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Quilter's World Update

Christmas Mug Rug Set
Christmas Mug Rug Set may be purchased at

Let me introduce myself: I'm Carolyn Vagts, editor of Quilter's World magazine and writer of this update. That's my day job, and at night, I'm an addicted quilter. I tend to eat, breathe and sometimes sleep with my quilting. I have a beautiful studio with my work space right in it. How convenient, since I work at and with quilting. As editor, I am very hands-on with every issue of the magazine. I'm also very hands-on with this update. I love to share my experiences with other quilters in hopes it will inspire them to explore the endless possibilities available to them.

With each update I select a book or pattern to accompany it. It's usually something that I feel goes along with the content of my update. This time my suggestion is the Christmas Mug Rug Set. It has great patterns, and it's always nice to have a few spare gifts onhand for those unexpected visitors or a fun hostess gift. I just love having projects that I can make and take my time with. Sometimes the little things are the best.

The Christmas Mug Rug Set can be purchased at It's a good pattern to have on hand when you find yourself in need of a quick project or when you just want a project you can make from your scrap fabrics.

With Christmas fast approaching and the need to reduce my Christmas fabric container, I have decided to pull out my Learn to Make Quilted Mug Rugs book for some ideas. This is a book I wrote a few years ago and it's still selling well. I had so much fun with this book during the design process when I was picking and choosing backgrounds, appliques and other options for finishing each mug rug. So here I am again, pulling it out along with my stash fabric and planning a few fun projects.

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Learn to Make Quilted Mug Rugs, the book I'll be using for this update, and my first selection of stash fabrics.

It never fails that when I decide to make mug rugs, even if I say I'll just make a couple, it ends up being several more. I found myself picking more fabric combinations while trying to decide which one to make. So, I began to cut out the pieces needed one by one.

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The Photo Gallery in my book shows some of the options for backgrounds and appliques.

Then (of course) I had to cut out a few more. By the time I had sorted through my fabric container, pressed the fabrics and cut out the pieces, I had managed to start five mug rugs. I decided one of the five would be a 9-inch pieced block similar to one I had made recently for another project; I thought it would make a great poinsettia with the right fabrics.

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More of the mug rugs cut out and ready to stitch together.

The first one I began to stitch was the 9-inch block. I marked my corner pieces and stitched them into place, trimming off the excess.

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The marked corner pieces, and three corner pieces sewn in place and trimmed to make one unit.

I made the four units needed then stitched them together. I then selected a piece of backing fabric and dug through my scrap batting for a piece that would fit my block. Then I cut a piece of Bosal Poly-Therm Fleece to size. The fleece will protect furniture surfaces from the heat if the mug rug is used with hot beverages. It's just a good idea to add it in as an extra layer. I do the same with pot holders.

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After laying out the pieced units, I stitched the units together to make the block. I layered the block with the battings and backing, and then pinned them all together.

I took the pin-basted mug rug to my machine and quilted it. Now this is where I love to play around with the design. I quilted the middle with small circles and stitched in poinsettia leaves in the red sections.

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Quilting in the details to mug rug No. 1.

I trimmed off the excess batting and backing, and then moved on to the other mug rugs I'd cut out and pieced them. I had selected two different pieced backgrounds to work with. I love having the option to add personal elements to make these simple backgrounds unique or to leave them as is. The first set from my book has a simple two-border background, and the second set of two has only one border.

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Stitching the corner pieces together and then cutting the strip sets into the unit sizes needed for the block.

Once all the piecing was done, I pinned the layers of backing, batting, Bosal Poly-Therm Fleece and the pieced top together. I then quilted the two-border set, deciding to leave them as is without any appliques. The fabric I used was lovely all by itself.

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Mug rugs layered and ready to quilt. Quilting the two-border set.

I trimmed the two-border set and moved on to the last two mug rugs I had made, fused my applique pieces and ironed them into place. Because I decided to make five mug rugs instead one or two, the finishing will have to wait for another day. It's off to bed, but I'll be up early to finish up.

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Three of the mug rugs ready to add binding and the last two of the day ready to applique.

If you're wondering why I have the applique on pinned backings, I actually do my applique as I quilt on small projects. It saves a step, and if you're careful as you stitch the applique pieces into place, it looks so much better. It actually gives the piece more dimension. Try it sometime!

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