that I use a lot as an allover design so I quilted a miniature version of it in the white fabric.  I added some echo just to help move around the small areas. All the swirls are smaller than a quarter.  I stitched at 12 SPI (stitches per inch) but in hindsight should have bumped up to 14 SPI for a smoother look. 

Next I changed thread to a light blue, which is what I had intended to quilt the rest of the runner using.  I started on the red stars and yuck! The light blue thread screamed against the red fabric.  I quickly grabbed the seam ripper and got rid of those offensive stitches.  Feeling a bit defeated in my plan but knowing I needed to keep quilting, I started in on the light blue triangles.  I knew the light blue thread would work well there. 

All along I knew I wanted the red stars to be the focal point or star of the show (aka quilt) so the quilting that I did the light blue triangles needed to be secondary.  Since the fabric was a busier than the rest of the quilt, I added straight line quilting that would be very functional to keep the table runner flat. 

Side note:  Personally, I like flat table runners, table toppers, table anything.  If I'm placing serving dishes, flowers, etc. on top of it I want it flat so they don't spill.  I'm very intentional on my batting selection for table toppers and opted for Soft & Bright from The Warm Company since it is a low loft batting and because it was white and wouldn't shadow behind the white solid fabric. 

Okay, now those red stars.  By this time, I had recomposed my quilting plan and knew I needed to make another thread change to match the red fabric (Michael Miller Hash Dot - I love it!) 

Somedays simple is best.  Straight line, 1/4" outline inside the stars.  All the quilting in the white and light blue was holding everything in place.  The "less is more" quilting decision allows a bit of poof, a bit of dimension in the stars. 

Since I had already made 3 thread changes, what is one more!  For the dark blue solid,  I opted for a matching dark blue thread. 

Straight line quilting in the outer border and some fun bump feathers in the triangle insets.  The roughly 1/4" spaced straight line quilting really anchored the outer edge of the runner and helps keep it very flat and very straight.  

Yes! The lighting in this photo is terrible but it really shows the dimension and texture of the quilting. 

I repeated the bump feather motif at the end points of the runner to add a bit of visual interest and did a free from bump flower motif in the center of the blocks as a focal point.  Both add a bit of texture to the quilting and some curved line to help break up all the straight lines. 

So there you have it - the "why" and reasons behind my decisions to quilt each section of the table runner the way I did! 

If you want to make your own version of my Let's Gather Table Runner, patterns are available in my Etsy shop. 

PDF pattern for Digital Download

Print Pattern (shipping included)

Patriotic Version Kit

If you would like to see more of my patterns, tips and techniques delivered weekly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for my weekly Masterpiece Quilting Studio News email.  It's free of charge and I promise your email is safe with me. 

1 comment:

  1. This is so informative. Thank you fir the explanation. A couple of years ago I purchased a Texas star mini pattern quilt kit. I made it. It’s not perfect but top done. I put batting backing on and there it sits. The small diamond pattern and color changes baffle me. How to quilt this is still an issue to my finishing it. When there are so many tiny pieces what should one do any thoughts would be welcome