Archive for June, 2010

Someone asked for a tutorial for how I finish my placemats.

This is basically the birthing method – so it’s definitely not original, or new, but it does make a nice placemat.

1) Make the fronts of your placemats – you can use a single solid fabric, or use patchwork or applique, whatever you like. It’s a great way to use up scraps or orphan blocks.I’ve used one of my favorite designs, a couple strips of patchwork on a white background.

The size is up to you – my sample here is on the small side at 11×14. Keep in mind that you’re going to lose a quarter inch seam allowance on each side.

Patchwork Placemat front

2) For each placemat, cut a backing and piece of batting the same size as your fronts.

Batting and Backing for Placemats

3) Assemble the quilt sandwich. But be careful, the order is a little different than most quilting. I’ve layered them out so you can see the order:

Front, right side up

Backing, wrong side up (so the right sides are together)


You, of course, are going to layer them with the edges neatly lined up.

Pin carefully (I’m usually a lazy pinner, but you don’t want things to shift and twist here)

Order for assembling placemats

4) Stitch most of the way around, leaving a gap large enough for your hand to fit through easily. A walking foot helps – if you’re not using one, just be extra careful that things don’t shift.  Whatever foot you use, keep an even, quarter inch seam allowance.

You can use pins to mark your opening, like the picture, but I don’t usually bother. If I  have a choice, I do try to keep the opening away from patchwork seams, so I don’t put stress on them when I’m turning it.

stitching placemat

5) Trim the corners to reduce bulk. Cut the tip of each corner on a 45 degree angle leaving yourself about an 1/8th of an inch seam allowance to the corner.

Trim corners to reduce bulk

6) Turn your placemat. I don’t have a picture here, really, there’s no way to take a picture of this that doesn’t just look like a ball of fabric, and I’m sure you can figure it out. Poke the corners out – I like to use the blunt end of a bamboo skewer, but use whatever, just be careful.

7 ) Press  – paying careful attention to the seams. You want them to lie flat and for the backing and front to make a nice even like. I iron the opening too, I think it makes it easier to stitch it up.

Press turned placemat

8) Which brings me to: hand stitch the opening closed using a ladder stitch. If you don’t know the ladder stitch, here’s a video

9) Top stitch around the edge of your placemat. This helps keep the folded seam in place and gives you a nice edge.

Topstitch 1/4 inch from edge

10) Quilt using the technique of your choice – I used machine-quilted straight, random lines, but you could do free motion or handquilting just as easily.

Quilted placematQuilted detail

That’s it.  Enjoy your  new placemat! Or whatever else you like – I make alot of small projects (coasters, tablerunners etc.)  the same way

set of four quilted placemats - green and white

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I [heart] my farm

I love my farm share – I tend to gush about community and kids running through veggie patches  and real, fresh, local food and…..

Well, I’ll try not to gush too much.

Moving on:  I picked up my first share of the season this week, and already I’m putting up some of it for the winter.

fresh local collard greens in white colander

I get a bigger share than I can keep up with myself, so I freeze and can the excess and have local produce throughout the year.  These collards are headed for the freezer and then into soup some snowy day. (Although, we’ve been in some nasty hot and humid weather pattern that makes snow hard to imagine)

There’s lots of useful information about preserving food out there, but greens are easy.  Remove the ribs, cut (you could do them whole, I guess, but have you looked at the size of a single collard leaf lately?), blanch, bag and freeze.

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I had two (and a half) projects in the works: one quilt that just needs a binding, one on the design wall (and the scraps from that quilt half-pieced into a matching pillow)

So, what project to work on? A totally unrelated pillow, of course.

Quilted pillow - blue and green block with white border

But, I do like these Watercolors blocks.

Blue-green quilted pillow and lapquilt

This one’s in my etsy shop

And, I got the other quilt bound. Just, after I took a detour into pillow making.

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I just finished up a swap organized by the good folks at Modify Tradition

After much hemming and hawing, and anxiety about sewing for someone else. I made this:

Blue and white star quilted pillow for Modify tradition swap

No, not an executive decision/departure from the mini quilt plan. My partner said she planned to make the mini quilt into a pillow, so I just added the envelope back instead of binding.

Here’s the back – Pillow back for Modify Tradition Swap - dark blue with decorative  stitching

And received this lovely:

Mini quilt: cog and wheel pattern from denyse schmidt in blue-green

from Shannon at Pieceful Kwilter.

This one will be hanging in my living room as soon as I can get the hanging rod up.

Close up - cog and wheel mini quilt from piecefulkwilter

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