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In the Quilting World

Quilter's World Update

Christmas Mug Rug Set
Pot Holders for All Seasons may be purchased at AnniesCraftStore.com.

Let me introduce myself: I'm Carolyn Vagts, editor of Quilter's World magazine and writer of this update. That's my day job, and at night, I'm an addicted quilter. I tend to eat, breathe and sometimes sleep with my quilting. I have a beautiful studio with my work space right in it. How convenient, since I work at and with quilting. As editor, I am very hands-on with every issue of the magazine. I'm also very hands-on with this update. I love to share my experiences with other quilters in hopes it will inspire them to explore the endless possibilities available to them.

With each update I select a book or pattern to accompany it. It's usually something that I feel goes along with the content of my update. This time my suggestion is the book Pot Holders for All Seasons by Chris Malone. It has a selection of unique pot holders that are fun to make and also make great gifts. Each of these pot holders, for the most part, can be made in an afternoon. Just think of all the wonderful ways you can use your scrap fabrics!

This time of year, I have very little time for my favorite pastime. The only way I can squeeze in a bit of quilting is to make small projects that can be pieced and quilted in an hour or two. Throughout the year I clip articles, collect patterns and earmark books for easy access, ready for when I think I can squeeze in a bit of quilting. I also set aside fabrics from my stash that I truly want to use again. It sure makes life easier if you have a plan. And sometimes, that's the only way I can get things done. There are times when I just want to make a simple project that isn't for a magazine or a book. I just want to be creative.

Well, today is my day to play with my selected fabrics and a few ideas I have for pot holders. I have several ideas for the fabrics I've been setting aside, and today, I'm going to make the time to tackle them!

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My selected fabrics for the pot holders I plan to make.

I've decided to work with several 8 1/2-inch quilt block patterns to which I can easily add a bit of applique to personalize them, or maybe I'll fussy-cut the block centers so I can leave some as plain blocks without applique. The first block I decided to make from my fabrics is a pair of fussy-cut blocks from a great collection by Northcott: Stonehenge Sun Valley. I fell in love with this fabric line the minute I saw it, and I knew I had to make something with it. I love the colors and the motif. After deciding on the fabrics and the block pattern, I cut out the pieces to make my pair of pot holders.

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Auditioning my fabrics choices for a set of pot holders and cutting out the pieces to make them.

Since I had my fabrics out, I decided to select other block patterns and continue to cut out several more pot holders. While cutting out the fabric pieces I also dug through my scrap cotton batting and cut batting for all the blocks. In addition, I cut a piece of Bosal Poly-Therm Fleece for each pot holder. By adding the heat-reflective fleece I know that my pot holders will be safe to use with hot dishes or metal pots and pans. Pot holders should always have this type of fleece added to them or at least a couple of layers of batting.

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For each block I cut out I also cut the backing, heat-reflective fleece and a layer of cotton batting. Now, several pot holders are cut and I'm ready to start stitching.

After I had several blocks cut out and ready to go, I began to piece the blocks together.

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Piecing a block together to make my first pot holder.

With everything cut out and prepared, it only took a few minutes to have my first block pieced together.

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Finishing up the stitching on my first block.

I quickly sewed another set of fussy-cut blocks together and layered them for quilting.

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A set of blocks, each with a fussy-cut center square, ready to quilt.

As I worked through the stack of12 blocks and pieced them together, I had to decide which ones I would leave as plain blocks and which ones I would add a bit of applique to. If I was going to leave them as plain blocks I added the backing fabric and the two layers of batting to them, readying them for quilting. If I planned to add a little something else to them I set them aside.

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Blocks that I plan to add applique to.

I managed to complete 12 pieced blocks, some that are ready to quilt and some that need to be appliqued first. I placed each block with its corresponding batting and backing fabric. Then I prepared the binding for each one.

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Twelve pieced blocks, organized with batting, backing and binding.

As I always tend to do, I've managed to run out of time. I did get rid of a nice size stack of my stashed fabrics. I guess this is going to be another go-to project, but at least I'm all prepared and ready to go when I find I have a bit of free time. I should be able to finish up the quilting on all these pot holders in an afternoon and then add the binding. It'll give me something to work on during my early morning quiet time with my coffee.

And as another year comes to an end, don't forget to enter our Gift Guide Sweepstakes. You can find all the details in the current winter issue of Quilter's World magazine, or you can enter here. I bet you could use $1,400 in quilting supplies!

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