When Sandra from mmm!quilts posted about making placemats earlier this month, it got me thinking. A little over 7 years ago, in Novemer 2012, I made a set of 4 placemats for my husband and I to use at home based on a tutorial by Alissa, one of the co-founders of the Modern Quilt Guild.
I didn’t reduce the presser foot pressure when I was quilting them. The placemats are a bit wonky as a result of the quilting distortion, but they are a good reminder of how far my skills have progressed. And wonky or not, we have used them heavily (and enjoyed them) for over 7 years!
I have been really impressed with how well the placemats have held up. They have had salsa, beet juice, wine, and all kinds of other food and drink spilled and rubbed into them and they always come out of the wash clean and ready to use again. Like all of my most used quilted items, the binding is what is really starting to show the years of use. I love their memories and wabi-sabi nature. The more I considered, the more I thought that it might be time to make a new set, but this time I wanted to make something to reflect my design aesthetic and match our home. (Note that I am keeping the older placemats and plan to keep using them as well.)
I immediately thought of the new Carolyn Friedlander fat quarters that my mom gifted to me as a Christmas gift. My husband is especially taken with the topographical map style print. The fabric and limited amount of fabric then inspired the final product, the Tumbling Transparency placemats.
We have a colorful set of Fiestaware dishes (that I keep stacked in rainbow order, obviously), and I think these placemats will be the perfect compliment for them. I opted to machine bind the placemats, and I was able to cut the fabric, piece, quilt, and bind them all on Saturday. The quilting is a one inch grid, and I used matching 50wt Aurifil thread to the darkest print in each placemat for the quilting and binding stitching: 2692 (black), 2887 (very dark olive), 2235 (orange), and 2725 (light wedgewood).
The placemats even seem to compliment my husband’s nature photography that we have pinned up on display. Since his photography inspires a lot of my work, it’s fun to see them grouped together and being used. The placemats finished at 16 1/2″ wide by 12 1/2″ tall, and I look forward to seeing how they crinkle after their first wash, but I’m going to opt to use them and get them dirty before washing them the first time.
I’ll be back later this week with a free tutorial if you are interested in creating your own version of these placemats; one placemat can be made from a fat quarter of two different fabrics with a small scrap needed of a third fabric.