Blushing Aspens Table Runner

Yesterday afternoon, it was time to get started on my project for "Let's Book It".

As I've said before, I'm going to give this Blushing Aspens table runner a try.

It was late in the day when I got started, and so I didn't have a lot of time to work on it. Already, I'd read over the instructions in the book.

The leaves are inset, and so it seems like a good project to use the new technique I learned back in June when I took Dawn White's "Going in Circles" class. Since I had only an hour to work on it, I decided to start with the smaller leaves. If you look at the pattern, you can see that they are split and offset by about a quarter inch.

I decided to try the one in the lower left-hand corner of the image above. The instructions in the book reminded me that I needed to work in reverse. The technique is essentially reverse applique. Since one works from the wrong side of the fabric, everything is a mirror image of the finished product. Okay...got it.

First, I labeled each leaf with it's section number and it's position from left to right; i.e., 4-1, 4-2, 4-3. Then I flipped the pattern over on my lightbox for tracing.

The instructions in the book told me to make each half of the leaf, and then sew them together. Rebel that I am, it occurred to me that it would be possible to trace the leaves as a whole, make the block, slice it in half, offset it, and then sew it back together. Ya folla? (You have to be able to remember Robert Shaw's character in The Sting to appreciate that line.)

So I traced one side of the leaf...

and then slid my paper up a little to get the second half...

And voila! One whole leaf for my template.

Also, I measured the size of the block and then gave myself an extra inch all around. When these are trimmed, I'll need to leave an extra quarter inch all around for the seam allowance.

I decided to also draw the boundaries of the block on my template because it seemed as if it would be easier to center it on the fabric that way. Then, I cut out the leaf and created my template.

Then...I was ready to cut, but...uh-oh. It's the perennial problem in my sewing room...cats draped wherever I want to be working.

Coaxing with catnip always takes care of that problem.

So then, I ironed the freezer paper template onto the fabric. Also, I added the cutting line so that I could cut it roughly in the right spot.

Then I cut out the center of the leaf.

Clipped, folded, and glued down the curves.

Here...I skipped photographing my steps because, frankly, I was too engrossed in my process to think about taking pictures. You can click here to see how this works if you don't already know. It will have to be enough to say that I stitched the leaf fabric to the background fabric, cut it in half along the marked line and then....hm...those of you who are smarter than I will already see the problem I'm going to have with this. 

In my "bright idea" about making the whole leaf template, I forgot to factor in the half-inch seam allowance I was going to need when I sewed it back together. My leaf came out pretty darned skimpy.

Okay, so back to the drawing board...er...lightbox. I ended up doing it the same as the book instructed. In other words, half a leaf at a time. For whatever reason I had it in my head that working with a half template (open on one side) was going to be impossibly difficult. It actually was no different from working with the completed leaf. The second try went together perfectly.

You can see the difference when one does it correctly. Also...in my haste to finish up the first one, I trimmed it on the sewing line rather than giving it a quarter-inch seam allowance. Let's just say it was a royal f*ck-up from start to finish.

So...one leaf is finished. They're identified on the wrong side in the seam allowance to make things easier on myself when it's time to sew the sections together.

There are two more leaves for Section 4, and then I think I'll move on to Section 3 and try the larger leaves with the green centers. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to work on this today, but it's going to be a rather busy day.

This morning I'm heading over to my CSA farmers to pick up 40 lbs. of tomatoes. I know. What was I thinking? It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I have a sense of foreboding about the next several days of canning, canning, canning. It will be nice to have all that pasta sauce, but what a process. Maybe I'll move Pfelicity to the upstairs table, and I can sew and stir at the same time. In fact, that's a really good idea. Now, why didn't I think of that?

After I pick up the tomatoes, I'm driving down to Salem to drop off my quilts at the Oregon State Fairgrounds. The fair starts one week from today! Yay! And since I don't get down to Salem often, I'll be stopping off at a couple of quilt shops I like down there. I still need a little bit of fabric for my Quilting Snowladies, and so I'm on the hunt for that. Also, remember the problems I had with my seam allowances on the Vintage Tin quilt? Apparently the 37D quarter-inch foot doesn't actually work as a quarter-inch foot. It's more like a 3/8-inch foot. And since that sucker was expensive (as all Bernina products are), it's pretty danged annoying.

Well. Thanks go to my friend Sheila who put me onto the information that Bernina has built a new foot...the 97D...that is supposed to fix the inadequacies of the 37D.

