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From the hills of Thailand ... to your sofa or table. Here are easy-to-make cloth creations.

Bold lines of color slash across a background of black on these easy-to-make cloth creations: a place mat, a trio of pillows, and an indoor-outdoor throw blanket. Although the colors and patterns have a very contemporary look, they're inspired by a time-honored tradition from northern Thailand. In the authentic tribal garments, handmade ribbons are appliqued to handwoven cloth. But in our adaptation, you just sew store-bought grosgrain ribbon onto black cotton. If you can sew in a straight line, you can tackle this project with ease. The ribbons make the difference Coarse-textured grosgrain ribbon comes in many widths; we used 1/8-, 3/8, l-, and 1 1/2-inch-wide ribbons. Prices range from 50 to 80 cents per yard, with printed ribbons costing more. We selected colors similar to those used in Thai clothing: sky and royal blue, gold-yellow, gray, white, and warm reds. You might also use a few ribbons with subtle dots or lines. Preshrink the cotton fabric in the washing machine, then iron it; wet the ribbons and let them dry. After cutting fabric to size, interweave the ribbons in simple designs, such as parallel lines intersected by angled ones, or controlled right-angle patterns. Scale the pattern to the size and shape of the background. There's plenty of room for individuality: for fun, have each family member design his or her own place mat. Arrange your ribbon pattern and pin it in place every 3 inches. Straight-stitch the ribbon along both sides with a matching thread. If you're using long pieces of ribbon, you might baste them before sewing. Since fabric can stretch against the cords of the ribbon if the grosgrain travels over the weave of the fabric diagonally, use more pins and stitch carefully. (This is why on our blanket, ribbons follow the straight weave of the fabric.) Place mats or pillows Use medium-weight cotton or poplin for the place mats or pillows. For each mat, cut two 13- by 18-inch rectangles. Decorate one side with ribbon. Turn the right sides together and, leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance, sew around the edges except for a 4-inch opening. Turn right sides out, iron flat, and top- or blind-stitch the opening closed. Pillows can vary in size, but keep their shapes simple-rectangles, circles, or triangles. Follow the instructions for place mats except, after sewing the edges and turning the pillow right side out, stuff with polyester batting or foam, then stitch the opening closed. A throw blanket Our blanket has a black top and red back, both made with medium-weight cotton fabric measuring 60 inches square. It's lined with polyester batting. Arrange lengths of ribbon on the fabric, then pin, baste, and stitch them in place. Next, cut the batting and sandwich it between the black front and colored back, right sides facing out. Baste and loosely zigzag-stitch the edges together. Using the grid of your ribbon pattern as a guide, identify three or four concentric squares (or rectangles) on the blanket's surface; each square (or rectangle) should be about 6 inches smaller than the one outside it. Following these shapes, quilt through the blanket to hold batting in place. To hand-stitch (approximately four stitches per inch), use black pearl cotton and a long embroidery needle; this way, you can take several stitches at a time. Make an inch-wide hem, turning the colored fabric of the blanket's back side over the black front (with raw edges turned under). Blind-stitch through all layers, tucking the corners in. El dramatic fireplace on our cover, designed by San Francisco architect Lewis Butler, is part of an extension of the existing north-end wall of a house in Pacific Palisades, California. Projecting almost 12 feet from the house, the fireplace wall defines one end of a new terrace, makes the area more private, and shields it from wind. The stucco-clad fireplace pictured top right above is built into a wall that creates a private courtyard on a corner lot. The 6-foot tall brick-capped wall (top left) adds privacy, noise control, and a protected play area for the owners' young children; the fireplace, designed by Palo Alto, California, architect Larrick Alan Hill, sits on a bench that extends to the front and side. A sunken firepit and surrounding deck are central to the design of the house pictured on facing page, which sits above a windswept beach in Salishan, Oregon. Portland architect Jerry Ward designed the patio as if it were part of the overall pyramid shape of the house. The pyramidal orientation of overhead beams visually ties the open-air area to the house. Large panels of glass in the outside wall are sliding doors that can roll into place on windy days or stack against the walls on balmy ones. F]
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Sep 1, 1990
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