Monday, 7 September 2015

Mug Rug and Mini Quilt Basic Supplies

If you are new to mug rug making then you may be wondering what equipment you need to get started so I've put together a few of my must-have tools that I use on a daily basis.    
(If you click on a picture or link it will take you through to the product on but you can pick up many of these items from your local quilting store or discount chain.)

I like two pairs of scissors – one 7½” pair of Karen Buckley Perfect Scissors  and one small embroidery pair.  I particularly like the Karen Buckley scissors as they have serrated blades which give sharp and precise cutting.

You will need one 12” x 6” or 12” x 4” ruler for accurate cutting of backing and background fabrics and this is enough for all your mug rug making needs.  But I would also recommend a small 6” x 1” ruler which is really useful for trimming and tidying up edges.  The smaller ruler also helps when tracing straight lines onto fusible webbing.

Cutting Mat
I have two cutting mats – one large 12” x 18” (the largest size that will fit on my desk) and one A4 size – both are self-healing mats.  I use the A4 size mat the most as it sits on my work desk whilst I sew making it quick and easy to cut and trim blocks.  (I also use it a lot for paper-piecing but that is another blog for another day.)

Rotary Cutter and Blade
I like a basic ‘Olfa’ rotary cutter with a 45mm blade.  I find it comfortable and convenient.  Try different ones and find a cutter that suits your grip.  It is important to be comfortable with it so you do not slip or mis-cut as you trim your mug rug prior to binding.  And always keep a spare blade close to hand. 

Bobbinsaver Donut
I love my bobbin donut (or doughnut as we say here in England).  This is a boon when machine stitching Patchsmith mug rugs as you co-ordinated bobbin thread for each different applique fabric.  I have two of these bobbin donuts which stack on top of each other in my workdesk drawer.

Seamfix Seam Ripper
We all make mistakes and a seam ripper will be well used.  Replace it as soon as it becomes blunt.  My Seamfix seam ripper has a top which I rub along the unpicked seam and it collects all the bits of thread.  Nifty tool.

Invisible Marker
I use a Frixion gel pen to draw lines on the back of my half-square-triangle squares.  It writes like an ink pen - in fact, I thought a friend had given me journal writing pens when I received my first set.  But apply a warm iron and the pen mark disappears.  This is an essential and can be found in most supermarkets.  There are other marker pens you can use and I have an air-soluble one but the Frixion is my ‘go-to’ marker.

Permanent Fabric Marker
I like a ‘ultra-fine’ black Sharpie permanent marker.  This is great for writing labels for mug rug swaps.  It is also very good to mark eyes and smiles rather than embroidering them.  A fine point allows you to mimic stitching.

Table Top Ironing Board
It saves so much time to have a small ironing board on the workdesk next to my sewing machine.  This one (Quilters Cut n Press) also doubles as a cutting board on the reverse but I keep it solely for ironing.

Of course, there are other things that I use often but the items here are my mug rug essential tools that are always to hand.  

However, there is just one more thing that I think all mug rug and mini-quilt makers should have and it is something they can make themselves – the Goody-Goody-Binding-Kit.  
My version of the Goody Goody Sewing Kit
It is a free pattern by Lella Boutique and is a great sewing project as it includes a super-easy zip compartment. 
So many useful pockets and compartments.  And that cotton holder is so cool.
I use my Goody Goody kit constantly both at home and when I am out-and-about.  So there you have it ..... until next time.


  1. This is such a fun round-up, thanks for putting it together!
    Also, love your Goody-goody kit. What do you keep in the zippered pocked on the left-hand side?

    1. I keep english paper pieces ready for stitching so that when I am out-and-about I always have something to do - hexies mainly but also diamonds.