Monday, November 7, 2011

Mug Rugs

Even though I no longer work at the library, I don't want to lose the friends I have made there. Doris is a crafter and former co-worker and we both wanted to take a class at the Trinity School House Quilt Shop. They were not offering quilt classes until next year, so last Saturday we took a wool felt applique class to make mug rugs. I have done some applique, but it sounded like fun and I'm glad I went.

Now what, you might ask, is a mug rug. Well, it seems that they are something along the lines of a coaster for hot drinks, you know, those in mugs. The pattern book we purchased for the class had a lot of rustic type patterns for different seasons and themes, but our kits for the class were for the snowman. It had these little fingers all around the out side of the circle and then we were to cut out rounds of red felt to attach to the fingers. It makes for a rather unwieldy mug rug, but that was the pattern.

I learned some tricks to make applique go faster and easier. If you trace the pattern onto freezer paper, you can iron it to the felt and it will stay in place while you cut out the pattern. You can even peel it off and reuse it a few times. We also learned about Steam A Seam (SAS). You trace and cut out the pattern on the SAS and then remove the backing and steam it onto the fabric. After cutting out the pattern, you remove the remaining paper and it leaves a thin layer of glue that doesn't become permanent until you steam in onto the fabric. You don't have to pin it to the fabric and then stitch it in place. It goes a lot faster and doesn't move around and is very cool. Because of the rustic nature of the pattern, I didn't have to worry about perfect even stitches and that was very freeing and made the project go a lot faster.

After a morning of camaraderie and lots of tracing and cutting we all came away with a partially completed snowman and an extra kit to make another at home. I wasn't fond of the fingers all around so I left them off and had extra red and black felt. Enough to make two more rugs. I didn't quite have enough cream colored felt for another face, so I covered the gap with a red scarf. Then I had to do some hats in red and I changed the stick nose for a carrot and added a pipe. I was thinking about adding a black hatband, but I ran out of oomph.

Plus, once the rugs are in use, you can't see the face anyway. I could just cut up black felt and be done with it. Of course, where's the fun in that!

So I put them all together and they are kind of cute. If I was a better artist or had some cute patterns, I might make some more. That is, if I heard from various children that they were dying to have a mug rug of their very own. And they told me the theme they wanted. I DO want to try making a tea cozy.

Here's the thing about black felt, though. People with white cats should not use it. For any reason. And that's all I'll say about that.

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