I love handmade gifts!
I love making them and receiving them. What better way to say, I love you? When I’m making a handmade gift I’m thinking about that person through each step, from picking out the fabric to wrapping it up. But I’ve also learned that it’s impossible to make gifts for everyone I love each Christmas and birthday. And not everyone loves handmade gifts as much as I do. So giving a store bought gift can say I love you as much as a handmade one if it’s just what they wanted (insert cash money for those picky teenagers).
Each year I pick a handful of people and projects to make gifts for. This year is the year of kitchen-y things. And of course Yak Blankets because everyone needs one of those and you can’t make them all in one year!
Heirloom Tomato Pot Holders
Roxanne and I share a love of gardening. At the beginning of the year as we made plans for our projects a gardening theme emerged (carrot zipper pouch, veggie quilt, flower garden mini, etc.)! We’ve had so much fun this year sewing through those projects, and we hope you have too!
I come from a big family, and several of my siblings, along with a few friends, love gardening like I do. I want my handmade gifts to be both meaningful and useful, so I thought tomato block potholders would be perfect gifts for these people.
You might remember Roxanne’s Heirloom Tomato Quilt. The kit for this quilt has all precut squares in it and makes nine tomato blocks! I split up the kit and mixed up the colors so I would have mostly red tomatoes and started mass producing the blocks.
On several blocks I quilted “heirloom tomato” on them. I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not, so I didn’t do the rest of the blocks, but now I think I really do like it! Oh well, too late! (Mid-project doubt is no joke folks! Happens to the best of us.) I used fun canvas from my stash to back the potholders, and used two layers of Insul-Bright batting inside each block. If you need to purchase yardage you’ll need one yard of fabric for the back and 2.5 yards of Insul-Bright. One 2.5″ x width of fabric strip of fabric is the perfect amount of binding for each block.
I loved making these blocks, especially because they all came together in a kit precut! It was a huge time-saver and made jumping right into the blocks very fun.
Heirloom Tomato Pot Holders
Veggie Quilt Pattern – enough fabric for 9 tomato blocks
2/3 yard binding fabric
2-1/2 yards Insul-Bright
1 yard backing fabric
Follow the Veggie Quilt tomato block pattern to make all 9 blocks. Then layer each block with one 10.5″ square back, two 9.5″ square Insul-bright squares, and the tomato block. I spray basted the layers as if I was making a quilt. That’s a lot of layers which equals a lot of potential shifting. Quilt your block as desired. Then fold one strip of binding in half, wrong sides together.
Align the binding to the top right corner and raw edge of binding to the raw edge of the block. Sew together with 1/4″ seam allowance until you get to the last side.
When you get to the last side, fold back the binding on the first edge you sewed so that the raw edge won’t get caught under the last edge’s binding. Continue sewing all the way to the edge of the first side of binding.
Press the binding to the front of the block. Fold up the raw edge of the binding tail 1/4″ and press in place.
Fold the tail onto itself to enclose the raw edges. Now, sew the right side of the binding in place starting at the end of the tail.
Loop the tail around to the back and trim to about 1/8″ below the stitch line.
Bring the tail down as pictured (left pic) and sew in place.
Flip loop up and either hand tack or machine stitch in place.
If this is your first time doing binding like this, check out this great machine sewing binding tutorial.
Stacked Table Runner
For the people I love that don’t appreciate gardening I made table runners using our new Stacked Table Runner pattern. I made this runner long and skinny (using one row of blocks instead of two). I like the long narrow runner. It doesn’t get in the way as much during mealtime. The great thing about this pattern is that it can be easily be adapted to make whatever size runner works for you.
Stacked Table Runner
8″ x 96″
1 fat quarter bundle or 6 fat quarters
5/8 yard batting (cut it into two long pieces and zig zag together)
2/3 yard backing fabric plus 1 fat quarter (or one yard)
Piece 6 slabs of 4 strips each. Save the rest of the strips for binding. Follow the rest of the instructions for the free Stacked Table Runner. You will need 12 total blocks for a 96″ long runner. The blocks finish at 8″ square each, so you can easily do the math to make your table runner just the right size.
And now I don’t know how I’m going to take it off my table and put it in a box. I guess I’ll have to make more!
I still have a few more things to make before Christmas. I figure I’ve got a whole week and a half, no big deal. Right?! On the list is boxers for my husband, pajama pants for my son and a couple of yak blankets for my in laws.
Hope you’re still having fun creating your handmade gifts! You can do it! Stop in the shop and show us what you’re working on and we’ll cheer each other on.