Often as I cruise around the internet I find quilt blocks I love, or techniques I would love to try. I often find a reason to not try or to take a while to get around to it mainly that I don’t want to make a full scale quilt to try one block pattern or ruin a quilt that I’ve spent a lot of time and energy on with a new technique that went horribly wrong. So, recently I had a light bulb moment: No one said I HAD to do these things on a larger scale, I was just imposing that imperative on myself.
I've been wanting to make place mats for our dining table for a long time. Something to dress it up a bit without taking a lot of time. So after picking out two one yard cuts of coordinating fabric I tried two new things: designing my own pattern, and machine binding.
On a small scale, such as a place mat, designing my own pattern isn't nearly as terrifying as say, a queen size quilt. It was a lot easier for me to look at the fabric, play around with it without cutting into it and deciding what I wanted it to be, and voila, I created my own beautiful, one of a kind, reversible place mats. Would I do it again? In a heart beat.
Machine binding is one of those things that I've found amazingly divisive among other quilters. You have people in one camp that swear by finishing a quilt binding by hand with a blind stitch. It’s time consuming, but the end result is a very tidy, completed quilt. Those in the machine binding camp swear by saving themselves a ton of time with the end result still being a very tidy, completed quilt. I’ve always finished the quilts by hand because that’s how I was taught.
When I was looking at these lovely little place mats that I had designed and the raw edges with the cotton batting protruding I thought to myself, there couldn't be a more perfect time to try our machine binding. This way I can finish four tiny quilts in this fashion and get enough experience with the technique to know if I really like it or not. Would I do it again? For small projects, probably. But not likely for a larger quilt, especially one that’s a gift.