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Penguins In The Sewing Room (And On The Coffee Table)

After I'd added the two Christmas cushions to my Q4 FAL list, I decided a table runner made from the leftovers would also be nice so added that too, as item nine.  I said that it would use strips and squares as that's what I thought I'd have left, but what I actually had left was this:
The final Christmas thing on my #2016fal list (apart from the giant quilt which is a long-term resident) is a table runner for coffee table using the leftovers from the two #Christmascushionalong cushions. I was going to make it with squares and strips bu

I couldn't decide how best to use them and Sarah brilliantly said 'Well I want to see a long thin solids only blue sky top, darker blue sea on the bottom right, white on the bottom left as ice floor and snow hills. With that penguin far left.' I loved that idea and laid out the fabric on my coffee table straight away:
Something like this, @sleepinsarah? He said he was lonely over there on his own, so I gave him some friends who can visit.

All the blue is leftover from other projects and the whites are the small pieces left from the penguin cushion, along with about ten charm squares of a Bella solid (snow?), which isn't the same bright white and so provides a bit of depth.  I've decided to share all my progress photos with you so you can see how I made it.  And also because I like to see other people's progress photos rather than always just a photo of the finished item.  Feel free to whizz past them to the photo of the finish and then Archie!  Some of them aren't the greatest photos as the light levels have been awful, even when it's (supposedly) day time.  And those taken around dusk and then once darkness has fallen aren't marvellous, but they're all I have!   I used my Oakshott runner as a size template and laid all the pieces over that to make sure it was large enough, just in case you're wondering what it's doing in lots of the photos!

I started with the easy bit: the sky!
The sky is starting to come together. I'm laying it on a table runner that is the right size to help me judge spaces, etc., so ignore the Oakshott piecing! Having my dinner break now so I can have a think about how to proceed. #penguinsinthesewingroom

And then had a think about how I would manage the transition between sea and sky:
Working out how to manage the transition between sky and sea. And sky and snow. And sea and snow. #allthetransitions #alltheblues #onlytwowhitesthough #penguinsinthesewingroom #andmaybeanincorrectpolarbear

before starting on the left-hand snowy bit:
The left-hand mountain is as done as it can be at the moment. Time to move onto the right-hand side. #penguinsinthesewingroom #noIdontknowexactlyhowImgoingtojoinitalltogether #sewingonawingandaprayer
The safety pin is to help me keep track of the vertical as I kept getting confused!

I then jumped over to the right-hand side, where I had to start taking photos of my new few steps to avoid unnecessary partial seams or unpicking:
I'm having to take photos of my plan for the next few steps to avoid unnecessary unpicking and partial seams. Need to get a second penguin on this mountain. Somehow. #penguinsinthesewingroom #makingthingsharderthantheyneedtobe

And then wondered why I hadn't made all the sections and then appliqued them together instead of stubbornly sticking to piecing!
Remind me again why I didn't make the sea, sky and snow and appliqué them to a base layer... #penguinsinthesewingroom

Two brave penguins jumped in the icy water, but had to wait overnight before they got their bottoms wet!
Two penguins are ready to jump in the icy water, but they'll have to shiver on the side until tomorrow because I'm flogged and my tea is calling. #penguinsinthesewingroom

They took the plunge!
The penguins have taken the plunge #itsabitchoppyoutthere #notwavingbutdrowningperhaps #Idohopenot #penguinsarestronganddeterminedswimmers #thepenguinswillprevail #penguinsinthesewingroom #andinthesea

And I pieced the rest of the water, before pondering how best to join the sections:
The left-hand side is ready to join to the middle (after a bit of trimming for both parts), time to tackle the right-hand side #Icantputitoffanylonger #Ihaveapossiblesolution #penguinsinthesewingroom #appliquewouldhavebeenfinishedandquiltedbynowandIdbesit

I joined the left-hand side to the middle:
I was wrong, I can put off tackling the right-hand side for a bit longer. I've joined the left-hand side to the middle, but am not convinced by that very definite straight line and worry it's too much of a definite transition. Any thoughts or ideas? Maybe

but didn't like that big expanse of blue, even if it was Oakshott, so I unpicked and sliced into it to insert some different fabric:
That's better! And quilting will further soften it, I think. #penguinsinthesewingroom #timetotackletherighthandsidewiththetwopeskypenguinsandtheawkwardangles

I could then no longer put off working out how to join the middle to the right-hand side, so after a couple attempts (two where I machine tacked the seam and the final one where I gave it a really good press, pinned it in place and just went for it), I had the bottom section pieced, albeit with a seam which, perhaps, no sensible person would tackle as one seam:
Several attempts (two tacking and one 's*d it, it's got a few pins in, it'll be fine' 'proper' attempt) at a ridiculous seam, and the right-hand side is joined to the rest! Just a couple of gaps to make up on this side and then I can attach the sky. #peng

