Monday, February 28, 2011

Mug Rug Monday - Be Still (free mug rug pattern)

Forgive me for being a little late in the day for my Mug Rug Monday post, but I have just spent the last two weekends with 20,000 cheerleaders and their moms – so I have been a little frazzled. Without further ado, let’s see the free mug rug pattern for this Monday - today, I have designed a mug rug that I am calling “Be Still.”

Indulge me as I tell you a little about this design. After not having a lot of time to myself over the last couple of weeks, I needed some quiet time. I was reminded of this verse found in Psalm 46:10, which tells me to be still, and allow myself to experience God’s power and presence. 

Even if your week hasn’t been quite as crazy as mine, it is a message that we can all still use. You see, the context of this verse is one in which fits the times in which we all find ourselves, no matter what part of the world in which we live. The context of this verse is one of God’s strength, peace, and control in our present day of chaos caused by natural disasters and war.

If you will, take a moment to read the whole chapter, starting in verse 1 of the 46th Psalm. You will find the proclamation that God is our refuge, a very present help in time of trouble. The chapter continues on to talk about the presence of God through the roughest of times. To personally experience His peace and presence, we humans simply must be still. 

As you sit and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea with your new mug rug - may you find peace in your time of stillness with God.

Until next week (or maybe sooner),
Michele Hester

P.S. Don't forget to visit the first mug rug Monday post to enter my giveaway!

Printing reminder - be sure to print all templates with no page scaling, or your sizes won't come out. The finished mug rug size is 6.5 by 9.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Summer Dreamin' - Quilt top completed

I have never been very good at keeping surprises for very long, so I couldn't hold this in any longer. I planned to wait until it was all quilted and I had the tutorial ready to go, but oh well....I have completed that quilt top that I have been promising. I am calling it "Summer Dreamin'." It's no secret that most of us (in the U.S.) have been enduring a harsher than usual winter like this:

Harsh winters mean being confined in close quarters with other people besides myself, my cats and my sewing machine! For my personal sanity, during the exorbitant number of days when the kids were home from school, I needed to think about summertime and hope and pray that we make it help me focus my thoughts, I designed and began a new quilt. With dreams of picnics and the Fourth of July, this is the quilt I designed in EQ7:

And here is the actual pieced top that I have just completed:

And a close-up:

My plans are for us to wrap up in this new quilt during the cold winter days and nights OR to lay on it and stare at the clouds at a picnic during warm summer days! Can you feel it?

As a side note, the design wall is wonky, not my quilt! For my previous review of this design wall, click here. As to the pattern and tutorial, stay tuned, because I will be providing the quilt pattern and instructions free for you to download....

Here's to some Summer Dreamin'!

Michele Hester

Monday, February 21, 2011

Welcome to Mug Rug Monday - with a giveaway! (free mug rug pattern)

It is finally here - Mug Rug Monday! Every Monday, I will be sharing a new free mug rug pattern with you. I don't know about you, but I have been looking forward to this! So, without further delay, here is this first pattern:

This week's pattern lends itself best to paper piecing, but traditional piecing can be done as well. I have attached patterns for both techniques.

Would you like a tip to go along with these patterns? For paper piecing, you probably know that you can purchase specialized paper on which to print your patterns. For those of us who have purchased this special, and sort of pricey paper, we have learned that it is simply newsprint paper with a new packaging for quilters. Well, this same kind of paper can also be purchased in tablet form at our local dollar store for MUCH less than what you can get it in quilty land. BUT WAIT - EVEN better than this - here is what I now do: I print my paper piecing patterns on notebook paper. It is essentially the same weight as newsprint, and tears easily away from your pieced project. Be aware that not all notebook paper is the same though - for paper piecing patterns, you want to get the really cheap stuff. ;-)

Now what about that giveaway.........

For those who have been following me a while, you know that I promised a giveaway when I reached 50 of this writing I have 48 followers, but I have faith! So I am going to go ahead and announce a giveaway. What do you think about this Dritz Flexible LED Light:

I have enjoyed using mine on my sewing machine. It really lights up my world! (sorry, I couldn't resist.)

This giveaway will require a little work on your part, because I need your help. While I really enjoy designing projects, I HATE naming them. So, this is what you have to do to be entered in this giveaway - help me name this mug rug design. Leave a comment with your suggestion for a name for this mug rug. The Dritz LED Light will go to the person who provides the name that I like best. I will make the decision based on all entries received by midnight (EST) on March 15th.

Thank you for joining me in the first ever Mug Rug Monday! I will attempt to keep the pattern techniques mixed up, so that everyone will be encouraged to try them. I have really been looking forward to this, and I hope that you will spread the word about my blog. I also hope you will send me photos of your completed projects!

Wishing you a great day of quilting!
Michele Hester

For the giveaway, your e-mail must be available through your comment link. Also, this giveaway is limited to U.S. mailing addresses.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mug Rug Mondays

The free mug rug quilt patterns have been so successful and fun that I have decided to post an weekly occasional (life gets in the way sometimes) mug rug pattern on Mondays. I am calling it Mug Rug Mondays. (I am going to attempt to create a button, if anyone has any pointers, I sure could use them - hint.) Also, I have added a page that will make it easier for everyone to go directly to the free patterns. Please share my blog with your friends. Remind them that by becoming followers, they will automatically be updated every time something new is added. Don't we all love followers - they are the fuel that keep us going - and comments too of course!

Michele Hester

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Free Mug Rug Quilt Pattern - Wonky Stripes

This one is going to be a lot of fun.....

I have included the template for paper piecing and template pattern if you want to do traditional piecing. This is a good one for representing collections of fat quarters that you might have.
 Be sure to send me a link to your photos when you make one.

Michele Hester

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I won!!!

