23 February, 2012


I am absolutely certain that I am the only quiltmaker that has leftover pieces of much loved fabrics when I finish a quilt.  Am I right? ;-)

To accommodate the leftovers I have a large basket that sits on the lower shelf of my cutting table. Occasionally I dig through the basket to find a scrap or two but usually I pass the bags of  accumulated scraps on to my neighbors.  Often the contents end up in charity quilts and/or quilts sold at local 'mud sales' the proceeds of which benefit local volunteer fire companies and neighbors. 

About 4 years ago I made a Log Cabin crib-size quilt with a very scrappy piano key border. For some reason I have never been able to bring myself to toss the 38 leftover 4-1/2 inch blocks into my scrap basket.

Why?  I didn't know until recently.

Last weekend, I uncovered the long lost little blocks as I started a spring cleaning of sorts in my studio.  (I realize the calendar says it is still winter but the mild weather feels more like spring.)  I still like the fabrics in these pieces. They hold good memories not only of the quilt made a few years ago but also because of the charm swaps from which many of them were acquired. 

I decided to reward myself for my heroic de-cobwebbing and dusting efforts and sew those little blocks into something useful.  But what?

I first thought to use 36 of the leftover little blocks to form a square to be the center of another lap quilt for our living room. In this part of the country there is no such thing as too many lap quilts. I sewed 6 rows of 6 blocks together as I contemplated which fabrics I would pull from my shelves to add to this new project.

The leftover little blocks had a different idea. They revealed what they should be as I started to press the seams of those first six rows of blocks. 

These leftover little blocks wanted to be a quilted table runner for our long farm table. Who knew?

I am ashamed to admit as a quilter how long it has been since we have had a quilted table decoration of any kind in our house.  It is in part the result of seemingly everlasting renovations of an old house.

In compliance with the wishes of the little blocks, I quickly un-sewed the center seam of each row, cut and sewed a solid piece of fabric between the two remaining blocks and proceeded to sew 13 rows of 3 blocks into a long pieced top. The solid piece of fabric is in the center - intended to be a signature block.  It is surprising how quickly these leftovers became a top!

The next question:  Border or no border?     The little blocks answered, 'NO Border!'

With the top complete, I pulled out a brown and tan woven stripe for the back and flannel for batting.  Why flannel instead of thin batting?  It lays flatter on the table so glasses and other dishes won't topple over.

As I pin-basted the layers together the quilting designs appeared on the quilt - in my imagination at first.  However, it didn't take long before the designs began to appear on the quilt via my electric needle. 

There are feathers that travel in a long loop over the outer rows of blocks surrounded by ripple quilting.  (Ripple quilting is what I call echo quilting when the spaces in between get wider with each line.)  The inner section between the feathers is grid quilted.

I applied a single fold straight-grain binding cut from a complimentary fabric in my stash, washed my new table runner and put it out on the table. Voila!

Now, what shall we have for dinner? 

Leftovers, of course!
Fijne dag!