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Stitching gifts

Good evening StitchyMites :) It seems to have become my habit to sit at the end of a Wednesday to write to you! I know that on the other side of the world its your morning but the Aussies must wonder what I’m about with this Wednesday night malarkey. It’s quite a nice little Wednesday habit I’ve developed really. When I finish work for the day, I sit and have a chat to you all. Maybe this will revert back to a Wednesday morning when my summer holiday starts and I’m footloose and fancy free? Time will tell I suppose.

I had planned to have a little project for you all to make this week, two in fact! And instead I didn’t get either of them done. I had a good excuse I promise. Final edits of the four new BOM books I’m releasing in late January have almost been completed (Rainy Days and Sun Rays, Homeward Bound, Merry and Bright and The Secret Garden are all available for preorder at my website right now), I finished my Secret Garden quilt and sent it off to the printer, and finished the templates and associated bits and pieces for the final month of the pattern. If you’re in the BOM here’s a little sneaky peek of the finished quilt top! I love the little squirrel in the top corner, I was particularly happy with his tail.

So its been a busy week and I didn’t get any of the Christmas stitching that I was going to share with you done. Instead, I will have the little Christmas stocking project next week, and you can have a little look at what I’m making for my daughter in law and I’ll give you the templates for that next week too!

Lizzie (my DIL, my eldest son Charlie’s new wife), saw on Instagram a few months ago a table cloth and some placemats that she just loved. She likes to send me links to little crafty projects, sometimes to see if I think she could make them, or to ask for help to make them, and sometimes just to show me. It's absolutely lovely, because I haven’t had anyone in my family who was interested in sewing or any kind of craft since I lost my beautiful Mum 24 years ago. I’ve taught Lizzie to knit, and she is inheriting my old Janome this summer as I have just bought myself a shiny new Kaffe Fassett Bernini. But I digress.

She saw these lovely things and sent me the link admiring them, but also marvelling that they were nearly $400 each!! I pointed out that they were hand embroidered so I could see why someone wanted to charge that much for the time they put in, but agreed it was a lot to pay for placemats.

So I designed some myself, and I’ve started stitching four of them for Christmas as one of her gifts. Here is the one in progress. It’s just backstitch, and I’ve used Aurifil 12 weight, so I don’t even have to seperate the stranded cotton. The mats are two layers of natural coloured linen with nothing in between, and I am embroidering through both layers of the linen (very simple, not really for heat rather for decoration and for not scratching the table). If you wanted to make them more heat resistant, you could put batting in, but then I would recommend embroidering the linen first before you stitch the mats up.

All four of the mats will be different - same plates and fork and knife, but with different placement of the cutlery and different foods. This one has two oysters and a slice of lemon, and I’m planning strawberries and asparagus, a baguette and some cheese, and something else I haven’t decided yet.

If you would like to make some too, during this week you can sew the placemats up and next week I’ll post the embroidery templates and give you a little backstitch and colonial knot tutorial. To make your mats (without batting) -

  • For one mat, cut two rectangles, each 14 1/2” x 18 1/2”. Place the two rectangles right sides together (if it’s linen, it won’t matter). Pin. Starting halfway down on a short side, sew all the way around the rectangles using a 1/4” seam, leaving a 3” gap on the side you started on to turn the mat through to the right side.

  • Turn the mat through and press it well. Turn the edges of the 3” gap over by 1/4” and slip stitch the gap closed using matching thread. Press the mat again well, and then stitch all the way around the mat again, 1” in from the edge, to make a decorative border.

I made four mats - you can make loads if you like, or just two! Either way I will give you a knife, fork, plate and some food next Wednesday.

Have fun peeps and I will be back next week with placemats and little stockings, which are actually another fun way to set your table! Happy stitching

Sarah xx