I have a friend who adores applique and ornate table runners. With fall approaching, I decide it’s time to surprise her with an Autumnal runner. She prefers a simpler center block for placing a centerpiece and extravagant applique on either side. It must be long and please, can there be birds?
Last fall, I bought a wonderful fall-themed fat quarter pack and there is just enough left to make a table runner or maybe two? For the background, I am using a taupe metallic Moda grunge. These colors are not my normal color preferences, but they are rich and a delight to the eye after our hot summer!
One of my favorite applique patterns is Esther Aliu’s Red Delicious which I have made in full twice and whith a wide variety of story blocks. I pick two to use for the applique blocks.
First up is the apple/pomegranate block. This is a deceptively simple block. No flourishes, minimal components, perhaps even a bit stark! I decide to go deep and intensify each component.
The apple is the starting point! A mellow yellow batik from stash, with mottled accents. The body of the apple is appliqued with a tight, small blanket stiched in a matching light gold. A second round of applique is stitched right over it using a wider, longer blanket stitch in a peach/two tone sage color. I love the way this technique bleeds hints of color into the body of the apple fabric. Almost like shadings in a real apple! For the apple “shine, I reverse the stitching. Tight, small blanket stitch in the peach/green with a wide, long blanket stitch in the yellow.
You might notice that in the photo, I have stitched my triangle pieces below the shelf with MonoPoly in a tiny zig zag. I am working the fruits first, and I don’t want the triangles to get the slight bit “shreddy” while I move my block around under the needle. They are now safe and secure
Now it is the pomegranate’s turn! I am using silk for the outside of the fruit and scraps from older Klimt themed fabric with generous flecks of gold and color for the “seeds”.
Moving to the center of the runner. I am using a section of a novelty bird (chickadee) print to satisfy my friend’s love of birds, which I share. After a couple false starts, I think “window”. Using panels and novelty prints with a window pane effect is such a simple way to highlight and frame them that sometime we forget how lovely simple can be!
Table runners and toppers are a great way to experiment with techniques, colors, threads, FMQ…all manner of play without committing yourself to a large project. Quick and fun; they make terrific gifts.
Bonus runner! I am having so much fun, and I still have fabric left! Time too make a simpler runner for myself as I don’t have any fall themed runners. We are a bit messy at our house, and I use block piecing so that this one can be tossed in with the regular washing.
Happy sewing to all!