Tag Archives: mug rugs

The End of Summer Is in Sight

Scrappy mug rugs awaiting some hand-binding.

Scrappy mug rugs awaiting some hand-binding.

Often when one of my fave tennis tournaments are on, I’m writing.  When that happens, I watch very little tennis, but this year I’ve enjoyed a fair amount of the US Open, even with friends staying over a couple of nights during the Labour Day weekend.  They appreciated a break in their lengthy road trip holiday while I took advantage to feast upon the action in Flushing Meadows and sit behind my sewing machine.  By the end of yesterday, I had two scrappy mug rugs waiting to be bound as well as great conversations reviving distant friendships.

Not sure how the latter figures into the end of summer, but the US Open tennis tournament always hearkens to the start of autumn.

While I sew and write year-round, there are lulls in the action, and when a break in writing coincides with another passion, I don’t waste too many prose-less moments.   Sewing is a great pastime amid breaks in serve or commercials.  I had planned to finish the coasters, then present them to my friends as a parting gift of sorts, but a pleasant surprise interrupted; our eldest, her hubby and Little Miss (and Buttercup too) popped in for a belated dinnertime visit. These days Little Miss is also known as Frownie Brownie, for she has mastered a grimace that isn’t completely related to new teeth coming in.  However she was happy to eat leftover BBQ while Buttercup ached for some scraps.  When they left at a near toddler’s bedtime, I thought what a lovely way to wrap up the weekend.  A firm door was closed behind them, as this morning I shared breakfast with friends, then saw them off on the rest of their journey.  My youngest and The Burrito are back in school, daylight is lessening, and evening temperatures are starting to dip.  Maybe it’s warm out right now, but come sundown, I’ll be glad to snuggle under a quilt while Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga take to Arthur Ashe Stadium.

I especially like hand-quilting these, something very soothing about the process.

I especially like hand-quilting these, something very soothing about the process.

In the meantime….  I will be watching the Caroline Wozniacki/Anastasija Sevastova match, but no comforter will be required.  I plan to start machine quilting the housewarming placemats, although I suppose first I should piece together the batting that goes in the sandwich.  I’ve made the backs for those six placemats; my quilt wall is covered in a bright array of summer/fall hues, with some Christmas coasters in the upper corners for good measure.  Actually, it’s a bit of a mess right now, as is our backyard (The hubby bought himself a new hedger and has taken my poor honeysuckle bushes to task!).  I would have done some raking today, but the green can is full, more signs of the changing seasons.

Placemat bindings!

Placemat bindings!

Transitions are often a jumbled barrage of unexpected joys; I’m not writing, but thoroughly thrilled by other activities.  Once I make the placemat sandwiches, the quilt wall won’t look so disheveled.  And perhaps next week, I’ll have a better idea of when I’ll slap on my authorial hat, that last section of The Hawk starting to peck at the back of my brain.  Do tennis players feel that way as August winds its way into September, the end of the season in sight?  Maybe it’s how I used to feel as a kid, when Labour Day rolled around, the start of school hovering.  (I probably spelled it Labor Day back then, but hey, eleven years in the UK sticks with me in funny ways.)  I doubt I noticed how shadows fell differently, but the sunshine possesses an autumnal appearance, which I first noticed back in Britain.  Then it appeared not long after Wimbledon ended.  In California, the US Open is the demarcation.

Coasters for myself as well as part of the housewarming present; mine are the two already quilted.

Coasters for myself as well as part of the housewarming present; mine are the two already quilted.

Autumn won’t officially arrive for a couple of weeks, and for me, it’s delayed until either it rains or gets somewhat chilly during the daytime.  That means October usually, although my husband and I hope for a September shower.  We’re not alone; California needs all the precipitation it can get.  Rain hampered some of the matches today in New York, but tonight’s games will be played under the new roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium.  Just watching those matches brings to mind how fleeting are the seasons, even a West Coast summer.  The Christmas coasters will be my next project, followed by a Christmas quilt.  And if all goes well, by the time that holiday arrives, The Hawk will be nearly done.  Goodness, where has 2016 gone?

