After staying awake many nights, piling the spot where Julian occasionally sleeps with books, humming and haaing over what would be my next ::from the book:: project – I settled on the easy – and that which required no forethought or purchasing.
The curved pot holder from Suzoko Koseki’s breathtakingly pretty “Patchwork Style”. A book that promises a cozy and colourful life – that’s certainly my cup of tea!
I’ve had this book for a few weeks now and can honestly say it has accompanied me to bed on several nights, been sighed over whilst eating lunch, and had many projects pointed out to my mum in the evening. It is a VERY pretty book. The photography is beautiful, the rosy-cheeked model – very whimsical – can I look like this when I grow up – please?
The projects are gorgeously arranged, everything is very fresh – lots of white and neutral (like last week’s Linen, Wool, Cotton) but also lots of red and blue highlights. Koseki clearly loves detail – most projects include a lot of embellishment – so despite being frequently mentioned in the same breath as Mano’s book, it is not the same. The complement each other well and I’m glad they are both on my shelf.
So, after quickly perusing the photo and requirements, I assembled my goodies. Immediately, I decided the template – which says it is actual size – was too small – no problem, I scanned it into the computer at twice the size, printed it out and began cutting out my peanut-shaped template.
The pattern calls for a linen front (which will be mostly covered in appliqued patchwork) and a heavy cotton back. I had no heavy cotton, so cut both my pieces from linen. I then sliced my patchwork fabrics into various sized squares and rectangles – I’m not very good random so my arranged pieces look very neat :-)
I lay them out in a manner I thought would be pleasing – and then completely changed them around when the time came to pin. Unllike the book, I couldn’t bear the thought of all those raw edges, disintegrating with every wash, so I used Amy Butler’s trick of ironing under a scant 1/4 inch seam on the edges that would be on top. I was worried this could be a tedious and finger-burning exercise, but it was easy-peasy.
I stitched them to the linen front – using my walking foot – nice and close to the edge – starting at the top, and working my way down. This ensured that no “bubbles” were made. All was kept smooth and flat.
Then I came majorly unstuck. Unstuck with a potholder – you may ask incredulously. Yep. Why? Well, at first I thought it was sloppy pattern writing. In fact, there were some alarmingly sloppy errors. I downed tools, made my lunch, and sat on the back porch to read the directions more thoroughly. Still it made no sense. It was time to adopt my nanny’s approach – I sat down in the living room and had a quiet look. Still no better. So I stumbled along myself, shaking my head, wondering why on earth they did it like THAT! And I finished up with a pretty potholder that I love but already had plans for improvements for future potholders.
THEN – I sat down to write this post, and clearly had a VERY QUIET look at the pattern and realised what I had done. There are two pages of potholders – I was making the rounded potholder from the first page – and following the directions for the potholders on the SECOND page. OMG! What a twinkie!
I wasn’t even supposed to have a front piece of linen for the template. hee! hee! hee! The pattern says to layer the patchwork straight onto the three layers of batting. But I must say – I’m pleased that I layered my patchwork onto the linen backing – it sits very smoothly.
And this is the best bit – the “wrong” pattern called for me to lay the patchwork front on the plain back right sides together, stitch a 1/4 inch seam, leaving a gap and then turning it right side out – WITH THREE LAYERS OF BATTING. I was amazed – how bulky would those seams be! Needless to say, I didn’t do it.
I lay my front and back WRONG SIDES together and stitched them together around the edge – which is precisely what the “right” pattern says to do. However, next potholder I make (which will be asap) I will cut the front piece of linen out according to the template. Then I will cut out an appropriately sized rectangle for the back. This means I will be able to lay the three layers of batting on the back, put the patchwork top on top, pin like a mini quilt and quilt through the front, three layers and back. The pattern does not call for the back to be quilted but I think it would sit better and look more professional if it too was quilted.
Okay – pattern botching over. Now was time to bind. The pattern calls for either 1/4 bias tape, or home-cut binding. I did have some 1/4 inch binding (yes, it’s the orange that has been binding everything since I bought four packets last April!) but when I tried applying it to the five layers, it was way way way too narrow. Didn’t have a hope of wrapping neatly around the thick edge. So I cut some straight edge binding from my stash – I cut it a bit wider than usual because of it being 3 layers of batting and all, but with hindsight – this wasn’t entirely necessary – 2 1/2 would have been fine. This worked o-k-a-y. Straight edge binding vs. peanut shaped pot holder. Y-e-e-e-s. It required several little pleats to be added. But – once finished this looked fine. What would I do next time – still make my own binding but definitely cut it on the cross. Oh! And I hand stitched it to the back – I really don’t like machine-sewn binding.
The pattern calls for a ribbon to be placed across the middle of the front, with a loop in the middle for hanging. I didn’t do this. I forgot. I may or may not do it next time – I have no where to hang it so it doesn’t really matter.
Verdict on the pattern – it’s great! I really like it – the shape is lovely, the pieced front is so pretty. It works really well and looks ever so cozy and colourful in my kitchen. Definitely a make again project and perfect for presents. Oh and the size thing – I like my twice as big potholder but having used it, I can now see the benefit of a smaller one too so I thought I would make a matching little one – this would make it even better for presents. Not matchy-matchy – but you know, include several of the same pieces and bind in the same colour.
The rest of the book – as I said earlier – is beautiful and I’m looking forward to making many more projects from it. Many of them are bags – but lots of variety in the shape and size, so very useful. I’m very keen on the kitchen mat, and the log cabin work, which makes up the first chapter, is really beautiful. And I really, really, really want to have a wee clothesline hanging in my kitchen with my cozy and colourful potholder collection hanging up with wooden pegs. Ahhh – so pretty.
The project list includes
Log Cabin – change purses, minibag, quilt, pillow cover. (All lovely)
Applique – red bag, black bag, bag with metal frame, flowered bag, change purse , coaster, place mat and tray (Very pretty and lots of variation in the bag shapes)
Patchwork Squares – minibag, tote bag, lap quilt (very sweet), fan-shaped bag, pocket tissue case, fan-shaped mini bag, red party bag, blue party bag, shoulder bag, pillow cover, quilt (sooooo lovely – I would like it right now to lay over my chilly lap)
Free Stitching – pocket tissue case (I can only imagine that Koseki suffers – like me – from sinus! And I’m going to make some – will be so much prettier to have in my bags than crumpled tissues!) pillow cover, lap quilt, pot holders.
Square Applique – shoulder bag, curtain (divine – I love it and want to make it asap – I adore patchwork curtains), tote bag, folded pot holders (yes! the one I wanted to make), pot holders (the one I inadvertently made but changed because it just didn’t look like the photo!) pocket tissue case, apron (very pretty – very useful for when I’m cleaning and washing etc.) floor mat (especially want one now that it is 10 degrees in my kitchen each morning – I’m soooo cold!).
Rating – 7 out of 10 ( more complicated and prettier projects than last week’s book but more bags than I would have cared for)
I love Suzuko Koseki’s Patchwork Style – whimsical, useful and pretty. A very approachable book and a sheer pleasure to read and re-read. Just make sure you’re on the right page when you start sewing!