guest tutorial blogger: amy of diary of a quilter


amy of the blog: diary of a quilter is my next guest blogger. she and i go way back. back to the days when i lived in provo had 2 kids and was making a living off of stitchery patterns. (well okay, it was more like it helped with our grocery bills while we were starving students) she worked and still works at one of my favorite utah valley quilt stores american quilting. she’s a fellow blogger i can say i’ve met face to face, and she’s also someone i think is one of the nicest people around…and not to mention super talented. i’m honored to know her in the blogging and real world. is that enough sap for you? okay then. fine. here’s amy:

Hello all you fellow V&Co. groupies! I feel so honored to hang out with you today.

My name is Amy Smart and I am a quilty sort of person. I like to sew. For years I kept this fettish hidden from the world because admitting that I like to make quilts seemed kind of like a ‘grandma’ thing to do. Then I discovered the world of quilt-bloggers – other nutso people like me who find great joy and satisfaction cutting-up fabric and sewing it back together! So I decided to come out of the closet and write my own blog, Diary of a Quilter, to share my passion with the world – or at least the corner of the world that likes that kind of thing. In my spare time I also raise children, do laundry, drive car pools, make food that people sometimes eat cheerfully (my husband always does, bless him), and even read books once in a while.

Today I’m going to share a quick method of making a quilted table runner by quilting and piecing all at the same time! (Does that blow your mind? I hope not. It’s really fun. And easy, I promise.)

Let’s start playing, shall we?

Begin by deciding what size table runner you want. I do it by taking the piece of batting right to my table itself. (Please don’t enlarge this picture or you will see pencil scribbling, pink nail polish, green sparkly marker, etc. This is why I didn’t buy my kitchen table from the Pottery Barn. Saves a lot of stress. But I digress . . .)

You can make any size table runner you want, so customize it to your space. Do keep in mind that your runner will shrink when you wash it, so you may want to cut a little bigger. After you’ve cut your batting, cut your back fabric slightly larger than your batting all the way around. You can make a reversible table runner if you pick a pretty fabric for the back.

Iron your batting (if it was a wadded up remnant like mine) on a low heat setting. Be careful not to stretch it out of shape. Then iron your backing fabric on a high-heat cotton setting to get all wrinkles out. You will be sewing your top strips through all the layers of of batting and backing so you want to start as smooth as possible. If you are using a Warm & Natural type batting it has a little bit of adhesive stuff on it (which is why you don’t want to iron directly on it on a hot setting.) This is helpful for keeping your batting and backing fabric together and smooth. After both pieces are pressed individually, center the batting on the wrong side of the backing fabric. Carefully flip both over and press the backing fabric with batting underneath on a high heat setting. This will create enough of a bond to hold them together without having to pin the heck out of them. If you feel more comfortable, or if you batting isn’t lightly adhering to the backing fabric, you could use a quilters spray adhesive to hold them together.

Okay, on to the fun part.

Next cut a collection of strips of different fabrics. This is a great way to use up all those scraps that accumulate that you just can’t bear to part with. This would also be a great use for a Jelly Roll or Honey Bun. I personally like the variation of strip widths in my runner, but that is purely personal preference. (Some of my fabrics are old from my stash, and some are from new collections like Verna and Hunky Dory by Moda as well as Simply Sweet by Henry Glass.

Arrange your strips on top of your backing and batting.

Trim any long ends so the strips are roughly the same length.

Starting at the center strip (roughly – doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect – this isn’t rocket science) stack the strips in order they were laid out, making two piles – a right-side-of-center pile and a left-side-of-center pile. Keep the strips and piles in order so you don’t have to think (as much) while you sew.

Take the first strip from the right-side-pile and pin it (right sides together) matching right edges.

(I know, I know, pinning is a pain, but it really does help here to keep the strips straight.)

Take the whole thing to the machine and sew a 1/4″ seam down the right edge of the strips – through the batting and backing fabric. (It helps to roll the right end of the batting/backing so it doesn’t wad up on that side while you’re sewing.

Now press that seam open. (Do it carefully on the first few strips so you don’t melt your batting.

Return to your two piles of strips and this time take the top one from the left-side pile. Pin the strip in place matching the left edges. Repeat the process, sewing another 1/4″ seam and pressing the seam open. Let me stress here, don’t skip the pressing step. Your strips will lie neater and flatter will get a much cleaner looking project in the end.

Repeat these steps, alternating right-side and left-side piles until you have finished sewing all the strips to the edges of the table runner.

See how pretty it looks? Really, you could just stop here and bind if you like, but personally I love the look of quilting, so let’s do that next!

The quilting is pretty simple at this point. I just ‘eyeball’ strait lines using the strips as guides. Again I start in the middle, this time working toward the right side. Then come back to the middle and work toward the other direction. I sew one line, pivot the needle, and turn to go the other direction.

When everything is quilted as much (or as little) as you’d like, square off the raw edges.

Then it’s time to attach the binding. Rather than go into all that here (this post is already kind of lengthy) I have a binding tutorial here.

And voila! Here’s what it looks like fresh out of the dryer. I love how a quick wash softens up the look of the whole thing.

I also love how the back looks – a pretty, quilted runner on its own.

Many thanks again, V for letting me come hang out in the middle of nowhere today!

Happy Sewing and drop in Diary of a Quilter for a visit any time!

fabulous amy!! thanks so much and it’s so perfect for me as i’m trying to dwindle down the fabric stash i have so i can make room for MORE!
well amy rounds the end of my month long guest bloggers. i’ve had a lot of (non blogging) things going on this month and i thank my guest bloggers for helping me out. thank you thank you!
if you are interested in being a guest blogger. contact me via email for submission policies. thanks!

okay now get ready you have a couple of days to finish up your craft you’ve been working on so you can link it up on friday.
hope to see you there.
i’m excited to see what you’ve been working on!

v and co loves her sponsors. i want this tote at burgundy buttons!