Monday 29 August 2016

Cozy Christmas Tree Mug Rug

Are you ready to create a Cozy Christmas Tree Mug Rug?  You will need Lori Holt’s Cozy Christmas Sew Simple Shapes (details can be found here), a completed Cozy Christmas Tree block, two 3” x 6½” rectangles for the bauble background and scraps for the baubles and bauble tops.  

Cozy Christmas Tree Block using quick-fuse applique

First make a Cozy Christmas Tree block using your preferred applique method.  Lori uses a stitch-and-turn method with beautiful ric-rac trim for her quilt block (tutorial here) whereas I prefer the quick-fuse (raw edge) method when making mug rugs. 

I fused the ric-rac between the two tree pieces.
When I stitch the tree in place the ric-rac will be secure.

To make the bauble sidebars trace shape B10 four times onto the paper-side of fusible webbing.  You will also need to trace four little rectangles for the bauble tops. 
I found it easier to trace a 1.5" x 1" square
and then cut it into quarters

Cut out the tracings roughly and fuse to the wrong side of your chosen fabrics before cutting the applique shapes out accurately.

Place the bauble shapes onto the 3” x 6½” rectangles.  The bottom bauble is ½” up from the bottom edge and the top bauble is ¾” down from the top edge.  Fuse and stitch in place.

Stitch the bauble sides to either side of your Cozy Christmas Tree block to create a mug rug top.  (I trimmed my Cozy Christmas Tree Block so that is was 6" wide.)  Layer batting and backing behind the appliqued mug rug and quilt as preferred.  

Add little hoops to the top of the baubles but remember to leave at least ¼” at the top for the binding.
Bauble hanging loops quilted in place.

Finally add a button, heart or felt circle to the top of the tree and bind to finish.  (You can find a PDF print out of binding methods here.)

Talking about buttons - a mug rug can be used for many things but, if it is to be used as a place to rest a cup or mug then it is important that any cup should be safe and steady.  NEVER use a shank button on a mug rug  and try to use small, flat buttons whenever possible.  I find a button at the very top of a mug rug is rarely a problem but if you are in any doubt, or the mug rug is for a child or as a gift, then replace any buttons with fabric circles. 

My mug rug is going on my hall table to hold pennies for carol singers
so I went big and pretty on the button atop my tree.

So now that the tree is trimmed it is time to turn our attention to hanging the wreath but more on that next week. Until then ........

Thursday 25 August 2016

Cozy Cottage Mug Rug

The second block up in the Cozy Christmas Sew Along is a Gingerbread House. However, my house is more like a cozy cottage on a gingerbread background.  

If you are using the quick-fuse applique method (raw edge applique) you will need to patch the house.  To do this cut:
  • one 5½” x 3” rectangle of roof fabric 
  • one 5½” x 3½”rectangle of house fabric  
  • one 5½” length o½” ribbon or rick-rack

Place the house and roof rectangles right sides together, with the ribbon between the two - all top edges lining up.  Stitch through the three layers before pressing the roof rectangle away from the ribbon/house section.

Next you will need to trace B4 and B15 together as one piece onto the paper side of the fusible web and mark the roof-line on the house tracing.  Fuse this B4/B15 tracing to the WRONG side of the house patch matching the traced roof-line with the stitched seam.

The rest was pretty much exactly as per Lori's tutorial - I love that she tells you exactly where to place the pieces to the inch, as it makes life so much easier.

You will also need a 2" length of bias binding for the window box
(see last week's tips for a cheat for this).
To turn this sweet Cozy Cottage into a sweet little mug rug I added the Birdhouse Sidebars from my One Block Mug Rugs book to either side of the Cozy Cottage block. 

I added a redbreast to each of the little sidebar birds to turn them into Winter robins - sweet eh?   
Little Robin Redbreast
This is easy to do by drawing a redbreast onto the bird templates and using them as the templates. This would also work well on the slightly larger birds in my Summer Birdhouse mug rug pattern. 

I love the smoke spirals created using the template provided with the free Cozy Christmas Pattern (details here).

And there you have it – week two of the Cozy Christmas sew-along - one Cozy Cottage mug rug.

So until next week when it will be time to trim trees .....

Tuesday 16 August 2016

Cozy Christmas Bell Mug Rug

I love sew-alongs and when the Cozy Christmas sew-along popped up, organized by Lori Holt and Riley Blake, I knew I wanted to play.  

However, I don’t want another large quilt so I have decided to make a mug rug each week using the applique Cozy Christmas block for that week.  (You can get the free Cozy Christmas pattern together with details of fabric requirements and templates over at Bee in my Bonnet or click on the Sew-Along picture above.)

