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Sunday, February 11, 2018


Last year at the end of the year, I was told by a quilting friend of mine about a special program that Island Batiks has to help promote not only their fabrics but also many quilt designers. It is called the Island Batiks Ambassador program. I filled out their application, sent in one of my pieced blocks and waited for the response.

In January I got the email, "You have been chosen to participate in the Island Batiks Ambassador program!" Wow, I was thrilled! I was honored to be chosen as one of 43 other ambassadors, many well known and talented quilters!  Now I waited for more information as to what my responsibilities would be. I received a follow-up email sending me lots of letters, charts, and schedules as to what I was to do with this new responsibility.

In that information was a monthly schedule on what projects I was suppose to make. They all had special themes. I was also told how to promote my projects (and their fabrics and affiliate sponsors, Aurifil Threads and Hobbs Batting). They encouraged us (all the ambassadors) to post blogs related to our projects, share them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and any other means to get the news out. A couple days ago I received a box of the most beautiful fabrics and also Hobbs batting and Aurifil threads to use for all of my projects.

So here is my first post and my first Island Batik project. This month's theme of course is Valentine's Day. The project is called Happy Galentine's day. It is a holiday created by the fictional character Leslie Knope from the TV show, "Parks and Recreation". The only requirement for the project was that it had to be 12" x 12" or smaller and be a postcard or mug rug. It didn't have to be a Valentine's theme but I thought since the fabrics they included were red, pink and white I would stick with that.

In corresponding with some of the other Ambassadors, Kate Colleran of Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs asked if anyone would like to use her Braid template for any of the projects. She was retiring as an Ambassador but would continue to follow what everyone was doing. Since you all know that I love working with templates, I asked her if I could have the mini one to try and she sent it to me. You can find it here: Mini Braid Template.  She also has a larger template: Braid template. When I received it I had to play with some scrap fabrics to see how it worked. I found it very easy to use and thought it would be perfect for making a heart in my project even though that is not what it was intended for.

So.... here are the steps for making your own Galentine's mug rug. Be sure to read all the way to the end of the blog so you can find out how you can win your own mug rug kit including the Mini Braid template! I'm calling mine "Braided mug rug".

The mug rug finishes at approximately 5" x 7" and here is what the finished project looks like. The heart is a little wonky but I think that is what adds to the charm of the project! I did choose to use the backing to create the binding instead of cutting and sewing a separate binding so that it would be finished quicker!

Here is what you need and what to cut: (You can use scraps that are at least 1" wide.)
If using the template cut:
Light fabric: Cut three (3) 1" x 16" strips and four (4) 1-1/2" x 6-1/2" rectangles.
Four different color prints: From each cut two (2) 1" x 5" strips.
From one of the color prints: Cut a 8" x 10" rectangle for the backing.
Batting (I used the Theramore batting): Cut an 8" x 10" rectangle. 

***If you do not have the Braid template, cut your pieces as follows just for the braid:
White: Twelve (12) 1" x 3-1/2" rectangles.
Four different Prints: Two (2) each 1" x 3-1/2" rectangles.
Place two of the same 1" x 3-1/2" fabric strips wrong sides together, line up the 45 degree line on the bottom of the strips and trim off the corner from one end. You will get a left and right cut from each.

The directions on how to use the Braid template are included with the template, but here are the steps to get the heart using it. If you cut the sections with your ruler, skip steps 1 and 2 and start with step 3.

Step 1. With the two 1" x 5" fabric strips placed wrong sides together, cut out one left and one right patch with the template as illustrated. Be sure to straighten out one of the edges before cutting. Use the 3-1/2" line on the cut edge. The left and right patches will be cut at the same time. Repeat with all four different fabric prints.

Step 2. Repeat step one with the white 1" x 16" strip, (fold the strip in half, wrong sides together) rotating the template every other cut so that the diagonal cut edge is even with the diagonal edge of the template at the 3-1/2" mark. Cut six left and six right patches. (You will get 2 left and 2 right from each strip.)

You will have the following sets.

Step 3.  Take a left and right white patch and sew together as shown.

Press to left strip.

Step 4. Sew a left patch as shown. Press to left patch.

Step 5. Sew a right patch as shown. Press to right patch.

Step 6. Continue sewing a left and right patch for 3 left and 3 right white patches.

Step 7. Continue sewing a left and right patch with the four different prints as shown.

Step 8. Finish by sewing the remaining 3 left and 3 right white patches for a finished section as shown.

Step 9. Using a ruler, line up the 1-7/8" line along the center points at the top and bottom as best as you can. Trim the right side.

Step 10. Line up the 3-1/2" mark on the cut side and trim off the other side.

Step 11. Trim off the top and bottom lining up your ruler along the dip at the top and the shortest edge at the bottom as shown. Be sure to use one of the lines on the ruler to keep it squared.

Here is what your finished trimmed section looks like. It should measure approximately 3-1/2" x 5-1/2". (The 5-1/2" size might be a little smaller or larger depending on your seams.)

Step 12. Trim two of the 1-1/2" x 6-1/2" white strip into two 5-1/2" lengths (or your own personal measurement). Sew to sides. Press to white strip.

Step 13. Cut the remaining two 1-1/2" x 6-1/2" white strips to two 5-1/2" lengths. Sew to top and bottom.

Step 14. Layer your pieced top, batting and backing piece, centering the top so that there is an equal amount of fabric extending around all the edges. Quilt as desired. I just did some straight line stitching in the borders and some stitch-in-the-ditch around the center of the block and the heart.


Step 15. Fold the backing to the back and trim off the excess batting one side at a time to be even with the top. Trim the backing to 1" around the top.

Step 16. Press the backing edges to be even with the top on all four sides.

Step 17. Cut a small square off each corner (don't cut all the way to the corner) to eliminate some bulk in the corners. If you don't want to miter the corners leave out this step.

Step 18. Fold in each corner, fold and press the edges to cover the top. I used Elmer's School glue to to hold the binding down (just a few drops of glue and press it with a hot iron). If you don't want to miter the corners just fold in opposite edges and press then fold in the top and bottom and press.

Step 19. Using some type of decorative stitch, secure the binding to the top. If you want, you can sew the miters closed with a few hand stitches and matching threads. Isn't this cute!

So, how can you win a kit to make this easy mug rug? Simply leave a comment at the end and tell me who you will make it for. (It's okay if you want to make it for yourself!) The kit will include the Island Batik fabrics (pre-cut strips) needed to make this exact project including the batting and backing, the Mini Braid template that Kate has so generously donated, and my 1/4" seam guide. Be sure that I have your email so if you win I can contact you and get your address. I'm sorry but due to the high cost of postage this is just for USA participants. Everyone is free to print out the directions of this post for the pattern instructions. If you share it please include my name as the maker of the project. A winner will be drawn on February 15. No purchase required to enter this drawing.

As always: Do what you love and love what you do. Feel free to forward this blog to all of your quilting friends! Thank you for reading.