Were it not for the stack of strips I had left over after completing the patchwork for my kitchen wallhangings [which I totally can’t wait to share, and will as soon as they’re ready to hang], I probably would not have been motivated enough to complete a second CRAFT:along challenge this month. Given the state of my scrap bin (overflowing), I had plenty of incentive.
The problem, Friends, is that I have a drawer filled with placemats, from a couple of years ago when I decided to spruce up the table with new linens. And they’re perfectly nice; I still like them well enough. They’re headed for the donation bag, though, because they haven’t seen the light of day in months, so the full drawer isn’t even the issue.
The problem? Placemats. . .not really for me. I’m not a fan.
“So why the drawer-full?”, you may rightly wonder. Well, as it’s been pointed out, they pop up in just about every sewing book in some form or another. And they’re a great way to use up remnants. And they do dress up a table.
But, they annoy me. They butt up against one another on my narrow table, and then there’s no room for a runner. For that matter, there’s no room to put the food anywhere but on the far end of the table, or on the section in the center where the placemats meet. We can’t have that, now, can we? I don’t know why—we just can’t.
Yet, a table without any linens looks a little sad and naked, don’t you think? At least that’s my view, but even my husband disagrees with this idea, so it’s hardly universal. We were at Pottery Barn last month, where we spotted a harvest table similar to our own, beautifully set. I think it had chargers under the plates, and a floral/candle arrangement down the center.
Me: Oh! Look at that! OK, what do you think of the way that table is set?
Him: Um, looks nice, I guess.
Me: Okaay. . .but do you like that particular setting? Or do you prefer traditional placemats? Or maybe those runners that go across the table, with another one running its length? I like that, too.
Him: Hmm. Well, I actually think that the food should be the focal point of the table.
Me: Fair enough, but what do you think about that type of arrangement in the center?
Him: [pauses to think] When I look at that arrangement, I wonder where the food is going to go.
To sum up, he doesn’t care one way or another about placemats or the lack thereof, which is good, considering they’ve been missing (as I’ve said) for months.
Still, that charger idea got me thinking. What if the placemat were round, instead of rectangular? (Not a new idea, to be sure, but not one I’d actually considered piecing together.)
If it was just slightly larger than the plate, it would add some personality and polish to the table, and still leave plenty of room for the star of the show.
Huzzah! Patchwork chargers!
[Yes, once again, I had to take these shots in the cave that is my kitchen, and the light today is even more dim than usual.]
Despite the slight ripple around the edges, I am very happy with these here mats. I had toyed with the idea of binding the edges with bias tape, but let’s face it: they probably still would have been a little wavy. Besides, I didn’t want the binding eating into the patchwork. As it is, I was struggling with the math. “What size square will I need to allow for this size of circle? Plus the seam allowance. . .and you need to allow for the quilting. . .musn’t be skimpy. . . .” Oh, and let me tell you: I was struggling even where there wasn’t a problem. Needless to say, it was late in the evening when I hatched this brilliant plan, so I set it down on paper right away. I wanted the stripes to be diagonal, so I was trying to figure out how to piece the strips together correctly. I had all kinds of drafts and notes—I was just shy of drawing complicated charts and graphs—when it occurred to me that (are you ahead of me?) it was a circle. If I wanted diagonal stripes, simply turn the circle, and they would be diagonal. Feeling conventional? Want to go with a straight vertical look? Turn it again!
Seriously, if I could only remember to confine creative endeavors to the early morning hours, I would save myself so much time and pain.