If you’re new to quilting, placemats are a great way to test out designs and practice your skills on a small scale. Tricky techniques like joining the two ends of the binding are hard to perfect if you only get to try it when you finish a full-size quilt.
I played around with some more complicated pattern ideas, but ended up with this simple housetop pattern in solid colors–which, creative ambition aside, is the type of pattern that appeals to me. I also applied some tips I picked up from Quilters’ Academy–a dreary looking but incredibly informative book that I checked out from my local library. Many recently published books on quilting focus on the fun side of the craft–making clean, modern designs–but breeze over some of the really nerdy aspects. Starch is not mentioned. However, a hardcore quilting tome like Quilters’ Academy, volume 1 (!), goes into minute detail about how to plan, measure, cut, and stitch. Whether you like intricate or super simple patterns, getting these steps right can make even a small project like a placemat turn out just like you envisioned. I made the backs in a simple stripe pattern.