Wooly Mug Rug December - Candy Canes Tips & Tricks

by Morgan | November 8, 2018

Nothing says Christmas like the smell of peppermint and pine. When this time of year comes and the weather cools down here in north Idaho, I love nothing more than snuggling up in a chair by the window with a hot cup of tea or cocoa so I can watch the snow fall (and the kids building snowmen in the front yard). What makes that even more special is having beautiful, handmade decor surrounding me, and the Wooly Mug Rug for this month made me fall in love with the season all over again. 

Candy Cane Wool Coaster with a plate of cookies and a glass of milk by a Christmas tree.

Hello, Santa! Doesn't that just make you feel the Christmas spirit right away? I love it. 

So today, I'll be sharing Jen and Tammy's video tutorial, and some written instructions, tips, and tricks to help you make this project. As always, it includes a free pattern download, so don't forget to grab that. 

If you want to make yours look exactly like ours, grab the Wooly Mug Rug December - Candy Canes Kit. You can make 2 with the kit, and they make perfect gifts. We also have designs for every other month of the year (except for January, which we'll be releasing in a few weeks!!). 

I also wanted to call special attention to the stitching in this one. Look at the pine needles, especially. I couldn't believe how realistic they looked! Jen told me they achieved this look with variegated thread. Can you believe it? I'm still in shock. So, I highly suggest you consider getting the coordinating thread set, especially since you'll be able to use this thread set on other seasonal projects. 

Wooly Mug Rugs December Hand Embroidery Thread Set Lined up on white background


How to Make the Candy Cane Wooly Mug Rug Tutorial

Here's the video with Jen and Tammy. Watch this to learn the special stitches and some of their tips and tricks. I'll also list them below the video, but it's more fun to watch those two work on the project together! ;) 

Download the FREE diagram so you can make your own here. 

Wooly Mug Rug December - Candy Canes Tips & Tricks

  1. Download and print your diagram instructions.
  2. Trace 2 circles, 1 on the fusible webbing (we used Heat N Bond Lite) and the other on Freezer Paper (we love our CutRite Heavy Duty Freezer Paper). The circle with Freezer Paper is the one you will be appliquéing everything on top of, so make sure to set the other (the one with the fusible webbing) aside and out of the way. 
  3. Trace your shapes onto your fusible (the first page is reversed for fusible appliqué) using your Lightbox.

    Wooly Mug Rug December diagram printed and laying on top of Wafer Lightbox for tracing
  4.  Trace your shapes on the Heat N Bond Lite with a Micron Pen. (Note: Don't use a Frixion Pen, because when you iron it down, the ink will disappear. We've done it!) 

  5. Roughly cut around the shapes you just traced and iron them to the wrong side of the wool. (Tip: Often, there is no "wrong" side to wool - at least not that we can see - so just use your discretion to decide what the "wrong" side is!) 
  6. Use a whipstitch to secure your shapes to the background fabric (the nice part is, they're ironed down so they won't move around while you're trying to stitch them!) Find the whipstitch on page 15 of the Creative Stitching Book by Sue Spargo
  7. Now that you've fused and whipstitched the front of the coaster, it's time to embellish! 

Embellishing Your Wooly Mug Rug December - Candy Cane

Stitching the Pine Needles & Holly Leaves

Hint: Use the variegated thread in your thread set to stitch the pine needles to give it a 3-D, realistic effect. 

Stitch Used: Stem Stitch (page 82 of the Creative Stitching Book). 

How to do a Stem Stitch:
  1. Draw the pine needle onto your wool using the White Erasable Fabric Marker. There's a bit of a delay from the time you draw to the time it shows up (a few seconds for the ink to dry) but it works, I promise! Steam will take care of the white marks, so don't worry about them staying around after your stitching is complete. 
  2. Start right next to the berry. Bring the thread through from the backside of the mug rug. 
  3. Push the thread toward the bottom and hold it with your thumb.

  4. Go about a 1/4" over from your first stitch, put the needle in and then come back up about halfway to the first stitch, leaving a loop at the bottom.

