May 29 16
This quilted table runner was the first time I had to deal with creating a ruler work design that was repeatedly interrupted by applique shapes. Normally, I design ruler work designs so they surround or envelope applique shapes and the two designs are complementary but separate. When I made the center block of this table runner, it just seemed natural that the ruler work design should spring from the center and radiate outward. To do that, I had to figure out how to stitch this design in the face of numerous interruptions. I’m naming this technique “ruler workus interruptus” to make it sound Latin-y and fancy, like “coitus interruptus.” This closeup of the center area gives a better idea of what I mean: As you can see, stitching a framework that created the illusion of straight lines that flowed through applique shapes was the goal. As a sit-down quilter doing ruler work, it’s imperative to hold the ruler on the quilt in a consistent position or the stitched line will diverge from its intended placement. How can you do that if you have to keep stopping and then re-starting a new line of stitching? I could only think of one solution, and you can see it in these photos. It’s kind of hard to see it here in this really early shot: …but here you can really see it: If you’re noticing all those strands of thread, that’s what I’m talking about. The only way I know to keep those lines straight if you’re doing ruler work as a sit-down quilter is to take a series of short stitches before and after each applique interruption and then resume at the other side of the applique, holding the ruler against the quilt in a consistent position all the while. It looks better after the threads have been trimmed away. (I left some short ones at the base of the ferns for comparison’s sake): And now for the fun part of filling in that framework and adding some new lines that emanate from the center diamond: I threw in a swirl background fill at each of the ends, just to have a different texture: I used an arc ruler to create the arched swags on the ends, then filled those in with small featherettes: And the finished runner: What’s on your machine bed these days?