Who doesn't love a coaster!? I find that even though my children don't use them for anything other than frisbees and the cat loves to bat them around like a toy, they are also very useful for setting a beverage onto. How about you?
As Autumn approaches, our minds are settling on cozy things like hot cocoa and cider. We wanted to make a fall project that was functional and great for gifting in the months to come... well, those warm mugs of cocoa and cider need somewhere to rest! Cotey designed these lovely and elegant coaster collections specifically for this project. We got to play around with color, planning select color palettes to be used with these patterns, but you can use any yarn colors you want!
As we get ready to start our fall coasters I wanted to take a moment and talk about what tools we will be using for this project.
1. Foundation Cloth and Frames: We each used a 24"x24" piece of monk's cloth. You can easily trace a set of four coasters on it and it will fit nicely on either a 14"x14" and 18"x18" Oxford Gripper Strip Frames. (Note: You can fit more coasters on say a 24"x36" or 30"x40" piece of foundation cloth, you'll just need to size up your frame appropriately or plan to move your pattern on the frame depending on how many coasters you add.
For most of these PALs projects we have done rectangular shapes that can fit on our 18"x18" frames. While we find this frame size extremely versatile, they aren't the easiest to take on the go.
Now, if you're like me with children and are constantly on the move, you find yourself working on projects in the most unlikeliest of places. The coasters were designed with the idea that you can use one of the smaller frames. So, if say, you are at your child's soccer or tennis practice, the 14"x14" Oxford Gripper Strip Frame, is easy to carry around and it fits fantastically in a LL Bean bag, along with your yarn and punch needles. If you have a 10"x10", you can also use it, you may just have to move the project on the frame a bit as you go along.
2. Stretching The Backing: As I said in other posts, when getting ready to punch, one of the first steps is to stretch your foundation cloth onto your frame. No matter what kind of frame you are using, be it carpet tack, gripper strip, or a hoop, you are going to want to make sure that you get the fabric backing as tight as you possibly can. "Drum tight" is what Heidi, Cotey, and Amy instruct students. If you are on our social media, I posted a reel of us all stretching our monk's cloth in preparation of this project, as well as one for our Patchwork Heart Project which has tutorials on Instagram. In these videos, you see we are all pulling that foundation cloth as tight as we can. Christy would also drum on each of ours, just to see if we had them tight enough.
*If it is easier for you, Amy also has great tutorials on stretching for gripper strip frames and Morgan No-slip Hoops on her youtube channel, to see the one for gripper strip frames, CLICK HERE
We also always make sure to slip a flannel frame cover over our frames after we have the monk's stretched on it. We do this for a couple of different reasons, the main one is so that we don't get scratched! Especially by the corners where the teeth stick up more. If you have ordered your frame cover from us, you notice that each cover comes with four squares. These are meant to be put in the corners folded in half.
4. Needle Size: The next step is deciding which Oxford Punch Needle size to use for your coaster. Here is a helpful tip, the larger the loop height, the less stable the mug or glass will be on your coaster. We suggest using a #10 regular or fine, #13 fine, or a #14 fine Oxford Punch Needle. Christy and Heidi each used the #14 fine, Cotey and I used the #13 fine for our Coasters.
5. Yarn: As I have said before we decided to curate 5 different color schemes for this project for people to use when punching the coasters. Each of these palettes are offered on our website under Yarn Packs, then Fine Yarn Packs (or CLICK HERE). They each contain 5 balls, 1 ounce each of worsted weight yarn, perfect for using with the fine point Oxford Punch Needle (and more than enough to punch a few sets of coasters!). You are welcome to use whatever colors you choose, or to raid your stash for this project. These color palettes are simply a jumping off point to get you started and include a range of values and colors that work nicely together!
Phew! You got all that? Great! Ready to get your supplies together, monk's stretched and to get punching?