Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas swapsies....

This last month, I have been Swap Mama for the MQG Ireland's Christmas swap.

My inspiration for this swap was sadly lacking the first few weeks of the swap window, what with the gallstones attacks and the surgery. But eventually, all the Christmassy spirit around started to make an impact on me, and my mind started turning over ideas. I went for a primarily hand pieced project as I couldn't tolerate much time at the machine. I had the idea of a little hexie Christmas wreath floating around in my head, but it took a while for the idea of a little tree in the centre to tie it together.


I had a little hexie factory going on beside me on the sofa last week. Basting and piecing hexies is a strangely soothing process and I really enjoyed it, even if I did eventually have to admit to myself that it was time for an eye test. Despite working as quickly as I could, it was slow going though.



 Swap posting opened on Monday, but on Monday evening I found myself at my machine, sewing desperately to piece the background blocks and secure the hexie wreaths.


Yesterday, I put the quilt top together. I had decided to use a penguin print for the central tree, as I knew my partner was partial to penguins.


Table runner 4

I also had a small scrap of a Christmas tree fabric left which was perfect for another tree as it contained all the colours I used in the hexies.

Table runner 6

With 2 lovely wintry aqua blue fabrics for the trees, I decided to stick with this theme and used another blue print for the 3rd tree.

Table runner 5


As you can see, I machine pieced the hexies to the blocks. This was partly driven by time constraints, but also to give it a slightly raised effect, and to make sure that they were really secure as runners get so many turns in the washing machine, I didn't want to risk the piecing coming away anywhere.

Table runner 2

I machine quilted 5 lines, 1/4" apart between the blocks and at either end. This dense little quilting block breaks up the runner blocks and I like how it contrasts against the hand quilting and the rest of the negative space which is unquilted. It was then time to embark on another West Wing marathon to get the hand quilting done. I outlined the trees in red perle cotton for contrast, and then outlined both sides of the hexies in a turquoise blue to tie in with the background fabrics for the trees. Honestly, the hand quilting took me most of yesterday afternoon and evening to finish. But it was totally worth it. The combination of the hexies, the hand quilting and the machine quilting gives it a nice, textural feel.

This morning, I bound it and all of a sudden, it was done! I used another aqua blue print for the binding and it gives the whole runner a really fresh, clean, wintry feel.

Table runner 1

I've been posting lots of pictures on Instagram as I worked my way through this project, and getting loads of likes and comments, which was great, as I was worried originally that this simple little design might not work. I can't draw, and didn't have time to mock up a design on EQ7 so I was very much working on instinct here. But happily, the simplicity of the blocks and the pops of pretty Christmas fabric against the frosty Kona white just seem to work together, and the instantaneous feedback from my Instagram buddies really helped boost my confidence about the design.

All that remained was to make a little Christmas tree decoration to go with it - a pieced heart backed in felt.


Heart decoration

And my package was ready to go!!

Swap package Christmas runner 

Today was the last posting day, and I got to the post office with literally 10 minutes to spare to catch the post - the closest I've ever come to missing a swap deadline! I haven't had a minute to catch up on who else has posted, and what is going on in the group so I must pop over there now and check everyone is doing ok!

23 comments:

cheeky monkey said...

Yeah! You did it! You did an amazing job the last days and it really looks gorgeous! sometimes less is more! Love the penguin and am sure your partner will be thrilled

tomomi mcelwee said...

It's so cute! I don't know how you did it in between all the thing happened. I am so glad you are fine now. Well done!!

Katy Cameron said...

Oh I absolutely love the penguin tree!

Karen said...

This is so adorable. I love the hexie table runner.

Kirsten said...

Such a beautiful runner! Your hexies are so cute and I love the trees you have put in the centres.

Heidi Staples said...

Sarah, this is absolutely adorable! You put together a stunning Christmas package!

diane said...

Gallstones and surgery? Somehow I missed this announcement. I hope you are feeling perky and festive by now. The table runner is beautiful.

patchworkdelights said...

Really so very cute Sarah! Well done.

louoflynn said...

That is ridiculously gorgeous! Well done you :) Everything; the fabrics and threads all work so well together.
Can I ask a stupid question; how did you attach the trees in the middle? I can't see any stitches around the trees.

Kay said...

I love this so much, you have a very lucky swap partner!!!

Dinki Dots said...

Oh my goodness, I love this runner - your swap partner is so lucky!!! The colours, pattern, quilting, design (everything!) work perfectly together - I wish I had this runner on my table for Christmas...!
Maria x

AmandaK@whatthebobbin said...

That is the most adorable table runner - ever!

Archie the wonder dog said...

I adore this runner!

Jaime Penrod said...

Love it! I'm going to try some hand quilting soon. Real soon ;) Truth is I'm skeered, but everytime I see something lovely like this my desire to do it overcomes my fear. ;)

Catherine said...

What an amazing runner!

Cindy said...

Holy cow this is amazing. A-MAY-ZING. Amazing.

Judith, Belfast said...

This is really gorgeous S! Lucky partner whoever gets it! Jxo

Wendy said...

Your table runner is just gorgeous! Love those hexies and the trees added the right extra element for this runner. Whomever receives this gift will fall in love with you. A great finish.

Di said...

Beautiful runner. I like the way you have used the hexies to make a wreath. Di x

greeblygreebly said...

Oh my gosh that is so cute! I am mad about hexes lately and I love what you've done with them here!

Ruth said...

I love it, love it, love - especially the penguin! He is perfect. Thank you so much for all the effort. You are amazing - get better soon!

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Sarah said...

Well done Sarah! It's so cute and a great design. Lucky recipient!