You can't just put varnish on a wooden table after sanding it. When you sand the table down, depending on the grit of the sandpaper, you have streaked lines going down the wood. If you just try to put varnish on the wood it won't fill in properly, causing very small bubbles under the surface. When the varnish dries these bubbles turn whitish or make the texture of the wood feel very bumpy.
What you need to do is find a fine grit sandpaper, re-sand down the table, get stain first and rub down the entire table with stain. Wait until the stain is dry (I usually wait an entire day and leave heat lamps over what I am putting a finish on), and then using a dry SOFT cloth (nothing rough) wipe down the table again as to ensure there are no particles sticking up. Now you can coat the table in varnish, however, when you coat it the table you want to apply just enough to cover the entire table, yet not to much to have ANY pools of it. Wait 24 hours (it's not recommended to do this in colder weather as the varnish won't adhere to the stain), and apply another coat. Repeat. Repeat. Keep repeating until you get the texture and look you are looking for.
I guess it's convenient I work at Home Depot after all.