It’s been a bit of a rough road. My asthma got so severe in January I couldn’t stand long enough to do any sewing. I thought it was bronchitis but turns out my airway was so swollen I could barely breathe. It took waking up to my lips being a shade of purple to convince me I should go to the hospital. My breathing is much improved! I’ve been getting quite a bit of sewing done in the last two weeks, and it’s been worth the wait.
Sorry, Mom, for making your holiday gifts so belated!!! She’s getting work-in-progress pictures to hold her over until I finish these.
So, she asked me very specifically to make a set of blue/green/aqua place mats. She loves the set I made a couple years ago. They’re all shades of summer and citrus, and they’re on her dining room table everyday. Now she wants a change in color. Who am I to deny her such a wonderful gift?
For this set I’m using a collecting of fat quarters she gave me. They’re BEAUTIFUL! Absolutely perfect for this set. I also decided to make mats using foundation paper piecing (I’m hooked, okay?). The blocks are from AQS Blog, and they’re the Colorado and Hawaiian state blocks. They finish at 12.5×12.5 inches each. That’s just ONE block. After I decided on the blocks I had to figure out where I want the fabric to be. That’s the tricky part! Graph paper and color pencils are your friends.
That’s just the Colorado block. I had to be sure of what I wanted to do because FPP is rather tricky sometimes. Lessons learned, my friends.
I didn’t have enough fabric to make four identical mats, so instead I made two sets of two mats. The fabrics are from the same collection, which makes it a perfect mesh of “they go together”.
The soft green in the corners is actually a sort of sage/sea green. Not quite pastel. The camera on my phone didn’t want to play nice, but pictures I take later when all four are done will look much better. As you can see, I did make a few changes. Namely to the border. The border is a batik leftover from a previous project. I usually get at least 1/2 yard more than I need for large projects if I really love a print.
My mother helped me figure out what to use for the binding. Her mats, her call. Thankfully we both agreed on the same fabric. Yay!
The binding add that nice bit of closure and bring it all together. For this particular block I wanted it to start dark in the middle and work its way out to being lighter. I also wanted it to sort of look like blossom floating on the water. Do you think I achieved that?
As for using the block again, that’s a yes. It’s fairly easy, but the all the pieces do result in the unwelcome bump in the center. A tip from my mother: for large FPP blocks start sewing in the middle and work your way to the corner. Then do the same for the other direction. This will make it less messy in the middle. Yup! Totally worked. Saved me a big headache.
Now as for the second block…it’s beautiful. And a pain in the butt to make.
Those small rectangular sections with the light triangle? I got so angry at those. A lot of fabric was wasted because of the way it folds over when the seams are pressed. I just couldn’t wrap my head around how to get a rectangle to lay right. Ugh! I had little yellow pieces cut out with the butterfly print in the center. Nope, did not work one bit. So I have a lot of those pieces left. I ended up using most of the yellow for the triangle and the batik for the strips. May have been a sign from the high heavens because the result is far superior to what i had on paper.
See why I want to make a quilt with this? GLORIOUS! That strip I was angry at will be a single piece if I make a quilt using this. A strip the same color as the center strip on the corners. I think I’ll make this again, as a lap quilt, using a collection of yardage I have. The two place mats used three fat quarters each!
Back on topic…
The result is stunning. I’m going to use the last untouched fat quarter for binding this one. It’s a butterfly and feather print, but looser than the one you see here.
My mother requested I make the place mats large, hence why they’re 18 x 16 inches when finished. I might make a set of coasters for her using the scraps, but that’ll be a Mother’s Day gift, which I have plenty of time to make. I’ll make some wonky log cabin blocks at 6 x 6 inches finished. That’ll be easy and quick.
What do you think about these? The first block is great for beginners, the second for intermediate and up. Unless you turn that one strip into a single piece, in which case it’ll be for a confident beginner.
For tips and tricks, and free easy lessons on foundation paper piecing, check out Teresa Down Under. She’s the one who taught me out to do FPP! I absolutely blame her for getting me so hardcore hooked on this. There are some blocks you simply cannot make without using FPP. The paper I use is cheap low-quality computer printing paper. I tried newsprint, but it was too flimsy.
Now I must return to the sewing room to finish these up. They’ll all be hand-quilted as well, because that’s how I roll.