by Mary Wilkins
Editor, Sew What's New
I saw one of these in an expensive little boutique. I have heard of them, but had never seen one up close before. A mantle quilt is a row of quilt blocks that hang over your fireplace mantle or shelf; choose any quilt block you like that doesn't have to be set diagonally. Nine patch, log cabin, rail fence, attic window would all work fine with their straight side blocks. Maybe red and green for Christmas. Let your imagination go!
1. Measure your mantle length making sure the width of your chosen blocks add up to the same measurement as your mantle length. Some blocks can be easily enlarged or reduced.
2. Construct your blocks and join at sides with straight stitching. Cut a shelf overlay. This is a strip of fabric the length of your blocks and the depth of your shelf.
3. Stitch your overlay to the top of your blocks along one long edge with right sides together. Now you have two rows sewn together. One is the overlay, the other the quilt blocks.
4. Next, lay your "quilt" face down on backing and thin batting. Machine stitch around almost entire piece. Leave about 6" opening. Trim corners, batting and excess fabric away.
5. Turn right side out and push out corners carefully. Close opening. Quilt your blocks or leave as is. Machine stitch in the seam between blocks and overlay. This will help your blocks to hang straight and even. You can, of course do your own thing when it comes to finishing it off. Hand or machine quilt. You also have the option of including batting or not.
That's it! Feel free to embellish this simple idea as much as you like--maybe even a crazy quilt design!
Mary Wilkins is editor of Sew What's New. This article © 1999 Mary Wilkins, used by permission.