Friday, November 4, 2011

Spiral Table Runner

I saw this pattern called Spicy Spiral Table Runner in my local quilt store and it sucked me in.  It takes eight fat quarters or quarter-yard cuts of eight fabrics and a special 9 degree ruler.  I bought the ruler, an 9 degree three-in-one ruler model not quite as specified in the pattern and not the one used when the shop had taught the class earlier. The shop had sold out of that one but both the shop owner and I thought this substitute would be adequate.  I bought the pattern but no extra fabric- this was to be made from my stash!   Before I started this somewhat small project I wanted to finish making my hexagons from the previous blog on the mask quilt.  I finished those and am setting the hexagon mask project aside until my husband mounts my newly purchased design wall (a future blog post).

Of course, even while making those hexagons... quite mechanical and routine by this point... I kept pulling candidates for the spiral table runner in a fall color theme for Thanksgiving from my stash and laying then out to preview them.  My cutting table by the time I finished the hexagons is in total disarray with different 8-fabric combinations and sequences.  It is a Saturday morning and I am now ready to start this new mini-project.  I cannot find the pattern.  I look high and low, upstairs and downstairs, in the house and in the car.  No luck.  My husband cannot live with me in this state of utter frustration.  He says  "Go buy another one!"  This is a good solution (isn't he a true quilter's husband) and the store is close by just blocks away.  So I do, with the rationalization that I can give the first pattern to my daughter when it finally turns up.

So here are my fabric choices ready to be cut into strips of varying widths ranging from a rich red at the bottom to a luscious deep chocolate at the top.  I picked each fabric so that each of its neighbors shared a hue with it.  The corn, third from the bottom, has orange like its neighbor below and gold like its neighbor above.  Take a close look at the second fabric from the top. It had dark specs like the fabric neighbor above and gold specks like the fabric neighbor below.  I spent days looking at my fat quarters arranging and re-arranging to come up with this sequence... enjoying every minute of it of course.

So here are my fabric choices ready to be cut into strips of varying widths. Now take a look at my cut strips.  Notice the second from the top.  Yup, it is different.  No, I did not change my mind. I had to substituted the chocolate fabric with red dots.  I convinced my self  my rule still held - kinda... the red dots match the lowest fabric and the cream flowers match the cream neighbor two below.

So why the substitution? I unfolded my fabric to cut the strips from my seventh out of eight fabrics and right smack dab in the middle of my brown grain specks fabric was a big irregular area gone where I had cut out a horse head for a quilt for my daughter.  She has promised to send me a picture of that one to post.  That'll learn me!  Do not fold up partial fat quarters along with your stash of unscathed fat quarters. Fortunately I could find a substitution even after having committed to 3/4 of my fabric choices.  And I found it in my stash! 

Here are my strips after being sewn together.  Now to cut them into 9 degree wedges.

Here is the ruler I bought to do the job.

But, alas, it was not long enough.  I called my local store and no, they had not yet restocked on the proper one.  The shop owner even called the class teacher to find out what they had used, I think they shared within the class since there were not enough to go around.   I could have made an extension and done a work-around but the whole point of a special purpose ruler is to make your job easier and I needed a longer one instead.  I also could have made the project with the 10 degree ruler I bought at the Pacific International Quilt Festival (picture at end) but my first time I wanted to do the runner as-is and then tweak and customize in later versions.  I was determined to do this project this day so after some internet searches and some phone calls, my other quilt shop 30 miles away had one and placed it on hold for me.   I jumped in the car and drove to get it.  It is shown below. (And there was a "free" pattern on the back!)

I cut out my wedges with minimal angst.  The long ones are kind of wiggly and take a bit of caution to cut without ruler slippage but no major issues.  Here are the wedges of two different colorways at different stages of assembly... first the wedges, 

 then pairs and fours,

then eights

and one of the two color-way sequences completed

and the assembled runner not yet with batting or backing

The irony has not escaped me.  I used only fabrics from my stash, yes.  But I bought the pattern twice and the ruler three times with trips to two quilt stores and a quilt festival.  The runner is not backed or have batting yet.  Can I do that without buying anything else? Yes.. that is my challenge!

Oh, and by the way.  Here is the 10 degree ruler.  Supposedly it makes a shorter wider runner.  It too comes with a "free" pattern.  I will try that some time or make the shorter wider runner with the 10 degree ruler. 

And let us not asked the obvious question.  Do I need a table runner?  Here is what my dining room fall table looks like at present.  The runner on it I bought at a craft show already made (gasp!)  just 'cause I loved it.  And I am sure it cost a lot less than the spiral one still in progress! I have no clue why– I only used fabric from my stash...  ;•)

I am sure there are some of you out there who have similar foibles. At least I hope so!  Feel free to share and commiserate!


  1. 1) That is a stunning, stunning table runner! At first I looked at it and thought "Wow, that looks like a painful amount of work" but in looking at it, it's neat to see that it's just a really clever design! And congrats on doing it all from stash (mostly)!

    2) Points to Dad telling you to just get another: my husband isn't there yet, but we'll give him a few more years :-) Actually, I am at the opposite end of the "and by god I shall make this work with stuff I already have" spectrum when it comes to tools, even though I don't know how many wacky cuts and fudges that has led me to do in my life.

    3) I love your fabric selection! I also love the table runner you already have, especially because I see the pumpkin :-)

    4) Just because you don't *need* another table runner, doesn't mean you can't *enjoy* one: I mean, ask any woman who's ever bought a second pair of shoes, right?

  2. Nice color selection from your "stash" and nice "almost finished" runner! Think how much more the project would have cost if you had to buy the fabric also.

    Who makes the pattern and who makes to 25" ruler? I saw this finished runner in quilt shop today but they were trying to find the pattern.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    1. For finishing see my blog for Nov 23 2011

      I made one in another color in my blog

      You can get the pattern at

      Here is one place I googled for a ten degree ruler

      Hope this helps. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  3. That's very pretty. Love your colors.

    I got together with 2 friends, & we each made one with fabrics in our stash. We had 3 very different runners. We found the directions confusing. There were no instructions on how to bind the pointy ends, but we figured everything out on our own.

    I would make another one some day, but I'm rewriting the directions with photos we took of the process.

    I also like your Stack & Whack Runner.

  4. I did not bind mine. I backed it by putting the right side of the backing against the right side of the pieced runner, stitching around and turning right side out. I did not want to fight with bias on the curves and at the sharp points. Sorry directions were confusing. I did not intend for this blog to be directions. That is why I gave link for pattern as
    Glad you visited and made runners with friends. I noted your name is Gram999. If that stands for Grandma I am impressed I only have one grandchild so far. (wink!)

  5. Sorry, Diane. I didn't mean your instructions were confusing. The instructions in the pattern were. Others were complaining about how confusing they were on any board where I found a comment about it. Once I started cutting, it all made sense. Next time, I'll try your method instead of binding.

    Mother of 6 (2 are mine), Grandma of 21 (5 are mine) & Great Grandma of 5 (2 are mine). What a joy they all are.


  6. Thanks for sharing this post Diane, love your runner!

  7. WOW amazing. I have wanted this pattern for a long time. I too have tons of fabrics in my stash. Two drawers of fat quarters and a closet of stash. I just might be able to swing enough fat quarters to do it. I am going to look for the ruler first then weigh my options. I have spent a small fortune on rulers of all kinds. I am addicted to quilting. Thanks for the post