A mug rug is a coaster. You can make your mug rug just big enough for a mug or glass (4-5” square), or make it a bit larger (6” square and larger) so it will also hold a cookie or bit of chocolate. <wink>

I use mug rugs to play with colors and fabric combinations before using them in an actual quilt. I simply select the fabric I think I want to use in a quilt, then make up a single block to see if I’m still in love. This way, I’m only out the small amount of fabric it takes to create a block, and I haven’t wasted time and money cutting up fabric for a quilt that I’m not going to finish because I found out too late that I don’t really like the colors and fabrics I chose for it. Believe me, this happens…at least to me. I have shelves filled with unfinished projects I’ve fallen out of love with to prove it. <grin>

1. Make a quilt block

Make the quilt block (or other design) you want to use for your mug rug. Currently, I’m creating miniature versions of the quilt blocks in my book, Idiots Guide: Quilting. It’s been fun to revisit the quilts and to work on my miniature piecing skills. This is a miniature version of the paper-pieced block in Princess Charlotte, a baby quilt from my book. I love how the light gray makes the bright colors pop.

Keep in mind that your mug rug doesn’t have to be square, although I tend to make mine square because I make them using quilt blocks whose color combinations I’m testing to see if I like them. A rectangular mug rug however, can be narrower while still providing not only room for a mug but also an essential spot for your quilting chocolate. <grin>

Play with ideas and have fun creating your mug rug top.

2. Cut the backing the same size as your block

Yes, you cut the backing the exact same size as the quilt block. You’ll be finishing your mug rug in what is known as a pillowcase finish. This kind of finish is often used to finish charity quilts because it does not require a binding and thus saves time and effort. Some art quilts use this kind of finish because it eliminates the binding which would frame the art and perhaps detract from it.

To use a pillowcase finish to finish a quilt (or in this case, a mug rug), you cut the backing the same size as the quilt top.

3. Place your block right side up, then place the backing right side down on top of it

When stacking the block and backing, make sure that the right sides of the fabrics are facing each other.

4. Top this with a square of batting cut slightly smaller than your block

By cutting the batting smaller than the block, you’ll be able to see the edge more clearly when you sew everything together. Pin the layers together so they won’t shift while sewing.

5. Sew the layers together all the way around, leaving an opening for turning

The opening should be about 2 inches. If your machine has the function, turn on the needle down feature to help you turn the corners.

6. Clip the corners and turn the mug rug right side out

If you clip the corners at a diagonal, they will turn more easily and result in sharper corners. Ta da!

After you turn the mug rug right side out, press the edges so they lie nice and flat and pretty.

7. Tuck in the seam allowances on the opening and sew it closed by topstitching the mug rug near the edge on all sides

Tuck in the seam allowances and press the opening to get them to stay. Then topstitch by sewing along the edge as close as you comfortably can. You’re mug rug is basically done, except for a bit of quilting.

8. Quilt the layers together

Now’s a good time to play with ideas on how to quilt this type of block so you can use your ideas later on the finished quilt. If you’re just trying to get the mug rug done however, you can quilt it in the ditch or with an all-over meander.