How To Sew a Heartbeat Table Runner | Quick Column Quilts by Nancy Zieman



No matter the size—table runner to king—you can sew a quick column quilt in a heartbeat! Colorful accent strips in a variety of widths make up the heartbeat pattern, while the subdued one-color strips add a perfect background for the design. In my book Quick Column Quilts you’ll find this design sewn in various sizes including a baby and queen-sized quilt. In this post, I’ve scaled down the design to a table runner size, 24″ x 57″. See all the different ways to adapt this method in my book or watch Quick Column Quilts Part One on Sewing With Nancy.

Create Strip Sets

Prepare assorted scrap fabrics (or fat quarters) and white yardage, by stabilizing all fabrics with spray starch, then cut:

  • Cut twenty-four to twenty-eight crosswise strips 2″–4″ wide  x 12-1/2″ long.
  • Cut the same number and same widths of background strips. (We chose white.)





  • Pair printed fabrics with background fabrics.





  • Use 1/4″ seam allowances to join the short ends, right sides together.
  • Stitch 1/4″ seams at each end of the strip set to create a tube.





  • Stitch strips continuously to save time.
  • Clip the thread between each strip set.






  • Press all seam allowances flat to set the stitches. Then, press seams open.





Determine Heartbeat Layout

  • Fold each tube in half, varying the amount of printed fabric that is visible.
  • Cut the folds of each tube.






  • Sort the cut tubes, leaving the top strip for the top of the heartbeat and the bottom strip for the bottom.






Complete the Table Runner

  • Stagger the strips for the top and bottom, separately, in an interesting arrangement.






  • Use a 1/4″ seam to stitch pairs of strips for the top half of the heartbeat. Press seams open. Stitch all pairs to create the top.






  • Use 1/4″ seams to stitch the pairs of strips for the bottom half of the heartbeat. Press seams open. Stitch all pairs to create the bottom.






  • Use a 1/4″ seam allowance to join the heartbeat top and bottom halves, right sides together.
Note from Nancy: When pinning the top and bottom halves, keep in mind that the strip sets will not match up and you will not need to concern yourself with matching intersections. This is a very forgiving pattern.






  • Use a stiletto to help guide the seam allowances under the presser foot.






  • Press the seam open.

Quilting with Decorative Stitches

  • Prepare the quilt for traditional machine quilting. Create a quilt sandwich, layering the quilt top, batting, and backing. Hand baste or pin baste the layers together. 
  • Use color-coordinating thread in the needle and bobbin.
  • Choose a decorative machine stitch. I chose 7-049, a stacked circle design, on my Baby Lock.





Note from Nancy: Use the recommended presser foot for the chosen decorative stitch. Although you are quilting with your sewing machine, you do not need a Walking Foot or a special free-motion quilting presser foot for this technique.





  • Begin in the middle of the table runner and work outward. Stitch a single repeat of the decorative motif.

How To Sew a Heartbeat Table Runner | Quick Column Quilts by Nancy Zieman



  • Add decorative stitches at the recommended intervals listed on the batting packaging.

Note from NancyI generally add a decorative stitch every 3″–4″ in random intervals.

  • In my blog posing this Saturday, April 25, I’ll detail the easy steps of sewing a scrappy binding for your table runner.

Scrappy Binding | Quick Column Quilts | Nancy Zieman



Watch Quick Column Quilts on Sewing With Nancy online.

To watch Sewing With Nancy on your iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone, download the app.







Quick Column Quilts by Nancy Zieman



Simply leave a comment telling us your favorite colors to use in quilts, to be entered to win a copy of Quick Column Quilts by Nancy Zieman. A random winner will be announced April 28.

Nancy Zieman's Giveaway Winner

The random winner of the Hot and Handy Projects book from last week’s blog is Kathy in MN who said: As a Packer fan in Minnesota—definitely out of Green Bay Packer material. There would be no question that it was mine!

Hot and Handy Projects Book by Nancy Zieman

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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