Here's the thing (and you know when I say those words, a rant is sure to follow, so here goes): I love my Bernina 750QE sewing machine (Big Bertha). It's a great machine with lots of wonderful capabilities. That said, I have an idea that Bernina brought the machine to market too quickly, and there have been these little annoying problems cropping up as long as I've had it. After spending the money on the 37D (which was not included with the machine), it's pretty frustrating that I now have to purchase yet another foot that will actually do the job. Yes, it is expensive, as usual. I have this crazy idea that Bernina should be offering it to me in trade for the 37D. Outlandish, I know. Anyway...Bernina rant over...but I'm on the hunt for that new foot as well.

And in the process of learning about this new foot, I also learned that all of Big Bertha's straight stitches are not created equal. There's the straight stitch #1, which is the stitch I've been using all along. But there's also stitch #1326...another straight stitch designed especially for patchwork.

The stitch is a little shorter than the regular straight stitch.

Well, f*ck a duck. Who knew? (Did you know it's F-word Friday?)

So. As you can see, I have a weekend's worth of work cut out for me. I was planning to get into trouble this weekend, but this time, trouble will have to wait.

12 comments from clever and witty friends:

Sher S. said...

oh my goodness, I guess I would have made the same mistake you did on the first leaf. I sometimes think that way. Glad you found that doing it the book way was just as good. Those tomatoes sound yummy for all you have planned. I used to can things but decided that I didn't have the time or energy to continue doing it, so stopped. I did jelly and jam also but always ended up with way more than we could eat in a year and gave lots away. I'd rather spend my time quilting and sewing, that gives me peace. Have fun with your tomatoes this weekend. I'm off to start a new baby quilt for a friend that is due in December.

Teresa Lorenzen said...

I love reading your blog! I admire your quilting, cooking, devotion to your cats, and your take on life. Your writing is fun to read. I enjoy visiting all the places you go. Your photos are wonderful. Thanks for always bringing a smile to my day.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Learning curves and trials. That's more tomatoes than I would want to deal with, so good luck with that.

quiltzyx said...

It's fabulous that you finally finished the leaf! I'll bet the rest will be much easier now!
I think I would contact Bernina about trading the 37D for the 97D. If the 37D was marketed as a quarter-inch foot, but doesn't achieve that, they should make it right. Sheesh.
Good luck with all those Poisonous Wolf Peaches! And have fun in Salem too. :)

Dana Gaffney said...

Was the first foot supposed to be a 1/4" foot? If it was they should change it out or trade for you, what the f**k are you going to do with it now. See, I do know it's F Friday, I've had one of those days too.

Teresa in Music City said...

Well darn!!! Here it is - 10pm on Friday night and I've totally missed F-word Friday??? Another opportunity lost. Oh well, it seems you were able to enjoy it enough for both of us *big smile!* I love your idea of using what you learned earlier for these leaves - it seems to be working well and looks great. And I know what you mean about the 1/4" foot - I've stopped using the feet as a gauge anymore on any of my machines. I sew on an older Bernina, a Janome, and a Singer featherweight - none of their 1/4" feet measure up! And who can afford Bernina feet?????

beaquilter said...

the leaf block looks great. I see I'm not the only one who's had problems with a 1/4" foot. (Janome)

Marei said...

ARGH! F word Friday and I missed it completely! I'm going to try and make up for it today and I'll be sure to insert it wherever it seems doable. As for Bernina, I think you should write to them and ask for some kind of trade-in value on the older foot. What have you got to lose? So glad you learned what I was taught as the "6 minute circle" back in the day. It really makes so many projects easier to do, and you can become very creative inserting all kinds of shapes into whatever you like. Enjoy!

Dar said...

Yep, I missed F-word Friday too since it's Sat. morning.. Oh well, there will be another Friday next week! I agree that you should contact Bernina and tell them your 1/4" foot problem and ask them to take the 1st one as a trade against the price of the new one. They surely want good customer relations and positive advertising.. I have 2 different Bernina's and they both take different non-interchangeable feet, so I really do know how you feel. I now mark the bed of all my machines for my 1/4" and don't worry about which foot I use. In fact, I like to use my walking foot when possible since I think it makes piecing blocks more accurate with that foot. Your 2 part leaf looks real good..

A Nudge said...

That has been my disenchantment with my Bernina also - the 1/4" foot is not accurately a 1/4" foot. I even bought one with a guide and it's also makes too large a seam, and that was for my old Bernina Activa 130. Useless foot - don't even know where it is. End of my Bernina rant.

Kate said...

At least you learned from your experiment. I really like your leaf. Looking forward to seeing more. I have an older Bernia, but the 1/4 foot for it makes a quarter inch seam. No idea what foot it is.

Brown Family said...

I love my 97D foot. Did not know about that stitch, though!