Mystery Quilt Step #4… finally!!

I have to assume Bonnie Sullivan has a staff of capable employees to pattern test, cut, prep, post, remind, assist, edit… etc. Some one to help her look GOOD! I love her stuff and she is always “Bonnie-on-the-spot”.

Me… not so much. I have a FABULOUS staff, but they are busy and they merely laugh at me when I say I am running late with a project. It’s true… chastising and ridicule… that’s all I get… just ask them. I tell Brianna that Martha Stewart would never go through what I go through, and she promptly replies, “But you are no Martha Stewart.” Hmmm, true.

So, finally, I have my blocks done for step four. We have a joke in the classroom that everything “takes five minutes” because it’s  “super easy” but the truth is the only thing I can do in five minutes is warm up my iron.

But these blocks… super easy. I think they are called “woodpile” blocks. If you peruse down the post, it will look like there are LOTS of steps, but that’s not the case. It is strip piecing five different simple strip sets, slicing into narrow strips, then sewing them back together into only 20 blocks;  8 are left to right stacked blocks, and 12 are  right to left (reversed) blocks.

There is nothing tricky about them, but you will want to press well, and you should make sure your 1/4″ seam allowance is spot on or your blocks will be too small, because there is no trimming…

So, to begin, cut your background (one color of background, or your mixed lights) into one 8″ strip x WOF (width of fabric), one 6 1/2″  x WOF,  one 5″ x WOF, one 3 1/2″  x WOF and one 2″ x WOF.

Next, cut a matching dark fabric the same way, one 8″ x WOF, one 6 1/2″ x WOF, one 5″ x WOF, one 3 1/2″ x WOF and one 2″ x WOF. You will also need a 9 1/2″ x WOF. I should mention that all of your background can be one color if that is what you like, but your “darks” should all be different. In fact, if you are using fat quarters and you have 21″ strips instead of the full 42″ in a strip, that will look terrific, but you’ll have to make two of each of the strip sets so that you have enough pieces.

Now, with an 8″ strip of background and a 2″ strip of dark, sew these together into your first strip set.

IMG_1689[1]Press to the dark. Then cross cut into twenty 2″ strips (these strips should measure 9 1/2″):IMG_1690[1]Next, sew your 6 1/2″ background strip to a 3 1/2″ dark. Press, then cut into twenty 2″ strips:IMG_1692[1]Next, sew your 5″ background to a 5″ dark. Press, then cut into twenty 2″ strips.IMG_1696[1]Do you find it interesting that each strip so far is sitting at a different angle? Almost like I am just messing with you….but I’m not…. it’s just our constant reminder… I’m not Martha Stewart! I have no photography assistant, no production assistant, and in fact, I am just trying to keep my ridiculous cat out of the shot… I had to give him a decoy project…  at the moment he thinks I am making a pillow…IMG_1670[1]

Ok, so, at this point you have three strip sets, that have each been cut up into twenty 2″ strips. You have two more strip sets to make. One is the 3 1/2″ background and the 6 1/2″ print and one is the 2″ background with the 8″ print.IMG_1698[1]Finally, you will cut the 9 1/2″ strip into 2″ strips.

IMG_1701[1]
make 8 (with added far left strip)
Now it’s time to put the strips together. Eight of them will be stacked left to right, and twelve will be reversed:This is a left to right stack (but you need to put the 2″ of dark fabric on the far left), and once this is sewn together, it will measure 9 1/2″ x 9 1/2″. Then you will make 12 that are reversed (right to left stack):

IMG_1700[1]
make 12 (with added far right strip)
Press. Blocks should measure 9 1/2″ x 9 1/2″IMG_1702[1]I hope you have fun piecing your blocks! They are super simple… just five minutes!  After this we just have one more block… then we get to put this thing together!! See you soon!

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Snack Mat #5

This morning has been productive!! Finally!  I got quite a bit accomplished and I’m feeling like I may be caught up in a few short weeks! My sewing studio is a humongous disaster, because of course for some reason that’s how it goes, it just becomes a room filled with huge piles of pieces, but thats OK… I have a rake!

