Any excuse for chocolate and jewelry is OK in my book.
I found this great rag quilt project over at Country by Design and just loved it. The runner she's got is a Christmas one and that's what I had intended to make as well... and then anemia struck and I slept through November and most of December.
I decided to make one for Valentine's Day because I'm adaptable like that. I'm ever so easy-going, just ask my husband. There is a tutorial over at the Country by Design blog but it doesn't have any pictures, so it was challenging for me since I've never made a rag quilt. So, because I love you, I've taken a million pictures of the process because YOU HAVE TO MAKE ONE OF THESE. THEY'RE SO FUN.
First, I bought some Valentines' Day fabric and some batting. You don't need much of each pattern, I got 1/3 a yard of each and that was plenty. I chose six different fabrics and they're all just delicious. For the batting, I chose some mid-weight stuff so it would be fluffy. If you're not a fluffy kind of crafter, you pick something different. Go with your gut, my crafty friends.
You're going to cut the fabric and the batting into 5" x 5" squares. How many? I don't know... so, you should make a runner that fits wherever you want it to sit. And depending on that place, your runner might be ten squares long or a million or a scrillion or even a real number. Do a little estimating and make yourself a plan, Stan.
If your name is really Stan, you are going to be so psyched that I included you in this.
Anyhoo, you'll cut out your squares and stare at them, wondering what to do next. At least, that's what I did. You're going to make yourself a sandwich... a fabric sandwich. Top fabric, right side up, batting, and then bottom fabric, right side down. I used all six patterns for the top fabrics but chose two fabrics for the bottom. And then I made a whole bunch of sandwiches:
Next, sew an X on each one. Easy-peasy... honestly, if I can do this, anyone can.
Next, lay out your squares in a pleasing pattern.
Once you have your pattern set, you're going to start sewing your sandwiches together. Take the first two in the top row, line them up, back to back, and sew them together on one side with a 1/2" seam allowance.
You're going to sew all your sandwiches, row by row and then you'll sew the rows together the same way. The raw edges are going to be facing you and you're going to think you've done something horribly wrong, but you haven't. You're almost done and you look so pretty.
Once the sandwiches are sewn together, you need to press the raw edges. You can do this as you sew the rows and then do the horizontal lines when you finish sewing, whichever is easier for you. Spread the sandwich edges apart and iron them, like so (or sew! I'm too adorbs.) :
You'll do that for each of the inside seams, but you're a hard worker so you'll be just fine. Once the raw edges have all been pressed, grab yourself a pair of scissors and sit down to a good movie. You're going to clip all those raw edges that are sticking up. Clip them about every 1/8" or so. You're cutting through the all the fabric and the batting.
You will start to feel your hand cramping. You may become dizzy or cranky or both. Persevere, my dear friend! Carpal tunnel will heal in time.
Once you've clipped all your inside edges, you're going to add some fabric to the sides to give it a better edge.
Cut one-inch strips of fabric in two patterns, long enough for each side. Once you've cut those strips, lay them face-down on the edges of your runner and pin 'em in place.
Sew through the strips and the runner with a 1/2" seam allowance.
Fold the right side of the fabric over the wrong side and press with the iron...
And then clippity-clip those edges. Put that movie back on, this will take a while.
Once you've finished the clippity-clipping, throw the runner to the ground, victorious, and shout to the heavens that you're finished. You may also do some sort of end-zone dance if your knees are up to it.
Take the runner outside and shake it. Shake it a lot. There will be thread flying everywhere, take heed. Once you've shaken it pretty well, throw it in the washing machine. It will make the clipped edges fluffy.
And there's your Valentine's Day runner. It took a few hours to finish it but IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. Honestly... I can't wait to do another one. Oh, and here's the back side... it looks like a quilt. I'm going to start calling myself a quilter. I enjoy pretending.
So. Much. Fun.