One of the projects in the October 4th 'Bumper Christmas Issue' of Elefantz Home e-zine is the "Starlight" table runner, and throughout the applique and piecing of this pattern, I have been fussy cutting.
'Fussy cutting', for those who haven't heard the term before, is to use a specific pattern or motif on a piece of fabric as a feature of your project.
This is the main fabric I've used. It has a lot of interesting patterns that I can utilise to bring balance to the appliques, blocks and border...
It's featured in the tree base, and also in the small star centres...
...but I especially loved using the larger geometric patterns in eight of the sixteen 2.5" blocks that make up the centre section of the table runner, as well as two side panels bordering those squares.
When I began stitching and quilting in 2005, I didn't have internet at the time. I relied on magazines for patterns, and had to fumble through a lot of basic techniques with no-one to teach me 'how'. That's why when I have time now, I enjoy sharing tutorials here on my blog - just in case someone needs help to learn a few basics in their quilting and stitching journey too.
So today as I was piecing this table runner I thought I'd mention the fussy cutting, and then show you a fairly easy way to get nice joins when sewing squares together.
The centre section of this runner is a 16-patch block. That means it is 4 squares x 4 squares - all of equal size. To get that checkerboard look, I cut eight cream tonal blocks, and eight 'fussy-cut' blocks.
Sew one fussy-cut block to one cream block eight times, to give you eight sets of two.
Press the seams on all eight sets in the same direction...
Join two sets together, and now you have four strips of four blocks. See how all the seams face the same direction? That's important for the next step...
Switch two rows around, and you have the checkerboard layout. Now if you look at the back, one row has seams facing one way, and the next row has seams facing opposite.
This is to reduce bulk in those corners when you sew all four rows together - it makes such a difference to the finished project, as well as making the machine piecing smooth, and not frustrating, work.
Sew two rows together first.
As you lay one row on top of the other, peel the top row back a little and make sure all the seams between the squares on the bottom row line up with the top row before you sew them together.
(It looks like the one on the right doesn't match up but it's the angle of the camera)
Pin, press, check once more, and then sew...
Sew all four rows together and you've made a 16-patch block!
The runner top is completed now, and I've also finished the machine quilting. All that's left is the binding to attach...
I think I might watch an episode of Father Brown Mysteries whilst I do that. Do you have a favourite tv series you like to watch while you stitch?
Oh, in case you wanted to know the name of the fabrics I've used, here they are...