Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Musical Table Runner

      What to do with too much novelty fabric?  Both of my children became involved with music at an early age.  We had them both take piano lessons, and they chose another instrument at the end of third grade.  Our school district has a fantastic music program, and we wanted to take advantage of that.  My daughter chose the oboe, and played in ensembles through high school and college, and now plays with a community orchestra.  My son chose the trumpet, and played jazz in high school, and then decided to play classical trumpet.  He is now studying trumpet performance and also getting music education degree. 
     Over the years, I accumulated many music-themed novelty fabrics.   My son had scheduled his senior trumpet recital, and I decided to use up some of those musical cottons and make some table runners for the reception following his recital.   I had a great variety of fabrics.

     I ended up choosing only six of the fabrics, focusing on the black, gold and tan fabrics, which all featured trumpets, with the white music score fabric as well.  I used the big piano key fabric (I had purchased yards of that for some reason) for the backing of the runners.   I also thought this would be a good project to try some new techniques.  The first was the pattern of the design itself.   I wanted to try a chevron pattern with strips and found a good  tutorial.   I cut the fabric into 2 1/2 inch strips.  

     I sewed the strips together in sets of six fabrics, offsetting them a bit (but not enough!) and then cutting them at a 60 degree angle.   It took a bit of figuring to do both sides of the pattern the right way, but it worked out.
     I cut the strips into 6 inch wide segments. 
Oops - ended up a bit short!
Add a few scraps, and carry on!

     I cut segments going both ways (a little trial and error there!), sewed together some 6 piece parts, and then sewed the two sides together for the sides of the runner. 

     As to the center of each runner, I decided to fussy-cut the trumpet section of the dark orchestra fabric as a little tribute to my trumpeter son.
     I sewed the halves of the pieces together, and opened up the center seam to prevent too much bulkiness.

     Without a template or pattern, I had to do some figuring to get the size and angle of the center unit to fit.  

     I also decided to try using batting pieces sewn together.  I saw a reference in another blog to "frankensteining" the batting, which is just a perfect expression of what happens.  I ended up overlapping slightly the two pieces, and then cutting with a few little extras (like the markings on a dress pattern), which made it easy to fit the pieces together.  A large zig zag pulled it all together.  
This picture shows off the patched batting.
      I decided to quilt simply on this, and using a yellowy gold thread, just quilted 1/4 inch on the side of each seam. 
     I like how the quilting highlights the chevron pattern, and pulls the gold in from most of the fabrics.
      I used my piano keys fabric for the back, The gloppy parts of the quilting on the edges was outside the finished piece!
     I ended up using more of the orchestra fabric for the binding as well, and and getting much better at finishing off the binding with a flat seam!
     I also decided to try to totally machine sew the binding.  I always machine stitch the folded binding to the front, and usually then hand sew the binding on the back of the quilt.   These runners were over 6 feet long and a perfect opportunity to try a new technique.  I decided to sew from the back, and used invisible thread for the bobbin so any goofs wouldn't show too much on the front.   I usually hate invisible thread.  I find it hard and scratchy in anything, but since these were just table runners, I figured it would be okay.

     Machine sewing the binding was certainly a time saver.  The binding finished up in no time at all.
The binding sewn on the back
This was the worst spot on the front.  Not too bad with the invisible thread. 
     I tried out the runners on my own table and buffet -
     I also used the runners for the little cookie reception after my son's recital.   Those cookies didn't last too long with a crowd of college students!

Congratulations to my son on a fine recital in a beautiful church!
    I am also celebrating my first year of writing this blog!   This has been a great way to chronicle my quilt making, and inspires me to keep working on new quilts.  I am looking forward to this next year!

Take care,