Christmas Table Topper – in progress
Zippered bags finished, I’m back at work on a Christmas Table Topper for a friend. Her table is 34″ x 80″ extended – with my half-square triangles finished size = 5 3/4″ I’ll finish at 35″ x 80 1.2″ which will work on her table.
So back to half-square triangles – in this instance I have four strong printed fabrics with a light background. I wanted to try a truncated “Starburst” but the layout looked like nothing with my finished dimensions so I’ve opted for “flowers” with two different square print centres which will alternate from section to section. The square print fabrics are tying the coloured triangles together and providing some continuity to the design.
This is one end of the topper – there are two more sections of three rows each and a final end section of four rows for a total of 14 rows. I have backing fabric which I’m not going to bother to piece and I’m not planning on using batting but plan, instead, to use a panel of muslin to give the topper a bit of heft but no puffiness – balancing wine glasses on a quilt topper can be problematic. The muslin should provide just a small bit of substance to the topper. I plan on stitching all three layers using “stitch in the ditch” – but you never know, I might do something more complex once I get the topper assembled.
I’m also planning to use a pillow case assembly for the back – no binding, the back is placed on the top, right sides together; you sew around the outside (1/4″ – 1/2″ seam allowance) leaving an opening on one side so you can turn the whole thing inside out like a pillow case, press, hand stitch the opening closed, then quilt – the fastest way of completing a quilt.
No time tomorrow to work on this but I will likely be able to get the top pieced on Thursday. Finishing the topper will take no time at all. I’m not in a rush – don’t need to give it away until Christmas Eve.
Then a table runner using the same fabrics but NOT half-square triangles! I want something with more density for the runner.
So the Christmas sewing, which I never intended doing, is moving right along.
Friday, I attended a day-long quilting/sewing session with 19 other women to raise money for an ailing quilter in Newfoundland. The quilt kit was for a HST (half-square triangles) quilt – Starburst. I just finished piecing the top with borders.
The quilt uses 16 batik/print fabric 10″ squares and 16 “background” 10″ squares as contrast. My problem was the background fabric in my kit didn’t offer enough contrast – a very pale blue, I think would have worked better than the mid-turquoise batik I had.
I did one quadrant on Friday then stopped. On Saturday I took apart what I’d sewn and rearranged the squares trying to get a better flow of colour because I didn’t like the colour distribution I’d started with. I also trimmed all 64 squares to 6 1/2″ hoping that would make my points all work without a lot of fuss. However, I finished piecing the squares only to discover the bias edges produced a “wobble” at the outer edge – I needed to remove about 1″ from the length of each edge. Today I began by taking 1/8″ off quite a few of the joins at the outer edge in order to make the top lay flat. Then I measured all the outer edges to make sure I ended at 48 1/2″. Finally I cut the binding fabric in the kit to 61″ length (to be sure I had enough to mitre the corners).
Just finished adding the binding – a fight to get the mitred corners to press flat but in the end I won that battle. I warned the top it was going straight into the garbage if it didn’t cooperate! It finally acquiesced.
So now I need to come up with an idea for the back and I will need backing fabric to complement the pallet used in the top. Off to the fabric shop to see what I can find.
Start with a jelly roll of red batik fabrics from my stash (a jelly roll is a colleciton of 40 strips each cut from the width of a different but coordinated fabric producing a set of 2 1/2″ strips approximately 44″ in length).
Choose 28 strips (making sure to have some light strips, some dark strips and some middle value strips), sew them together in groups of four, then cut into 8 1/2″ blocks. Now what to do with the resulting 35 blocks?
In other quilts I’ve put two blocks right sides together with the stripes at right angles stitched around the outside, then cut into 4 along the diagonals.
This time I simply cut the blocks into halves along the diagonal giving me “half square triangles”. I thought about mixing the striped HST (half square triangles) with light solid triangles and join them without sashing, but the resulting quilt would have been a bit too small. I played with the triangles – decided to sew them together along the diagonal. Next I arranged the resulting blocks into a 5 x 7 array – what emerged were strong diagonal lines that I didn’t expect. Add sashing and a border and the quilt top is done.
For the back I made a few more blocks, bordered them with the light fabric and inserted the strip into the backing fabric.
I finished the quilt this morning. I wasn’t sure it would turn out as I wanted it – the pinned backing fabric wasn’t as smooth/flat as I usually manage to get it but in the end the quilt stitched up nicely.