Maine, United States

Native Coasters / Making No. 1 / FLORA / Scrap-Busting
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Native Coasters / Making No. 1 / FLORA / Scrap-Busting

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Can you believe we're nearing the end of the year already? It seems like the months have gone by so quickly. First, there was the spring that showed up with all its tenderness. Then there was summer so playful and carefree. And then along came fall gently nudging us toward home. Now winter is nearly here as we drink our tea and coffee under cozy blankets.

Speaking of tea and coffee, I have the perfect project for the season that's great for scrap-busting and makes a wonderful gift! Today I'm sharing the Native Coasters by Carolyn Friedlander from Making No. 1 / Flora. This project is the first post in the Scrap-Busting series, where I use leftover fabric from other makes here on the blog to create tiny treasures found within the pages of Making. The fabric I'm using in this post is leftover from the Pleated Pot Holders from Making No. 7 / Desert, also by Carolyn Friedlander. I had some larger pieces but tried to use the scraggly small pieces as much as possible since this project only requires tiny pieces of fabric. 


In my home, we've used ceramic coasters for years. They're beautiful, but they're also kind of noisy, cue that clinking of ceramics bumping into one another as a mug is set down. Additionally, they're quite heavy and a bit worrisome to use on my glass living room table, so it's a wonder why I never thought to make fabric coasters before. After all, they're beautiful and add a certain level of coziness and charm to a table. Plus, since they're made from fabric, the possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to creating them. You can do what I did and use up fabric that's different colors and patterns, or you could make them from solid colored linen (I have lots of these scraps), another idea I'd love to try!  

What I love about the Native Coasters is that Carolyn takes something so simple and brings extra beauty to it with this fun project. I felt this same way when I made her Pleated Pot Holders as well. I love being able to make the simple everyday things of life extra special and meaningful; it probably wouldn't be too far from the truth to say that's something I'm passionate about these days. The little things that fill up our homes, like these coasters, can add value to them, especially when they're handmade because it makes them even more meaningful. 



Sewing Notes

I doubled up on my cotton batting, using two layers because I wanted them to be pretty cushy looking just like Carolyn's. When I went to attach the binding, my sewing machine was being a bit fussy and skipped stitches. In the past, when I've had trouble with skipped stitches, I realized that I'd been using the wrong needle, and changing to the appropriate one makes a significant improvement. I picked up some quilting needles, and that helped, as well as playing around with the machine tension. 


My favorite part of making these coasters was quilting them with running stitches and knots. Before I started, I marked where I wanted to place my knots and stitches to get an idea of how I wanted them to look. I mixed it up a bit, playing with the patterns in the fabrics and patchwork design to get a look I liked. 

For the string, I used embroidery thread that was doubled up to get nice big knots. I originally cut the tails pretty short but realized that because the embroidery thread is smooth, some of the knots came undone. So for my later coasters, I started leaving longer tails and ended up loving the look. It reminded me of a quilt that my husband's grandmother made for him, it's ocean-themed and made from all kinds of beautiful turquoise fabric, backed with flannel, and finished with knotted yarn scattered throughout. Finishing quilts this way is one of my favorite looks, so it was fun to implement it on this project.


Since I am newer to quilting, binding has always seemed a little challenging to me. To help with this, I referenced the Whole Cloth Quilt by Emma Lockwood in Making No. 4 / Lines. In this project, there is an extensive step-by-step tutorial on creating and attaching binding that I found very helpful. 

I hope you like this first scrap-busting project. Stay tuned for more ideas! - Emily