Road Trip!

Those of you who looked at my Events Calendar recently may have noticed that I recently traveled to the University of Kentucky to teach a program for their Cooperative Extension Program.

Lately, my job has had me doing a lot of traveling, and I realized, as I was getting ready to drive by the Gateway Arch in St. Louis yet again, that I had passed the Arch 14 times (7 times leaving, and 7 returning) in the past year without ever stopping! Now, that’s a shame – to be that close to such a great landmark so many times and not stop at least once. So, deciding there is no time like the present, my husband and I took a small detour before continuing onward.

It is awesome, and I do mean that in the old-fashioned definition of awe inspiring. The Arch is both 630 feet wide and tall, deflects 18″ in a 150 mph wind, has 1,076 steps in the stairway (thank goodness the stairs are for emergency use only), and the list goes on. But those are the technical statistics. There are exhibits and pictures that take you back in time, when riverboats were king of the rivers, and the Westward Expansion was new and exciting. It really reminds us what it took to make this great country of ours that so many can take for granted today.

If you look closely, you can see my hair in the left side of the picture here…. This was taken at the top of the arch, inside of course!

Once we got to the top, the observation deck allowed us to look out at some incredible views (even if leaning over like this was a bit uncomfortable).


View from the top!

After this very stop to stretch our legs, the trip to the University of Kentucky continued. There were 181 women who attended the Expo, titled “It’s Sew Fine: For Home and Family”. I taught two of the seventeen classes that were offered at the expo, and I think it’s fair to say that almost everyone had a great time.

The first day (Tuesday), I taught a class on making fabric yo-yos. The one thing that all the participants had in common, was remembering making their yo-yos ‘the hard way’ previously. I was teaching how to use the clover yo-yo maker, and they loved it. Almost everyone realized they were going to have to get more than one size and shape of yo-yo maker to have for future use!


Long-term readers of this blog will remember the fun we had with yo-yos here a while back. If you haven’t heard of the great Yo-Yo makers from Clover, check out my yo-yo tagged posts.


Participants brought finished projects ready to embellish,  and then we just focused on the fun part – dressing it up!

Want to know what else I was up to in Kentucky? Well, here’s a hint… this picture is a picture of fabrics cut for a quilt block I was teaching… tune in tomorrow!

Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing

FREE Pattern – Easter Placemat

Yesterday, I promised a placemat to go with your new Easter table-runner, and even better, this is my own pattern (with the exception of the appliqué in the center), so I can offer this as a free pattern to you!

You will need the following supplies to make 4 placemats –

  • white cotton fabric – 1 yard
  • colorful accent fabric – ½ yard
  • fabric for appliqué of your choice – depends on design chosen
  • small fabric squares for yo-yo embellishments
  • buttons
  • neutral fabric for backing – 1 yard
  • a strong, flat batting (I recommend using Warm & Natural, or Pellon Fleece) – 1 yard
  • coordinating seam binding – 8 yards

Pattern Image A Instructions that follow will walk you through the creation of ONE placemat, repeat as needed to complete your set.

  1. Cut a white square 12½” x 12½”
  2. Apply your applique to the center of the white square
  3. Cut the accent fabric 6½” x 12½”
  4. Sew accent fabric to left side of white square, using a ¼” seam allowance.
  5. Sandwich together design fabric (top of placemat), batting, and backing fabric.
  6. Using a ¼” seam allowance, sew around the placemat, trim edges, and add seam binding.
  7. Quilt, using a simple design that will not detract from your center appliqué.
  8. Your finished placemat will be approximately 12″ x 18″.

Image Pattern BMy placemat also included some embellishements – the yo-yos that run down the seam between the accent fabric and the white fabric, as well as buttons to secure the yo-yos. I recommend adding any embellishments such as these after step 4, but before you continue on to step 5. This way all of your stitches will be inside of the quilted placemat. You will need to take care in quilting the finished product to avoid any damage to the yo-yos. The image to the left shows how the yo-yos were placed, and the approximate placement of the egg appliqué I used from the book “Quilted Holiday Accents”.

The sky is the limit with a pattern of this type, you can add multiple small appliqués, or just put in one large one as I did for my Easter placemat.   The Easter Egg applique used on this sample you will find in the book “Quilted Holiday Accents” featured in the blog yesterday.  Pick a copy of that book at Hancock Fabrics in the quilting department. The accent fabric down the left side could be a space to embroider the name of the person sitting at that place – turning your placemats into name cards. (What a fun way to make a guest feel special for a holiday dinner.)

You can also use your imagination when embellishing, just remember that if you want to use the placemats at the table with food, you need to keep things fairly simple. But with that in mind, imagine making special placemats up for your own little princess – using a marabou boa to trim the side of the placemat. These would make a fun party favor for the guests to take home with them as well as a great memento for your little princess of her special day.

Well, now you’ve seen the pattern, and seen a few suggestions for ways to make your own unique placemats. Below is the image of the finished piece. I think it will look great with the table-runner – don’t you?

Finished Placemat

What’s your inspiration? I’d love to see what types of ideas you can come up with for this fun pattern! Enjoy!
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing

Book Review – Quilted Holiday Accents

The weather warmed up a little this week-end and it made me think of Spring! And what better way is there to beat the Winter blues than to create something you know you will be using in warmer weather? So I began looking for inspiration – I remembered all the yo-yos I have recently made, and thought of the great spring colors I could make more yo-yos in, then I remembered this quilting book had a great Easter table-runner with yo-yo embellishment.

I went to the store to pick out some fabrics and started my project. Of course I choose bright spring-time colors, and the fabrics used for the yo-yos on the sides of the table-runner are the same fabrics I used for the egg appliqués.

This book is a wonderful book full of appliqué projects for all the seasons. There is also a 4th of July table-runner, as well as a tote bag and sweatshirt for the 4th – one of those may need to be made when I start thinking of Summer picnics! There are also several ideas for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Anyone who enjoys quilting and making new items for holidays, but doesn’t want to make a full quilt for a holiday celebration, should take a look at this book. And here’s the finished project!

Easter Runners

I used the Extra large yo-yo tool for the embellishments on each end of the table-runner. And, as you can see in the close-up below, I used buttons to finish the yo-yos and to decorate the egg appliqués. It’s been a long time since I sewed this many buttons on a single project!

Easter Runner Close

There are several places I could see placing this project. Of course, the obvious is the dinning room table – but it could also go on top of the piano or on my dry sink or even the coffee table. It would also be fun to add some stuffed or ceramic bunnies sitting with the runner.

Even though this book doesn’t show placemats – I have decided to make some using the same appliqué shape so they will coordinate with the runner. Watch for that project, and a small pattern just for you, tomorrow.

What are you doing to get ready for Easter and to chase off the Winter blues?
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing