December 19, 2015

Setting a table

I've had time to work on some small projects while I wait for two successive overdyeing stints on Accident-2.  I saw the photo below of fan-shaped placemats on the GE Design blog--a great shape for the round table we have in our kitchen.  

There weren't instructions in the post, but I figured out a pattern and method, starting from some wedges of Marcia Derse fabric that I had leftover from a tablerunner:
I had some mottled hand-dyed fabric on hand that worked really well for the binding.
I liked these two placemats quite a bit, but didn't have enough Marcia Derse fabric for more, and I need four placemats for the table.  I had some Daiwabo fabric leftover from another project, and decided to use that for four more placemats.  I also re-sized the wedges so that there are ten in each placemat rather than seven.  I didn't have enough dark fabric for all the bindings, which is why two are done with light fabric.  Might have been better with all four done in the light fabric, but also fine as is.  I will enjoy using these when we have guests for dinner. 

(Close-up in top photo of this post.)
I've also been working on making napkins from hand-dyed cloth.  We use fabric napkins all the time at home--I've been making them for many years.   I also sometimes give them as house gifts.  I was converted to cloth napkins in 1975, when I was a boarder at a student dormitory run by nuns in Angers, France, where I was doing dissertation research.  One of the requirements was that I bring two cloth napkins.  They were stored in a drawer in the dining area, and you picked yours up before every meal.  When one was dirty, it went into the wash and we used the other.  It had never occurred to me to use the same napkin more than once.  Growing up, we used paper napkins for everyday.  For special meals we used linen napkins, once only and then laundered and ironed.  Part of the discovery was that cotton napkins don't need to be ironed if you smooth them out when they come out of the dryer.  The ones I make have always been from commercial printed fabric, but I thought it might be nice to personalize them more by using fabric I had dyed myself.  My first thought was to dye them as I did bandanas this summer, like these:

But I also thought a napkin would be a good place to use some of the embroidery stitches I practiced when I thought I would be putting a variety of stitches on one of my shot cotton quilts.  So, I've been testing out stitches that might work well for border designs (you can double-click on any photo to enlarge):

And dyeing up samples to see if I can find a range of six colors that I'd like to use.  Here's one set of samples.  Not happy with these, so I will be trying out some others as well.

I'm also testing out a number of different base fabrics.  I found an inexpensive muslin that has a "beefy" hand, nice for a napkin, but it's pretty wrinkled when it comes out of the dryer.  Right now I have several different linen blends (with rayon or cotton) in the dye process, to see whether any of them might be a good option.

And a while back I also finished the crayon quilt I posted about in October.

When I cut the scraps for this quilt, I cut enough for a second quilt as well, so I can give this one away knowing I can easily make another.


  1. I love the curved placemats. What a fabulous idea!! They came out great.

  2. Puting embroidery stitches on these napkins will give you a ready project to take on the road when traveling. I like the mottled fabric because I feel that it will hide any food stains. Lovely idea!