Dec 15 15

A Christmas Table Runner

Gosh, it has been forever since I posted anything!  Sorry about that…I have been in a very lazy kind of unfocused state for several weeks and the longer I went without posting, the more it loomed out there as a monumental undertaking!  Anyway, this is a Christmas table runner/door runner that I recently made for a long-time friend.  The applique shapes are ginkgo leaves but it’s hard to tell that because the stems have been replaced by an embroidered design.  The blocks are all made via machine embroidery applique.  They are an amended version of this 12 1/2 inch square ginkgo block:
I know what you’re thinking…”Whoa!!!  That block is like overwhelming in these colors!!”  (At least that’s what I was thinking once I made it!)  Anyway, that block was the “base design,” and to make the Christmas table runner, I just eliminated the center applique shapes.  Since I’ve started playing with rulers, I am pretty much looking for as many “blank space” areas as I can find to do ruler work.  Here is a shot of the same block with no center applique design:
Note that there are 2 pairs of ginkgos and each pair resides on opposite sides of the block.  One pair of ginkgos is embroidered with swirls:
…and the opposite pair is embroidered with small plumes:
(The red ginkgo leaves are embroidered the same way, just in different thread colors.)  Once the table runner was pieced, I did my SID quilting, then outlined all the applique shapes and embroidered designs with invisible thread.  I then switched to a silver polyester thread and began laying down some ruler work.  I started in the center of each block:
I used one of my Quilters Groove arc rulers to create those 4 giant petals.  (The way I choose which arc ruler to use is I lay a few of them out by my marked starting and stopping points and determine which arc will give me the widest petal without carrying my stitching line across an applique shape.)  Anyway, once the giant petals are stitched, I used the same arc ruler to create smaller petals inside.  This is quite easy because all you do is create another stopping point somewhere inside the original petal:
Once I have a design like that stitched, I gaze at it and ask myself if it might be helped by adding in any kind of freehand work.  in this case, I added 4 small plumes to fill the space between the center of the block and the tips of the embroidered designs:
Between the quilting and the applique and the embroidery, there’s enough “action” here for the eye to process, so I decided not to add any background quilting.  Sometimes you have to just force yourself to walk away, even though you really love FMQing and want to quilt the crap out anything that finds its way to your machine bed!  In this case, I’m glad I forced myself to walk away because any more quilting would have overwhelmed these blocks and destroyed the delicacy of the design.
Fortunately for me, there was still un-quilted territory OUTSIDE those blocks!  I decided to stitch symmetric short arcs that curved inward inside the green “divider strips.”  By using a curved arc, it allowed me to create a nice secondary design that frames the applique blocks.  My photos from this part aren’t very good, but these should give you an idea of what the framing looked like before I did any “fill in” work:
…a slightly different view:
…and here’s a shot of the backside:
I added in small featherettes inside the “triangle” sections and threw in a chain of pearls inside the innermost channels.  I don’t have many shots of the finished product but here’s what I have:
Hope my friend likes it!  Whatever you celebrate during this time of year, I hope you are spending it with family and friends and have some time to appreciate the sights, sounds, and scents of the season!


  1. Sandy Says:

    It’s gorgeous, Patsy — no surprise there. 😉 Your friend is bound to love it!

  2. Diane Evans Says:

    Patsy, you never cease to amaze me with your creativity and your talent — and your ability to do such beautiful things during this busy time of the year! What energy you have! Please bottle some of it and send it my way, won’t you??

    Question: When you outline an applique shape that has been stitched with a digitized stitch that is wavy, do you go in and out of each little wave with the invisible thread? Or do you do a generalized outline of the shape?


  3. Peggy Says:

    Your friend loves it and feels very grateful. Happy Merry hohoho

  4. QuiltShopGal Says:

    Absolutely gorgeous with every stitch capturing #CreativeGoodness. Packed with creativity and inspiration. I love it and would love to be able to make this project. I hope you’ll come out with a DVD workshop, class, book, pattern, or tutorial.


  5. Lorie Bugaisk Says:

    Love it! Would like to make! Your friend will love it!

  6. Linda E in AZ Says:

    This is very lovely, esp the gingko leaves.

    What is the purpose of the orange band on your machine? Is that to prevent the thread from jumping out of the thread guide? I have that problem on my 1500 and have a small black binder clip on the left side of the last thread guide to prevent thread jump.