The Startled Heart Mug Rug: A Quick Valentine’s Day Project

by | Jan 26, 2021

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A QUICK VALENTINE’S DAY PROJECT

I don’t know about you, but I always find myself somehow surprised by how quickly holidays creep up on the calendar. When I find myself in that situation, a colorful mug rug is one of my favorite gifts to whip up. This Valentine’s Day was no exception!

This Startled Heart Block pattern comes in two sizes: one that is postcard-sized (by USPS standards) and one that is 6 x 9, which is perfect for a nice, big mug rug. It’s scrap-friendly and quick!

AN OMBRE FABRIC EXPLOSION

I started with some scraps because… well, I did say that I’m always making these at the last minute, didn’t I? Thankfully I had a handful of Alison Glass scraps from various lines and some leftover Ombre Confetti Metallic fabrics by V. & Co. from my rainbow Color Jolt quilt. If you’re looking for those ombre pinks, V & Co has a new Ombre Fairy Dust line out and the pink is gorgeous.

I had a minor issue tracking down my ninth and final color, but Matt solved it by suggesting that I use the back side of one of the light pinks to get an ultra-light pink for the tip of the heart.

MAKE IT PERFECT WITH GLUE BASTING!

This pattern is paper pieced and intentionally straightforward. No funny angles to join together or points to match perfectly. The only tricky bit is keeping the two top pieces of the heart nice and straight when you join them together. For that, I used one of my favorite paper piecing techniques: glue basting.

Glue basting is a simple process but is the difference between re-doing seams over and over to nail that one tricky angle and getting them right on the first try every. single. time.

Essentially, you use a little bit of glue to join your seam first so that they can’t shift as they move under your presser foot. In this case, I put a dab of glue along the edge of the top two pieces of my heart, placed the seams together, and used a warm iron to set the glue. Then, just to be safe, I used a long stitch length to join the pieces. That’s so that I could open the joined pieces and check that they’re perfectly aligned before I go back over that seam with a shorter, paper piecing stitch length. 

MAKE IT PERFECT WITH GLUE BASTING!

This pattern is paper pieced and intentionally straightforward. No funny angles to join together or points to match perfectly. The only tricky bit is keeping the two top pieces of the heart nice and straight when you join them together. For that, I used one of my favorite paper piecing techniques: glue basting.

Glue basting is a simple process but is the difference between re-doing seams over and over to nail that one tricky angle and getting them right on the first try every. single. time.

Essentially, you use a little bit of glue to join your seam first so that they can’t shift as they move under your presser foot. In this case, I put a dab of glue along the edge of the top two pieces of my heart, placed the seams together, and used a warm iron to set the glue. Then, just to be safe, I used a long stitch length to join the pieces. That’s so that I could open the joined pieces and check that they’re perfectly aligned before I go back over that seam with a shorter, paper piecing stitch length. 

TRIM IT TO YOUR PREFERRED SIZE

I like my mug rugs extra large because, well, I usually want a cookie with my coffee. But if you prefer something a little smaller or a square instead of a rectangle, this pattern can be trimmed down easily.

AND QUILT IT!

I was planning to quilt this with one inch squares, but somewhere along the way, lines were emerging and just felt right so I went with it. That’s one of my favorite things about small projects like this… you can change the plan along the way and follow where your creativity (or time constraint) takes you.

That’s it! A quick, bright Valentine’s Day project done in an afternoon.

Pick up the Startled Heart Block pattern and grab your scraps if you want to make your own! 

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