Mug Rug Swap Etiquette

The Patchsmith's Mug Rug Alphabet - good for all sorts of projects

These guidelines have been collected from experience. Hence I have not always adhered to all of them but I am learning from my oversights and, with each mug rug swap I participate in, I am getting a little more swap savvy.
1.    Post on time
One of the best things with participating in a mug rug swap is waiting for the post each day until you receive that wonderful little parcel.   Do not disappoint your partner by posting late. 

     2.    Thank your partner 
For me this is the loveliest part of any swap - knowing that somebody likes your work and is pleased with their mug rug.  Send a private message or post on the Flickr/Facebook/IG thread.  Alternatively you could send a little thank you card if you so wish.   Even if the mug rugs are not to your taste please find something positive to say - somebody has made the effort and (hopefully) done their best to provide you with something nice.  All of us are at different skill levels but, with kind words from other sewists and quilters, we will continue to grow and blossom. 

3.    If you include a little gift then make it small 
You do not have to include a gift - after all, your partner will be receiving a wonderful little mug rug.  But if you do send a gift then make it something small - too big and your partner may feel burdened that they were not able to send as much.  Plus postage is expensive. 
Suitable gifts to include: a little notebook, set of pencils, ribbon, a fat quarter, buttons, a reel of nice cotton, or a little something you have made.
Check with the USPS service for country specific restrictions by clicking on the number next to the country - the restrictions listed apply even if you are outside the USA. 
4.    Let your partner know who you are
Send a card with your quilt, giving your name, country and a little message.  Your quilt should be labelled but, if time is short and labelling will cause you to be late with posting then it is better to send on time with a card.  I am in the middle of perfecting the art of creating labels using my printer and MS Word (I will do a tutorial in due course) but check out Patchwork Pottery's label tutorial.   If you do not have access to labels then you could simply embroider your initials and/or date to the back of the mug rug. 

5.    Bind your mug rug
Your mug rug should be bound (see Binding Methods for a PDF print out).  Binding gives a nice finish and will enable the mug rug to be laundered.  If you really cannot bind then you could stitch your mug rug and backing together with RIGHT sides facing and with wadding placed behind the backing.  Leave a 2" gap for turning, turn it right side out and stitch the opening closed.   

6.    Make it washable
Your mug rug should be washable and all pieces should be stitched in place.  If you use notions (sequins, buttons, beads or ribbon) then make sure that these are stitched securely.     
7.    Watch your back
Do not neglect the back of the mug rug - use a nice piece of fabric or, if you have the time, patch the back.  I like to back my mug rugs with fabric that is relevant to the front therefore, for the Two Owls mug rug I used owl fabric, for the Christmas Penguin I used fish fabric and for the Love Hearts mug rug I used heart fabric. 
FINALLY, remember that a mug rug swap is meant to be fun.  Do not worry about your work being good enough - do the best you can and send your creations out into the world with pride.  


  1. Wonderful words and good reminders to us all. It's all about touching someone with a gift that comes from our hearts!


  2. Thank you, it is my first swap and it is good to start out right!

  3. Thanks You so much as you have made feel much better about this. I love the patterns and as I am working with the small pieces I am feeling sightly overwhelmed and have redone them 3 times already. still up for the challenge and enjoying it.

    1. It might be easier to do the fusing and stitching in sections - i.e. do the bird first and then go back and do the birdhouse. Do the owls and then go back and do the flowers and leaves. Just make sure everything fits before you fuse anything in place. If I can help then please, just email me.

  4. Thank you for the tips Amanda.


  5. Great tips....the thing I think is most important is to have fun and cherish the new friends you make when you do this swap.


    1. So true. I love how quilters come together and share knowledge and tips and insights.

  6. Wonderful post Amanda! ! Thank you

  7. Wonderful post Amanda! ! Thank you

  8. Wonderful post sooo inspiring, will be going over there to join up today, I had soo much fun last time!