Project 2011-30: Double Pinwheel Xmas Table Runner

About 13 years ago, as part of  my Toastmaster training, I was completing an advanced manual on sales presentations.  I had to sell my audience on an idea.  I figured that it would be a tougher challenge to actually sell something.  Since I rarely take the easy road, I set myself a goal to sell a physical product to the club members.    So the evening before my speech,  I made about 20 sets of potholders.  My speech was just before Thanksgiving, so I described the perfectly set table, the gleaming china and crystal, the perfectly cooked turkey and the proud hostess bringing the food to the table with …Yikes…Old ratty potholders..one of the most used and abused items in the kitchen.  I had brought my own horrible potholders to demonstrate the ugly horror of old potholders.  Then I painted the picture of how much better Thanksgiving would feel with new potholders.  In addition, they would have the personal satisfaction of helping their club, as 100% of the proceeds from each pair purchased for $8.00 would go directly to the Waterloo Silver Tongues Toastmaster Club.    I did sell them all and the club treasurer was delighted!  (So was I!)

I don’t recall why I had three blocks left over.  But being neat and tidy, I packaged up the three blocks, the prepared backings and the left-over binding and they have lived in a UFO pizza-style box ever since.

This weekend, I am visiting my cousin  in Michigan and Thursday  is her birthday.  Stephanie, from Grawn, Michigan,  is warmth and generosity personified and is exactly the kind of person I like to shower with gifts.  Although not a quilter, but she loves all things quilted and is always raves about anything I make.  She is great for my ego!

I decided to make Stephanie a Christmas table runner, but did not have a lot of extra time today.  Looking through my UFOs, I found these blocks ready made and perfect for a table runner.  There was enough fabric in the box for the setting triangles and enough matching binding to finish it off.    I’m delighted to have a finished project with what felt like only a small investment of time.

I quilted the runner with a thread called Heavy Metal – a burnished gold colour and used Bottom Line in the bobbin.  Metallic threads are fussy to get the tension balanced, so I suffered a lot of breaking top thread and snarls on the backing of my test strips until I got it to a happy place.  I rarely touch my bobbin tension, but I had to tighten the bobbin tension because too much top tension simply snapped the thread.  However, once the tension was balanced, it quilted up very quickly.

I feathered the border and blocks and did a feathered arc in the setting triangles.  This would be called custom quilting, but because the project is so small, it did not take much time.  There is a lot of gold in the red and green print, so the thread blends well and adds a bit of sparkly. I figure a table runner gets a lot of close, although unconscious examination.   When sit at my table, having tea and conversation with a friend, my eyes roam over my table toppers, mostly with a warm feeling of pride, but sometimes more like a quilt judge.  Hopefully, my guests’ eyes are not as analytical as mine.  When I see the minor flaws, my mind starts thinking,  “How can I do that better next time?”   With this one, I like how it turned out!

I attached the binding on the back and top-stitched on the front.  It looks good and I am happy to have another project complete.

Status:  30 done and 22 more projects to complete by December 31st!  To celebrate, I tossed the pizza box into the recycle bin.  I aim to have my UFOs down to a much more manageable level, without the need for a stack of pizza boxes hiding UFOs.

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