wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Scraps

Bits and pieces are always left over no matter what project you sew. This year, our quilt guild suggested that we all try to make something out of the many scraps we have accumulated. I thought it was a perfect idea since my sewing room was loaded in “useless” bits of fabric.
Enthusiastically, I started putting the bits together. Hours (or maybe days and weeks) later, I realized what a huge job it would be to make a big quilt out of all these tiny pieces. So I began to think small.

I came up with four placemats made of scraps. Don’t look for perfection. They are only scraps.


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Quilted Aquarium

At last, at last, at last! I’ve finished the fish placemats after working on them for weeks. After sewing strips together to represent the pebbly ocean floor and the sea, I had to cut out shapes for seaweed, rocks, various kinds of imaginary fish, and a few turtles thrown into the mix.

These all had to be ironed on with “Heat and Bond” and then sewn into place with a small blanket stitch.

Then the batting and backing were put on and the quilting began.

Today I finished the binding around the edges.

There is a set of four, with a darker ocean floor, and a set of six with a lighter floor.

Don’t look too closely. There are mistakes all over the place, but after the first blob of gravy drops on the placemats, that won’t matter anymore.


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Something Fishy

There’s something fishy going on in my house these days. After making a set of eight “fishy” placemats, I felt encouraged by what I learned from the many mistakes I had made.  I decided to try two more, and fix the problems I had before.

I made two major changes.

One:

I cut out the all the pieces and had them ready to place. I ironed “Heat and Bond” on all of them and had them ready to iron onto the background, building the scene with all the characters present at once. In my trial runs, I had done the pieces of fish, rocks, and seaweed, one  at a time. It was so much easier to have all the pieces ready to put into the scene at once.

Two:

I set my stitch smaller for the applique part where I sewed around the edges of each piece, and matched the thread to the individual pieces rather than using one colour for everything. It’s hard to see the scales on the light blue fish (or any of the others) but if you can enlarge the photo you can see them.


The backing is the same on both.


Take care when using placemats

That have a fishy scene,

The big black grinner prowls around

But tries to look serene.

*

Beware the Dark Invader

Who lurks by every meal,

He has a constant hunger

Yet nothing does appeal.

*

The blue fish is too pretty,

The salmon are too fast,

The tiny little tropicals

Don’t make a meal to last.

*

The starfish are too crunchy,

Their skin is rough and tough,

And all the meat inside them

Is made of gooey stuff.

*

So Darky’s on the lookout 

For tourists diving here

He’d gladly nibble on their toes

Or on their scuba gear.

*

Their underwater camera 

Would fall right from their hands

And Darky could then pick it up

And make his own demands.

*

He’d slip along the hotel pool

Straight to the swim up bar

He’d swap that camera for a drink

And watch them from afar.

*

The fun he’d have inside this place,

The shocking looks he’d get,

He’d frighten daylights out of them

Although he’s just a pet.

*

So when you use the Darky mats

And eat your fancy food,

Be sure to drop some crumbs for him

To maintain his good mood.

***


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Underwater Quilting

No, I didn’t quilt these placemats underwater, but I felt like I was drowning in my work at times. Here are two finished and six not finished placemats I worked on while at the quilting retreat.

I wanted to make up the scenes as I went along, so no two placemats are the same. (The one below is finished except for the binding.)

However, you may notice a reappearance of the dark invader, my Darth Vader fish, in several of the placemats. His job is to see that you don’t eat too much at one sitting.

Miss Prissy Fishy below lets the others know that she has special protection from Darky. Who knows what favours she supplies?

So Darky concentrates on other unearthly looking fish for his supper.

And yet, he must wonder why he has no friends. Look at them scramble to get away.

“Miss Prissy Fishy,” says Pretty Boy, “why are you ignoring me?  See how talented I am. I can touch my toes. And anyway, don’t you know that good things come in small packages?”

“I heard that, Pretty Boy,” bubbles Darky, “but in the case of eat or be eaten, just remember that size matters. Oh dear, now look what I’ve done. I’ve upset Little Blue Wonderfish.”

Disclaimer via Darky: Not responsible for any fish swimming upside down.


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More Placemats

About a year ago I was going to make a big cushion. I had strips sewn together. The pattern called for a paper-pieced design on top of those strips, but somehow I could never find the enthusiasm to get going on it.

One day I got brazen and cut the cushion square into four pieces. These would be the center of my replacement project, a set of placemats. I wanted a minimum of six placemats though, so I sewed a few more strips together and cut them in half to make two more center parts.

I added some filler strips on the sides to make a longer rectangle, and then decided on a border. Triangles in two bands, top and bottom, should add some interest. I hadn’t made triangles in squares for a while, and had to think about it.

Here they are below, right sides together. I drew a line from corner to corner and sewed  a quarter inch from each side of the line, then cut along the line.

Open up and press. That gives you the squares with two triangles shown above.

I sewed the squares together in rows of eight and then sewed the triangle strips to the top and bottom of each placemat.

After putting batting and a backing on the flimsy (top), I did a bit of quilting in the center parts. Then I put binding around it, and voilà, a placemat made of a recycled cushion.

Don’t look too closely. It’s not perfect, but I feel good about having salvaged the remnants of one project, and used up many scraps at the same time.