I started working on these pieces back in early November, but because they’re a Christmas gift I didn’t want to post about them until they were happily with the recipient. Since they’re now at their new home, I can finally post about them!
I didn’t use a pattern for the runner or the place mats – in fact in my 1.5 years of quilting I’ve never used a pattern (except for the stocking below). I find classic blocks and I put stuff together. If you want to call that a self-drafted pattern, I guess that’s what I do.
While I do like dyeing my own fabrics for quilted things, and since the recipient wanted all blues, it would have been a perfect time to break out my new indigo dye vat (having just switched from chemical to fructose). But, I also wanted to make something she wasn’t going to be scared to use, and I thought hand dyed fabric might put it into that “too precious” category that recipients of home made gifts often fall into. So, I went with commercial cottons for this – Kona to be exact (which is my go-to for commercially dyed quilting fabric).
The stars are just your basic Sawtooth star – changing out the flying geese on one or two of the sides in order to “blend” them into the border. I then used Olympus white sashiko thread for the hand quilting. The binding is also done by hand, because while some people can get machine binding to look amazing, I cannot.
The final size was 48″ long by 18″ wide, which was the custom size I made for her dining table. The whole thing took me about a month, but I must admit I was working on some knitting at the same time, so I didn’t devote all my night time handiwork to the quilting and binding on this.
She did only ask for the table runner, but we couldn’t have that, so I made a set that also included some place mats.
I wanted something that matched but not something that was insanely matchy-matchy. So I stuck with the same colours, same essential Sawtooth design, but instead used the Memory Star from 501 Rotary Cut Quilt Blocks by Judy Hopkins (side note: this is my all time favourite quilt block encyclopedia, and while it’s unfortunately out of print, you can buy the ebook from the publisher).
I kept the quilting the same as well to keep the matchy, but not super matchy-matchy theme going – half the place mats quilting goes to the left and the other half goes to the right.
The runner uses the dark blue as the backing, and the place mats dominant front colour matches the back as well. I bought three yards of both colours, and ended up using almost all the dark blue, but I still had about 1 – 1.5 yards left of the light blue when I was done.
I’m still getting the hang of estimating yardage for quilted things, honestly.
Then, because I wanted to bang off one more thing, I decided to make a stocking for her as well, using all scraps I had (I love scrap projects). This is an actual pattern that I used – this one specifically. There are a few flubs in the pattern – although they are small. One is an incorrect measurement for one of the pieces you cut for the star, but fortunately I spotted it before I did the actual cutting.
Piece Fabric Co up in Grande Prairie has an almost identical (and free) version right here that I would have used had I seen that first.
I found the original stocking size absolutely massive, so I scaled mine down slightly and made the star smaller. I’d also change the placement of the loop next time to be higher up, but that’s personal preference.
While I didn’t take a photo of it, I used the star on the front as the template for the quilting on the back – so there are two ghost stars on the back that I really got a kick out of that I’ll have to take a photo of in the future. This pattern doesn’t call for a quilted back as well, and recommends just using a piece of fabric, but I thought that looked and felt funny so I made both sides quilted.
I actually (gasp) machine quilted this – front and back – because I was running out of time and inclination for hand made Christmas stuff at that point. I’m actually really happy with how it turned out, it’s my first truly successful machine quilting that I’ve done where things don’t look uneven or janky.
I have plans to make more of these for next year – I’ll likely go really slow and make them throughout the year so I don’t feel harried come November. Now that I’ve made it, once the actual quilt blocks are made they’re quite easy to bang out quickly.
This is actually the second Christmas now I’ve made a quilted good for a recipient – the first was last year and was a indigo shibori dyed lap quilt. It’s amazing how far my skills have come in the past year and a half. Seriously – year and a half! I’ve been practicing and building my skill base so much in the past 18 months it feels like I’ve been doing it forever. I’m so thankful for the community of very experienced quilters I’ve come across that have really helped shaped my knowledge while I’ve been learning.