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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Quilting on the go

 by Joy Rusonis

  It has been a busy few weeks at my house. My husband had shoulder surgery and his arm is in a brace--which means he can’t drive. So I have been spending time in doctor’s offices and physical therapy. Luckily, I had a quilting project to take with me.

    One of the beauties of hand piecing and quilting is the ability to take handiwork with you. I try to always have a portable project available to take along; when I am quilting, I don’t mind the time I spend waiting. I only wish I had discovered this when my sons were younger--I spent countless hours waiting for them after practices, etc.

      The project I worked on was especially fun. My sister was nice enough to buy multiple chances on my quilt guild’s table runners. She didn’t win, so I told her that I would make her one for her birthday. She said she wanted something more modern than traditional, so I sent some patterns and we decided on a large nine-patch.  She also sent me a swatch of the covers to her dining room chairs.

    Let me say, that while I have nothing against them, I am not a “neutrals” person. I am just not drawn to earth tones, so there aren’t many in my stash. To get a good variety of quality fabrics, I decided to shop at the Hershey Quilt Odyssey. There were some amazing quilts there, including a lot of hand quilting and stunning antique quilts. And shopping for fabric is always fun.

    It took me a while but I found some great Stonehenge fabrics and a few additional  neutrals: I’d like to say I had everything planned, but I really have to cut and arrange my fabrics together before I know what I am doing.

      When I got home I added the rust and dark batik fabrics. I wasn’t sure about the very dark fabric for a few days, but I think it kept the runner from being too monochromatic.I cut out the squares with a rotary cutter, but used a template to mark the piecing lines.

I cut five squares of each of nine colors. When I decided on a an arrangement of each row, I pinned them and labeled the rows.

After assembling the nine blocks, I used the center color to make a border for each. I partially assembled four blocks, but before doing the fifth, I arranged the four I had and planned the fifth block to make a balanced design.
This is the layout I chose

I don’t have a design wall, so I lay project on the floor and “squint” at them. I like to leave them there for a little while to I can arrange and rearrange.

I loved the fabric that I tried for the border of the fourth square, but didn't like how it looked with the other borders.

Finally I took five of the fabrics and cut large blocks for the back. I wanted to make it reversible. This was the only thing I did on the machine, I wanted to make them slightly wider than the front, so I could trim them to be even with the front.

All the squares were hand quilted with a different pattern. I used a knife edge binding so that it was flat and so there wasn’t an extra color around the border. I found it a little difficult, but I like the way it turned out.

Making something for someone special is really fun. Both my sisters have been so great to me and have been there for me countless times.. I will have to get up a little more courage to make something for my other sister, she is such a talented artist and crafts person. She will be retiring next year--maybe I will get an idea for that special occasion.
The finished table runner

The reversible back