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Patchwork Bed Runner with Free Motion Quilted Borders

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A bed runner is a decorative throw for the foot of the bed. It's lovely to look at, and it helps protect a fancier full-size quilt or bedspread. You can sit on a bed runner or even stretch out and place your feet on it. We used ours to show off the quilting features of Janome's sewing and quilting machines. It finishes at approximately 92" x 34" and is sized for a king or queen mattress. The sample runner is shown in the photos on a king bed; there would simply be more drape down either side on a queen. 

The biggest sewing category around the world is quilting. If you've been thinking about jumping on the bandwagon, we have a five-part Quilting Basics Series and have included links to all the parts below as well as to several helpful binding tutorials. The series a great way to get started on your quilting adventure.

For our bed runner, we designed basic nine-patch blocks with each inner block made up of four pieced triangles. The clever mixing of colors creates a three-dimensional effect within each of the inner blocks as well as in the finished nine-patch itself. Stitching in the ditch was used to quilt the center blocks, while the inner and outer borders are done with free-motion stippling. 

Quilting is all about being exact from one step to the next, which is why having a good machine is so important. Janome machines, like the Horizon Memory Craft 9450 have the features, power, and precision to make quilting... or any other sewing, a dream. 

Several of the top-of-the-line Janome machines have from 11" to over 13" to the right of the needle, giving you plenty of room for large quilt tops. 

And, Janome's AcuFeed Flex™ fabric feeding system means you can go as thick as you want. The quiet power of the machine slices through multiple layers like butter; you can feel the layers of your project moving together under the needle with perfect precision. 

As mentioned above, our Bed Runner finishes at approximately 92" x 34" and works best on a king or queen bed.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: We used four solid cottons from the Cotton Couture collection by Michael Miller Fabrics plus a Bella Solid by Moda in Porcelain. This Porcelain was used for the lightest color triangles, the quilt top's inner and outer borders and the quilt back. We've indicated our exact color names below, which allows you to get a perfect match to our runner, but of course – as always – you can select your of solid colors to best match your décor.

  • ½ yard of Cotton Couture in Wedgewood for the binding
  • ⅝ yard of Cotton Couture in Azure for 27 triangles 
  • ⅝ yard of Cotton Couture in Black for 27 triangles
  • ⅝ yard of Cotton Couture in Denim for 27 triangles
  • 2½ yards of Bella Solids in Porcelain for 27 triangles, borders and backing
  • 2¾ yards of 36"+ wide lightweight, low loft batting
  • All purpose thread to best coordinate with the fabric colors; we used pale blue
  • Machine quilting thread, 50 wt; we used natural
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Straight pins
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Large safety pins for quilt basting

Background notes

As we mentioned above, this article was designed to show-off the features and precision quilt stitching of the Janome sewing and quilting machines. The piecing and quilting themselves are not difficult, so we have simply summarized the main steps. If you are new to quilting, below are links to all the articles within our Quilt Basics Series as well as three articles that explain everything you need to know about binding the finished runner. Review some or all of these prior to starting. 

Following the color diagram shown above will allow you to create the subtle three-dimensional effect.  

Quilting Tutorials

Binding Tutorials

Getting Started

  1. Cut TWO 9¼" x Width of Fabric (WOF) strips from the Azure, Black, Denim, and Porcelain fabrics.
  2. Sub-cut each strip into seven 9¼" squares. 
  3. Cut each square corner to corner in one direction.
  4. Then, cut corner to corner in the opposite direction to create four triangles. You need 27 triangles of each color.
  5. From the Wedgewood, cut SIX 2" x WOF strips for the binding.
  6. Again from the Porcelain, cut EIGHT 5½" x WOF strips. 
  7. Finally, from the remaining Porcelain fabric, cut panels and piece them together to create an approximate 96" x 38" backing panel. It doesn't have to be exact, just larger than 92" x 34". You will trim it to exactly fit the top. 
  8. Cut the batting to approximately 96" x 38". As with the backing panel, it doesn't have to be exact; you will trim it to exactly fit the top.
    NOTE: You can piece your batting. Simply cut smaller pieces, then butt them together (do not overlap) and zig zag to secure the pieces together.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Using the diagram above for color placement, arrange the triangles to form 27 squares. 
  2. Match pairs of triangles right sides together.
  3. Sew together, using a scant ¼" seam (just slightly narrower than ¼"). 
  4. Match the two sewn halves of the square right sides together, nesting the seam allowances so one side is folded in one direction and the second side is folded in the opposite direction. 
  5. Sew with a scant ¼" seam. 
  6. Press the squares, taking care to keep the corners square. 
  7. Arrange the squares as shown in the diagram. 
  8. Remember to trim the "dog ears" that naturally form at each corner when stitching triangles.
  9. Sew the squares together to form rows, then sew the rows together to form squares.
  10. Find two 5½" Porcelain strips. Sew a strip in between the three finished nine-patch blocks: block-strip-block-strip-block. Trim the strips flush with the blocks.
  11. Find another two 5½" Porcelain strips. Join them, using a bias seam, to make one continuous length. 
  12. Sew to this long length of border to one long side of the block/strip unit, using a ¼" seam. Trim both ends of the strip flush with the blocks. 
  13. Repeat with another set of strips for the opposite long side.
  14. Finally, find the remaining two 5½" Porcelain strips and sew one to each end to complete the runner top. Again, trim the strips flush with the blocks.
  15. Layer the quilt backing, batting and quilt top to create a quilt sandwich. The fabric layers are wrong sides together with the batting in between. Baste the layers together.
  16. Stitch in the ditch around each triangle. We engaged our Janome AcuFeed™ Flex fabric feeding system to keep all our layers moving in unison. No slipping or sliding here! A Walking or Even Feed foot would be another good option. 
  17. The 11"+ to the right of the needle on many Janome machines gives you plenty of room to maneuver this large runner. Simple accordion or roll it up as you move from one end to the other. 
  18. Switch to an Open Toe Free Motion foot and stipple quilt within all the borders. 
  19. Switch back to your regular presser foot to stitch together the 2" strips of Wedgewood, using bias seams, to create one continuous length of binding. 
  20. Following one of our tutorials listed above, or your own favorite method, bind the quilt to finish. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas      
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler

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