Thursday 1 November 2012

What is a Mug Rug

What is a mug rug?
This question may seem obvious if you live in the USA but here in England mug rugs are relatively unheard of.  Ask an English person what a mug rug is and they will most probably say it is a coaster.  Yet a mug rug differs fundamentally from a coaster.   A coaster seats a cup and nothing more whereas a mug rug usually accommodates a mug and a cake or cookies.  A mug rug is a mini quilt varying in size from 4” x 7” to as large as 12” x 8”.  As such a quilter can fit more detail onto a mug rug and have more fun creating them.

One of ten patterns from my Special Days Mug Rug collection

What are mug rugs used for?
I can hear you all shouting ‘MUGS’ at your computer screens – the answer seems obvious doesn’t it?  But mugs rugs can be used for many more things than just mugs and cookies.  They can be used to protect your table or furniture against plant pots, serving bowls, condiments and much more.  A pretty mug rug added to a dressing table is the perfect place for your perfume bottles or brush and comb set.  They can adorn coffee tables, desks and worktables.  They look good on the breakfast table holding the marmalade and honey pots or on the hall console table as the resting place for the car keys.  Children may like one on their bedside table to hold their supper drink.  Indeed, every room in the house can find a space for these functional little quilts.

Red Elephants from my Animal and Pets Mug Rug collection

Why make a mug rug?
Firstly – frugality.  A mug rug is a great way to use your scraps – and a quilter always has scraps!  Due to their size mug rugs use only small pieces of fabric.  For example the largest piece of fabric used on the Snowman mug rug (aside from the backing) measures only 6½” x 4½”.   Thus you can make a gift or decorative item for little or no cost.

This version of the Summer Watermelon mug rug uses left over binding strips to create the watermelon flesh - you can't get more frugal than that.

Secondly – preparedness.  Every quilter loves to play with patterns and colours – a mug rug is the perfect thing to test out fabrics you are thinking of using in a larger item. 

Thirdly – skill building.  You can try new techniques without wasting too much fabric or time.

Scotties Dogs from my Animal and Pets Mug Rug Collection

The Scottie Dog mug rug allows you to practice matching your seams but if they don’t match it will not ruin the look of the mug rug. 

The Pumpkin Patch mug rug introduces quick corner patchwork and the Flip and Quilt mug rug uses a quick and easy quilt-as-you-go method.  All of these items will not take very long to make thus giving you the perfect chance to practice these techniques.

Fourthly – gift giving.  Mug rugs make perfect gifts and, due to their size, you will not be imposing your style and tastes upon another person as you would with a larger handmade item.   The recipient will not feel burdened at all by the effort and time you have expended, although expect them to think you have spent far more time than you actually have.  You can roll a mug rug up into a mug and hey-presto – a unique and perfect gift.  Add a plant and you have a great mother’s day gift.  They are also light to send through the postal system either within your country or abroad. 

Fifthly – versatility.  Mug rugs are so versatile as they can be used for many things as mentioned at the beginning – why not brighten up the dinner table by placing the salt and sauce bottles on a mug rug.  You can add a border to a mug rug and turn it into a placemat.  As gifts they can serve as:

a ‘thank-you’ to a teacher, friend, nurse or workmate (Tea and Cake fits the bill),

a hostess gift (Butterfly Pocket is perfect here),

a ‘new neighbour’ welcome gift (choose the Summer Birdhouse mug rug),

a unique gift for a friend or relative who lives far away (how about 'Tea and Books' which is one of ten patterns from my Hobby & Fun mug rug pattern book),

a ‘thinking of you’ gift for somebody in hospital or a care home (the Half-hearted mug rug will be sure to brighten any bedside),

a baby shower gift (the 'Red Elephants' mug rug from my Animal and Pets pattern book works well here)

an impromptu gift for when you receive that unexpected Christmas present - I will make a couple of Christmas Antlers mug rugs to keep under the tree, wrapped and ready for just such an occasion,

Birthday, Mother's Day, thank-you, congratulations - in fact, I don't think there is an occasion that isn't suited to the Butterfly Patch mug rug.

Although for Mother's Day, the Mum/Mom mug rug is a very good alternative.

Indeed – anybody, anywhere will be so impressed by your skill and effort that a mug rug is always a welcomed pressie.

Finally, a mug rug is a great way to create a unique and personal home that reflects your styles and tastes.  I like to bring the seasons into my home and therefore, I am creating  mug rugs to suit every occasion and every season.  I change them regularly and am always making new ones. 

The Thanksgiving Turkey mug rug from my Halloween and Thanksgiving collection will house the pickles on the buffet table this Christmas (a turkey isn’t just for Thanksgiving). 

The cup cake mug rug (from the Hobby & Fun mug rug pattern book) is perfect on the breakfast table. 

I also like to have a home-made mug rug on my office desk – it reminds me of my love of sewing and makes home seem a little closer. 
Available individually or as part of the Hobby & Fun collection

So why not start using some of those fabric scraps today and create a gift for yourself or others with a Patchsmith mug rug pattern.   Whichever pattern you choose, the easy-to-follow colour diagrams and full-size appliqué sheets will ensure you create a little bit of fabric heaven that is unique to you.

Sew until next time  .....


  1. I love mug rugs and if anyone doubts -they are always well received as gifts. At Christmas I get a mug, fill with candies and add the mug rug. I also make them a bit bigger and give them the title "snack mat". Those are good for the after school treats for the kids.

    1. What a good idea Katie, a snack mat. If you add a bigger border then become place mats. They are so versatile and I agree, they are the perfect gift - suitable for everybody.

  2. I just adore all of your sweet mug rug patterns! And now you have a full page of them at Craftsy, to pick from!! They are delightful! (And do make you feel happy when you look at them!)


  3. All of them are very pretty!!!!

  4. Great idea to make a mug rug for. And love the little pinguin with the snowflakes.

  5. Nice post! I have to make some too. You are the mug rug queen in my eyes.

  6. Love your darling designs. Couldn't help myself, just rushed over to Craftsy and bought 'em! Thank you for making them available. Too cute!!

    1. Thank you so much Cyn for your support. It is always lovely to hear kind words about one's efforts. xx

  7. Such great Ideas - Thanks for sharing

  8. Love your designs!!! I've featured you at Keep up the excellent work. :D Susanne

    1. Thank you Susanne. You website is a brilliant resource - so much info and signposting - 'tis a firm favourite.

  9. I loved our postcards, but this is just too exciting. I can't wait to get started making them. Fun, fun, fun. Going on a quilt retreat next weekend and will show off these little cuties.

    1. Glad you like them Fran. They are a great way to add a touch of fabric fun to a coffee table or workdesk. I am a mug rug addict!

  10. I really love your patterns. Easy to make and look so attractive.