Speaking of rakes, I know leaves are an obvious choice for a November mug rug, but I just couldn’t resist. My friend Millie gave me a photocopy of a leaf from her yard that inspired her and of course it inspired me too, I even used the same batik fat quarters she used! I love the multicolored batiks with the interesting textures. This mug rug is just a mini quilt, super simple.

I started by tracing and cutting out my leaves so I would know how many I wanted to use.

IMG_1622[1]
cut leaves
Then I cut my background to 5 1/2 x 7 1/2 and placed my leaves where I wanted them. I started with two, then went to three.

IMG_1627[1]The “innards” I’m using this time is a piece of washed canvas. I had some left over when I replaced my long arm leaders. I washed it first, then pressed it. It’s very thick and I think it will work really well, it is crazy durable and seems to take quite a beating. I did test a piece for a few mornings in my office. I sat my hot cup on it and it protected my desk very well, it also worked with the condensation caused with my ice water. It should be golden when we add a few more pieces of cotton to it. I have been having fun using multiple different products in my mug rugs. So many customers want to “feel” what soft and stable, craft-tex, warm and natural, etc. feel like when they are quilted. It is nice to have our tiny little mug rug display so they can squoose them, fold them, and feel the difference.

So my next step was of course to stitch everything down. I assume at some point will decide to stitch something with some hand work or a different stitch… but not this time… I LOVE me some scribbles.IMG_1628[1]The hardest part was choosing a thread.IMG_1637[1]I of course chose the variegated 30 wt sulky. Selena Gomez says it best: The heart wants what the heart wants!!IMG_1630[1]I love it! Now time to trim. I want it 51/2 x 7 1/2″IMG_1632[1]I decided I wanted to add a piece of warm and natural just for loftiness and extra absorbancy. Also, I only had one piece of canvas in my sample instead of two… I am going to make a second one with two pieces. IMG_1631[1]

I layered my piece batting, then backing right side up, then mug rug right side down.IMG_1633[1]then stitched around all four sides, leaving a few inches open for turning. Finally I trimmed it one last time:IMG_1634[1]and turned the whole thing inside outIMG_1635[1]Final step is to hand stitch the opening closed. Boom! All done. The perfect tea for this mug rug would of course be “loose leaf”.

Get your pattern for  SnackMat #5IMG_1636[1]

Enjoy. Happy stitching!!!

 

How far behind can I get before I need a time warp or worm hole to find my way back to any possible sense of normal?

I wonder who holds the secret to time management and time organization? I can’t imagine there are too many books and articles I haven’t read. I tried the time diary, but that just took too much time. I manage all of my lists (a master list for the week with a daily list of necessary items, a grocery list on the fridge, a pocket list for daily notes and the list of lists in my office… not kidding), I keep an eye on my calendars (one I carry with me, the mat calendar on my desk, the family calendar on the fridge and a write on/wipe off in my sewing studio… again, not kidding), and I set my timers/reminders every morning (I love that little ding on my phone… it saves me at least twice a day). But sometimes those things are just not enough.

I read that 8.4% of Americans suffer from “emotional chaos”; 40% of us do not take our allotted vacation time because we don’t want to deal with the mountain of work when we return, and a full 65% have daily feelings of “being overwhelmed  by inadequate time.” I can be found in all three of those demographics.

There was a good article in the Huffington Post by blogger Vanessa Loder about a new book by Brigid Schulte, who is an award-winning journalist for the New York Times. She is the best selling author of a new book: Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has The Time. In her book, Brigid discusses how time pressure and modern life have led to a constant feeling of being overwhelmed which is affecting our health and even the size of our brain. She shows us how role overload, something called  “time contamination” (I’m sure I suffer from this), social structures, and even our own subconscious beliefs can lead to this constant sense of urgency, consuming guilt, and a certainty that we are inadequate both at work and home.

The article is very interesting, and if Brianna gets ahold of this post, maybe she will link it for you (yes, I am inadequate both at work and at home). It compares American mothers and workers to Danish counterparts. We stay late to get everything done but if a Danish employee stays late they will be reprimanded as it would seem they must not be as productive as a fellow employee who can get all of their work done in the same 8 hours. Interesting. How can they be so much more focused?  It is certainly true I am distracted by all things shiny and anyone who speaks to me. We call it ADOP (attention deficit… Ohh Pretty!!), and it is equally true I could never complete my daily work in only 8 hours. That it just funny.

