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Everything stops for tea!

I have a friend who moved away to live her life in a cottage by the sea. (Now how lovely is that?) She is from England originally so the overcast rainy season doesn't bother her a bit. She has a fantastic English garden that seems to be in some sort of blooming state most of the year. (A bit of a downer for a poor prairie girl like me who spends most of her time trudging through snow from October to mid May).

But enough of that. She is redoing her kitchen and it has very much the cottage feel about it. So I am sewing up a little surprise for her. I'm calling them "English Garden - mini tea time mats". They're smaller than regular place mats and bigger than mug rugs. And she doesn't drink coffee anyways.

I had these 2 fabrics in my stash already - and found the backing fabric in the 50% off bin at my LQS.

My first decision was what size to make the mats - so I pulled out a cup and saucer and after a bit of jiggering around I decided on a 9 x 13 finish size.  

I've been wanting to try out spray baste - so this was a good project to give it a try. I found it easy to apply and re-position, and it held it's place while quilting. I've seen it used on a few big quilts - but I think at this point I'll gradually use it for bigger and bigger projects until I'm convinced it will actually hold (comments on this are welcome and appreciated).

My second goal for this project was to try my hand at pseudo thread painting by embellishing a large print with thread. These flower motifs were perfect for my first attempt and I'm pretty pleased with my results. Next time I'd like to venture into some variegated or metallic threads.

I did a bit of leafy FMQ on the background and prepared to do my binding. Should have been on the home stretch right? Not so! I'm having an awful time with my binding technique. I did figure out how to stitch my binding on around the corners (messed that up on the first try) only to find that the binding strips should have been cut at 2" wide. I had checked a book which had place mats in them and it recommended 1 1/2" strips. They're way too tight to fold over the 1/4 inch seam allowance. I have now ripped out for the second time, cut new 2" strips and discovered... I am 13" short of fabric!!  Being mindful that this was from the bargain bin I am sitting here with keys in hand waiting to hit the quilt store again.

(note to self: divert eyes from all other lovely things).

Update: Disaster has occurred. My binding fabric is gone! However a .7m wide red backing piece (perfect for a Christmas project) has moved in - 50% off of course!

Update Number Two: Upon returning to the quilt store (mini mat in hand) I decided it was time to move on - quit whining and find another binding fabric. The search was on. Bolts pulled, critiqued and returned to the shelf. And then... Eureka! There it was. Snuggled in between 2 other bolts - my original sought after fabric. Now that my delighted delirium has subsided I realize that I have purchased much more than I needed. Just in case.


  1. Hi Judi! Popping by after seeing your blog on TN&TN. Your mini tea time mats will be wonderful in that lovely fabric. Lucky friend.

  2. What a perfect size for tea mats! I have a friend who loves having tea so I just may copy your size to make something for her. Sorry about the binding fabric - can you use two coordinating colours?

    1. Well as luck would have it I did that exactly - and after much searching... I found my lucky fabric!

  3. Lovely placemats. Your friend is lucky to have you making these for her, and will probably love them. I know how that those mini disasters go, I try to remember to breathe, then hopefully a solution comes across my quilt.


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