Maine, United States

Sunrise / Moonrise Quilted Coasters / Making No. 11 / DAWN

Sunrise / Moonrise Quilted Coasters / Making No. 11 / DAWN


Feeling in a bit of a knitting rut lately, I decided to try out something new and different to me. I loved the simplicity of the Sunrise / Moonrise Quilted Coasters from No. 11 / DAWN, so I thought “why not?”, and grabbed a kit from the shop to try to make a set of my own.

The kit supplies two colors of fabric and quilt batting to make the set of four (and there is actually enough in there to make two sets). Wanting to work with what I already had on hand if possible, I had a mending kit that included sashiko needles, and a spool of brown thread lying around that complemented the funky-retro brown and gold fabric colors.

I gathered these, dusted off my sewing machine that was purchased years ago on a whim to learn to make a quilt that was never quite finished, and got to it.

Sometimes you have a late realization that it’s been a while since you allowed yourself the process of being a newbie. As someone who has done an insane amount of knitting over the last 18+ years, I’d forgotten what it was like to be a beginner—how it feels to be so new at something that it feels like your hands don’t possess opposable thumbs; having to read the instructions you just read over again for the 500th time; how the easiest-seeming steps take forever and more than a few tries before you get it even remotely right; and how you want to throw things across the room and then run over to pick them up, excited to keep trying and going.

That’s what this sewing project ultimately became for me: a dive back into the water of newness, challenging me to keep going past the frustration at my lack of skill and know-how, and finding the patience to learn. It’s easy to be good at something once you get there. Being okay with being “bad” at something and the inevitable imperfections that come with that—whew.

I tried out different combinations of hand and machine sewing for each of the coasters. My first attempt was all hand sewn:

And it was all over the place.

I found it a challenge orienting right and wrong sides of the fabric on the curved inset piece for the front side. Even though I was well acquainted with working with knitted projects and their own right- and wrong-side pattern instructions, it didn't matter. For some reason, sewing the right sides of the two curved front pieces together from the wrong side nearly broke my brain. Eventually, though, and following the designer's advice of using the seam allowance line as a guide, I had my first golden wedge of sun successfully sewn to the background piece of the front.

For the second coaster, I used my sewing machine to sew the two pieces of the front together. Unexpectedly, I found it trickier to do this with the machine than by hand. I thought the opposite would be true. Even though my hand sewing felt and looked sloppy, it allowed me to be more precise and be able to see where my stitches were—going slow and steady, and making adjustments as I went along.

I also used the machine for quilting the horizontal lines on the second coaster.

Taking what I learned from making the first two, I decided for the third and forth coasters to hand sew the front pieces together, and machine sew the front and back around the edges.

…and quilted them by hand. I chose a variety of random stitch types to evoke elements of the sky; the sashiko-style crosses are my favorite because they resemble stars.

These are far from perfect, but I love them so. Just like learning to knit all those many years ago, it was evident that the more I practiced, the better and more even (and easier) my stitching became. It was actually harder to let go of wanting to create something perfectly right out of the gate than it was to piece those curved edges together.

If you are a knitter or someone just new to sewing and have always wanted to try it out, a bite-sized, repetitious (in the best way), and useful project like Amy Bornman’s Sunrise / Moonrise Quilted Coasters are highly recommended. And if you find yourself becoming uninspired by a thing that you are good at—try out something new to be bad at. You likely won't be for very long. 

Read more in our Contributor Spotlight with Amy Bornman of All Well Workshop and find her Sunrise / Moonrise Quilted Coasters pattern on pages 15-18 of No. 11 / DAWN. For more of Amy's delightful creations, follow her Instagram, allwellworkshop.