I wonder if I just take my leisure time for granted. My job is also my hobby so I think I forget to count all of the classes, samples and patterns I work on at home as “work”.  I sew in the evening but I never seen to get everything done that is on my list. And when I stay home during the day to get something done, people wonder if I have retired because they don’t see me at the shop.  A slippery slope down a mountain of sewing. A rough life….

I am going to spend the next two afternoons at home catching up. The tutorials, posts and patterns I have on my “to do” list are important. My secret weapons are loud music, ginger tea and warm socks.  I have to get caught up so I can enjoy my weekend. I have a retreat planned that I am hosting at the retreat house and I am REALLY looking forward to it. We have a fun group signed up and the casual comfort of a house vs the classroom will be fun.

so… watch for my videos and blog posts… my plan is to be caught up by Friday morning… (but no breath holding… just wishful thinking and prayers will do).

Mystery Quilt Step #3

First let me apologize for my delay, I can’t believe it’s already Friday. I have been chasing my tail all week! I love the shop, the classes, the long hours… I especially love telling Brian I have to sew in the evening because “it’s my job”,  but the one part about being a business owner I will always dislike is end of the quarter balance sheets, filing and quarterly taxes. Yuck!!

But… all done. At least for now. So on to more important things… quilting!! Time for our third step in our mystery quilt! As I mentioned before, this is a pretty simple project that you have some control over, because it is four different blocks that you will construct then put together in a beautiful configuration. And it’s such a wonderful way to use up all of those leftovers!

Two weeks ago  we started our floating stars. I hope you are done with them! Here is a picture of my friend Charisma’s:IMG_1609[1] I love her colors with all of the mixed backgrounds!

This time we are going to make a block called Jacob’s Ladder.  It is a simple block that is really a nine patch with a mixture of HST’s, squares and  four patches.IMG_1608[1]

You will start by making the strip sets for the four patches. Cut 2″ strips of lights and 2″ strips of mixed darks. Sew them together lengthwise and press to the dark.

IMG_1606[1]You will need about 10 full length strip sets. I would make each one a different color so you have lots of mixed colors.

Once they’re done, cut off 2″ sections.IMG_1610[1]I think when you cut these you should measure with the ruler, not the mat. It is far more accurate.IMG_1611[1]Keep cutting these sections until you have enough to make some four patches. You need alot of them…  you will need three four-patches per block,  so you need 96 four patches for your twin sized quilt, or 108 for your queen. That sounds like alot, but it goes pretty fast. I love making little four patches. I should mention they will be 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ when done. Remember pressing is important so your seams will nestle.IMG_1607[1]Next step is to make the HST (half square triangles). You need four per block. I start with a 4″ square of light and a 4″ square of dark and stacked them RST. Draw a line diagonally, then sew 1/4″ from the line on both sides. Cut on the line you drew, the press open the two HST. You may have to trim them just a tiny bit. They should measure 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ when done.IMG_1605[1]Your last step is to add the two dark squares. They of course measure 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. Place all of your pieces in a nine patch and sew the block together. Your blocks should measure 9 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ when you are done. You will need 32 of these blocks if you are making a twin, and 36 if you are making a queen.

And that is that! A simple block made up of three simple units. Get busy… we’ll chat in a few days. Send pics!

 

 

Snack Mat #3

This is “Boo-Anna”.  I just couldn’t resist. Mostly because I love the glow in the dark fabric (super fun) and we have some cute “scenic” halloween pieces.

The hardest part for me was to decide which fabric to use.  We have this Alexander Henry night time scene with spooky eyes in the trees…

IMG_1577[1]Or this Moda line called “Haunted Mansions”
IMG_1578[1]I cut out my little ghost to help me make the decision, then had to decide where in the ‘scene’ to place it. Once this decision was made, I went ahead and wrapped the piece of fabric around my 5″ x 7″ piece of craft-tex (fusible stiffy used for placemats) and ironed it in place (on the front, and the back).IMG_1579[1]Then flipped it over and fused little Boo-Anna into place, and stitched around her. You can use a satin stitch, blanket stitch or scribble stitch.IMG_1581[1]When you stitch through the fused piece and the craft tex, it is really nice. The craft tex adds just enough stability to prevent any puckering and it’s not so thick that you have any thread issues.

