Coaster Mark I

With the new Bernina safely resident in my apartment, rotary cutters, mats and some fabric that let’s just say I grabbed with convenience as my primary concern, I was ready to have a go at my first simple sewing projects. The plan: to do things small enough and not so labour intensive that it wouldn’t be heart breaking if I had to throw them away.

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When I’m looking for quick project tutorials, I often end up using Pinterest as my search engine of choice. Of course you have to scroll through pages of the lovely, saccharine life of perfectly turned seams and projects done by people for whom fabric wouldn’t even think about fraying in their hands but there are some amazing resources out there, many of which are free to access.

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The only problem with pattern searching in the modern era is the issue of ‘overchoice’ – where you have so many possibilities to choose from you end up not picking any of them, even if having made any choice would have been better than none. Ravelry tries to help with this with their amazing ‘advanced search’ feature where you can really specify such narrow criteria that the number of results you get is viewable on the timescale of a human life.

I try and deal with this by refusing to spend more than twenty minutes on ‘research’ for anything. At the end of the day, I want to be making things and improving, not feeling glum and inadequate looking at what I could be making if I had several thousand hours more experience than I do. I think the quest for the ‘perfect pattern’ ends up being a similarly paralysing experience to the one many people experience when designing, where you want to get every single idea ever into the design.

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Luckily though, I struck gold quite fast on these very cute pinwheel coasters from The Long Thread. Attractive design? Check. Excellent, clear tutorial with photographs? Check. Relatively simple project? Check. Rather than trying a super complicated project, I’m trying to learn ‘one skill at a time’ to minimise the frustration.

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Luckily though, I struck gold quite fast on these very cute pinwheel coasters from The Long Thread. Attractive design? Check. Excellent, clear tutorial with photographs? Check. Relatively simple project? Check. Rather than trying a super complicated project, I’m trying to learn ‘one skill at a time’ to minimise the frustration.

It’s a really nice tutorial and, while I have since discovered a better way of doing the triangles so it’s less of a headache to get all the points to match, very easy to follow. (For this it would have been easier to work the triangles by doing ‘half square triangles’ – where you cut square blocks, sew seams near the 45 degree centre line of the block and then cut them in half). This was the first time sewing with the Bernina too so even the straight stitching was a little bit exciting. The Bernina’s stitching is rather beautiful and even for the fiddly, thin ends of the triangles, it just does a marvellous job of feeding the fabric through evenly and making light work of the seams…

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One problem I do have for patchwork is my cutting mat is in inches, but all of my rules are in centimetres. To be completely honest, I much prefer working in centimetres when I can but inches tends to be the dominant unit in the patchworking and quilting world, which leads to some bad rounding errors, and as you can see, some points that don’t meet perfectly.

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It’s not the most beautiful project ever, the cutting needs work, some of the seams aren’t immaculately straight and I had a bit of a hard time getting all of the wadding evenly inside the coaster before hand stitching it all closed but it’s a start and a good indicator of what needs a bit of practice!

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7 thoughts on “Coaster Mark I

  1. Great coaster and congratulations on getting started on your journey! My Bernina waves hello to yours – you will find it is quite a workhorse and just remember to routinely clean out the bobbin and foot plate area; and routinely oil it – and it will be your friend forever 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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