Monday, November 2, 2015

First Charm Pack project completed

Hello, everyone.

As happens, a friend went into the hospital recently. And all that looking at mug rugs and baby things and table toppers combined with that to produce a simple project to give to her: a pitcher mat.

What's a pitcher mat? you ask. It's a cousin to the mug rug and the placemat and the trivet. It is to go under the little water pitcher they put at your bedside in the hospital--those little plastic pitchers sweat all over the table top--and keep a wet blob from forming on the surface.

It involves a quick-pieced heart that uses up parts of various charm pieces. The white fabric was from stash, the top parts of the heart are also from stash, and the bottom, dotted, pieces are from two charm squares. I added a tie ribbon to the opening before stitching it closed.

1. Pick out your colors. I used three 5 inch squares of red prints and enough white 5 inch square to produce the hears, plus an 8.5 inch square of a background fabric and some Warm and Natural batting for the interior.
2. Use Quick piecing to make half square triangles in red and white. How to do quick piecing for the triangles. (This uses up all three of your red squares plus three white ones, and gives you some extra red and white half square triangles.) Press and trim the little "ears." Use a further white square to turn one of your half square triangles into a pair of squares with 1 red quarter square and the remainder of the square in white. (These are the top parts of your heart.) Press. Attach one top part to one bottom part of the heart for the left side, and the other top part to one bottom part for the right side. (Set aside your surplus half square units for later use.) Press. You should now have a tall left side and a tall right side, 4.5 inches by 8.5 inches. Square up your pieces, match the center of the dip of the heart and sew the center seam. Press and trim.

This is the general shape of the heart you're aiming for. You will need to trim the bottom squares to fit with the top ones, as the top ones have one more seam (with seam allowances) than the bottom ones.

At this point, you have some design decisions to make. Don't wait until after it's assembled to decide to embroider words, like I did, unless you like working without access to the back side! There is a big background area open above your heart. You can applique something simple there, avoiding a lump that will make the pitcher wobble, or you can embroider something, or you can leave it blank if the background is making a pleasant appearance. Driver's choice!

If you decide to embroider something, you want to use a flat stitch like chain or stem or similar. Mark your design (here, "Get Well Soon!") and baste the heart square to a piece of scrap muslin so you can hoop the piece and do your embroidery while the back side is accessible to you.You want to avoid big globby knots here and use tiny backstitches to secure the thread--the knots will make the pitcher wobble. After you embroider or applique your embellishment, you proceed to assembling the pitcher mat.

3. Place the heart square and the background square face to face and add the square of batting on one side. Using your walking foot, sew the edges except for your turning opening. Trim the corners so they will go inside without a blob.

4. Turn the square right side out. Gently poke the corners into shape.
5. Cut a piece of tying ribbon big enough to wrap around the rolled mat and tie a bow, fold it so one side is slightly longer than the other, and tuck the fold of the ribbon into the opening. (You want the ends of your bow to be approximately even, so you need to have one tail a little shorter, to account for the difference in ribbon taken up in the parts of the knot.) You may pause to baste here if you wish. to avoid playing with so many pins while assembling this last bit.
6. Close the opening, catching the ribbon in the seam. I used ladder stitch for this.
7. Quilt the outline of the heart and the edge of the square. If you didn't choose to do colored embellishment before, you might want to use quilting to embellish it now. I left the quilting very simple to avoid the risk of large rumples appearing.
8. Give to your recipient when you go visit!