For the other snack mats, I did different finishes. Snack Mat #1 was craft tex with the back 1/2″ bigger all around to create a ‘border’. Snack Mat #2 used fusible batting and the same edge/border. But for this one, I thought I would show you another option. My front and back are the same size, they both have the fabric wrapped around the edge and fused down.IMG_1580[1]Of course I use my ever-popular binding clips to hold them together, and stitched around the edge, again, using my favorite stitch.IMG_1584[1]This is my back, I used the other haunted mansion on the fabric. I should mention one fat quarter was enough to make several of these, even with all of the fussy cutting.IMG_1586[1]I added a little embroidery floss bow to her hair, fused the mouth into place, and drew her eyes with a permanent fine tip fabric marker. I tried to get a picture of what the fabric looks like when it glows in the dark, but my camera didn’t like it in the dark bathroom.

Oliver didn’t like it either. He was a little freaked out when I shut the door and turned off the light. When I added the scary ghost sounds and the ghost levitated through the air all I could hear was banging, crashing and clawing at the door. So I’m not entirely certain he could give a good review of the super cool effect of a glow in the dark ghost. Maybe when he ventures out later he will feel more like talking to me.IMG_1573[1]Or maybe not.

If you pop into the shop this month you can see for yourself!
IMG_1585[1]Have fun! This is a fifteen minute project. Download your printable pattern for SnackMat #3 here .

Mystery Quilt Step 2

The fabric in the picture above is Kansas Troubles new fabric line Paisley Park.  I know I was supposed to use only my old stuff, but I couldn’t help it, I added a fat quarter packet of this. It is beautiful.

I think one of the hardest things about sewing a scrap quilt is they are not as interesting. You’ve already seen all of those fabrics… nothing new and stimulating… so I don’t think it’s cheating to add a few points of interest… (Yes… I AM one of ‘those kind’ of friends… dieting? Fruit Pie is a fruit… not a dessert). I am a very bad girl. I have the stash to prove it.

Anyway,  some of you sent me pics of your stash piles for your mystery quilt. I will have Brianna help me and we will do a photo share in the next few weeks. It is always fun to see what everybody else picks. Send me pictures of this next step too!!

This mystery is pretty easy, it is going to be four different blocks, they will all be the same size, then the way you arrange it is pretty cool (with a few options). I opted for this mystery pattern over one where you have cutting steps, strip set steps and rows… as that makes it too hard to see what your quilt is going to look like. This way you have a bit of control.

So our first step is a floating star.

It is a basic nine patch. Start with eight background squares that are 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. For this particular block I am using the same background for all of the squares, but for my quilt I am going to change it up and use mixed backgrounds. Two reasons to consider this: one is I may not have enough background to make it through the whole quilt, two is I think multiple textures are more interesting and it will create more flow with the other blocks that include lights with the darks.
IMG_1555[1]Next you will need to add your darks. For one block you will need eight 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ squares and one square that is 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. Again, I think mixed darks would be the most interesting, but you can also make several different “colors” of blocks as you will be making quite a few.IMG_1556[1]Of course my center is that luscious new Paisley Park…IMG_1557[1]Yum!

So.. sew those aside and grab one of the background squares and a 2 1/2″ square. Lay them right sides together and mark a diagonal line.IMG_1559[1]You are going to sew right on this line.IMG_1560[1]Then press it over. IMG_1561[1]Now for this step some people like to first trim off that excess, but I tend to leave it. It just seems to stabilize things a bit more and you can see that block would be a tiny bit crooked if I trimmed off that excess background and square  (I have no idea how that happened… but it is typical). One thing to warn you about.. leaving the excess will create a bit of bulk in the seam. You will want to be aware of that when you press, and when you quilt.

