Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sneaky-Peeky: A Paper-Pieced Star for My Nativity Table Runner

First Quadrant of my First Ever Paper-Pieced Block!
I have to leave for church in 10 minutes, but I'm so excited about the project I started last night that I had to post a quick preview.  I have a narrow console table behind the sofa in my kitchen/family room area where I display my nativity figures, and I'm currently using a store-bought quilted runner beneath them in reds and greens, but that table runner doesn't do anything for the muted colors of my nativity figurines.

Auditioning Fabrics with my Nativity Figures
I got an idea that I should make another runner in deep blue for Advent, with a gold star right in the center where the baby Jesus in the manger goes.  I've had Carol Doak's book 40 Bright and Bold Paper-Pieced Blocks (available from Amazon here) for several years, but had never gotten around to attempting paper piecing until now.  I spent several days reading and re-reading Carol's instructions, trying out different fabric combinations with my nativity figurines, and going back and forth between the different star blocks in the book before I finally settled on "Chris's Block."

I made four copies of the 1/4 unit that makes up the block, using special paper for foundation piecing (also already in my stash) that is supposed to be thin, strong, and resist transferring printer ink onto my ironing board.  I planned out my fabric placement with my sons' colored pencils, selecting colors as close as possible to my fabrics to get an accurate sense of how the finished block would turn out.  I wrote the color names of each fabric on the corresponding section of the paper foundations, lined up my pre-cut rectangles in numerical order, and sat down at my machine for some very weird upside-down sewing with my fabrics completely hidden by a piece of PAPER that I was sewing through.  This gave me ANXIETY, and I probably held my breath while I was sewing each seam.  However, I followed the instructions, kept the faith, and when I was finished I ended up with what appears to be a correctly sewn quarter of my star block.  (Note: my camera was crooked; the block is actually perfectly square).  Yippee!

I've got some gifts to wrap up for shipping and homework to supervise this afternoon, and my boys are singing in our church's Christmas concert this evening -- Lars even has a solo -- so I'm not sure whether I'll have a chance to work on the remaining three quadrants of my star today.  I only have a vague idea of what the rest of the table runner will look like, but at least I've made a start.

Happy Second Sunday of Advent to all of my Christian friends and family, and Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends!

By the way, I'm linking up to SewCalGal's Quilter's Christmas Party today.  If you have a moment, please pop over to join the fun, see what holiday projects other quilters have been working on, and learn how you can help make a difference by supporting Operation Homefront.


Nanbon44 said...

you are one busy lady and to take on a new project at this late date.. I am still trying to finish my charity quilts so I can deliver them... So any new projects for me will start next year.

Scrapatches said...

This will make a beautiful table runner for your nativity ... :) Pat

Nina Marie said...

ohhh I can see how PP would lend itself nicely to cool stars!! I love your nativity - Is it Jim Shore>

Quilting Babcia said...

I'm thinking this is going to be a fantastic runner and look forward to seeing the finished project with your nativity. Merry Christmas!

Missy Shay said...

What a great idea for a runner for your Nativity Scene!

Ivory Spring said...

Oh look at you!!!! Your block is gorgeous, and your runner will be even more stunning!

Thanks for stopping by and sharing about your Christmas collections - I haven't heard of Krinkles -- so, I got an educational experience out of your comment. :)

The Quilted Dog said...

I love the block and the fabric you've chosen for your new table runner. Merry Christmas!

The Quilted Dog said...


The Quilted Dog said...

I love the block and fabric you've chosen for your new table runner.
Merry Christmas!

The Quilted Dog said...

I love block and fabric you've chosen for your new table runner. Merry Christmas!

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Gorgeous-both the table runner and the Nativity scene. I'm impressed that you are doing this at this date-go girl!

Barb Neiwert said...


SewCalGal said...

Thanks for coming to the Quilter's Christmas Party.

What a beautiful table runner and your nativity set look great together. Very special.


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