One of my favorite things about the quilt-blogging community is the sense of generosity and helpfulness that seems to overflow at each website. When I first started my quilting journey, one of the ladies in the local sewing shop told me "a good quilter is always happy to get someone else addicted to her hobby," and, boy, was she right. And it's even more true of the online community.
So in the spirit of giving back (and goodness knows I owe plenty considering all the freebies I've downloaded), I present to you my very first tutorial. It's on my Central Park mug rug, which I adore. This is the first mug rug I made as part of Two More Seconds "Mug Rug Madness". The original inspiration was from the tutorial by A Cup and A Catchup, which is where I got the idea for the stripes and adding wording.
It was simple and fun - and I hope this will inspire you to make one, too.
Central Park Java Mug Rug
Supplies: Jelly Roll or other 2.5-inch strips (leftovers/scraps will work fine), one full jelly roll strip (2.5 inches by 42 inches), 9" x 12" piece of batting, contrasting fabric for letters, iron-on fusing.
Directions: To begin with, audition your strips and decide which ones you like. Choose five for the front and four for the back.
Cut the five strips for the front to 8-1/2 inches by 2-1/2 inches.
Sew together and press. (After pressing to one side, I went back and re-pressed my seams open. This seemed to help the top lay more flat, which is good since I'll be using this for glasses/mugs.) Remember to use a 1/4-inch seam...and a scant 1/4-inch is even better.
Cut the four strips for the back to 11.5 inches by 2.5 inches.
Sew together and press.
You should now have two sets of strips, a top with five vertical strips and a back with four horizontal strips. Square up the front and the back, leaving the back a bit larger.
Place the back (horizontal strips) right side down on your cutting mat and tape down. Arrange batting on top. I like to line up at least one edge here to prevent excessive waste. Place the front (vertical strips) right side up on top of batting. Pin, if you wish.
Quilt however you choose. I decided to echo the seams with straight-line stitching. This gave a nice perpendicular stitch to the horizontal strips on the back. Once quilted, trim up your edges so you will have a straight line for your binding.
For the binding, I cut my full jelly roll strip down to a width of 1-3/4 inches. I like this width because it seems to take up less space on the mug rug and isn't so overbearing. If you aren't comfortable with this, you can certainly choose a larger width. I like it because it seems more proportional to the size of the finished project. Regardless of the width you choose, fold and press in half down the entire strip. Then attach to the mug rug, raw edge to raw edge. (For binding basics, I highly suggest Julie's tutorials at Jaybird quilts. Absolutely fabulous.)
When stitching on the 1-3/4 inch binding, I also shifted my needle two places to the right of center. If you do this, be sure to manually check that your needle will not hit your sewing foot. Not checking first could break your needle and send shrapnel flying. This is bad.
Again, for corners and finishing off, see Julie's binding tutorials and/or bind in the way you would normally bind a quilt. I hand-stitch mine to the back, but machine stitching will work, too.
For the letters:
Choose the letters/word you want to fuse to the mug rug. Some ideas are "java", "latte", "tea", "snack time", or even monogramed initials. Whatever you want is what you should use!
Pick a pretty font, type your letters/word in a word processor (MSWord, Pages, etc.). Once you are happy with the appearance, increase to a good font size, and print it out. If you need font ideas, check out all the free fonts over at Fonts for Peas. The font I used is Pea Alexis.
Take the paper and cut enough fusible web to cover the letter/word area. Trace the letters with a pencil BACKWARD onto the smooth side of the fusible web.
Iron the fusible web to a similar sized piece of fabric and carefully cut out the letters.
Peel the paper off of the letters and place them on the front of your mug rug. Press into place (don't iron, as it could move the letters). If you want, you can stitch these down by hand. I didn't, but I'm keeping an eye on my edges. If they start to lift, I'll likely go back and do this.
Now, stand back and admire your brand new mug rug! Front. . .
. . . and Back!
If you end up making a mug rug based on this tutorial, I'd love to know about it! Feel free to leave a link in the comments below.