Thursday, July 29, 2010

Placemat Tutorial

I got back from 10 days in the bay area visiting good friends which means i can reveal one of my secrete projects: placemats for Sara. I actually thought I would do a quick tutorial on how to make them because they have become one of my favorite go to gift projects.

I use 100% cotton fabric and batting. Make sure to prewash all fabric before hand, this means that once they are finished the placemats are machine washable. And really let's be honest here, placemats should always be machine washable.

You will need:

1 yard of fabric of the for the top of the placemat

1 yard coordinating facric for the back

cotton batting

rotary cutter/cutting surface


sewing machine

needles and thread

Step 1: Cut Top, Back and Battling:

Cut the fabric you wish to be the top side- I cut my 12"x16" but measure a placemat whose size feels right for you and go with that. The size you cut the top will more or less be the end size of the placemat.

Cut the back out of a corresponding color. For these placemats I got a little crazy and cut 2" more for the backing so the back measured 14"x16". I think I did this because I was super tired when I made them and this was easy to calculate but you don't need more than an 1" or a 1/2" all around.

Lay the top piece on top of battling and cut around the edge so your battling is the same size as the top piece. The battling has a sticky quality so you most likely not need pins. Also if you are a tab short of battling in one place you can tug a bit, battling is very forgiving stuff. (note if you lay the top fabric print side up when you are cutting the battling you don't have to separate and realign these later)

Step 2: The Sandwich

The battling and top are already nicely stuck to each other now lay the top and battling on top of the back with the wrong side of the backing facing up: you will then have back fabric (wrong side up), battling, top fabric (right side up). Place the battling and top piece roughly in the center of the back fabric. Now if you need to you can get out a ruler and do this just so but I eye ball it and it seems to work okay.

Step 3: Pin

Place pins through all three layers all over so that it doesn't shift when quilting.

Step 4: Quilt

Take a deep breath this isn't that scary, promise. This is a great way to get the hang of small quilting by machine. You can trace a pattern or make straight lines. I do meandering thing myself not really straight with a bit of curve to it. **Make sure to back stitch at the beginning and end. I usually sew to from on edge to the other and instead of breaking the thread stitch down an inch or so and start the next line of stitches in the other direction.

Step 5: Edge

Roll the edge over and pin.

Again, due to late night project time I didn't do mitered corners. I simple rolled the next side over and pinned it down.

Step 6: Sew Edge

If you are on a sewing machine roll by all means sew down the edge with the machine. I like to slip stitch the edge in place. I really can't tell you why I prefer this but I do.

So there you have it: placemats. Simple, fairly easy and machine washable. This is a great weekend project even for a beginner.

You Got to Know when to Hold um and Know When to Fold Um

We leave for CA today to see some of my all time favorite folks and their wee ones.
I have been burning the midnight oil trying to finish Miss Amelia's quilt until Sunday night when I realized, on my 3 try to back and quilt it that I was having no fun. In fact I was having the opposite of fun and sounding awful lot like a truck driver in the process. And so I took a deep breath and realized this was not meant to be a marathon it is meant to be a gift of love. I was pushing so hard to get things down that I was cutting corners in ways I didn't like. I was using a sheet as the backing rather than quilting fabric because I didn't have time to get out to a fabric store, I was also using cotton batting because that is what I had even though I thought this quilt needed loft.
And so I stopped. I do not need to finish this before we leave. It is a quilt meant to wrap a little one in love not frustration. So I pulled off the back, gave it a good shake out and folded it up. When we get beck from San Fransisco I will finish it and enjoy it. I will have the right tools for the job and a few deep breaths.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Grace and Nyla's goodies

I have several very cool projects that you all are going to have to wait to see because they are in the top secrete status. All I can say for now is that they are very cool and you will all like them a lot once you see them.
As I try to crawl out of the hole of 33 babies in a year I have turned to one of my favorite crafts stencils. This outfit is for Ms. Grace born this year to two friends from college.

Now Grace has a big sister named Nyla and because i don't believe in leaving out big sister's and brother's I made Nyla a sweatshirt...

...and yes I understand that this makes the hole of 33 grow exponentially.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Amelia's Quilt

For those I have not complained to about this I know 33 babies born in the last 14 month. Yes that is right 33. There must have been rolling blackouts or something that i didn't know about cause there is a population boom! To be fair I also blame facebook. How does a social networking site make more babies you ask? Well I wouldn't say that facebook is causeing folks to cuddle up more, however, it is causing me to know about more of them. I have friends from college that I had lost touch with only to find them and there soon to be offspring on-line.
This baby boom has cause a wee bit of crafting stress in my life. There are several little ones that I would have done something but the craft debt is getting pretty high. It is almost bad enough that I want to just hide my head under the covers until these kiddo's go to college. But alas some of them are very special much anticapated bundles of joy that I really want to make something for. So slowly but surely i am crawling out of the craft debt. It isn't easy, especially because the longer it takes to make something the bigger the kid gets which means the bigger the item you see the issue here people!
I am traying to stick with the motto of "keep calm and craft on". At the top of the list is a quilt for Miss Amelia. She is now 8 months old and my guy and I are going to visit her for the first time at the begining of August. Her folks are some of my favorite people on the planet and so I put my noise to the sewing machine and got cranking. And after a long weekend of patch work I have a top.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Some of you may know about the wonderful land of Etsy and others may not. For those that don't know it is a place where crafter and makers of all kinds can sell their wear. I have a site, sadly with nothing on it at the moment but that is another story.

One thing you can do on etsy is post what is called a treasury which is a collection of things you like all together. I decided to do one on call The Not so Permanent Love of Tattoo's
which you can check out here