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Quilting The Mug Rug

Yesterday, I took some inspiration from the wonderful world of Mother Nature and used the autumn colors to create a maple leaf mug rug. Today’s job is quilting the mug rug and since the thread choice has already been made I just have to decide how I’m going to quilt it. Sometimes that is the hardest part.

Straight Line Quilting

I decided to keep everything linear in the checkerboard section and go with straight lines echoing the seam lines. I thought about using stitch in the ditch but I hate to go to all that work and not see the stitching. I figure if you’re going to quilt it then the quilting should be seen not hidden in the ditch and I find echo quilting to be very effective.

Using the open toed foot and having the IDT system engaged makes quilting this little piece very fast and easy. Lining up the inside edge of the foot along the seam line keeps the quilting lines even and uniform in width.

Straight stitch quilting
Straight stitch quilting

 

 

Setting Up for Free Motion Quilting

Free motion quilting with the Pfaff Ambition 1.0 means getting out the screwdriver to change the foot – it’s as easy as 1-2-3. First of all remove the steel presser foot post from the machine by unscrewing the small screw on the side.

Remove steal presser foot post
Remove steal presser foot post

 

 

Before putting this piece in a safe place remove the black screw to use with the free motion foot.

Steel post removed
Steel post removed

 

 

Now screw the spring loaded open-toed free motion foot into place with the screw that was removed previously. The white surface in the photo below covering the machine is a silicone mat to help the fabric slide under the foot easier – another one of my tool ‘musts’ for free motion quilting.

Spring loaded free motion foot
Spring loaded free motion foot

 

 

Drop the feed dogs which are found at the back of the machine – the tool box will have to be removed in order to access the button.

Feed dog down button
Feed dog down button

 

 

Extending the Workspace

There is an extension table for the Ambition 1.0 but unfortunately I don’t have it so I had to make my own extension table. I did this by placing my thread containers to the side and rear of the machine which works like a charm. This extra space gives me lots of room to move my piece when quilting the mug rug.

I have done this for large quilts and it works great – there’s no drag or areas in which the quilt can get caught on which means that the stitches are even and regular. When there is drag on a quilt the machine has to work to move the fabric under the foot resulting in small tight stitches.

Improv extension table
Improv extension table

 

 

Quilting With a Stippling Motif

Now that the foot is in place, the feed dogs are down and my workspace has been extended I can get down to business. First though I need one more thing  – my gloves with rubber tipped fingers which help to grab the fabric and move it under the needle.

Prior to starting on the main project I always check my tension out on a test piece. I had to fiddle around a bit until the stitches were looking even on both sides.

Doing a test piece with the same fabrics that are in the quilt is a good practice to get into because ripping out free motion quilting is no fun at all – just ask my husband.

Testing the tension
Testing the tension

 

 

Sitting comfortably and relaxed I stippled around the maple leaf ending up back where I started. Stippling is like doodling with a pencil only you are using a needle and thread instead. To get comfortable with free motion quilting it’s a good idea to draw out the design on paper with a pencil before moving the machine. Also remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and free motion stippling isn’t mastered in a day – it takes lots and lots of patience and practice and persistence.

The Ambition 1.0 does fantastic free motion quilting – the pieces move nicely under the foot, the stitches are even and regular and the tension was perfect. I’m very impressed with its free motion quilting abilities.

Free Motion Stippling
Free Motion Stippling

 

 

Adding the Final Touch

The quilting is complete and all that’s left is the binding. One 2¼″ x WOF strip will be sufficient to bind the quilt with. Use your favorite method to attach the binding to the mug rug.

Finished maple leaf mug rug
Finished maple leaf mug rug

 

 

Sewing and quilting the mug rug took no time at all and now I have a wonderful seasonal mug rug in autumn colors to use for my coffee mug and occasional treat in my studio.

Happy Quilting

Jennifer runs Quilts by Jen, a fantastic educational resource for quilters with many great free tutorials ranging from how to choose fabrics, understanding the value of fabrics, pressing, building Bargello runs, pinning, binding, sandwiching, couching, quilting, and much more. Check them out!

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