Yesterday, I took inspiration from the wonderful world of Mother Nature and used the hues of winter to create a mug rug. Today’s job is quilting the snowflake mug rug and, since the thread choice has already been made, I just have to decide how I’m going to quilt it.
Let’s get quilting!
Straight line quilting
Using the 1A open toed foot also known as the Sewing Stars 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.
I decided to keep everything linear in the checkerboard section and go with straight line quilting to echo the seam lines. I thought about using stitch in the ditch, but I hate to do all that work and not see the stitching. I figure, if you’re going to quilt it, the quilting should be seen and not hidden in the ditch.
The final result of the echo quilting looks great with the blue Sulky rayon thread. The rayon thread comes in both a 40 and 30 weight. The 30 weight is the one I prefer as it is a bit heavier and gives a more prominent quilting line.
Free motion quilting
Free motion quilting with the Pfaff Ambition 1.0 means getting out the screwdriver to change the foot. For step by step instructions on how to apply the spring loaded darning foot, check out the maple leaf mug rug post I did back in October.
One thing I do wish is for longer handles on the screw drivers included in the sewing machine tool box! Sometimes it’s hard to get enough torque with the short handle on the screws, especially when it’s fresh out of the box. A longer handle would make it easier to access the screws as well.
Extending the workspace
There is an extension table for the Ambition 1.0, which is a must when quilting. It extends the work space around the foot a few extra inches giving room to manoeuver the piece making sure there is no drag on the quilt. Drag on the quilt can cause uneven stitches and tension issues.
If you don’t have an extension table, it’s easy enough to add your own extension table by using thread boxes and placing them around the machine. Check out how I did this with the maple leaf mug rug when I didn’t have the extension table.
Quilting with stippling
Now that the foot’s in place, the feed dogs are down, and my workspace extended, I can get down to business. The feed dogs are released by sliding the button at the back of the machine. Firstly, 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 on a test piece. I had to fiddle around a bit until the stitches looked even on both sides. Doing a test piece is a good practice to get into because ripping out free motion quilting is no fun at all – just ask my husband.
Nice and relaxed I stippled around the snowflake ending up back where I started. Stippling is like doodling with a pencil only you’re using a needle and thread. 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 and lots of patience, practice, and persistence.
The stippling turned out wonderful and looks great. The Ambition 1.0 decked out with the spring loaded darning foot does a beautiful job of free motion stitching.The stitch tension was pretty much right on with little adjustment needed for the threads I was using.
Adding the final touch
The quilting is complete and all that is left is the binding. One 2¼″ x WOF strip will be sufficient to bind the quilt. Use your favorite method to attach the binding to the mug rug. I like sewing the binding on with the quarter inch foot that has the guide. The guide sits right along the edge of the quilt and keeps everything lined up and even. I use a ¼″ seam on my binding, but some people prefer a ⅜″ seam. Neither is right or wrong and it all comes down to personal preference.
Mitered corners on binding
Do those mitered corners give you a bit of trouble? Here are a couple of hints for creating perfect mitered corners each time.
At each corner, you want to stop a quarter inch from the corner, pull your needle out and cut your threads. The Pfaff perfect quarter inch foot has a red line on the toe, which is a perfect quarter inch from the needle giving a great visual guide for when to stop at the corner.
As an aside, this foot with the guide is also perfect for topstitching a ¼″ from a seam line!
Pull the piece out from under the foot and fold the binding so that it is at a 45 degree angle to the corner and running off the top of the piece. With this piece, there’s no issue of having a seam at the corner, which creates extra bulk. When sewing binding on a larger piece, measure the binding out so the seams do not fall at the corners.
Then, fold the piece of binding back over itself so that it’s lying parallel to the edge of the quilt. Begin sewing from the edge. There will be a folded triangle of fabric under the binding piece at the corner.
Continue around the mug rug until the binding is finished. Connect the two ends of the binding using your favorite method.
My mug rug challenge
Having now made two mug rugs in the last couple of months, along with a whole bunch of Christmas trivets, which I will talk about tomorrow, I’ve been inspired to give myself a challenge for the new year. The challenge will take place weekly on my own website, Quilts by Jen and with regular features here on QUILTsocial and in A Needle Pulling Thread magazine.
The challenge is to create a mug rug a week using different techniques, fabrics, threads, rulers, and so on. The mug rugs will be of many different themes, including seasonal, holidays, and color. It’s going to be a fun challenge for me and I’m looking forward to getting my creative juices flowing. Creating these small pieces, which will also be available as patterns in sets of four on my own website, Quilts by Jen, will be fun.
It all started with this maple leaf!
Sewing and quilting the snowflake mug rug took no time at all! Now, I have a wonderful seasonal mug rug in winter hues to use for my coffee mug and occasional treat in my studio.