Northern Lights Table Runner (+tutorial)

18 06 2009

IMG_1427This is the latest UFO to be completely finished!  I saw the pattern and a sample for this table runner in 2003 on my one and only (so far) trip to the Houston Quilt Festival.  The pattern was designed by Prairie’s Edge Patchworks.  I made the top early in 2004.  I know, because I managed to get the same fabric for the background as shown in the pattern.  It is perfect for the Northern Lights and I don’t think it can be found at this time.    The top went together in short order, but then it languished because I just didn’t get around to stitching around that raw edge applique.  It finally came to the top of the list because I wanted a finished sample of this type of applique for the presentation I’m doing at the beginning of next month.  With that in mind a short tutorial follows.  Please note the applique pieces are not the same as the ones in this table runner.  I started another project that had been waiting for years to show the process.  There will be some things that were not covered in my previous tutorial, but I also won’t go into some of the details I did in that post.


1.  Trace the applique pieces on to the paper side of your preferred fusible web.  (Be sure they are reversed from the end product.)  You might notice I’ve traced trees into the center of other applique pieces.  When a piece is large, I like to cut away the center of the fusible web  to reduce stiffness.  I’m cheap so I trace smaller pieces into the places I plan to cut away.



2.  Rough cut the pieces from the fusible web.  Notice the holes in the centers of the large pieces.






3.  Following the manufacturer’s directions on the fusible web, fuse the pieces to the back side of  the applique fabric.




4.  Cut out the applique pieces on the drawn line.IMG_1284









5.  An applique Pressing Sheet can be one of your best friends for fusible applique.  I’ve had this sheet for around 14 years and am still using it.  If you don’t have one and work with fusible web, you NEED one!  It is placed over the pattern.




IMG_12876.  The applique pieces are then fused to the sheet.  (This is for pieces that overlap.)  After fusing to the sheet, allow to cool.  Then peel the pieces off the sheet.





IMG_12887.  Now all these little pieces are one big unit when they are placed on the background fabric.   Lay out your final placement and fuse in place to the background.



Unfortunately, at this point many of the people for whom I quilt quit.  However, the pieces should be stitched down — usually with monofilament thread.  I can almost guarantee when I get a McKenna Ryan quilt where the applique hasn’t been stitched down, the pieces are already starting to come off the background.  Which means I end up quilting them down.  I charge more than double my going rate when I have to do this.  It really isn’t that difficult to stitch the pieces down and with the help of my 13 year old camera man, I made a short video showing the process.




2 responses

18 06 2009
Robyn Kirk. New Zealand

Thank you for the video Sonya, I was interested to see which foot you used. I have been trying to stitch down a McKenna with my patchwork foot.LOL

18 06 2009

I love that table runner, and your tutorial is great! I’ve never been brave enough to try free-motion like that – I twist and turn the quilt. One day I will!

%d bloggers like this: