Especially for Emma ;)
By now I'm sure you've all seen these little "mug rugs" popping up over Flickr and blogland. I have to admit that I absolutely love making them - they are small enough that they only take an hour or so to complete from start to finish, but they are still as pretty as any full size quilt. If you've never made a quilt before then I think this could be the perfect introduction. So, down to business! Before we start though, I must just say that, as in "normal" quilt making, there really is no right or wrong way to make these and the possibilities for variation are as endless as your imagination. This is just one way of doing it, and I hope it inspires you to have a go and come up with your own designs.
What you need:
* scraps of fabric for the patchwork front of your rug
* batting - this could be a scrap piece of quilt batting if you have some or, if not, fleece works perfectly well, from an old jumper or blanket (dirt cheap Ikea fleece blankets are perfect!) You want to use a piece that is a bit bigger than your intended finished mug rug size
* a piece of fabric for the backing - again, bigger than your intended finished size
* fabric for the binding (if using)
I'm not actually going to give you any sizes as it really is up to you how big or small you make it. Ideally, the finished rug should be big enough to fit your mug and still have room for a biscuit (or two!) 5" x 7" is probably the smallest you want to go. I tend to just eyeball it and keep adding fabric until I have the effect I want!
So, start off by cutting a piece of batting at least an inch bigger (if not more) all round than the finished size you want. You'll be trimming the batting down later so don't worry about making it too big (rather that than too small!) You then need 5 little strips of fabric - I think mine were about 1.5" x 3"
We're going to be "quilting as we go" so will be sewing the fabric directly onto the batting.
Decide on what order you want the strips to be placed, then take your first strip and place it on the batting in roughly the position you want it - in this case I put mine about an inch in from the left side and roughly in the centre. Place the second strip on top, right sides together, and then stitch along the right hand edge, through all three layers (2 strips of fabric and batting) with about a 1/4" seam allowance.
Flip the fabric over and finger press, or use a warm, not hot iron (this is especially important if you are using polyester fleece or batting - you don't want to melt it!)
Now place the next strip on top of the second strip and stitch into place through all the layers as before
Continue in this way until you have sewn on all five strips. We're then going to add a border. Cut a strip of fabric long enough to reach across all 5 strips and as wide as you like (again, mine is about 1.5") Place it down, right sides together, along the top edge of your centre strips and stitch down.
Repeat with the other end and then, once you've flipped the strips over and pressed it should look something like this! If you're happy with how it looks then we can move onto the next step but you could add another border if you wanted to (and if you still have enough room on the batting to accomodate it!)
So, the next step is quilting. Trim down the excess batting (just roughly is fine for now), then cut a piece of backing fabric that's about 1/2 an inch bigger all round. I've just recently tried basting spray and absolutely love it but pins are fine of course.
Secure your rug top to the backing using your chosen method, and then we can start quilting. I kept it really simple and just stitched one row through the border strip, about 1/4inch away from the seam and backstitching (just a couple of stitches) at the start and end to secure.
You could use a walking foot if you have one but, to be honest, on something this small you will be perfectly fine with a regular foot (which is what I used). Now to prepare the piece for binding, you need to trim it down properly so you have nice, clean, straight edges. I also like to zigzag around the edge to keep it all really secure.
This seems like a good point to mention that, if you don't want to bother with binding, you could just "turn" the rug - basically omit the quilting bit and sew the top to the backing, right sides together, leaving a gap of about 3 inches or so for turning. Clip the corners, turn right side out, gently poke out the corners and give it a good press then slip stitch the opening closed. And voila! One finished mug rug! This is the way I finished the rug I made for the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap, with a bit of top stitching round the edge, and I think they look just as good made this way, but I did promise you a tute on the way I did the binding so I will stick to my word! However, I realise that this post has already gone on for quite some time, so I'm going to give you the binding bit in a separate post. I hope that's ok! This tutorial writing is a lot harder than it looks so I really hope what I have said so far makes sense, please do give me a shout if not!
Stay tuned for part two...