Tag Archives: placemats

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.

Quilting Fun

Everybody loves a quilt. They are cozy and comforting, cuddly and warm. That was how quilts used to be anyway. Now, in addition to those comfy quilts, we have quilting in artwork, wall hangings, placemats, clothing, purses, beach bags, and table runners. The sky is the limit when it comes to design.

Making a quilt used to be something that only grannies did, but recently it is becoming a very popular hobby among people of all ages. Granted, most of them are women, but at least we don’t have to be grannies to learn how to make quilts and projects using quilting.

I recently signed up for four lessons on getting started in quilt making. I had made three quilts before, but I knew they were clumsy efforts, and when my old, old, superold sewing machine packed it in, I bought a Bernina with all the gadgets needed for quilting. Trouble was, I didn’t know what to do with them.

The quilting course was perfect for getting me started learning how to do it right, and at the same time teaching me how to use the very fancy sewing machine I had bought.

The mug rug below with the red checkered pieces is made from an old work shirt, remnants of a pair of jeans, and the extra material from a pair of coveralls that were too long. It’s a “man’s mug rug.”001

The placemat below is also made by throwing bits of material together. This time the material was all new, but the pattern came out of my head. I must have been craving Chinese food because it looks to me as if it belongs in a Chinese restaurant.??????????

Below, is the starter quilt from my first sewing class. It’s far from perfect but it made me happy to learn how to put it together.??????????

Now that I look at these two mug rugs (below), it looks like the pink one is a bit skewed. It shouldn’t affect the coffee cup that will be placed on it. This is the beauty of being a beginner. No one expects perfection and there is always another mug rug to make for more practice.??????????

I love the idea of using old bits of material to make a new quilt. In the clumsy quilts I made long ago, I had pieces of blouses, skirts, and shirts that were too worn out to wear, but still too good to throw away completely. I felt better when I could recycle them.

Quilts have so much to say. I look at one of the old ones and hear a  scrap of blue shirt say to me, “I saw dolphins in Baja.”

Another shirt scrap says, “I chopped a lot of wood.”

Yet another, “I was your favourite shirt until that nail tore me apart.”

“I was a skirt you never liked because the waistband was too tight.” (Oof! Okay, I’ll go on a diet.)

“I was a fancy scrap your mother bought at Goodwill 40 years ago.”

Here is one of the old quilts I made and became unhappy with once I saw how poorly I had sewn it 30 years ago. I took it apart and did a major overhaul on it. I’m much happier with it now, in spite of the inevitable flaws that still crept in.


I have extra placemats now, so drop by for lunch any time.


 And the fun continues when I go for another sewing lesson next week.