I'm busy busy busy this week with the kids starting school and Montessori and with all the swaps I've got going on. Not to mention the Quiltalong!! Most pressing is the For the Love of Solids Swap which I need to finish and get in the post at the beginning of next week at latest.
Today I finished up the small item for my secret partner. I came up with and discarded quite a few ideas before remembering a lovely stitch-along I had seen a couple of months ago over on Rachel's blog Contented which I thought would be perfect for a small size like a mug rug, and would work great with the array of Kona blues I had for the swap items.
I had a fat quarter of Kona Ash grey (a colour I have totally fallen in love with, to my complete surprise. It has such a lovely natural tone!) which was my starting point, and I played around with the varying shades of blue before arriving at my combination. This was a very straightforward make - I appliqued on the circles using Bondaweb and then handstitched around the edges of each circle, varying between running stitch and backstitch, and matching or contrasting threads.
Then I basted it with a few small stitches in a variety of places, and started to hand quilt it. In the original, Rachel used a variegated thread, which I didn't have. I also had quite a variety of tones in my blues, so none of the flosses I had was quite right for the whole thing. So I decided to make my own 3-tone thread, taking a strand from each of 3 colours. I really really love how the colours change throughout the quilting and how the thread picks up the colour of the circle it is closest too.
This is the first time I've hand quilted and I really enjoyed it, even if it was a little hard on the hands and fingers. I tried to vary the stitch length in different rows of quilting for interest. I love, love the effect of the stitching rippling out from the circles, I think this is an inspired pattern to be honest! So simple, so effective. It reminds me of stones dropping into a lake.
Lastly, I bound it in the same Kona Ash fabric to keep it simple. I'm slightly in love with this mug rug. I hope my partner will like it, I'll find it hard to let it go! If you want to make it, check out this great tutorial series over at Contented.
Linking up with Fabric Tuesday on Quilt Story and Sew Cute Tuesday on Creative Itch: