I created two patterns to celebrate the Sochi Winter Olympics of 2014. Firstly the Winter Dove mug rug pattern - a bird of peace and unity .....
and secondly the Russian Doll pattern to celebrate traditional Russian crafts.
patterns are suitable for beginner and experienced sewists alike and I thought
I might give some hints and tips to make them even easier. But before I do a reminder to print the
patterns to ‘exact size’. There is a
print-check-box on each applique sheet to make it easy for you to check your
print out and you will find details of how to download and print here.
let’s make a start - there is much to talk about .....
Fabric choices. The fabrics that you choose will have the most influence on how your mug rugs turn out and the choice of fabric will determine whether the finished mug rug is ‘modern’ or ‘traditional’ or ‘country’. Play around with your choices – lay the fabrics together, turn away and then look back at them. Do they work? Do they contrast with the background? Most importantly – do you like them? I know, I know, you are giving these mug rugs away but I would urge you to make something you like because, in so doing, you are sharing your tastes and choices with another - you are giving away a glimpse of who you are – connecting with another over fabric, fun and friendship.
For the Winter Dove mug rugs I used a plain white fabric for the bird .......
and a two-tone white
from Kate Spain’s ‘In From the Cold’ range .......
Whenever it comes to using a plain white I tend to use a thicker white
cotton than normal quilting cotton to avoid the background showing
through. In fact I use fabric cut from a plain white
tablecloth especially for this purpose – it is 100% cotton and I know it will
wash well. But do not worry if you only have quilter’s
cotton and you think the background may show through – you can fuse two pieces
together using fusible webbing and treat it as one piece. This technique works well - I have used it many times. Another option is to use felt.
For the red Russian Doll I
used a selection of fabrics from a Moda ‘Red Robin’ charm pack but there is no need to buy fabric specifically for this swap – use something
you already have in your stash or scrap box.
let us not forget the sewing cotton as this can have a big impact. It doesn’t have
to complement the fabric.
It can also
contrast. So if you do not
have lots of different coloured cottons you could use just one colour of thread to stitch the leaves and add detail to the Winter Dove mug rug. Choose a colour that will outline and highlight. And don’t rule out black thread – a picture or drawing edged in black
becomes more defined and striking – this can be true with fabric as shown in my
Thanksgiving Wreath mug rug pattern.
|Complementary quilting detail|
You do not need to add any additional stitching if you prefer a simpler look.
The Russian Doll looks just as
good with a fussy-cut tummy panel as she does with a heart emblem.
And whilst we are looking at the Russian Doll pattern we should discuss ‘eyes and smiles’. It
is amazing the difference a few stitches can make on a finished mug rug. Yet when it comes to adding those details people
tend to get a little nervous. There is no need – I have a
simple way to do both the eyes and the smiles using two strands of embroidery
|Simple stitching brings a smile to my face.|
the eyes use five straight stitches, close to each other. Try to make them all the same size. There is no need to attempt to make the eyes
appear rounded – they will look just fine.
As for the mouth – yet again use small, even, straight stitches. I used four on the Russian Dolls but five
would also work. I used a running stitch
with a small gap between each but use whatever stitch you are
you are really unconfident with your stitching the beauty of the Russian Doll pattern is that the
hair and face slip under the cloak so you can add the facial detailing to the fabric circle before
fusing it in place.
Once you are happy with your stitching you
can slip the face under the cut-out circle of the cloak and position the hair
in place. From there it is just a matter
of stitching around the cloak cut-out (as shown in the Russian Doll photo above) and both the hair and the face will be
secure. I also stitched along the edge of the hair as well.
|Permanent black marker (thin) was used to create this smile.|
course you could always use a thin, permanent fabric marker and draw the face
onto the fabric. I did this with my Gingerbread mug
rug and it worked perfectly. Remember to
test the marker on a scrap of the fabric before use and I would strongly urge
you to draw the face prior to stitching it in position – just in case
your hand slips or you make a mistake!
finally let us talk patchwork. Not everybody likes matching points and seams
so the Russian Doll pattern comes with a simpler patchwork option – stripes of
fabric. But a mug rug is the perfect
project on which to hone your skills so if you like patchwork I would recommend
you make the patched version and do not worry if your seams do not match
exactly. It will add to the handmade,
rustic charm of your mug rug and, as any Patchsmith will tell you, perfection
is so over-rated. Look at the banners
for the Sochi Olympics and you will see that there isn’t a matched seam in
|Simple Patched Sidebar - no matching of seams here!|
Remember - these
are your mug rugs that you are giving – my pattern is just a template – play with
stitches, colour and pattern, try different techniques but more than anything
else, enjoy yourself. Join in, have
fun, make friends and share a little of who you are with another.
until next time ....................
I will post this page in the ‘Mug Rug Basics’ section of this blog where you will find lots more hints and tips on
quick fuse applique, binding and mug-rug-swap etiquette - just click on the link or the tab above.