And here's how it looked pieced but untrimmed or quilted:
The piecing is finished! Not sure I love it, but maybe quilting (and squaring up!) will improve it? #penguinsinthesewingroom

I added lots (and lots!) of quilting, mainly curved lines going across/through/down sections, to try and add texture and movement.  There was the usual point where it looked like a dog's dinner, but it was too late to unpick so I had to just keep going and trust that it would look better with more added:
I'm hoping I've added texture, rather than it looking like I left Archie unsupervised with the sewing machine and a bowl of threads. #toolatetounpick I'm going to darn in the ends, trim it and then assess if I need to add extra lines to any areas before b

As you can see, I had lots of ends to darn in, so I spent a Saturday night in front of the telly doing just that:
It's time to tackle the ends on my penguin table runner *yawns* I'm joining @charmaboutyou for the #Saturdaynightcraftalong and am hoping to get all the ends darned in before bedtime.
And was very pleased when I finished before bedtime!
I've reached the other side and all the threads are all buried! #phew Time for bed - thanks for all the company for the #Saturdaynightcraftalong with @charmaboutyou.
I didn't trim it before quilting as I wasn't sure how much it would shrink or where exactly I wanted the edges to be until I saw what it was like quilted, so removing those tatty edges made it look quite different!  I had a bit of a dither over binding:
The final decision. It might be the blue Oakshott... #penguinsinthesewingroom

before solving it with mainly the blue Oakshott (which was my original plan) and a flash of red to bring out the hats and scarves of the penguins.

And here ('Finally!' I hear you cry!) is how it looks now it's finished, and freshly washed and dried:
The #penguinsinthesewingroom table runner is finished! It had to go for a bath once the binding was on because some eejit used pink chalk to mark a trimming line and then changed her mind and the line ended up 1.5" in from the right-hand edge, up the snow
Have you spotted the camouflaged polar bear?
Here's the back, which was a piece of plain white something I found in a drawer (a polycotton, perhaps, judging by how it dragged on the machine bed), so you can see all the quilting, and the texture it has added:
The back of the #penguinsinthesewingroom runner is just plain white, but shows off the texture from the quilting quite nicely. No wonder it took almost two bobbins! It's 17" x 36".
No wonder it took almost two bobbins of thread!
I took a photo of the front with the threads I used for quilting, just to give you an idea of the colour/shade changes:
With the threads used for quilting.

And, just in case you haven't spotted him, here's the camouflaged polar bear (you can also see the subtle difference between the two white fabrics):
Camouflaged polar bear.

As this is a finish from my Q4 FAL list (item nine), I'll be linking up when the time comes!

2016 FAL

I've also managed to (finally) finish hand quilting one background triangle on my Christmas Cherry quilt:
One (of four) background triangle on my Christmas quilt is quilted, wonder how much more I can get done before it goes away at the end of January?

and am hoping to get this crocheted wreath finished before Christmas:
Christmas wreath - I need to fasten off that end, block it and then make a big bow for the centre top.

I need to fasten off that end and block it, and make the bow for the centre top. I may just manage, although I do have an awful lot of Christmas jobs to do as I haven't started writing cards or wrapping presents and my tree and all the decorations are still in the loft...

I'll leave you with a photo of Archie looking outraged because, so far, he isn't in my Instagram 'best nine' of 2016.  If you're on Instagram and you haven't liked his post, please do so or he's going to chunter about it well into next year!

Thanks for popping in!  (And well done for making it to the end!)


  1. Super cute penguin quilt. Love it!

  2. love the penguins - it looks great all quilted!

  3. Oh, we spotted that polar bear right away......beautiful, I can't imagine creating something that beautiful.

    Hugs to Archie from our Molly Brown and Jessie. Merry Woof Christmas.

    Merry Christmas.

  4. Now that's what I call a proper progress post! I love hearing how people arrive at their final layout or design, and all the faff was definitely worth it for this runner. It's fun, it's clever and it has used up all your lovely bits and scraps. Perfect! And tell Archie that he's the most beautiful dog on't net so chill out and not to give you a hard time...

  5. Och just how adorable is this! If I could like Archies post more than once I would xx

  6. Och just how adorable is this! If I could like Archies post more than once I would xx

  7. I love this abstract penguin piece!

  8. This is wonderful! I hope you and Archie have a lovely Christmas :) x

  9. Oh I love love LOVE the penguin picture!


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