Next step is to add another block to the other side,IMG_1562[1]Then trim off the excess, or just press over, which ever is your preference.IMG_1563[1]You will repeat these past two steps with a total of four of the background blocks, then position them around your center block to make your “floating” star.

IMG_1564[2]The floating star is a nice option because you don’t have matching points to worry about later on.

Of course the last step is to sew the nine patch together and press. Your block should be 9 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ when done.

You have to make 24 of these floating stars if your quilt is going to be a twin, or 40 of them if your quilt is going to be a queen or king.

So get busy…. next step posted in two weeks!

Mug Rug/Snack Mat #2

I drew several options before settling on this little guy. I would hate to say that Halloween inspires me… but there are a lot of images that would be fun to do… I may post another one this month. After all this guy just took about an hour.

Start by selecting your fabrics.

IMG_1530[1]

You only need a background, a spider color and a backing. You will also need a few notions:

IMG_1529[1]I am using a 5″ x 7″ piece of fusible batting under my top layer, a 5 3/4″ x 7 3/4″ piece of soft and stable under my back layer and a frixion pen and a fabric glue. I also found a black poly thread and about 12 inches of black eyelash yarn.

First step is to trace the spider onto the background fabric using the frixion (iron off) pen. If you are having trouble seeing the image, use a light box or a window.IMG_1533[1]Then, using the traced image, stitch the legs using your stitch of choice. Some people will use a close zig zag stitch, I like the scribble stitch a little better. Stitch this with the fusible batting underneath. It offers stabilization of the fabric as well as a nice finish and extra absorbency for your mug rug.IMG_1534[1]Once thats done you can add the fused body

IMG_1535[1]I added a touch of glue IMG_1536[1]So I could add the eyelash yarn

IMG_1537[1]I stitched it down, still using my free motion stitch (the scribble stitch). It worked very well, but I had to trim the yarn just a little…. too much hair….

IMG_1539[1]Time to set the eyes… but these were not quite right.

Oliver thought he needed button eyes…

IMG_1542[1]

But boring me thought green eyes would be fine.IMG_1540[1]

I stitched the eyes down, adding stitching for the pupils,IMG_1543[1]

then turned it over to wrap the front around to the under side of the fusible web. IMG_1545[1]

mitering the corner to give it a sharp edge. After this was done on all four corners, flip it over, you are done with the top

 

The backing is a repeat of the last two steps, using the soft and stable and the backing fabric, fold the edges overIMG_1550[1]mitering all of the corners. Then layer the top onto the backIMG_1553[1]clip into place then stitch around the edge using your favorite stitch.

All done!!

Here is your printable Mug Rug #2 pattern. Remember to increase it to 140% for snack mat size. Happy Halloween!!

Mystery Quilt Step 1

Welcome to step one of my Blog’s first Mystery Quilt!! I am really looking forward to this! I know that mystery quilts are not always popular with everyone, I think it’s because there is such a lack of design control. Afterall there are a lot of decisions that go into quilting, and mystery quilts take those decisions away. However, think of this one as a personal “kit”. You get to pick your kit from your leftovers, which of course, makes it FREE and fabulous. The steps are simple and fun. You will have a great time piecing these blocks and your sewing studio will appreciate the extra room the de-cluttering has created!

So this quilt is meant to be scrappy, just lights and darks. No focus, no contrast, no mediums, no zingers. It’s also pretty simple, so it can be one of those nice, gentle projects that can be pieced while you are catching up on Sons of Anarchy or Gilmore Girls.

The reason I picked this project is because my “stash” is out of control. I try to be careful about what I keep and how I keep it, but about three times a year it is ready for a major purge. I work on so many projects for classes, the retreat center and the shop… and I have too many leftovers. I have a rule about what I keep and how it is all organized, and I will get into that in my next post, but for now… my sewing room looks like the above picture!!

I had to search for leftovers that I was ready to get rid of. Those little chunks left from pieced quilts, fat quarter stacks, jelly roll and layer cake bits, etc. That meant I had to go into my closet and open all of the little tubs. So fun to find forgotten gems…. but horror to realize anyone visiting my sewing room may call me a hoarder…. I should clarify… any NON-QUILTER would think I was a hoarder. Quilters would totally get me. 🙂

The bad news is I have about an hour of cleaning before I can sew. The good news is I have a massive stack of leftovers that will become a gorgeous queen sized quilt for the retreat house.

