Friday, February 25, 2011

Mug Rugs Received!

Saw a package peeking out of my mailbox today and I just mug rugs had arrived! They were sent from Dorothy in Illinois, where I know there has been tons more snow than our neck of the woods.

Aren't these adorable?! They point to spring, Easter, and just put a smile on my face. I truly appreciate having a bit of someone else's creativity--beautiful machine applique and hand embroidery on the bunny. The flowers are so whimsical and cute! Love the stitching. 

The patriarch of our family is British so we drink tons of tea each day. These rugs will gets lots of use. Thanks again, Dorothy!

Copyright ©2011, Sharon Baggs

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snow & Sew

Woke up at 3 a.m. this morning and looked outside to wet streets. Then at 5:30, the alarm went off and there is was, finally...SNOW. The weather here is so weird, just like Portland. It warmed up to 42 and all melted away. But as I write this, the skies are cloudy and it's getting colder. Snow flurries are starting up again...


The whole family is home today from work and school. It's been a good day to work on some sewing projects. I'm on the costumes committee for CYT's production of Annie ( and I'm making the dress & pinafore for the character of Annie. Hannah is cast as the orphan, July, and will wear similar clothing to what she is modeling here.

Just have to attach the pocket and sew in a narrow hem on the pinafore. On the dress, I have to split the side seams at the bottom so there is more room for stage movements. The orphans are doing lots of gymnastics on stage, and Hannah is one of a few who get to tap dance during the show.

Next, I'm making some aprons for the french maids and hot dog sellers. I already made a baker's apron and aprons for the five servants who work at Oliver Warbuck's mansion. It's gonna be a great show!

Copyright ©2011, Sharon Baggs

Friday, February 18, 2011

Quilted Mug Rugs

The mug rugs are finished! And managed to get red in there--really cheers up the asthetic appeal, at least for me. Looking to get these in the mail to Nicole in Texas later today, before the due date of Monday, which is a holiday and no mail moving anyway.

A look at the flip sides:

Using black cotton thread, I quilted a shell design and some stitch-in-the-ditch around the horizontal bars.

On the other one, I quilted spirals, angles, and leaves with variegated yellow thread. Finished with echo quilting around the outside edge of all the designs to fill in the area near the binding. It was one continuous line of thread.

Really enjoyed this little project.  Fun to use a mix of contemporary fabrics with a few oldies but goodies from my stash.

Someday I will be a real art quilter.
Copyright ©2011, Sharon Baggs

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mug Rugs

I'm participating in a swap through Quilting Gallery (see sidebar). Over 300 people signed up to trade two mug rugs with another quilter. We've had about a month to work on these and it's both my first attempt to make a mug rug and my first swap!

Naturally, I stalked my partner's blog to see what she might like. I did get some preferences from her via the swap coordinator: modern quilting and artsy quilts. I think we like some of the same things.

This first one is randomly pieced, I just kept sewing until it measured 10" x 6". It has a bit of an Asian look to it:

On her blog, my secret person used black, white and red fabrics to make a quilt. It sounded like she wanted to go with black, white, and yellow, just couldn't find the right fabrics to go together. I understand this. Only after making a Tuffet with these colors for my eldest daughter, did I think outside the box and incorporate yellow like this. I'm using the fabrics from that project and some stash favorites.

These were pieced following the directions provided by Ryan Walsh, inspiration to all us swappers:

One of these will make it to my swap partner, but I'm asking myself, "Where's the red?" The other two will be added to the color ensemble in Sarah's room :)

Copyright ©2011, Sharon Baggs

Friday, February 4, 2011

Testing the Thread

After considering the three choices for top thread, I started with the darker variegated thread (right). It seemed to blend the best across both the light and dark fabrics. I began quilting with it and then decided to use the lighter (middle) thread. Sometimes you have to try quilting a bit to see which one works best.

I used a darker bobbin thread. When I use a 40 wt. as the top thread, I use a 50 wt. in the bobbin (always Presencia brand, my personal favorite--good for top thread quilting too!) There needs to be a slight adjustment in the tension so the bobbin thread doesn't pop up. Each of these three stitched lines were set at a different top tension setting--3.0 on the first line, 2.5 on the second, and 2.0 on the third. The 2.0 tension setting gave the best result for a balanced tension.

With the lighter thread (Superior's King Tut 40 wt. Color #904--Mirage), it blends right into the pink fabric. The original quilting plan was to quilt a grid out across the border. The grid looked a little lopsided and with the light thread on dark fabric it is difficult to hide the unevenness. A new quilting plan for the border will be decided later. For now there is plenty of stitching-in-the-ditch to be quilted in all the pieced seam lines, as shown above and below.

Starting at each corner of the quilt, I stitched-in-the-ditch across the bottom of the square, pivoted at the inner border and stitched down to the edge on the opposite side, pivoted and stitched back to the starting point. I did this on all four corners. Since the quilt is longer than it is wide, these "anchoring lines" created two large X's on the back of the quilt as shown here:

Always begin quilting with these anchoring lines so you can check the back of the quilt. If there are any puckers, you can fix them before moving on with the rest of the quilting.

Copyright ©2011,Sharon Baggs