My very busy, slightly chaotic, quilt wall.

My very busy, slightly chaotic, quilt wall.

It’s going at a pace that amazes me, one of the reasons I take these minutes to blather about tennis and sewing and writing and summer turning to fall.  These moments are here, then….  Then I’m calling Little Miss Frownie Brownie as she glowers for no discernible purpose.  She’s fifteen months old, no way!  Before I know it, Christmas will be on the doorstep, she’ll be eighteen months, and….

Completed coasters; go ahead grandkids and do your worst with them!

Completed coasters; go ahead grandkids and do your worst with them!

Hold it, just hold it now.  Time moves fast enough without me nudging it along.  Best that I concentrate on placemats and tennis matches as it’s just after four PM PDT, the second women’s quarterfinal about to begin.  I’ll leave Christmas and growing grandkids for another day.  Now, where is my batting scrap bag?

My love of colour….

Since coming home, I’ve been working on a housewarming gift for friends of my eldest daughter.  They had a baby girl in May, and I’d made a quilt for little miss A, as well as some coasters for her folks.  They were so appreciative of those gifts, asking if I had time, might I make some placemats.  All someone has to do is ask, and I’m on the job!

Quite a collection, with unfinished Christmas coasters in the upper corners, lol.

Quite a collection, with unfinished Christmas coasters in the upper corners, lol.

Sewing quilts is part of my joy, but smaller items are just as favourable.  Also easier, ha ha, with a quicker sense of satisfaction, unlike comforters or say behemoth novels, ahem.  Sewing provides tangible results for my efforts, treasures for others, and a way to indulge in my attraction for colour.  Be it embroidery floss or fabrics, I’m a colour junkie!

A couple of days ago I finished up the last mug rug, which incidentally I’m keeping; I’ve made it a habit to scrap together mug rugs from various projects and lately they have come in handy, as when my grandson surreptitiously hides them, lol.  One disappeared during his last visit, so this abuela needed a replacement (or two).  Last night I cut fabric for binding strips, allowing enough extra for the coasters.  Those I’ll bind with scraps, but for the placemats themselves, I’ll use a solid colour for each.  (I used six main solids within the placemats, so each mat will have its own hue.)  This morning, as I worked on revisions, I glanced over at those strips, then felt compelled to take a picture of them.

I don’t know the exact name of the Kona blue and plum, but the rest are from left; Konas tangerine, lemon, persimmon, and ice peach.

I’ll sew them later today amid some tennis matches; the US Open is in full swing, and it’s fun to see what the players choose to wear in this tournament compared to Wimbledon, which requires tennis whites.

The shades I chose for these placemats weren’t based upon what went into the baby quilt from earlier this year.  These hues are firmly summer-themed, with some prints from a bundle that has lent itself to other placemats, and hopefully a quilt for my nephew.   For the backing, I’m going to incorporate a fat quarter from the bundle that otherwise I just can’t imagine using within a quilt top.

This came in a bundle called Boys Go Camping.  I truly can't fathom how else to use it!

This came in a bundle called Boys Go Camping. I truly can’t fathom how else to use it!

I’ve cut it into sixths, and will piece it together with larger scraps.  I do like me some colour, but psychedelic forest animals are too much for me.

I am considering hand-quilting these; I hand-quilted the baby blanket, but not the accompanying mug rugs.  We’ll see what mood I’m in when I reach that point.  Whipping out the quilting on the sewing machine does have its advantages.  I have some bright orange machine quilting thread, yellow too, which would add to the vibrancy.  For now, it’s enough to contemplate those crazy deer, and moose too, my goodness.

As for my coasters, I’ll back them with whatever I find in the general scrap stash.  One will go by my husband’s recliner, the other into the kitchen circulation.  They are visible reminders of previous projects, keepsakes if you will.  Most of what I makes goes to others, but it’s nice to have a little something hearkening back to fave fabrics.  I can’t keep everything, but little mug rugs fit perfectly.  And with toddling grandkids afoot, one can never have too many coasters!