It is confession time. I, personally,  am not super crazy about super scrappy. I don’t know why. I like the scrappy look, I am crazy about asymmetrical, and I love a quilt with lots of color and texture. But when I am sewing it, I find I have some trouble with random and I always think that it has to be planned scrappy…. like Jo Morton scraps, or Kansas Trouble scraps, or Kaffe Fassett scraps.   It’s not that they cannot be mixed, they should be… it’s just that I have a hard time with it. Fortunately, I have a massive collection of “leftovers” and I can choose to make a scrappy Christmas, Batik, pastel, bright floral or 30’s quilt if I wanted….. so, horrible and non-scrappy as it may seem… I am choosing Kansas Troubles scrappy…. and just so you know… I am going to love it!

OK, so… here is a representative pile of my lights and darks, lets talk about how to select fabric for scrappy quilts (yes, I know what I’m talking about… I may not like it…. but I do know how to do it…)

IMG_1512[1]When you are choosing your fabrics, arrange them on a table so that just a little bit of each one shows, then stand back and have a look. First, eliminate any that do not contrast well enough with the background. They will be those pesky mediums and can also be a dark with a lark light motif. It is nice to have mixed lights as we can be so accustomed to one three yard piece for a background – more texture always reads more interesting.

Next, make sure you have enough variety. Remember they won’t all be touching each other so they don’t have to “match”. Be sure to include spots, florals, plaids and stripes, tone on tones and geometrics. It is also a good idea to add a few “off colors” and just a couple that are “too light” and “too dark”. Those odd pieces will give that interesting “sparkle” to a scrappy quilt. If you have seen it, you know what I mean. Some are very blended and plain, others are interesting with unexpected gems.

While you are picking your fabrics, mix lots of colors in your darks, in uneven amounts. For example, I have a little orange and red, a medium amount of blue and black, and a lot of  brown and green.

The amount of fabric you will need is determined by the size of quilt you want to end up with. Keep in mind when you are using leftovers it may be hard to estimate how much fabric you have in your pile, so be generous. Just throw all of those pieces in the pile!!

For a twin (72″ x 90″) you will want about 3 yards of lights and 4 yards of darks. For a queen (90″ x 90″) you will want about 5 yards of lights and 6 yards of darks.

That may seem like a lot, but it’s not, because unfortunately… you will have some leftover…

So go to your sewing rooms, dig through your stashes and put your “kits” together. Then take a few minutes and tidy things up. Step one is organizing your fabric, I will post step two in one week and in case you are planning, we will be done in time for Christmas gift giving!

One last comment about mystery quilts. We are hosting another Border Creek Station Mystery. She does a really nice job and features the Moda fabric ‘Atelier’ by Three Sisters. The pattern is a one time fee of $25 for the nine steps (one step mailed monthly) and the kit is $90 for the twin and $149 for the queen while supplies last (they can be ordered on our website by clicking on the link).

And, because I love love love the series, we are doing the Downton Abbey kits for the mystery designed by Ebony Love of Love Bug Designs. The mystery starts on January 4th with the first episode of the next season. The fabric will arrive in our shop in November and the kits will be mailed out by December 5th. We are only cutting six kits in each colorway and we expect them to sell out quickly as we are selling them for only $165. Click here for more information about this mystery… I am going to be doing mine in the “Cora” colorway!!

usingizi

It has been almost two weeks since I’ve posted. That is so awful. I’m not sure what happens to my time… but it seems to just vanish!! I get so busy and for some reason the computer just makes me sleepy so I leave it until late at night… when I’m sleepy…. then I start typing something that looks like swahili …hfjwioe8oooooooooooo which is means it’s time for bed. At the moment it is 10pm… so hopefully I have an hour or two before I start to nod off.

This past two weeks we have had back to back retreat groups at our retreat house, I had a speaking engagement and class at a guild meeting in Bellevue, I had to get the samples and projects ready for the block-of-the-month open house and I have had to spend extra time in my office to prepare for an appointment with my accountant. Now I am behind with blog posts, video tutorials and long arming. And you should see my office and my sewing room… huge disasters!!