  5. Move 1/4" away from the last stitch and put the needle down, this time coming back up right where the last stitch stops, leaving a loop at the bottom. 

  6. Repeat the process moving 1/4" from your last stitch, going down, coming back up where your last stitch ended, leaving a loop at the bottom, and pulling the thread through. 

  7. To end your stitch take your needle to the back of your work and tie it off. 
  8. For the fronds, use a Straight Stitch. Start at the top of the stem you just completed.
  9. Come up from the backside close to the stem and just take one large stitch down. You'll use this for all of the fronds.  

  10. Vary the length of the stitch (some shorter, some longer) to add more variety and make the needles look more realistic. 
  11. Do a Stem Stitch down the center of the Holly Leaves (using our design/diagram for reference - or use your imagination and take it away!) 
Stitching the detail around the candy cane

Hint: Use Thread Magic to avoid knots, fraying, and squirrely thread. 

Stitch Used: Scroll Stitch (page 133 of the Creative Stitching Book).  We used metallic thread to add interest and a bit of holiday sparkle. 

How to do a Scroll Stitch:
  1. Bring your thread to the front. Hold it up with your first finger. 

  2.  Go ahead of your starting stitch 1/4" and go down into the background and appliqué wool at the same time. 

  3. Make sure to leave your thread underneath your needle. 

  4. Loop the thread around your needle and pull through.

  5. Finished stitches look like this

Stitching the detail around the berries

Hint: Use the Clover Needle Threader to avoid battles with threading. 

Stitch Used: Chain Stitch (page 169 of the Creative Stitching Book).  We used metallic thread to add interest and a bit of holiday sparkle. 

Helpful Notions

Here's a list of the products and tools we actually use every day in our sewing room here at Shabby Fabrics. These are tools that make working with wool much easier, and we wouldn't recommend them if we didn't love them. Feel free to use your own tools at home. None of these are required to make the project, we just share in case you'd like to know! 

What we used:

6pc Wooly Mug Rug December Thread Set - Coordinated Ellana wool threads, Dazzle thread, Razzle thread, and Eleganza thread add that extra special touch to your mug rugs! Already have some of the spools? Threads are also available individually!

Presencia Perlé #8 - Perfect for stitching around your mug rugs

Wafer 1 Lightbox 9" x 12½" - Extremely helpful for tracing appliqué shapes

Creative Stitching Book by Sue Spargo - Very helpful for learning different stitches!

Appliqué Pressing Sheet - Very Helpful for ease with assembling shapes accurately

Thread Magic - Extremely helpful for taming tangles in your embroidery thread

Felted Wool Pressing Mat - 8½" x 8½" - Very helpful for ironing down wool appliqué 

Sue Spargo Needles - Extremely helpful for hand stitching through wool

Richard Hemming Embroidery Needles - Very helpful for whipstitching wool thread

Kai Embroidery Scissors - Very helpful for precise wool trimming

Clover Embroidery Needle Threader - Very helpful for threading your embroidery needles

Heat N Bond Lite - Very helpful for bonding fabric without added weight or stiffness

CutRite Heavy Duty Freezer Paper Very helpful for making reusable circle templates

Erasable Fabric Marker  Very helpful for marking placement, sewing & embroidery lines on dark fabrics

Other Wooly Mug Rugs

We have one more in our Wooly Mug Rug Series and it's going to be released in a couple short weeks. It's the design for January and we think you're going to love it. Come back here for that, or subscribe to our YouTube channel to be updated as soon as we release that video. As always, we'll have a free download for you and kits available in case you'd like to use the wool that we use. We'll also have a new gorgeous thread set for you to play with. 

While you're waiting for that, we have 10 other pretty mug rug designs for you to make! Watch the entire series on our YouTube page, and get the kits and coordinating thread sets on our site. 

If you love this project and want to share it with others or save it for later, Pin it using this image: 

Let me know what you think, and if you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I'll track down an accurate answer for you! :) Also, let me know if you'd like to see a specific type of blog post or project. I'll be bringing you more content as we get closer to the new year (can't believe I'm saying that already!)