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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

For my coworkers

As I write this, I'm struggling with fatigue due to lack of sleep.  I tell you this not to gain your sympathy, but as a warning:  I think my New Year's resolution will be to start my Christmas crafts in January!  I had two long-term hand sewing projects going at the same time this year, so it really came down to the wire.  I pulled it off, though!  Here is my latest creation:

What's that jumbled mess, you say?  It's a pile o' mug rugs!  Also known as snack mats, mug rugs are bigger than a coaster, but smaller than a placemat, and are just the right size for a drink and a snack. 

As y'all know, I have rediscovered my love for crafting and sewing this year, and I am extremely grateful to all of my family and friends who have been so supportive and enthusiastic about my less-than-perfect creations.  My coworkers have been especially supportive, so if you're one of them and you're reading this, thank you!

I wanted to make something extra-special for them, so I decided to try my hand at English paper piecing for this project.  What's English paper piecing?  Heidi here has an excellent tutorial with lots of photos.  Check it out!

These mug rugs have been personalized with each of my coworkers' initials (well, except one--sorry, Susan!).  I started off embroidering each letter by hand.  I used an iron-on transfer for the monograms and simply satin stitched each one. 

I bet my coworkers can tell when I started this project based on the letter I skipped!


Each monogram was cut out and basted to be hand pieced with the fabrics I chose.  For those curious, I chose Riley Blake's Fancy Free collection for this project.  I purchased one 10-inch stacker, (from Gigi's Fabric Shop in Brandon) which was just enough fabric.

After several months of working on it here and there, I finally had a large panel ready to chop into pieces. 

Oh, Maya and Eli stopped by to help.  This was their very first visit to my house, so they were super excited, though you can't really tell in this photo.

Now for the hard part:  cutting this apart!

Thanks to the hubster for taking these pics!

I had to trim off the "excess" to square the panel up first.  

Then I had to cut out the individual mug rug tops.  Using hexagons as my paper piecing shape really helped because it gave me straight lines to follow as I cut. 

Here's what they look like cut up.

This photo turned out terribly, but Sandy at the Fabric and Sewing Shop in Sebring helped me pick out this super cute fabric for the back. 

I made a modified quilt sandwich by layering the top and back right sides together, with the batting underneath.  I sewed a narrow seam along the edges, leaving an opening for turning.

After turning, I topstitched around the edges, and they were ready to quilt!  I had this cute "sherbet" variegated thread I used to quilt them, with a solid pink in the bobbin. 

I love my new machine!  I opted to quilt straight lines diagonally in one direction.  I ended up having to put my walking foot on to feed everything through smoothly. 

And here's a stack of completed mug rugs!

Well, we have one solitary dude working here, so I decided to make him a special one, rather than de-girlify (is that even a word?) the rest of them.  For his, I pieced a few hexagons together and appliqued them to a black background.  I quilted it using black thread in the same pattern as the other mug rugs.

I whipped up these gift tags right around midnight.  Not too shabby for homemade, huh?  My husband claims partial credit for these: he suggested I reinforce the tags with tape before punching the holes, and I just happened to have some festive washi tape handy.  This is the result:

Everything you make needs a proper label, too!

And there's my man, attempting to tie a bow.  Yes, I had to re-tie it.  :)

Merry Christmas, y'all!

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