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In the Quilting World

With a little imagination you can turn toweling into something more

Let me introduce myself: I'm Carolyn Vagts, editor of Quilter's World magazine and writer of this update. That's my day job, and at night, I'm an addicted quilter. I tend to eat, breathe and sometimes sleep with my quilting. I have a beautiful studio with my work space right in it. How convenient, since I work at and with quilting. As editor, I am very hands-on with every issue. I'm also very hands-on with this update. I love to share my experiences with other quilters in hopes it will inspire them to explore the endless possibilities available to them.

With each update I select a book or pattern to accompany it. It's usually something that I feel goes along with the content of my update. This time my suggestion is our newest book from Annie's, Terrific Table Toppers. It has several very creative patterns that are perfect for using some of your favorite stashed fabrics. With a bit of imagination and a free afternoon you can make that perfect finishing touch for your dinner table.

Terrific Table Toppers
The Terrific Table Toppers book can be purchased at AnniesCraftStore.com.

Being in this line of work, I often notice a new fabric collection or a quilting tool that I feel needs to be explored. As editor of Quilter's World magazine, I'm very fortunate to have some of the latest fabrics available to me when I'm feeling creative. While looking for the perfect fabrics for one of the toppers in Terrific Table Toppers, I discovered the toweling I'd received from Moda Fabrics for a different project that had gotten canceled. As so often happens, my mind went in another direction ... well, sort of.

Having made the decision to work with this beautiful toweling, I cut some of it into lengths for towels and several in lengths for table runners. I decided 2 yards would work perfectly for a fairly long runner, and I cut 3/4-yard pieces for towels. This toweling is finished along both sides, so the next step was to fold, press and stitch a seam on the cut ends of each of the pieces I intended to use. After stitching both ends on each piece, I measured the sizes; the towels were 16 x 26 inches and the runners were 16 x 71 inches.

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Towels and runners made from beautiful toweling from Moda Fabrics. I only needed to hem each end for an easy finish.

I have been seeing many very simple table runners made with fabrics, and not quilted, in decorating magazines and in the stores over the past few months and they really appealed to me. With the popularity of so many reality shows that are about remodeling, repurposing and designing for the home, this simple farmhouse style has gained a lot of attention, and I'm a sucker for anything new.

With all the pieces ends turned and stitched I decided to applique some simple stars on each piece, starting with the towels to see how my plan would turn out. I drew up my stars, got out my fusible Bosal Splendid Web and some tear-away stabilizer just in case. I selected a few coordinating fabrics for the applique and traced the star shapes onto the paper side of the fusible web.

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Collecting the supplies needed for my project and making decisions on fabrics for the appliqued stars.

I fused the fabric to the fusible web and cut out the stars on the drawn lines. Then I fused the stars to the front side of my first towel. I cut some tear-away stabilizer to place on the reverse side of the towel to ensure that star would lay nice and flat after stitching it into place. Sometimes, when working on a single layer of fabric, it can be tricky, so by adding the tear-away stablizer I know the stars will look the way I want them to. Stabilizer is easy to use and the results are great, so it's worth the extra step. Placing the pins on the front side of the towel, I pinned the stabilizer to the back side of the towel underneath the stars.

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Cutting tear-away stabilizer for the towel applique, and then placing the stabilizer on the back side, with pins on the front side to hold the stabilizer in place.

I then began to stitch the stars in place on my first towel using a machine buttonhole stitch. I continued around each star and then removed the stabilizer with a few tugs.

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Stitching the stars in place using a machine buttonhole stitch.

I then moved onto the next set of towels and stitched more stars into place.

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A set of towels that are perfect for my kitchen.

The second set of towels I made worked perfectly for my kitchen with a small change in fabrics for the stars. This helped me decide on which toweling and which fabrices to use for my next project, a table runner. I added the stars in a random pattern from one end to the other, and then I stitched them down. I love the simplicity of this runner and love how it looks. Well, it will look so much better after it's washed and pressed! All in all these were great projects to make, and I actually finished one table runner and four towels on this snowy day in Michigan. Thank you, Moda, for the wonderful toweling fabric and cotton prints to make these fun pieces. They're not quilts, but they were fun to make.

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My finished table runner made with toweling from Moda Fabrics.

If this is a project you'd like to make, check your local quilt shops for the toweling. If you'd rather make a traditional quilted table runner then Terrific Table Toppers is probably the book for you. Either way you're sure to have a day of fun at your sewing machine!

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