Monthly Archives: April 2014


When I first saw mug rugs on Pinterest, I thought they were intriguing. Such a lovely, small project and great way to practice some free motion quilting. You'd think in a year I'd have made more than one of them, huh?

For my mother-in-law's birthday (March 2013) I decided to take inspiration from her kitchen wallpaper to make her a mug rug. I think the dimensions of my project were about 8" x 10". I finally checked, and it's about 6" x 8.5".

wallpaper inspirationI put my black lines and red and yellow pieces onto my white on white background with fusible and then did a decorative stitch along the border to complete the top. Here it is pinned and ready to quilt:

pinned and ready to goI decided to use this little project as an opportunity to practice some different free motion quilting patterns, all inspired by Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project. Here's a closer look:

mug rug close-up

mug rug close-up2

I'm linking up with Leah Day's April 11 FMQ Link Up.

alternate title: Circles are Hard!

So, I sat down on Saturday night, setup the machine to free motion quilt, and started sewing (on my practice quilt sandwich, thankfully). This is what I got on the bobbin side:

bad thread newsI think it was just too late for heavy machinery. After some sleep and a few minor adjustments I was up and running on Sunday morning. Thanks to the BBQA community for some tips when I was frustrated in front of my machine.


Block 2.2 - Circles

Circles are hard. Block 2.2 in the Building Blocks Quilt Along is Circles. Lots and lots of circles. And oh, did I mention that circles are hard?

The Good

I quilted the whole block continuously, with NO thread breaks.

I managed to only have to travel stitch on straight lines.

I liked doing a figure 8 to make two "circles" next to each other.

Half circles were easier and more forgiving.

Some of my stitching in the ditch literally disappeared. That was pretty cool.

My husband didn't laugh when I asked him "Do any of these look like circles?"

I wouldn't have done a block with ALL CIRCLES without the direction of Leah Day, so I'm thankful to have been pushed outside my comfort zone.

It's done.


The Bad

These aren't really circles.

I colored outside the lines (oops, my circle escaped it's square again!?).

I had some puckering in the fabric... I think my initial line of stitching on the border edge was a bad choice, but it happened elsewhere also.

I don't really feel like I got better in the course of this block. It had also been two weeks since I'd done any free motion quilting, so that could be part of that problem. (see detail shot below)

I realized that my printout was somehow bigger than it was supposed to be... how is that even possible and how many of my printouts are wrong? ;-)


The Ugly (okay, I kid, but yeah...)

the front
the front
the back
the back - pardon the stray thread there at the bottom... oops
all up close and personal

I guess all in all I'm in decent shape. And most importantly, I'm doing it, practicing and improving my skills. I'm so glad that the next block is wiggles, but no circles.


Quiet books are usually made of fabric (often felt) and filled with quiet activities for kids. They are easily transportable and can be used for kids when they need to be entertained quietly (like at church or the waiting room at the doctor's office) or just around the house. To see a million example, just search "quiet book" on Pinterest or Etsy. :-)

quiet book swimming fishCompleted project! I'm participating in a quiet book page swap with some other crafty moms in my area. I've always been intrigued by the idea of a quiet book, but with the endless number of projects in my queue, I hadn't started one myself yet. I'm glad I joined the swap as a way to force me to dive in. I've made 13 of these fishy pages for the exchange. The fish slide across the page on the ribbon. Once I get back my set of pages from the swap I'll share them with you.

pages for the swapJust a couple of the process pics to follow, though I didn't capture the entire process. The background page is 12" wide and 9" tall, then the waves were cut from the 9" direction of two other blues. I freehand cut them using my rotary trimmer.

ocean wavesYou could pin them down, but honestly, I only pinned them like this on the first one, then I found it was just easy enough to hold it in place. I sewed from the top wave down, sewing the top and side edges of each piece before adding the next, and only sewing along the bottom edge on the last/lowest wave, along the bottom of the page.

fish detailAs for the fish, I cut two of each color (using the awesome felt cutting tips by Patty), then I sewed along the top half, then slipped the 9" piece of 1/8" ribbon between the layers before carefully sewing the second half of the border. Then I attached the ribbon at the ends with some three-step zig zag stitching.

I'd say they took me about an hour a page.

Thanks for swimming by!