It’s that time of year again – Christmas is looming, presents still to be bought/made, decorations to be found in the loft, rooms tidied away ready for visiting relatives and seemingly vast quantities of food to be bought, prepared, and eaten. So – yet again, I’m doing a runner! Seriously?

Well, not quite. I teach patchwork and have done for more years than I would care to admit to. At this time of year everyone wants to ‘do a runner’. Before you envisage us all running for the hills (and it is tempting!) what they want to do is make a Christmas table runner. Each summer sees me trying to come up with a new design and making this year’s runner – preferably with the new fabric that has just come into the shop (it helps to sell it, you know!) but sometimes with fabric from my stash. This runner goes into the shop as the sample to display and as encouragement to sign up for the workshop. Sometimes the design proves very popular and I find myself running the same workshop more than once, or even twice. And each time I do it I need to have part-made ‘bits’ to demonstrate each step (also known as ‘Blue Peters’), which results in yet another finished runner, or two.

Each year sees me foisting these runners onto unsuspecting members of the family and unwary friends who drop by; but I am running out of these relatives and friends. Not only that but I now don’t have a long table – I have a round one – so a runner is not a lot of use, although the shorter ones will fit on the desk (unused over the holidays) or on various blanket chests. (And in case you are wondering – that is the floor you can see in the background of these photos – as is obvious in the final photo in this ramble). I keep thinking of giving them away to charity shops or as raffle prizes – after all, the drawer they live in the rest of the year is at bursting point. But . . . so many of them hold memories (such as the Father Christmas one which I made with my daughter back when she was a Young Quilter) or are too new to give away just yet. So I have a drawer full of Christmas runners.

I do try to ring the changes and persuade students that a table centre, set of table mats, tree skirt, small wall-hanging, advent tree, any or all of these would be fun to make.

But runners are always the favourite. Anyone else joining me in ‘doing a runner’ this month?

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