Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hey now, I'm a rock star

That song has been in my head since yesterday. Anyway, I found out late last week that this week is Teacher Appreciation Week and that our classroom families were going to make dinners for Molly's teacher and the assistant teacher. Since there are 21 or 22 families involved, it seemed like that might be a lot of food. So I volunteered to make placemats for them instead. This was late last week, but I had so much momentum going on the castle tote bag that I didn't want to stop doing that. So I started the placemats yesterday morning. And I finished them just after midnight last night. Molly had a long day at school, which helped, but I also worked in the evening, which didn't help.

I first worked on this set for the assistant teacher. I found out that she likes bright, trendy, Amy Butler-ish fabrics. These aren't Amy Butler fabrics, and they aren't even all from the same line, but they go well together. I made the tops from some leftovers from a class sample I did (which also happened to be placemats).The next placemats are for Molly's teacher. She likes dark colors (especially purple) and clean lines. The colors here look much brighter than the placemats do in real life. That one on the top left does not read a pink when you see it in person and the purple border is much darker.
For both sets I made the backs about one inch larger than the fronts and batting, and then wrapped the back to the front for the binding. I normally wouldn't do this, but I wouldn't have been able to hand stitch eight bindings even if I had started these as soon as I heard about the dinners. So this was my solution.

On the first set, I used Steam a Seam, which I had used on the auction quilt, and it worked fine there. But it didn't work fine here. My needle kept getting caught by the SaS and skipped a bunch of stitches. I didn't realize at first why the machine was skipping stitches (and panicked, thinking I wouldn't be able to do the second set), but finally realized why. When I did this on the auction quilt, though, I stitched from the front, so the needle was going through the batting before the binding and SaS. Could this have made the difference? Also, the binding on the auction quilt was bigger so my needle might not have been actually going through the SaS. So, for the second set of placemats, I just used binder clips. This worked well and it will be the way I do this in the future if I do bindings this way.

The other issue I found was that I was unable to truly miter the corner's perfectly. So the corners of the bindings meet, but there's a gap at the corner of the placemat. The effect is that it looks a little like the corners get chopped off. On the plus side, they all look like that, so it looks consistent at least. I also didn't have time to quilt the placemats, so they'll have to be spot clean only unless they want to give them back for a day or two so I can quilt them.