Machine Covers and Mug Rugs!

        Moving away from the free motion quilting talk to show off my two newest projects! I posted about my new sewing machine cover last week and after a hectic weekend I was able to retire to my sewing room once again and finally finish it up.

         I love these fabrics so much and I am really happy that I will get to see them every day in my sewing room. They are so bright and cheerful! I started out by stitching in  the ditch along the borders. After hearing the judge at a recent quilt show talk about how important it is to outline your big design elements I've decided I should probably practice stitch-in-the-ditch a bit more. The first design I quilted was the the border on the left. I know, I know, you should start in the center and work out so that you don't get bunching. Turns out I like to live dangerously sometimes. Truthfully I just love the way that design looks and I really want to try it. I then decided to stitch the feathers in the right boarder. And guess what! I ended up with some bunching! Haha oh well, it didn't turn out too bad. And no one will be looking to closely at it in my sewing room. 

        I also got a little bit of a tuck :( I hate that. I had fun choosing different designs for the rows of hexies. Now that I am writing this I think it might have been neat to stitch the rows going diagonally instead of the rows going straight up and down. Next time I guess. I really do like how my feathers are coming along. 

        I added straps and machine stitched the binding on and ta-da! A fully functional machine cover. I think that this might be the first time in years that I've machine stitched binding instead of hand stitching it. It was somewhat liberating, although I do think it's a little sloppy. I should have used more pins. 

        I was impatient and didn't stage this photo very well haha. I need to get better about using all of the nifty features of my camera. You can also see my super sophisticated sewing table. I love having both a sewing and a cutting table. I feel entirely spoiled. It has been wonderful. I should however probably return this folding table to my mother at some point... Anyways, I've never had or made a sewing machine cover before! Maybe I should add pockets?

        After finishing up my cover I had a few hours of daylight left so I started on the mug rug swap for the Tacoma Modern Quilt guild! Of course there was no daylight left my the time I finished so I apologize for the poor pictures. I have to admit I've fallen in love with the idea of mug rugs. They might even be my go-to Christmas gift this year. They are small and as easy or difficult as you want them to be and you can finish one in a day or so. And they are just so darn cute!

        For my mug rug I decided that I wanted to try something that I found on Pinterest that of course I have now lost track of. It was a funky rainbow row of flying geese that get smaller as they curve towards the edge. This plan would require a paper piecing pattern so I set about designing one. I drew out a rectangle and fussed over my curves then subdivided the row and drew out my geese. Then I was stumped for a bit. The last time I designed a paper piecing pattern I made it more complicated than I probably needed to be by breaking it up and tracing it to get all of my 1/4 in seams. I didn't really want to retrace the entire thing (even though it is a fairly simple pattern) so I tried to think of an easier way. Then I realized that be had a scanner. I love scanners! I copied my pattern twice and sketched in my 1/4 seam allowance and sat down to admire my pattern. Now to test it!

Graph paper is also incredibly useful. I don't know why I didn't use it before!

         Next step was to find some cool rainbow scraps. I've been picking off a set of scraps for a year now. Chopsticks is an awesome pattern but it left me with a ton of scraps, then again I did by a little bit more fabric than I needed to add another color. It was totally worth it. Anyways, I pulled my scraps and set to finding a nice spectrum and a fitting background. I was torn between using plain white or light grey. I opted for the white eventually but might eventually try another one with the grey because it looked neat.

I then cut out my paper piecing pattern pieces and set to work. Eventually I ended up with something like this. Piecing the smallest triangle was much easier than I thought it was going to be. It was a bit tedious and time consuming but overall pretty fun. 8.5/10 - would try again. 

I then stitched a stabilizing line in the seam allowance of my swooping geese before trimming down to the quarter inch seam allowance. I'm not sure if this is necessary but I found it helpful. The last time I paper pieced tearing out the paper weakened my stitches and edges began to un-stitch so I wanted to avoid that as much as possible. I'm sure there are techniques that I just haven't learned yet but this helped a bit. I then cut out my background pieces,  marked there the seams should be and pinned at each mark before stitching. 

I think it came out really well! I can't wait to quilt and bind it and give it away :) although maybe not the giving away part so much. I really think I will have to make another one. I was also thinking of expanding the pattern into a full quilt. If I designed a series of linked blocks I could create a long, curving chain of swooping geese with lots of negative space. I love negative space!

Here is a link to the pattern I created if anyone wants to try it!

Until next time! Happy Crafting!


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