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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Host-er with the Most-er Coaster

Welcome to Decembrrrr! It came up so quickly I thought it was going to run me right over. There's a song about that you know....



How are you coming with your Host-er with the Most-er Coasters?

I've been having a blast with them!

Except when I needled my finger in an attempt to rescue my bobbin thread. Nothing a band-aid and a kiss from Mommy wouldn't fix. Sadly, Mom lives 2 hours away.

Sometimes life is hard when you are a grown-up.

My first coasters were to intended to keep condensation that formed on my Diet Pepsi containers from leaving dribbles on my fabric.

The green one with red zigzag was the first one I made. Utilitarian only. Turned out the fabric shrunk by about 50% when I washed it, making it completely unsuitable for sewing of any kind. So I just folded it up and zigzagged around the edges. No batting. Just nasty fabric. Also works great as a trivet when I'm eating at my computer. (Not that anyone does that...)

The cute floral was made with left overs from a charm pack project. Unlike the ones I make now, it doesn't have batting all the way to the edges. I had a scrap of batting that size so I went for it. It's getting kind of raggy now that the dog has gotten big enough to reach everything on my table. Anything that is not tied down has been chewed on it at some point.

I loved Moda's Chance of Flowers fabric line. But then, I never met a Sandy Gervais line I didn't like. My Christmas Tree Skirt is made from her Eat, Drink and Be Ugly line. … But I digress....

Is there a fabric line you loved that disappeared too soon? Tell us about it in the comments.

Coasters aren't just for winter beverages, ya know. The cherry cuties at the top of the photo are made from factory remnants. Somewhere along the way I inherited a whole stack of them. Don't they just look like they are crying out for a frosty glass of lemonade on a hot day? I do wish I had not used variegated thread on the back. I won't do that in the future.
Do you have fabric you inherited? Tell us about it in the comments.

Fat quarters are awesome, am I right? You can get three sets of coasters from two fat quarters. They don't take a lot more time to mark and sew than a 10” square. And for an added bonus, if you own a pinking rotary blade, that would make these super slick to make in quantity. Sadly, I do not own one. Santa?...
Just in case I wasn't having enough fun making coasters with fat quarters, I may branch out and make some larger projects.
That's why the brown and green fat quarter in the photo above is quilted but not cut. I was deciding if it should really become place mats. You can get two place mats from the fat quarters.

Use fabric to coordinate with your kitchen. Cute and fast.
TIP: Whatever you decide to make, don't forget to stitch around 1/4” from the edge of whatever it will be. That will finish all those loose threads so they don't fray out.
I've also been thinking of making some hot pads and trivets from fat quarters.

It would be nice to have matching sets of coasters, hot pads and trivets from the same fat quarter. However, I suggest not doing that. Let me explain why.
It's all about what's inside.
A coaster can get away with just a thin layer of batting or even just another layer of fabric.
Trivets and hot pads need something more substantial.

What's the difference between a trivet and a hot pad, you ask?

Not much, is the short answer.

The real answer includes a product, not used in coasters, called Insul-bright. Don't be afraid.
It's inexpensive and readily available.
  • Trivets go on your serving table to protect the surface or cover. It's nice, but not absolutely necessary, for them to have an additional layer of batting. It depends on the amount of protection you want. A great choice is a layer of Insul-bright insulated lining, along with the cotton batting. The insulation resists heat and the cotton absorbs moisture.

  • Hot pads are used to protect your hands when handling hot items, like taking pans out of the oven or transferring hot dishes from the stove to the table. Because I'm allergic to extreme heat, (it makes my skin turn red and swell up.... yours too? I knew we had stuff in common!) I like to have a layer of Insul-bright sandwiched between two layers of cotton batting.
TIP: Insul-bright has mylar woven throughout. Just like any other metal substance, it should NEVER be used in a microwave oven.

You should also know that not all 100% cotton batting is, in fact, 100% cotton.

One year I made microwave potato baking bags for all my family, only to learn, by sad experience, that the cotton batting I used, while it was labeled 100% cotton, actually had a polyester scrim, which melted in the micro, burned a hole in the bag and created toxic fumes. NO BUENO!

The moral of that story is, if you make anything intended to be used in a microwave, know your batting! If it has scrim, it may not actually be 100% cotton.

I had to notify everyone I'd given the bags to that they should either toss their gift or find another use for it. Also NO BUENO!

After that I didn't make sewn gifts for a couple of years.

This year I'll include a note with care instructions: Machine wash and dry. Warm iron as needed.
NOT Intended for Microwave Use.

I hope you can stay warm and dry AND get your holiday sewing done without stress. If it looks like that may be a problem, read this post about keeping your holiday sewing in perspective.

Share with us your favorite fabric line in the comments. Let us see your style.

And post photos of your beautiful coasters or other holiday projects on the Facebook page.

As always, you can email me at RB.seamlesspiecing@gmail.com.
Let me know what you'd like to read about or learn.

Wishing you a merry December.

See you next week
RB

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