Mug Rugs for Halloween

These little mug rugs turned out to be so cute. And the grandchildren love them. I think I’ll have to make enough to give away to them and their friends  – or maybe I could give them to trick or treaters instead of candy. These were so much fun to make – I fell in love with machine embroidery applique using die cut shapes all over again.

When I started these, my goal was to make a set of machine embroidery applique designs that could go in my shop for Halloween and that would use the Accuquilt Circle Die as the shape. I actually purchased these designs for digitizing – it’s the first time I have purchased designs rather than sketching them myself. There are still some design tweaks that need to be done. Count Dracula is going to get some changes as is one of the pumpkins.

As I worked, I realized that it would be nice to have them as mug rugs, but in order to do them in the hoop the size would be limited. The first ones I made were square and the front and back were cut using the 6″ finished square die. I tried a rectangular one that would fit a 5 x 7″ hoop, but it was really too small for the witch design. So, I threw caution to the wind and made a larger rectangular one that would fit a 6 x 8″ hoop. And I love it. So, for mug rugs in the hoop, I think one has to have a larger hoop. My Viking has an 8 x 10″ hoop, so with a little more experimentation, I think I could come up with a larger one.

The other part that was important to me was to have the edges finished with a seam. Thus, I layered stabilizer, batting, and fabric and then stitched the design. After the design was finished, I added the backing with right sides together and let the machine stitch the backing onto the front. The mug rug is then removed from the machine and turned right side out and the opening is hand stitched or fabric glued together.


The best laid plans. . .

All that red and black fabric that I thought I had in my stash. . .well, it must have been too tempting for other projects because there was not enough left when I pulled it out to look at it. So, it was back to the drawing board for me. Since I have so many batiks and couldn’t decide on a single color, I decided to try a scrappy look. I played around with it in EQ and came up with this.

I knew babysitting was on the agenda today, so I quickly cut 4-1/2″ x 18″ strips from some fat quarters and half yards so that I could cut the triangles on the Accuquilt GO during baby’s nap this morning. One great advantage of the cutter is that it is so quiet – no motor, no noise at all. I layered several of the strips with the white background strips so the triangles would cut already layered and ready to stitch.

While I was rocking baby to sleep, Ezri (5-1/2 years old) was inside with me. She usually spends a lot of time quietly playing with Legos. After the baby was asleep, I walked into the kitchen and found Ezri cutting all my fabric strips into triangles–even the ones that hadn’t been layered. She had done a remarkable job of it – there were only two strips that had partial triangles – everything else was done perfectly. So, I spent awhile this afternoon layering the single triangles with background triangles. She was not at all interested in cutting white triangles – she only wanted to cut the colored fabric.

There are two t-shirt quilts sitting on my machine that must be pieced – so these triangles are ready to be the leaders and enders for those projects. It will be fun to get a third project out of the first two.


Playing Around with Half Square Triangles

One of the best things about Electric Quilt software is that it lets you quilt whether or not you can sit at the machine and stitch. After being away from the machine and real quilting for awhile, I am absolutely itching to make some half square triangles. All I can say is “it must be an addiction of some sort.”

Sitting at my computer over the weekend, I started playing with half square triangles. I set up a horizontal layout 16 blocks x 16 blocks and set a single half square triangle into each block. Then I started rotating triangles, one at a time, until I came up with something I liked. If the triangles are 4 inches finished, the quilt will finish at almost 70 inches (depending on border/binding), and if the triangles are 3 inches finished, the quilt will finish at almost 50 inches (depending on border/binding).

I tried reversing the color scheme, but really didn’t like it. I like seeing the parallelograms with this coloring. I think this quilt could be good in different color schemes, even in light ocean blues and tans. But it also will be nice as a bold accent piece in a neutral room.

I don’t know when I will get this made, but I’m going to start making triangles as leaders and enders and see what happens. Have been saving black and red batiks for a couple of years from my monthly batik packs from Batiks, etc., so the fabric is already in my stash. And thanks to my AccuQuilt cutter, the entire set of 256 red and 256 black triangles can be cut in less than half an hour.

The first image is the EQ drawing of the quilt. The second image is the EQ layout drawing. In EQ, I add a quarter inch sashing around each block to get the layout image.




Wesley’s Quilt Finished

This quilt has been finished more than a week, but the photos are just now ready. It seems forever that I’ve been working on this one, but I am pleased with it. I think it’s sturdy enough for a very active 4-year old to have on his bed. He should be able to jump and play with this quilt and it will not suffer any ill effects. Function is always a #1 priority when I’m quilting. The Accuquilt zoo animals die was not available when I started this quilt, so I ended up using a different machine embroidery set.

And I’m ready to start blogging again – the stars are aligning. School starts (UNC) tomorrow and the public schools start in the next two weeks. My Mom seems to be getting better after a tumble in her wheelchair a couple of weeks ago. She always wants to be independent and sometimes that stubborn independence has consequences. My embroidery machine is back from the shop and as good as new – I picked it up Saturday. The grandchildren have passed along their summer cold to me – but I am only a couple of days away from feeling great again. We had a great trip to the zoo last Friday with the grandchildren. My six month dental saga is almost at an end. Last week I had lunch with my good friends who are also quilters, and it was so good to see them. I am feeling refreshed and ready to go quilting again.

Here’s Wesley’s quilt:



 And here’s Juma, the baby giraffe at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. She’s adorable.

And a zebra – aren’t the patterns on the giraffes and the zebras wonderful?


More Beautiful QOV Quilts

I got a wonderful email over the weekend from Sue in Arizona. She’s been busy teaching AccuQuilt classes and working on Quilts of Valor. She used the Split Star pattern and created a beautiful quilt. I love the colors she used in this quilt. It really sparkles and will be a comfort to a very deserving service man or woman.

 This block pattern makes a 12 inch finished block.

I’ve been doing lots of things besides quilting for the last month, but this inspires me to quilt again. After our trip to Cincinnati in late July and before my trip to visit Mother the first weekend in August, my embroidery machine jammed while stitching. I had stepped out to get something from downstairs – and when I came back everything had come to a halt and the computer screen was blank. After that it didn’t work at all. While I don’t use my embroidery machine every day, something about not having it around has left me unexcited about quilting.

So, a big thank you to Sue for getting me back on track. The machine should be back where it belongs this week. Fortunately it was under warranty and Mike at McKinney Sew & Vac in Greensboro is working on it. 

Pet Menagerie

This is my entry for the Pets on Quilts Show. It’s a Pet Menagerie of wild, safari animals that are just perfect for a snuggle. This quilt is made with applique animals alternating with safari animals print blocks. The back has a great zigzag across the middle.

This has been a year of making and quilting safari animal quilts – for my nephew and for my grandsons – and they all love their quilt “pets.”

Quilting was done on my Nolting longarm using Aurifil 50 wt thread on top and bobbin.