Mug rugs finished

NWF Mug rugs - Front

My mug rugs

This is the first project finished after my hiatus and I’m so pleased. The mug rugs (first part) are slightly crooked everywhere, but I don’t mind one bit; they got done and I learned much more than expected. And since I’m on a new, more focussed course with this blog, I’ll try to extract my learning experience in a bulleted list after you’ve seen the photos.

(A nice parenthesis: Nobody touches my “just in case” stash! Ever. All the white thread used in any project presented on this blog so far is courtesy of my deceased grandma’s tiny sewing basket, as are the bias tapes and coloured threads used in this project. The embroidery floss came from that same place, too. So yeah, stay away.)

Here’s the quilting more visible. In her class, Jacquie mentioned veering to the right when quilting straight lines and I think I do exactly the same, just look at the matchstick quilting:

NWF Mug rugs - Back

Plain white back

Like I said yesterday, I just eyeballed the thunderbolt (it’s actually my evening mug rug with a snoring Z but let’s not talk about that… thunderbolt sounds more exciting) and quite honestly I have no idea how it could turn out that evenly quilted.

If you would ask me to repeat it, I’d get cold feet and performance anxiety, then screw it up completely, so to see how well it is possible to create whilst being under no pressure at all is quite enlightening. That’s how I wish it would always feel and I hope I’ll be able to find out as many of my weakest points as I can, then try to go to attack rather than succumb to mediocre blah.

And now the morning mug rug in a close-up:

NWF Mug rugs - Light front

Morning mug rug – Front

NWF Mug rugs - Light back

Morning mug rug – Back

And the evening mug rug:

NWF Mug rugs - Dark front

Evening mug rug – Front

NWF Mug rugs - Dark back

Evening mug rug – Back

Yesterday I mentioned using two different tutorials and once I had buried the last threads into the border, I was a bit annoyed. It’s all fine and dandy that people write tutorials, but it is troublesome when there are tricky phases not explained sufficiently. Once I was done with the project, I surfed around and of course found the most comprehensive tutorial out there, one by verykerryberry. The only step I wouldn’t do like she does is to finish the binding by hand when it’s as “insignificant” a project as this.

All I can say is the twisting and turning of single-fold bias tape, which isn’t very high quality to begin with (there’s no clear “side” with one being smaller than the other), can be quite painful. And since the tutorials don’t really show examples of where a seam ends up if you sew closer versus farther away from the outside border, it’s a big gamble.

In the Prudent tutorial, it seemed like the seam would be visible, so I picked a white thread for the bobbin, whilst the top thread (back of evening mug rug) was a dark navy. What a mess…

NWF Mug rugs - Dark detail 1

More stylish overlap of bias tape ends but quite ugly compared to the finish of the morning mug rug

NWF Mug rugs - Dark detail 2

Would be nice to see in a tutorial where stuff will show if done incorrectly vs how it looks when done the right way – This clearly isn’t how it’s supposed to be but bias tape is quite challenging to imagine how it “goes”

NWF Mug rugs - Light detail

The Dana tutorial didn’t talk about proper beginning nor ending as you can see

I wouldn’t rip out these seams since both mug rugs were a practice project from start to finish and they are for my own use. It’s overwhelming as a beginner to see so many different versions of in theory the same thing, but once you take out the magnifying glass, the differences are huge.

It can be quite time consuming to dig out the best of the best and this isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way. In case anyone wonders why I have so many Craftsy classes on my list, it’s because of the nearly one-on-one teaching; I’d rather pay a bit more for top-notch materials and as icing on the cake have someone answer my questions.

These thoughts stem also from my realisation the other day. I never start from the correct cuts of anything, but always have to adjust something – and instead of a project taking x amount of hours, I end up spending at least double the time on it. One take-home message from all of this is most certainly to plan better in the future; maybe skip patterns requiring fat quarters if I have only a skinny quarter to mention one example.

List of techniques learned and tools used:

  • Making a quilt sandwich
  • Pin basting
    • My Hemline curved safety pins for quilting are thick and can leave holes (normal?)
  • Quilting
    • Switched to 90 needle
    • Used a walking foot (quite complicated to attach)
    • Adjusted thread tension
    • Adjusted needle position
    • Tried different stitch lengths
    • Finally got used to using the needle threader
    • Squared up both rugs
  • Attaching single-fold bias tape
    • Used amazing Clover fine patchwork pins (but oh they stab me still!)
    • Used Clover wonder clips (have 10 for testing, love them and need more)
    • Tried two different ways to sew the proper way, neither worked properly, and concluded I will try the verykerryberry tutorial next time

When putting everything on a list like this, it’s no wonder it took me hours to complete these two mug rugs. Almost each step produced questions in me, which I had to answer before moving on, and the sewing-machine manual came out a few times, too. The research and re-reading prior to various steps made the process even more protracted, but it was worth every second of it.

I mentioned being more aware of stuff before beginning a project, which is why you will see a short analysis of the ongoing projects, my works in progress. When I start new ones I will do a similar roundup of why I should make a particular quilt. I’m beginning to think it’s more important right now to keep pushing into new territory, rather than settle for the same squares, rectangles, half-square triangles, and flying geese as always.

Now is the time to get experience under my belt, collect a toolbox of techniques, and only once I’m an intermediate quilter can I fiddle more with what I already know. As crazy as it may sound, I will start turning down patterns for now if they don’t challenge me enough. All this from two small mug rugs! I like :)

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