Thursday, November 29, 2012

Made it through Thanksgiving and now getting ready for the Christmas holidays!  The fun is just beginning.  I have, however, been busy since October working on Christmas wall hangings, potholders, candle mats, table runners, ornaments, coasters, etc.  In other words, I’ve been sewing my behind off!

 I did want to mention that we are in the middle of a drought in the part of the South that I live in.  We have a little pond in our backyard which is practically drying up.  The sad thing is that we have quite a few catfish that are extremely large and I’m worried about what they are going to do.  They are my pets and I feed them everyday in the spring and summer.  The last drought we had they must have buried themselves in the mud and that is probably what they are doing this time. 

 This picture was taken a week ago. . . .

 And this picture was taken today . . .

 Just pray for some rain, please!

One of the many go-to projects that I do for quick gifts are coasters.  These coasters are fast, quick, and super cute and functional!  I first heard about these coasters from our local quilt shop at the time.  I didn’t sew much then and they looked so complicated that I almost didn’t try them.  One of the owners showed me in steps how easy they were and I bet I’ve made 30 sets since then.  They make a wonderful hostess gift, teacher gift, or just to give to someone that is special to you.  And especially make several sets for yourself.  They wash up beautifully and work great keeping “rings” off of your furniture.

I’m not sure exactly who came up with this idea but I have seen several on the internet each with different names.  My personal favorite is the Criss Cross Coasters.  Now get out some scraps or a charm pack and let’s get started.


Materials:  5” squares or charms from your charm pack

To make a set of four, you will need 16 squares.

Muslin cut into 5” squares and for a set of 4 you will need 8.

4 pieces of batting cut to 5” squares

Sewing machine, thread to match (or not), and the usual sewing supplies.

 HERE GOES . . .

Begin by taking your 5” squares from your charm pack or scraps and press in half. 

Next layer in this order

1)    Muslin square

2)   Batting square

3)   Muslin square

4)   And now your 4 squares of fabric that you have pressed in half illustrated below.

This is the fun part. . .if you used a charm pack you know that all sides have pinked edges. . .lay your pressed rectangles with the raw (pinked) edges facing out.  The best way to do this is to lay top and bottom rectangles on your muslin base and then lifting top right hand corner lay another rectangle and then raising the bottom left rectangle place your last rectangle. . .this is why they call this the criss cross coasters.  Look at the pictures below to get a better idea.

Now sew around the outside edges of this “sandwich” using a ¼” seam.  DO NOT LEAVE AN OPENING FOR TURNING!  
Clip the corners and I usually trim a little off around the edges to control some of the bulk and turn inside out.  
Looking at the picture below,  you will see that you will turn your coaster beginning from the center out. . .this looks confusing and wrong, but trust me it will work out.  Keep on till you have the entire coaster turned out and using a pointed object such as a knitting needle or bone folder (which I always use as the point is a little blunt) push your points out gently. 


My trusty bone folder . . .
PRESS with steam and using your bone folder gently push on your corners a little more.  Press again.

Now repeat 3 (or as many as you want in your set) more times and you have a neat little hand-made gift for someone special.  You can use raffia, ribbon, or my personal favorite twine to tie them together with a little card and you are good to go.  These are great to assembly-line make and I promise it doesn’t take long at all.

Now you can decide if you want to quilt your finished coasters or not. . . here is a sample of the quilted coaster. . .




These can be customized to match the décor, holiday, season, or can be just plain scrappy!  You can enlarge your square to 10” and when finished you will have a candle mat, hot pad, or a small table decoration.  Your imagination is the limit.  Oh, yes, you can even make them round. . .after you have made your sandwich draw a circle and cut out.  You will turn it out just the same and instead of square, you will have a circle coaster.
Have fun and see you back here next time with another quick project.


“The heart of the giver makes the gift dear and precious.”

--Martin Luther

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