Sunday 16 September 2012

The Yarn of the Red Elephants Mug Rug

Red Elephants from Animal & Pets pattern book

As I was telling Susie of Susie’s Sunroom fame, I never set out to make red elephants.  So how did it come about you may ask?  Well, let me tell you the story of the elephant mug rug .......

I had spent the week with my sister and when I returned home my work room was a mess.  My friend had taken out some built-in cupboards I had asked him to remove whilst I was away and all my things were strewn all across the room (no respect for Red Rooster fabric!)  So my first morning home was spent tidying and sorting and getting over the shame that my friend had seen my ‘magic-extra-large-Bridget Jones-style’ knickers which had slipped down the back of one of the drawers.  What could I tell him?  (Question 1 - answer at bottom of page.) 
I digress .... So, I spent the morning tidying and the afternoon rewarding myself with cream tea and ice-cream at Bosham village.  I had been home a whole day and I hadn’t even take the cover off my sewing machine – it would appear my brain was taking a break and having a rest.  However, I woke the following morning to find my mind was in overdrive – running away with ideas – well one idea in particular – elephants spouting hearts.  Strewth – what was I thinking?  Where on earth did that come from?  (Question 2 - answer at bottom of page.) 
I have a Moda Bonnie and Camille charm pack that I have ideas for (of course!!). I have wanted to do something major with a charm pack ever since Amy of Amy MadeThat popped one in with a mug rug swap.  So I decided turquoise elephants would be lovely.  All went well, I pieced the back from two charm squares and cut out my elephants from a turquoise and white print.  However, the elephants ears proved tricky to match up.  Too many fabrics, too much choice – as a sewist you will know exactly what I mean.  So I thought maybe plain elephants would be better – with turquoise floral ears (hey, they are my elephants and they can have floral ears if I want!!). 
I didn’t have any grey felt but I did have some grey linen which I had cut off my daughter’s cargo pants to make them into shorts.  Excellent – I was back on track (unlike this yarn).  Mid grey elephants and turquoise flowered ears.  Looking good I think to myself.  Then I added a heart – oh my, no and no and no – several choices and none of them worked.  And it was the next step that changed everything.......
If you have been following me on the Zakka trail you will know I am partial, just a tad you understand, to a bit of gingham.  Well I cut out one small, itsy-bitsy gingham heart and I lay it on the grey elephant whilst I cut out another.  
Who doesn't like a touch of gingham?

Then the phone rang – I went to answer it and when I came back – epiphany – the gingham on the grey fabric made my heart sing.
Red Elephants is just one of ten patterns from
The Patchsmith's Animal & Pets pattern book

The red gingham looked so good that I decided to change the ears – out with the floral, in with the gingham.  Woohoo – bliss.  From hereon the mug-rug was a breeze as I have so many red scraps that it was easy finding a few oddments.  As for the border I just run with the check theme and used a lovely Debbie Mumm fabric.  You may be wondering how I mitred the borders (Question 3 – answer at bottom of page .... or if you are really on the ball – click on the tab 'Mug Rug Basics' tab above and you will find more info on Binding).

So what is next for The Patchsmith?  (Question 4 – but it is the bottom of the page so that answer is here – taa-daa.)  Today I am going to listen to the birds sing, picnic in the park and DING – oh no, incoming idea – quick think of something else – DING - a village scene – really?  Gotta go – am seeing turquoise houses ... DING ... and a church .... DING .... and a shop.  Until next time ......

1.         My explanation for the knickers – they belonged to the previous owner.  However, there is just one teeny flaw in my excuse - the previous owner was a bloke – but hey – blokes can be odd (and we all know I’m not ‘odd’ in any way – don’t we?  - and before you ask .... NO, there is not an answer at the bottom of the page it was a rhetorical question.  Plus, if you were following along, we are now at the bottom of the page – we cannot get much lower - doh).

2.         The idea came from a notebook my sister had picked up at the shop.  It was covered in elephants and my sub-conscious must have filed the image under ‘ideas-to-do-later’.

3.         Click on the page on the 'Mug Rug Basics' tab above or click here.


  1. I absolutely love your red elephants.

  2. LOVE your newest pattern and the story to go along with it. Your sister has great notebooks (o:
    Off to order the mug rug. Too cute to resist.

  3. The little elephants are so so charming, and the gingham ears are just perfect!!! This is my new favorite...until those other ideas come to life!

  4. How do you think up these adorable patterns?!!
    I think you have a crew of little elves that come and create designs and make them while you are sleeping... like the story of the elves and the shoemaker :)

    I love how you have the directions and patterns all laid out so clearly! I have learned to love to machine applique from your patterns!!


  5. I love these elephants, elephants have a style of their own that is always adorable. Thanks for sharing.