What with holidays and the mad rush to get ready for that and dealing with the aftermath on returning of putting everything back again combined with a bit of lost sewing motivation after doing the quilt for the Festival of Quilts, there’s not been masses of sewing going on. But yesterday the urged itched and having a completely empty day (which was wonderful) I decided to just play with fabric and try something new. OK meals had to be prepped for the children but I’m one down as no. 2 son is on camp this week, and he’s the messiest one, particularly when he has free time, so the stars were aligned!
I’d seen this stunning quilt by Laura of Slice of Pi on IG and couldn’t work out how it was made. Normally I have a fair idea but this one stumped me. Laura however had revealed all in her blog about the quilt and refers to an excellent tutorial by Lorrie on how to make an interleave quilt. It looked the perfect technique to play with on my ‘day off’.
I needed a table mat for the small table I use for hot drinks in the lounge. In the absence of a coaster I use an old newspaper or magazine. Not very attractive and over time the dreaded white rings have appeared. And as a quick and easy project this seemed the perfect thing.
First the fabric. I wanted warm colours to go with the room’s decor.
As I was playing and not sure of the outcome first stop was my drawer of large scraps. They also include ugly fabrics I’ve bought on a whim but now can’t abide. The dark bronze fabric there in the centre above is a perfect example, I liked the colour but then when it arrived with a pattern of spider webs on it this arachnophobic was suddenly less keen. I thought using this method the pattern wouldn’t be noticeable.
As as aside and an example of my fear of spiders we had a whopper the other day which had both myself and my daughter clutching each other with horror. Of course neither son was nowhere to be seen. If we’d been hyperventilating less I would have put something alongside it to give it scale but the birthday card below gives you some idea.
Now I’m sure readers in more exotic locations will be tittering at how pathetic this is compared to their native spiders but for the UK it was big. I’m not sure what any passer by would have made of a middle aged woman running out of the house clutching a vast quantity of paper towel wherein lay the offending spider and then barely holding in her screams throwing it to the ground and dashing back in!
Anyway back to the technique. I won’t replicate it in detail here but basically you sew strips together then after making a tube you cut out a curvy shape so you are left with pieces like this. Lorrie’s tutorial gives all the necessary information. She emphasises that contrast between fabrics is important.
Then basically you cut off strips which then get sewn directly onto batting in a ‘quilt as you go’ fashion. I chose to use Annie’s Soft and Stable which is a relatively structured wadding (hence the name). I stretched out the wadding and the cats always love it when this happens and it became an impromptu tunnel and they were having such a great time playing with it. But before I managed to get a picture of the fun they’d started fighting! Just like children…
This product while pricey is perfect for projects like this where you need some firmness like in this divided basket I made for a gift recently. This proved a good choice as it has given the mats some substance and the texture of the quilting is wonderful.
It was fun to watch the curved gradually appear. As you will see I wasn’t bothered by being too perfect, this was playtime after all and after the FoQ quilt where I tried so hard for it to be as perfect as possible doing the same here was too much like hard work!!
The first mat turned out too big for the small table so I did a second. I’d got into the swing by then. I was very pleased with the finished products and they will be practical as well as looking good.
It’s certainly worth doing again perhaps for a new mat for the kitchen table. Whether I do an entire quilt is another matter, but a few tips for next time.
1. I used .75″ inch strips for the larger mat but these were very time consuming and didn’t show the curve as quickly. The smaller of the two mats had slices of 1 inch which worked well.
2. Lorrie has some excellent curve templates. I cut my curves freehand and although I don’t regret that decision if I were doing it again I think I would use one of her templates. I’d also think about making the curves a bit more curvy certainly for a smaller project.
3. Using Soft and Stable was excellent. It is pricey but gives the real feel of substance.
4. Copying Laura’s quilt I think I would make my columns of fabric narrower so there was more variation. I would also go for solids or patterns that read as solid so the contrast is greater.