Scrabble-Inspired Mug Rug

Scrabble Mug Rug and Board

I knew I wanted to make Mom a mug rug for Christmas. I thought about making a circle of geese pattern for her or maybe the same star pattern I made for my sister Brenda last year. But neither idea was really coming together. Then at the December Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild meeting, during a break, someone several rows ahead of me held up her smart phone, and on it was a Scrabble board (or what I thought was a Scrabble board, anyway). From that distance, I saw the pattern of the board, rather than just the squares. And it looked pretty cool.

Mom and I have played Scrabble together since I was in high school at least, maybe even middle school. When I lived with Mom and Dad, it was our go-to game, and whenever I’d come home, after I moved away, we’d manage to fit in at least one game. And now that she’s on Facebook, we can play one game after another, so there’s always one going on. (And man, have our games gotten tight! They always come down to the last few words played.)

After that CMQG meeting, I pulled down one of the boards at my house and took a look (yes, Greg and I each entered our union with our own Scrabble game). I decided to go pretty literal with my interpretation and re-create the top quarter of the board in fabric.

Scrabble Mug Rug WIP

I hit my stash and found fabrics to represent each of the squares on the board. I had the perfect fabric for the brown squares but not quite enough of it, so I ended up using two fabrics for those squares. I cut each square to 2 inches, and I decided to press open the seams, since I couldn’t image Mom putting too much wear and tear on the finished mug rug.

Scrabble Mug Rug

There’s a thin white strip between each square on the board, and I tried putting strips of fabric between my squares, but it was too overwhelming. So I went a more subtle route with a zigzag stitch of white thread that also served as the quilting on the piece. The board I remember playing on had a maroon border, but a deep red was all I had in my stash. I forgot to take a photo of the back, but on it I used a light brown fabric with a subtle wood grain—it really looked like the backs of the wooden tiles!

Mom and Scrabble Mug Rug

Mom opened her gift on Christmas Eve, and she said she could tell right away what it was. Whew.

Scrabble Memory Art

While I was home, I took a photo of the other Scrabble-inspired gift I gave to Mom. I made this at least 10 years ago, if not more. The background is an image transfer of a photo of Mom as a child with her mother and sister. In the foreground is her Mom and Dad; and I spelled out her family name in the Scrabble tiles.

A Few More Christmas Gifts

In the week before Christmas I found myself in the perfect sewing zone. I was feeling creative with time on my hands, but I felt none of the pressure that often comes with sewing gifts. So I took full advantage of that zone and whipped out a few more small items.

Our niece Haley had asked for a jewelry box for Christmas, but I felt a little weird giving her an empty box. So I made a buttoned cuff bracelet using some of her favorite fabric.

Cuff bracelet 2

Cuff bracelet

The bracelet is just a regular quilt sandwich cut into a rectangle the size of a very skinny girl’s wrist. I quilted it with straight lines, including an H for Haley (upside down in the photo above), and added the button and rickrack loop for closing it.

Nephew Jacob was all about the gift cards this year, but I couldn’t gift him just a gift card. So I used some of my leftover shark fabric and made a quick gift card holder.

Shark giftcard holder

I added interfacing between the two layers of fabric and sewed on a snap for closing it.

For Mom, I made up the infinity scarf kit that I had gotten at Sewn Studio last Christmas.

Mom Infinite Scarf

The pre-cut pieces seemed like they would make a scarf too large for my petite mother, so I trimmed both the width and length of the fabrics. The fabrics (a luscious voile and velveteen) and instructions were from Anna Maria Horner. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the way she finished off the scarf, though, so I followed an infinity scarf tutorial from Skip to My Lou for that part.

The handmade gift recipients all seemed very appreciative. Here’s the Stella girl in her shark skirt.

Stella Skirt

(In both this photo and the one above, you can see Mom’s stripe quilt that’s hanging on the wall in her living room. Two of my sisters are already duking it out for that one. I don’t know whose foot that is over Stella’s shoulder.)

And finally, here’s that same little girl working on her lacing cards.

Stella Sewing

The next generation of family sewers in the making!