Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Little Means a Lot

Last Thursday evening the store was invited to bring our wares to sell at the London Friendship Quilters' Guild.  Thanks to Anne for her help!
Not only were we able to meet with quilting friends but we got to witness their generosity as well.  Members brought in a stack of placemats to donate to 'Meals on Wheels' in London.  The recipients will get a beautiful placemat to enjoy through the long winter days, knowing someone is thinking about them.  I forget the total number but it has to be close to 100.  The stack had too many for one person to carry. 
Placemats are quick to make up to show someone you care about them.  I'm thinking about a senior without a partner or a couple who don't have family near by, a student or young person on their own, the frazzled single mother who is your favourite cashier or anyone who needs to know someone takes time to think about them.  They only need one or 2 placemats, not the whole matching set of table decor.
I like making placemats out of fat quarters with no binding.  I get to interact with fabrics I love but will never make into a quilt, try a new machine quilting pattern and use up bits and pieces of batting that are too small for other projects but too big to discard (can't bring myself to say 'throw out').  Here's how:
1.  Take the number of fat quarters you want to use for the tops.  I use 4, 6 or 8 but you could use 3, 5, etc if they are not being given as a set.  Press, stack and press together.  Eight is a pile is tricky so use a new large cutting blade.
2.  On paper, draw rectangles to represent the finished size of placemat.  If making 4 placemats, divide to rectangle into 4 sections, unevenly.  If 6, divide into 6.  If 8, divide into 8.  Choose the one you like best as the master pattern. 

3.  Cut the pile of fat quarters into the pieces of your place.  Shuffle the piles.  Leave pile one alone.  From pile two, take the top fabric and move to the bottom.  On pile three, take the top 2 fabrics and move them to the bottom of the pile.  On pile four, take the top three fabrics and move them to the bottom.  Continue this way until all piles are shuffled so each placemat has one of each fabric. 
4.  Each layer is a placemat.   Sew the pieces back together.  You may have to trim some edges to make them even but this is not an exact method and all placemats don't have to be identical. 
5.  Trim all placemats to be the same size.  We have a 20.5" ruler to make it easier.
6.  I like to layer the batting, back right side up and top right down on the backing.  Sew around the outside edge, leaving an opening to turn through to the right side.  Trim batting to seamline.  Turn.  Press and topstitch around the outside edge 1/8" and the 1/4" for stability. 
7.  Machine quilt.  I like to try different designs.  I don't do much machine quilting so I like to try different ideas.  In a hurry, I go zig zaggy all over.
Here are 4 fat quarters.  They are quilted in rectangles (presents), tress, icicles and ski slopes (wavy overall)

Here are 6 fat quarters.  I still want to try 8.  I figure they would look good placed in the middle of a table for a modern style tablerunner look.
So makes lots, give away many and know you have brightened some one's world.

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