Thursday, February 10, 2011

A run on runners

Too many years ago to remember when, I was teaching a quilt-as you-go class at my church Women's Society and also at the Tokyo American Club. It was a series of nine or ten weekly classes and included selecting and purchasing fabrics and supplies, marking and cutting, piecing and applique, preparing for quilting, quilting blocks, joining blocks, borders, and binding.

The students were, for the most part, wives of ex-pats living in Japan for a few years and looking to make a quilt using Japanese fabrics and patterns. I had drafted patterns for making 12in. blocks that could be made into any size from lap quilts to bed covers. I encouraged those women to pick a realistic size so they could go through the steps and complete their project. I have many photos of finished quilts and their proud makers.

During this time I usually made a demonstration quilt. Most were single bed size. A few were double bed size and still being used on the "guestroom bed". Some were donated to the church for raffle and some are still hanging out in the closet.
The Ohio star runner was a small demonstration piece. My coffee table at that time was an irregular slice of redwood stump and did not lend itself to runners of any kind. Moving back to our smaller home, the stump was replaced with a real coffee table originally purchased for my Mother-in-law. Out of the box came the runner, a bit small for this table but happy to see the light of day.

Last year's Jan/Feb issue of McCalls Quilting Magazine had a pattern for the heart banner. Thinking that would make a nice table runner I dragged out my stash and changed the pattern around to be made by hand and use a pieced background. (didn't have enough of the fabric I liked) When I saw the Quilting Gallery's Weekly Theme was asking for Valentine quilts I decided to give this runner a bit of exposure. I have only won one contest in my entire life (not a quilt contest either) and don't expect this effort to get more than one vote but it is fun to see what others are making and check out the links to their blogs.

Looking around at all the neat runners you guys out there in blogland are making, I was forced (or shamed) to make a runner for Fall and also the Holidays. Now I have a bit of change on my coffee table and we have come full circle. I have discovered in this tiny house, the coffee table is a good place to put quilt projects. I like small take-along work and have lots of ideas running around kicking in my brain.

This final runner is one I made for Tanya who so kindly made one for me with the Chinese characters for Fukuda and the verse from Psalm 128.2 "..Your fields will produce, and you will be happy..." (I wanted to add a link but it is not working so check my blog list) Anyway, when I was putting my box of batiks away, I came across a long-lost tin of food prints and it seemed to me that, if not my fields, at least my closet had produced and Tanya should get a cut. Thus, a bit of food for her table and some cats to guard it. Not that she doesn't have plenty of real life cats. As an interesting aside, when my son set up my diary into a blog, he went somewhere on the Internet and put some links on the side to do with quilting. Tanya's was one of those so she has been on my blog as long as I have ... perhaps longer since I didn't get involved at all until I returned to Tokyo at the end of the summer.
I wonder if you quilters and bloggers out there have any idea of the part you play in not only my quilt life but my daily life too. Thanks for your in-put, your inspiration, and your encouragement.


  1. Love the heart runner Julie! Since you tend to take ideas and run with them, this blog runs true to form!

  2. I love your blooming heart runner!
    I recognize the description of your experiences in blogland. It's very nice to get feedback and inspiration from other quilters/bloggers. Sometimes I have to pay attention not to keep looking and reading all the blogs for too long.
    I love reading your blog and I especially love to watch the quilts in your archive.

  3. I have some of those same food prints! I hadn't thought of putting them into a runner but I have a small cart/bar in my kitchen where they would be perfect. I love this idea! blessings, marlene

  4. I saw the food quiltlet on Tonya's blog and thought it was so appropriate. Then I saw your table runner on Quilting Gallery and came over to see your blog. I do like the adaptations you made in the pattern.

  5. What interesting runners, especially the heart design with the flowers. Your veggie runner reminds me of a smorgasbord, yum!

    Blogland is a rare community - we're all different but we're all the same... and we're all here to encourage each other. Keep up the great work!


  6. I love the heart runner! And I love getting to know you. I didn't realize when I started my own blog that I would be making friends through it. I love blogging more and more ;-).

  7. Julie,

    I love the runners and the story behind them. I'll have to give one a go sometime.

  8. Julie,

    The heart runner is beautiful. A definite fave for sure.

  9. Good Morning Julie! I love to see your beautiful runner table. I also love to read the story it has inside a beautiful work. It is not only the work envolved but also a story in each stash quilt.
    Thanks for sharing with us such a beautiful runner picture and kind regards.

    Sandra :)

  10. The table runners are very pretty and I love the stories you tell behind them. I am going to have to search the internet for the needles you mention as I had not heard of them before and I am always looking for a good strong needle. I tend to bend them and break them as well.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  11. Hi again Julie,

    I have a neat little award for you on my blog under "wow".

  12. Beautiful table runners. I think a coffee table is a great place to showcase a quilt! I love those crests too. Lovely stitching.

  13. Hi Julie,

    It was great meeting you at TUC last Sunday - I did come straight back and look at your blog but didn't get around to commenting until now. It was lovely to meet another quilter - and such a gifted one at that - in Tokyo. I look forward to keeping up with your blog :) Apart from lovely quilts, you have some great stories on here.


  14. And your lovely produce quilt graces my dining room table or my living room table depending on which is getting used (I'm not allowing people to drink coffee over it or eat curry! But when sewing or English is in progress it adds color to the setting. Thank you! (But Julie! No label on the back telling the world it was made by YOU!. I'll have to make one for you.)

  15. Beautiful quilt works you have here. All beautiful. I'll follow your blog and be inspired by it ;)

  16. You do such beautiful work, I love the heart table runners, where would I find a pattern to make this. Quilted hugs, Sue

  17. Placed an order for the heart table runner but can’t get it downloaded. ...canny help me