The first block up is the Cozy Bell block and Lori has a wonderful video showing how to make this block using her stitch-and-turn applique method. For my mug rugs however, I shall be using the quick-fuse method (also know as raw edge applique) to reduce bulk and I thought I might share a few tips for each block if you are also using this applique method. 

Firstly, for the bell ringer you do not need the whole B6 circle so trace a little over half of the shape as shown below.  This shape will lie partially under the bell and you do not want the circle outline showing through.

Secondly, trace the two bow (B9) shapes together, as a mirror image.  This will help if using a directional print.  Do the same for the bow tails (B13 shapes).

Thirdly, peel back a corner of the fusible webbing paper before you cut out the shapes. Gently finger press it down again to cut out the shape.  You will find that it is easier to peel the paper from the back of the shapes if you have a corner to get you started.

I stitched the bell and bell ringer in place before adding the bow but it doesn’t really matter how you do it. 
Cozy Christmas Bell awaiting a bow.

Finally, if you do not have any bias tape you can cut a 1” wide strip of your chosen fabric and a ¼” rectangle of fusible web (I cut my fabric 4” long and my fusible web 3½” long).
Cheats Binding Tape

Press the fabric lengthwise so that the raw edges overlay one another.  I overlapped the edges so that my strip of fabric was approximately ½” wide.  Next fuse the rectangle of fusible webbing over the cut edges to seal them.  Peel the paper away from the fusible webbing.  You can then trim and use as you would bias tape.   
Cheat's Binding Tape ready for stitching
I cut a ¾” piece for the bow knot.   

Cozy Christmas Bell Mug Rug
To create this first Cozy Christmas mug rug I added a wide striped sidebar from my One Block Mug Rugs book (page 21) using charm squares from Lori Holt’s Cozy Christmas fabric. 
Turn any 6" block into a fun and functionalMUG RUG

To complete the mug rug I quilted around the bell (I love the way it puffs up if you quilt close to the applique) and I added a little quilted detailing on the bow.  I also quilted wavy lines down the sidebar – nice and easy. 
Quilted Cozy Christmas Bell

So there you have it – week one of the Cozy Christmas sew-along and one Cozy Christmas Bell mug rug.

Until next time .....

Saturday 13 August 2016

The Splendid Sampler blocks 48, 49, 50, 51 and 52

Courthouse Steps Sidebar meets The Splendid Sampler block 52.

I have been having even more fun with The Splendid Sampler blocks:

Block 48 – ‘Whim’ designed by Faith Jones of Fresh Lemon QuiltsThis 6” block is a lovely quick paper-piecing block – perfect for beginner and experienced paper-pieces.  Great for using up some charm squares and scraps.
The Splendid Sampler Block 48 - Whim

Block 49 – ‘Summer’s Gift’ designed by Karla over at Sweetwater Fabrics.  This is a cut-out applique block.  The background is simply patched from four HST and the applique is laid over the top.  And what is more, it doesn’t matter if the seams don’t match on your patched background – it won’t show. 
The Splendid Sampler Block 49 - Summer's Gift

Block 50 – ‘Flights of Fancy’ – a Fig Tree & Co block.  There are quite a few pieces in this 6” block so I took a shortcut with the middle.  I patched it using four 2.5” squares and then cut it on the diagonal to create the quarter-triangle middle.  Cool eh?  
The Splendid Sampler Block 50 - Flights of Fancy

Block 51 – ‘Bee Happy’.  I had great fun with this English paper-pieced (EPP) block if you ignore that pesky little hexie flower!   I EPPed the bee but the sides of the large hexie weren’t straight enough for me, so I undid the outer seams and machine pieced it in place.   
The Splendid Sampler Block 51 - Bee Happy

Block 52 – ‘Coneflower’.  This was an easy-peasy applique block designed by Pat Sloan.  So easy I had plenty of time to add a Courthouse Steps sidebar from my One Block Mug Rugs book and turned it into a mug rug.  It is nesting my coffee cup as I type.   
The Splendid Sampler Block 52 - Coneflower

If you want to turn some of your Splendid Sampler blocks into mug rugs for yourself or for gifts then check out my One Block Mug Rugs book.
JUST $9.99

And if you want to see my Splendid Sampler blocks together just pop over to my Splendid Sampler Pinterest board.

Until next time ......... 

Thursday 4 August 2016

Single Scoop Zipper Pouch

Have you seen the latest Youtube video from The Fat Quarter Shop .... it is for the Single Scoop Pouch designed by Dana Willard of Made Everyday.

And there are two $50 vouchers up for grabs for anybody who makes one .... full details over at the Fat Quarter Shop blog but be quick - closing date is 7th August.