Tumbling Transparency Placemats
2020 Finished Quilts

Tumbling Transparency Placemats

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.

Placemats after 7 years of use

Placemats after 7 years of use

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!

Placemats after 7 years of use - detail

Placemats after 7 years of use – detail

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.)

Fabric for New Placemats

Fabric for New Placemats

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.

Tumbling Transparency Placemats

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).

Tumbling Transparency Placemats

Tumbling Transparency Placemats

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.

Linking up with Beauties Pageant 67 with Michelle at From Bolt to Beauty.

12 thoughts on “Tumbling Transparency Placemats

  1. That fabric line is perfect for you two. I like the design and the color coordination with the photographs is a fun perk. I have colorful Fiestaware too; not quite rainbow, but close!

  2. vivian383 says:

    These are really cool ! And I am not surprised at all that your previous placemats have lasted 7 years . I’m looking forward to the tutorial for these !

  3. Patti Howard says:

    Oh, I would love the free tutorial, these are lovely! Thank you!

  4. Julie J Vogel says:

    I love both sets! And the tutorial will be right on time as I am getting ready to make some place mats for my daughter in law!

  5. Patty says:

    These look great!

  6. Anja @ Anja Quilts says:

    I really like the pattern. They look great.

  7. Those are very pretty and I’ve been wanting to make place mats for awhile. This would probably be simple enough for even me.

  8. These are perfection – the pattern, the fabric and the coordination with the fiesta ware. I love having placemats and am always so tickled by them. I may try poly next time just to see how crinkly that gets (or doesn’t which is my hope).

  9. These are so cool, Yvonne! And I love that you still plan on using the originals – they look nice and cozy too 😉

  10. I would enjoy the tutorial, if you are considering it. My sister mentioned to me that she uses placemats all the time and would like some handmade, instead of store-bought, ones to use. Your placemats look like a wonderful sight to enjoy while dining.

  11. sgrehome says:

    Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing this free tutorial! I look forward to making these from my stash of Kona Cotton Solids.

  12. Kaja says:

    Like you I am drawn to the worn binding on your original placemats, so I’m glad you are keeping them. These new ones, though, are putting your special Christmas fabrics to great use.

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