Saturday, 12 January 2013

Two Owls and Winter Birdhouse Mug Rug Patterns

In January 2013 Michele at the Quilting Gallery organized the Quilting Gallery's Mug Rug Swap. Everybody who joined in made two mug rugs - the Two Owls and the Winter Birdhouse.  So I thought I would share some hints and tips when making these fun mug rug patterns. 

Both mug rug patterns are quick and easy - both allow plenty of variation through the use of the fabrics that you choose.   Let us look at the Two Owls mug rug pattern first.
Two Owls Mug Rug
I made this mug rug in both a night-time and a day-time colour scheme.  The night-time version is hand sewn whilst the day-time version is machine stitched.  Both use the quick-fuse appliqué method.  If you look at the owl wings on both versions you will see the difference between hand and machine applique. 
The machine stitched pieces look sharper (above left) whilst the hand stitched pieces (above right) look bigger and softer.  Hand stitching tends to be more prominent whilst machine stitching can be less obtrusive.  I used a short zigzag machine stitch for the day-time version whilst the hand stitched mug rug was completed using two strands of embroidery cotton and a simple blanket stitch.   Both methods have their advantages but I would recommend that you use the method you are most comfortable with.
One feature I particularly like to use is to make the appliqué pieces stand slightly proud creating an almost 3D effect.  This is achieved by quilting very close around each appliqué piece.  It actually distorts the shape of the branch making it rounded and more like a branch.  It is very subtle and does not interfere with the use of the mug rug.  I like the look it creates and it is a process I use often. 
I quilted close to the cross on my Easter Cross mug rugto make the cross puff up.
The day-time mug rug is not quilted at all to give it a smoother, sleeker look which just goes to show that you do not have to quilt to create a stunning mini quilt. 
The eyes and beak are made of felt which is really easy to work with and the black pupils on the eyes were created using a straight stitch which was overstitched in the same place a couple of times.  This worked a treat but for all those embroidery wizards amongst you a French knot would give a similar effect. 

Finally I bound the night-time version in the same fabric as the background to continue the night-time look whilst the day-time version was bound using a scrappy border.  Both were bordered using the mitred border method (see Mug Rug Basics above for details).

With the Winter Birdhouse mug rug - this pattern combines a simple patchwork block with quick-fuse appliqué to create a stunning little mug rug.   
The robin is constructed using a very simple method whereby the redbreast and body are stitched before cutting out the bird shape.  Details are provided in the pattern with full colour diagrams.  Try it – you will be surprised at how easy it is.  
The Winter Birdhouse mug rug was bound using a single fold binding (shown on left above) - details of which can be found in Mug Rug Basics.   This colourful mug rug isn’t just for winter though - you could replace the white felt roof with a fabric roof, leave off the felt snow on the birdhouse shelf and make the bird any colour you like (maybe a bluebird or a blackbird)  to create an all-year-round mug rug.  

If you are participating in a mug rug swap (or any swap for that matter) be sure to check out my guidelines on swap etiquette to make sure everything goes smoothly.

And don't forget to check out the many fun and functional mug rug patterns in my Craftsy store.    You can also find many of my patterns in paperback book format on Amazon (see the sidebars for links and details).  Until next time.....

19 comments:

  1. This is going to be so much fun! Your owls and birds will be flying around all over the world!

    Susie

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  2. How proud you must be to have your two patterns in thisinternational swap!

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    1. I am really 'chuffed' - I love that everybody will be having fun and receiving two mug rugs. Can't wait to see them in the Flickr group.

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  3. I joined the swap! Looking forward to it!

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    1. Excellent Alicia. You will love these two patterns and I can't wait to see the finished mug rugs. Michele is a great organiser so everything should go smoothly. If I can help in anyway just email me at thepatchsmith@gmail[dot]com.

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  4. I Love your work!
    I am Very excited about my first swap and your great patterns. Looking very FWD. to receiving them and trading away. I have already sent Michele My fat quarter.
    http://openbeauty.blogspot.com/

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    1. Welcome Karin,
      This is going to be fun swap party - lots of people. I know you will have fun. For a first swap it is important to enjoy yourself and keep it fun. I will blog soon with some suggestions on small things that swappers can do to increase the enjoyment. Until then ....

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  5. I love the idea of day and night versions of the owls, so cute.

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  6. I'm in! This is the first time I'm participating in a swap and it's so exciting! :)

    Thanks for all the wonderful tutorials and information.

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    1. So glad you are in - it is going to be a big party. I shall post most information and also I will pop into the Flickr thread to answer any questions aswe go along.

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  7. Lovely Mug Rugs. I wish I could have joined the swap but paying international money is not an option for me. My loss.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that - I know Michele at Quilting Gallery also accepts a fat quarter as payment but I am not sure how much that would cost to post. Have you thought about joining the Across the Pond Sew Along (see tab above). We make a project every month though there is no commitment, and we post pictures to Flickr of the finished item. We would love to welcome you. There is a Flickr thread to introduce yourself also.

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    2. Please note: Michele at Quilting Gallery no longer accepts fat quarters as payment.

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  8. I joined the swap too. It will be so much fun sewing your lovely mug rugs. The Winter Birdhouse is my favorite.

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    1. I hope you enjoy making it - it is also one of my sister's favourites - she made one for herself and uses it everyday. Let me know how you get on - I shall be watching the Flickr group for your photos. If you need any help just email me or send me a Flickr message.

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  9. I am very happy that I joined the game. Spend next week and I can pay with Paypal regiszráció I hope not too late. Really good exciting game for everyone
    . Greetings from the other end of the world team members.
    Marika Hungary

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  10. Hello, I'm in South Africa and have just done a swap with my group. The mug rugs are so divine... wish I could participate :-(

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  11. ohhhhhh I just found this swap group... too late to join i guess... :-( maybe next time if you have swap I gonna joing from okinawa Japan :-) enjoy to all :-)

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    1. I am sorry you missed this swap Liz. I will let you know via this blog, if any other swaps come up. However, both the patterns used in the swap are available in my shop if you want to make them.

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