Last week was a productive week for projects. On Sunday we had an Easter dinner for some of our friends. We needed to have room to seat 11 people. Our dining room table seats 4. This proved to be a small problem. A six foot banquet table and 3 sheets of plywood, joined together with our existing table, created a 12 foot long table, no more problem. Ok, there were a few other issues, like what was I going to cover the ugly plywood with? I didn’t own a 13 foot long by 56 inch wide tablecloth. I did however happen to have a bolt of 56 inch wide cotton fabric that I use for quilt backs. I decided to dye it a dark brown. That would hide stains well and coordinate with the room.
I generally like to work with smaller pieces of fabric. I find that I get the type of modeling that I like best working in 1 yard or smaller pieces, so I wasn’t sure how this would work out. I was pretty careful about my process. I wanted to make sure that I got full coverage of the brown dye on all the fabric.
I put the fabric in a bucket on the counter and I set a punch bowl in my sink. I slowly started to pull one end of the fabric out of the bucket and into the punch bowl. As I did, I poured some of the dye into the punch bowl. I scrunched the fabric around in the dye until it was completely covered. I continued to feed fabric out of the bucket and into the punch bowl working the fabric in the dye. When the dye got low, I just added more dye to the punch bowl. I continued this process until all the fabric and dye was in the punch bowl.
Once the fabric was completely saturated with dye I placed it in a bucket to batch. I poured the dye from the punch bowl over the fabric in the bucket. I let this batch for 24 hours before I began rinsing.
Since this was a high thread count fabric, it doesn’t fray much. After washing and ironing the fabric, I just put it on the table. Raw edges and all. They have a nice soft edge to them, that looks fine to me. I think I will keep this tablecloth around for the next year or so to see if the large dinner gatherings continue.
With a fun new tablecloth I really wanted to finish some placemats that I started back in 2005 that I never finished. They were all pieced with scraps, but they didn’t have backs or quilting done. While I was dying the tablecloth I also put some fabric in black dye to use for the backing of the placemats. I have made placemats in the past that had no batting in the middle. I really liked the flat appearance of the placemat, but they didn’t offer a lot of protection for the table. I decided to try something different. I lined the placemats with flannel. It is not as thick as batting, but it provides a little more protection to the table below. I prewashed and shrunk all of the flannel so that the placemats would continue to lie flat after washing and I did some minimal quilting to hold everything together. I am really pleased with how they worked out.