After all of these years, I should be better at time management, but it’s not like my job is always the same. I am always researching trends and new ideas, trying new techniques, adding new classes to our offerings, ordering new fabrics, patterns, notions and books, and of course all the while trying to keep the store clean, organized and interesting. On top of that, I have 40 hours per week of bookkeeping and accounting (my least favorite job). I am so thankful for Brianna. She takes care of the computer which is such a huge task. She keeps all of the newest lines online, takes care of the online orders, facebooks (that is a verb… right?) makes samples and helps me catch up with everything else.

I sometimes talk about retiring, but I can’t imagine not being a part of it. And shouldn’t I catch up before I quit? And then what would I do with all of my time? Besides, Brian has at least 10 years left before he can retire, so I suppose I should go just as long. For now I will just give Brianna a raise and get back to work.

I have three things to finish up tonight: prep for both tomorrow and Thursday classes; the first installment of my mystery quilt here on the blog; and gift bags for the next retreat.

I better hurry….can you say ‘sleepy’ in swahili?

Free Mug Rug/Snack Mat of the Month

I am excited to start our Mug Rug of the Month! I have several drawings ready for upcoming months – lots of ideas for seasonal mats! I have several done and I am excited to show them to you…

This month’s pattern (available here as a pdf download Snack Mat #1) is for a sunflower Mug Rug, which is 5″ x 7″ finished. But you can increase it 140% for a perfect sized Snack Mat, which will be 8″ x 10″.

Start by finding your fabrics. You will need a scrap of brown for the center, about a 6″ square for the petals, a scrap of green for the stem and leaves, an 8″ x 10″ background and a 10″ x 12″ piece for the backing/binding. I have a few scrap tubs that work perfectly for finding exciting little bits.

IMG_1481[1]This is what I found…IMG_1482[1]

These are more than I need, I often start with a “collection” then eliminate until I am happy… or… when I can’t decide…  I just have to make two.

Oliver is full of opinions and always excited when he sees a fresh stack of auditions to nestle into….

2-AAE2F89E-1952689-800Once you have decided on your fabrics and removed the cat and the cat hair… trace your pattern onto fusible web and iron it to the wrong sides of the fabricsIMG_1484[1]Then cut everything out with your good scissors and position on your background fabric. I have a trick that works really well… I trace my paper pattern with a sharpie marker, then flip it over and trace it again. This gives me a dark pattern that I can use under my background as a template and it is correctly reversed.IMG_1487[1]This may not work if your background is too dark, then you may want to go back to the vinyl template. IMG_1488[1]But for me you can see this worked perfectly. Once everything is positioned the way you would like it, fuse it into place.IMG_1489[1]Now that our top is done, you can finish it anyway you would like, but I have a fun technique I am going to use… I cut a piece of Craft-Tex 5″ x 7″ and another piece 5 1/2″ x 7 1/2″. Craft Tex is the stuff we use for the placemats. It is stiff-ish but super easy to sew through and it is fusible on both sides.IMG_1479[1]I fuse this to the wrong side of the project and “quilt-as-desired”. Of course my quilting of choice on a project like this is what I call “scribble stitches”.IMG_1491[1]

I use my hopping foot, drop my feed dogs and free motion with a 1.5 zigzag stitch. If this doesn’t make sense, we did a quick video with a tutorial this morning… Brianna should have it up on the website tonight.IMG_1495[1]

 

I love the look of this finish. After I’m done with the piece, I wrap the fabric around to the back and fuse in place, then prepare the back the same way, I fold it over the edge and fuse it, then I layer the top onto the back and hold it in place with binding clips.IMG_1493[1]

Last step is to zigzag the edge. Boom! All done!!

I hope you decide to make a little mug rug or a snack mat. They are quick! If you stop in at the shop, you can see the finished piece in person, and pick up a hard copy of the pattern. If you have questions about the process, again, we have a video about fusible web up already, and the demo for scribble stitches will be up soon.

Happy Quilting!!!

 

 

 

 

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