When Constellations was being produced, I was lucky enough to make a sample to be photographed for the book. I made beautiful linen Celestial Table Runner that I loved but was obviously unable to keep. Ever since I completed the runner, I knew I wanted something Constellations that was my very own.
I absolutely loved the look of the Constellations blocks on my table but what I truly needed was a nice sturdy set of placemats. I had a beautiful handmade set of burlap placemats that were gifted to me but since they really couldn’t be washed, they were looking a little rough, so top on my list of placemat must-haves was the ability to put them in the wash. I decided to modify a couple of the Constellations blocks to make a few placemats.
Pattern: Constellations: 12 Pieced Astrological Blocks, 8 Personalized Sewing Projects by Amber Platzer Corcoran and Jaime Jennings
Materials: American Made Brand Cotton Solids in Black (for background) Cloud 9 Glimmer Solids in Pearl (for stars)
The jumbo 21” size of the Constellations blocks is so striking and amazing, but truthfully a little large for a placemat on my table. I didn’t want to get into reducing the size of the entire block since I am not a particularly skilled quilter and the smallest star pieces are already 1” Instead I decided to take my inches from the border and ended up with a 17“ X 18” block.
For the sides, I just removed 1.5” of width from each of the widest pieces on the edge of the block, 3” total width removed. For Libra, that meant the 7.25” pieces became 5.75” in width and the rest of the widths remained the same.
For the top and the bottom, I used the same principle, but it requires a bit more math. I was aiming to remove 2” from the top and 2” from the bottom of the block for a total reduction of 4”. I started by cutting all of my background pieces at 17” lengths (4” shorter than the 21” originally recommended) keeping in mind the reduced width of the side pieces I figured above. Then I needed to adjust the cut lengths for the stars. From each cut length, I subtracted 2”. For the Libra block strip #2, that means cutting at 5.25” and 14” instead of 7.25” and 16”. I made this adjustment across all of the numbed strips
After piecing as instructed, I quilted my block to a piece of heavy-duty Annie’s Soft and Stable to help protect my table from liquids and heat (a couple layers cotton batting would work wonders here too), trimmed it down, and finished it with a 17” X 18” piece of quilting cotton for the backing according to Celestial Table Runner instructions, leaving a 5” opening on one edge for turning.
In the end, I am so happy with my lovely little placemats. I love making things that are going to get used almost daily and appreciate that these are up to the challenge of daily use. It finally doesn’t matter how many times I spill salsa on my placemat! I can just pop it in the wash…good as new.