Finishing Up the Old

There’s something nice about starting anew with a new year. I have always enjoyed New Year’s Eve, whether having people in to celebrate, going out, or spending a quiet, reflective evening. This year I spent a decidedly quiet evening.


Here it is: the infamous, unfinished table runner…

On my trip out to Illinois before Christmas, a passenger directly behind me coughed through the whole flight, sometimes in paroxysms. Needless to say, by my return trip, I knew I was coming down with something…similar.


I loved making little designs for the center circles. They face different ways so that something is upright no matter where you sit!

While not down for the count, I did not want to spread the evil virus, so I stayed home both New Year’s Eve and Day and worked on my table runner! Those of you who have followed my blog for a while may remember my winter of crafting various things in felt. The table runner was one of those.


Woo hoo! Signed, sealed, delivered.

It was based on an old sewing craft that resulted in “penny” or coin rugs, place mats, chair covers and other things. I liked the examples I saw and the fact they used blanket stitch to be decorative, so I set about cutting and sewing the circles, which was fun, and designing some trees and flowers and sewing those into the circles as well.


The trouble came when I had pinned the circles onto their backing and they could no longer be manipulated during the course of sewing. I started life left handed, and being flexible, became ambidextrous. I bat, golf, and wield a tennis racket in my right hand. I also use right handed scissors. I write, eat and prefer to pick up glasses with my left hand, which is more dextrous than my right. Sometimes I don’t know which hand to use until the first one I try doesn’t work. This happens when I open jars. With which hand? Who knows? I’d have to try to open a jar.


When I first learned the blanket stitch, I had to translate the instructions, which are always right handed. I didn’t realize this until I was sewing in entirely the wrong direction for my left hand. Once reversed, things went swimmingly. But not being able to turn the circle seemed tough, so eventually, I put the project away unfinished.


It is self-backed and stitched up at either end.

Late last year, I brought it out and put it on the table, thinking seeing the project might spur me to finish it. So, sitting down with a wicked cold (three boxes of tissues in two days) I pondered the circles. The first couple I sewed while they were flat on the table top, turning the fabric when things got difficult. Then, without thinking (as is often the case with my crazy handedness) I switched hands from left to right. It worked like a dream.


I started at twelve o’clock with the left hand and switched to the right just about where the needle is in the photo.

So it’s nice to report that the table runner is finished, all but for some work with the backing. I like the way it looks on my table and am glad that the decks are now cleared for some new projects this year. ย Of course, the seed catalogues have started coming, but I’ll look at those next month…


Top view. It’s already collected a bit of candle wax…

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42 Responses to Finishing Up the Old

  1. We’re already getting seed catalogues too ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope the cold is gone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well now, you are a clever, ambidextrous gal! Sewing anything small and circular onto a largish piece of fabric would drive me nuts! I’d end up turning the entire piece of fabric to blanket stitch the circles. It would be chaos! My left hand is all but useless in fine work. The finished runner is bright and cheerful and I love that no matter where you sit something is placed just right for your eye. Of course I have an example of your felt work and am most fond of my flying pig ๐Ÿ™‚ It is a constant reminder to me of a trip I never dreamed would happen – except when pigs flew – and my fine group of American friends! Glad you are feeling better. xo

    Liked by 3 people

    • arlingwoman says:

      I envisioned chaos and really bad stitches, as well as general frustration, which is why I put it away eventually. But when it came back out, it only took a little thinking to figure it out. Of course, it helps to have a mind programmed to use the most advantageous hand. I saw the tulle fabric I sewed into your pig’s wings a couple days ago and remembered it with a smile. I’m glad it’s still giving you some good memories and grins!


  3. Lisa, I’m sorry to hear that you spent the last few days nursing a cold. Public transportation of any kind around the holiday is sure to expose one to all sorts of nastiness. I hope you’re well enough to return to work this week. At least it’s only four days and not five.

    I remember reading about your felt circles around the same time I started following your blog. I’m so happy you found both the ways and means to finish it. It’s such a cheerful piece, too.

    Years ago finishing a long-delayed cross stitch pillow while home for a week with some nasty bug. I wonder if I would ever have finished it otherwise?

    It’s nice to see a post from you. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. jennypellett says:

    That’s so interesting, about your ambidextrous-ness! I’m a leftie and have always struggled with sewing and I’m sure it’s because I was taught by a right hander! Your runner is very pretty. I hope you’ll be feeling much better soon. Happy New Year to you!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. haradthelion says:

    That’s so cool! I found it fascinating to read about your being ambidextrous. And the sewing is so good too!


  6. Sylvie G says:

    This is a great table runner. The fact you finished it in the end is to your credit. I hope the cold is gone now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. KerryCan says:

    I love seeing this! I think the penny rug design is one of my all-time favorites–it’s so cheerful and, even though it’s old-fashioned, it has that bold graphic appeal. Good for you for finishing it and enjoying it. And I do hope you’re feeling better now–a cold is a really icky way to start a new year . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      I like the bold graphic design, too–anything geometric and colorful. I’m glad you like it. I’m hoping to have all illness over by starting so early in the year. Let’s hope it works.


  8. Fascinating – Jackie, the most creative person I know, is left-handed – and she doesn’t know her left from her right ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you are better still by now


  9. I love your table runner – and how satisfying to complete a project right away in the new year! I do hope you’re feeling much better now.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Robin says:

    I love your table runner. There’s a playfulness about it. Sorry about the cold, and hope it’s gone away by now. Happy 2017! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Mary Tang says:

    I love the look of the blanket stitch. I would only sew if someone puts a gun to my head these days but I remember making something with felt and blanket stitch and decorating it with chain stitch half a century ago ๐Ÿ™‚ I can even remember that it was pink on grey and I was proud of it. Your runner brought that all back. It is very sweet; like a lot of small worlds.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Bun Karyudo says:

    It looks good. Incidentally, my father is a bit like you when it comes to handedness. He was born left-handed, but was forced to use his right when he was a child. Now he does some things with one hand and some things with the other. I’ll have to observe carefully next time he opens a jar.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Luckily, I was allowed to be left handed, but people would forget and sho me how to do things right handed. Sometimes it worked, other times not. Does your father have trouble knowing left from right?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bun Karyudo says:

        I don’t think so. Not that I’m aware. He seems to know which is which without having to think much about it (as far as I can tell), but he just uses one for certain tasks and the other hand for different tasks.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Laurie Graves says:

    Love that table runner! Be well soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Karen says:

    I love your table runner. They were very popular in New England when we lived there. Sorry you got sick from the passenger behind youโ€ฆhope you are feeling better.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Brenda says:

    Let’s hope you got your illness quota for the year out of the way! And how nice is it to start the year by completing an old project? New beginning with an old ending. There’s something satisfying about that.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. LB says:

    I’m with Pauline, I would have ended up with a wadded up mess! You though, are ambidextrous, and somehow managed to use both right and left hands AND use 3 boxes of tissues!
    Your end result looks great!
    Glad you are feeling better … hopefully, you’ve knocked out all illnesses for the year!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. What a great project with lovely result! I hope your cold is gone? xo Johanna


  18. Woo hoo, indeed! You did well, kiddo.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Lavinia Ross says:

    A beautiful table runner!

    One of my mother’s sisters was ambidextrous, starting out life left-handed. Back in those days, school teachers would tie the left hand of the child behind their back. She was a defiant one, and learned to write equally well with both hands just to show them.

    Liked by 1 person

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