I won the January giveaway that Chris of WeLoveQuilting was having. Remeber this one, it was a "mystery box" that she was going to put together because she was doing some tidying up around her studio. When she said "the winner won't be disappointed" that was an understatement! Look at this haul:
Oops! How did that get in there - notice the quilt blocks on the design wall? ;-)

I couldn't even get it all into one photo:

Aren't giveaways fun? There are always a lot of giveaways going on, be sure to check out my giveaway page frequently and enter giveaways - they are fun to win!

Here are a couple of my favorite things in the box:
 This adorable pin cushion!

 and this diamond quilt pattern:

Michele Hester

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Love is in the Air - a new mug rug pattern for you

The first mug rug pattern seemed to be very well received, so I am posting another one for you. This time it is an applique pattern. The thing I really like about mug rugs is that they are a great opportunity to practice all kinds of techniques, without leaving a lot of UFOs lying around.  Since it is February, I decided to make this a Valentiney one.

Click here to download the pattern

After making the last mug rug, I decided that it was a little on the large side, so I cut this one down just a little. When I make this one, I will likely use the raw edge applique technique. I have included the templates with 1/4" seam allowances, but if you are going to do raw edge applique, cut these away. The finished size is going to be 10" wide and 6 1/2" tall. I will start with an 11" by 7" background fabric for my applique centered on the background. Trim your finished quilt sandwich down to 10" by 6 1/2" before binding.

I haven't heard about any problems with downloading the last mug rug, so I assume everything is working okay! Please send me a link to your photos when you do one - I love to see your work!

Michele Hester

Monday, February 7, 2011

Summertime is coming!

It may be 28 degrees outside, but can I can feel the warmth of summer coming on! Here is one of the blocks from my upcoming quilt.....

Does it conjure up warm thoughts of picnics and summer days? Good, that is what I was going for!

Keeping warm - if only in my thoughts,
Michele Hester

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Free Mug Rug Pattern - pieced and quilted

Okay, so I couldn't just leave you hanging with just the free mug rug pattern, I wanted you to see it actually sewn out.  Here is the one I put together tonight:

Here is the back:

I simply quilted in the ditch using my blind hem foot.  I have not done the binding yet, as it is late and I have learned to never bind when I am tired!

I used my leftover fabric from my 2010 Hoffman Challenge quilt, which is shown here:


Michele Hester

Friday, February 4, 2011

A mug rug pattern for you

I am working really hard on my soon to be unveiled quilt design, complete with an actual pattern/tutorial. I have completed about 25 percent of the blocks for the top and they go very quickly and easily. Let me give you a little hint – I am dreaming about summer! Since we had a little more icy precipitation today here in Georgia, and I am ready for summer. I need sunshine!

Anyway, I didn’t want you to get bored while you were waiting so I decided to share a mug rug pattern that I created. Here is what it will look like:
When you print the pattern, be sure that you have your printer set to landscape. Also, be sure that your page scaling is set to none. This is a fairly simple paper-pieced pattern that you can probably whip up in an hour if you are a paper piecer. If you are new to paper piecing this is an excellent pattern on which to practice.

Because I love the angles so much in this pattern, I would probably just stitch-in-the-ditch. Speaking of stitch-in-the-ditch - did you know that many machines come with a foot designed for stitch-in-the-ditch? It is also called a blind hem foot, but we are quilters and don't do any hemming - if we can help it! It looks like this:

 It has a vertical metal piece that runs through the middle down to the fabric like this:

The way you use it is to guide the little vertical metal piece along your seam line (or in the ditch) and voila! Stitch-in-the-ditch simplified! No tugging on your fabric necessary, because that little curved piece right in the middle of where your needle goes through pushes the fabric over for you.It almost looks like a piece of wire running through the middle in this picture:

Well, I am going back to my summer dreamin’ for now. Please let me know if you make this mug rug – I would love to see it!


P.S. This is the first time I have ever shared any files and I am using google docs - I really hope it works, but bear with me if it doesn't, I will get it to you somehow!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A little teaser on my new quilt.........

Between all of the funeral activities and having children home out of school, I am doing all of the piecing I can cram in. Here is a little teaser:

See I told you there was going to be white in it!

Michele Hester

Did you say read the user manual? Tidbits learned after 8 yrs with my machine…….

I have no idea what possessed me, but after sewing on my Babylock Ellageo for almost 9 years, I decided to break out the user manual and see what it had to say about achieving a perfect ¼” seam allowance.  I tend to be a doer, rather than an instruction reader, so obviously the thought of opening the user manual never crossed my mind. So imagine my surprise when I opened it tonight and learned that my machine actually has some special features just for quilt piecing! Who would of thunk it?!?

Here is what it has to offer:

First, there is a specific presser foot provided that is recommended for piecing. What do you mean I don’t need a specially purchased ¼” presser foot?? 

Second, there are two specific straight stitches set aside on this machine for piecing. They are even names with a "P" for piecing.  They are both designed to align the edge of the prescribed presser foot with the edge of the fabric and provide a perfect ¼” seam allowance.  One stitch is for use with the right edge of the presser foot, the other is for the left edge of the presser foot. 

Lastly, there is even away to adjust the stitch, to account for your thread size and to achieve that evasive “scant” ¼” seam allowance. You simply use the stitch width to move the needle slightly left or right. I would never have even thought about the stitch WIDTH button on a straight stitch!

So the moral of the story is, at least once every 8 years, pull out your sewing machine manual and see what it has to say about what you do EVERY day!

Michele Hester
P.S. – For sale: One specialty ¼" presser foot ;-)

To Grandmother's House We Go - a free quilt pattern

Click here for the free quilt pattern This quilt is a take on little red riding hood. I just think it is adorable for girls of any...