Jan 09 08

Quilt Building and Mouse Pad Makeover!

One thing that really intrigues me is seeing how other people work. I’m so used to how I do things that I assume most people work the same way, but then I’m always surprised to see other people work differently. For example, Ricky Tims came out with a DVD a couple years ago, (I LOVED it!), and he had a segment showing how he quilts feathers. It had never dawned on me that he had been drawing out those feathers by hand before he quilted them. It was completely the opposite of how I work, yet it was fascinating to learn a different way of doing it. When I build a quilt, I don’t know in advance what I’m going to do. I have a few fabrics I’d like to use, a “general color scheme,” and a vague idea of how parts of it will be, but the rest just happens as I go along. We were in Asheville last week and I had some precious time in my sewing room to work. I started with 9 of these blocks that I’d gotten:


I messed around with some blocks to use in alternate positions and then I needed to decide if I wanted my starter blocks set on square:


…or if I wanted the starter blocks on point (sorry for the blurry picture):


(Notice that when I talk about on point or on square, I’m referring to my starter blocks, NOT the total square). Well, I thought the on point starter blocks won hands down, so then I added some additional blue/gree fabric to make it into a rectangle, so it could work better as a bed quilt or a lap quilt:


(I should say that I’ve fallen in love with that blue/green fabric, so there will be a LOT of it in this quilt!). Next, I want to begin a border, so I put up some yellowy-green narrow fabric to get an idea of how it will work:


I like the way that one works! Yippee, a winner! Next, I piece together some scraps of blues/greens/yellows. I keep 3 1/2 inch wide scraps of varying lengths like this in ziploc bags so they’re ready to go:


I throw them up against the narrow yellow and…


…I dunno about this one. At this point, I had to pack everything up and drive back to OH, so I’m mulling that row over! But, stay tuned and I’ll post as this quilt continues to grow very spontaneously!

In other news, do you have mouse pads that have seen better days? I sure do, but I don’t want to throw them out. I recently discovered that you can recycle them by giving them a mousepad makeover! Here’s one I did in bright colors to take to work:


Here’s how easy it is to do. Start with an old, dirty mousepad. This one came from my mother in law, and I didn’t realize until I started working with it just what rough shape it was in! (Jane, if you’re reading this, you’ve already gotten your money’s worth out of this mousepad! It literally was crumbling on me as I worked!). Here’s the decrepit pad we’re starting with:


The fabric top of the pad was coming off and there were old pieces of hard glue coming out of the sides, so I had no choice but to rip off the fabric top. (I’ve never had to do that before and if you don’t have to, DON’T do it!):


Trace around the pad onto the paper side of Wonder Under and then cut out a piece of wonder under with 1/4-1/2 in border outside your pencil line. Fuse this to the wrong side of your piece of fabric as below:

Now, fuse this to the top of your mousepad. Since there is overhanging Wonder Under, make sure you do this on either parchment paper or a teflon applique sheet so you don’t get your ironing board all sticky! Next, move to your self-healing mat and trim the excess with your rotary cuter:


And here’s the new pad in fabric I know my mother in law will love:


…and here’s a hand dyed mousepad for Ernie:



  1. joyce Says:

    I love the colors on your new quilt. I never thought of re-covering a mouse pad. I’ll be trying that today.

  2. Chris Says:

    What a great idea to cover a mouse pad! I would have never thought of that.

    My only question is when you fuse the fabric what setting do you use on the iron? I would not want to melt the pad.

    Great site by the way.

    Hi Chris,
    Thanks for taking the time to write! I have done 6 of these mousepads so far, and I’ve always fused them on the highest setting on the iron. I never had a problem except when I fused the really overused mousepad that I had photos of in the blog…it didn’t melt the foam, but it smelled really badly for a few minutes! The only difference between that mousepad and all the others was that I had pulled off the fabric layer on top because it was coming off so I didn’t feel it was a stable surface on which to fuse a new layer of fabric. I guess I would take that to mean it’s safe to fuse on the highest setting as long as the original top layer of fabric is still in place.
    By the way, I kind of got into this and I was running out of old used mousepads, so I thought I could make my own by using those thin foam sheets you buy at craft stores. That DID melt the plastic and the foam curled up on me and it REALLY smelled BAD!!

  3. peggy Says:

    no problems with optical mice freaking out? I have had to stop using some pads because the mouse doesn’t like the design…cool idea. thanks