Sunday, January 12, 2014

Trash to Treasure

I'm a treasure hunter. Thrift stores, yard sales, friends clearing out their studios, are all great sources of treasures for my fiber art work and for decorating. And that's been especially true over the past few months, as I've been decorating a vacation rental unit.

Leftover blocks and fabric combine with found tablecloths(right).
Last weekend our Fiber Guild celebrated Roc Day, or St. Distaff's Day, the day women traditionally returned to their spinning and weaving, after Christmas activities were over. Part of the meeting was a Trash to Treasure exchange. While I forgot to bring the bag of yard I'd hoped to rehome, I did bring home a treasure, a stack of six-inch quilt blocks in blues and yellows, along with some coordinating fabric. They coordinated perfectly with a pair of yellow tablecloths I found a couple of weeks ago.

I wanted to make valances and half-curtains for the kitchen windows in the rental, but there wasn't enough fabric in the tablecloths. But with the addition of the quilt blocks, I had a plan.

I divided the quilt blocks, 11 for the smaller window, 16 for the larger, arranged them to create a pattern, and sewed into a strip. Here's how to make a row of quilt blocks into a simple, lined valance (or curtain).

Sew the blocks into a row. Measure the quilt blocks (mine were 6 inches) and add 3.5 inches for the rod pocket (for standard curtain rods, more if yours is larger). If you want a border at the bottom, decide on the border size and add it twice. For my 6 inch blocks, I cut coordinating fabric at 12 inches.

With right sides together, stitch the row of blocks to the coordinating fabric along both sides, creating a tube. Turn right side out, then turn under one-fourth inch on the raw edges and stitch it down, keeping the tube open.

Finished valances
Lay out the tube with the blocks facing up, and arrange so 1.5 inches of the coordinating fabric shows at the top, for the rod pocket. Press. Stitch along the top edge of the blocks to create the rod pocket. Stitch closed the sides below the rod pocket. If desired, top stitch along the bottom edge, this is a great place to use decorative stitches.

Hang your valance.

Here are my valances installed. Once I get another pair of curtain rods, I'll use the tablecloths to make half curtains for the bottom, finishing this project.

I expect to have several more projects to share over the next few weeks, then I hope to get back to my own quilts, both art and traditional. More later.


Missy Shay said...

Your curtains turned out great!

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Sew cute, and sunny looking. Nice job.