Tu-Na Quilts: Can It Get Any Smaller Than This?

Welcome to Day One of the Small, Smaller, Smallest Blog Hop


This blog hop is hosted by Carol at Just Let Me Quilt. Thanks, Carol, for including me. Your hops are always so fun.

You’ll find the list of talented makers to visit at the end of this post. 

The Mission

Our mission is to create something that is small, smaller, or even smallest. Sounds challenging. It is! Let me know if I succeeded.

The Problem

Tu-Na Helper and I are still using the mug rugs that I made for Valentines Day. You can read more about them here and here. It’s March already! 

tunaquilts 3a

The coffee cup pattern (Mug o’ Love) designed by Sewhooked can be found here. The rose pattern designed by Jitka Designs can be found here.

The Solution

This hop is a perfect opportunity to satisfy that problem. Even though Tu-Na Helper and I are not of  Irish heritage, I think some new St. Patrick’s Day mug rugs would be perfect. After checking my Craftsy pattern library (no affiliation) and finding a couple of interesting patterns that I had previously downloaded, I decided to print out the pattern pieces. Janeen at Quilt Art Designs designed both of these patterns. The Shamrock pattern is still available here.  However, I was not able to find the exact Leprechaun Hat pattern listed on Craftsy anymore. I emailed Janeen and if she has it listed somewhere else, I’ll come on back and update this post with the info. Just in case you want to challenge yourself. (Update: Janeen has a similar  (but larger) hat pattern listed for sale here. It looks easier).

tunaquilts 4a

Both of these mug rugs are 5 .5″ square.

The Implementation

Size Matters

Our Valentine’s Day mug rugs are 5.5″ counting the binding and I want the new ones to be the same size. The Leprechaun Hat pattern is the right size to match the others. However, the Shamrock pattern was too small; it was only 4″ unfinished. No problem; I just sized it to print at 125% and it was perfect. This quilt math problem was easy.

Putting It All Together

After looking at both of these patterns, I decided to tackle the shamrock first. After all, if I got stuck on making the hat one, I’d still have something to show you. It sewed together rather easily.

tunaquilts 11a

I’m always impressed by the backs.

After sandwiching with some leftover Warm and Natural, I quilted a diagonal crosshatch in both directions using green thread. A 1 1/8″ single binding finished the edge. 

tunaquilts 3a

Now Things Got Interesting

After printing and then cutting out the Leprechaun hat pattern, I found the pieces were indeed small. And there were a lot of them.

tunaquilts 6a

12 Pieces to be exact. I used color pencils to color in the fabric colors so I wouldn’t get confused. I finished the buckle part first. Not as bad as I thought it might be.

So I chose three of the hardest ones to do first. This way if I couldn’t figure them out, I wouldn’t have wasted my time doing all the easy ones first. In other words, I could still walk away and no one would know I tried.

tunaquilts 8a

My magnifying glass came in handy. These pieces were too small to color code with color pencils.

I haven’t done a lot of paper piecing but enough to know the basics and to have lost count of how many blocks I’ve actually paper pieced.

tunaquilts 14a

I stapled swatches of the fabric to the color sheet so I would be able to pick the right one. It got quite confusing with those small pieces. 

tunaquilts 13s

I’ve learned a few tips along the way. I use a piece of card stock (it was an advertising postcard that came in the mail) in the fold line and the add-a-quarter ruler to cut the seam allowance.

tunaquilts 9a

Another tip is not to press on the paper side but only on the fabric side. This is to prevent the ink from transferring onto your fabric. I also use a dry iron (no steam) and wait to spray with Best Press (no affiliation) until after I’ve removed the papers).

tunaquilts 10a

I also use a tweezers to help remove the papers after I’ve sewn a seam. Once the seam is sewn, I remove the paper from behind it leaving the rest of it intact. This way it doesn’t get sewn into the next seam and become impossible to remove.

I still make a fair amount of mistakes, usually in my first couple of pieces. But then I develop a rhythm and can’t stop.

tunaquilts 12a

The back is amazing. This pattern sewed together very well. Hats off to Janeen!

tunaquilts 5a

Doesn’t it look fantastic! Tu-Na Helper likes his new mug rug.

tunaquilts 2a

The back is “Lucky Me!” by Shelly Comiskey for Henry Glass & Co.

The Celebration

Join these talented makers this week as we celebrate Small, Smaller, and Smallest:

March 5

 Kris Loves Fabric

Creative Blonde

Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats Thanks for stopping by.

Lily Patch Quilts

Needled Mom

Quilt Fabrication

Sew Many Yarns

Meanderings Along Lizard Creek

Melva Loves Scraps

 March 6


Vroomans Quilts

Creatin’ in the Sticks


Quilt Doodle Designs

Den syende himmel


Quilt Taffy

Hazel’s Daughter

  1. I do love a challenge.
  2. This challenge almost got the best of me. But I succeeded.
  3. I must now be an intermediate paper-piecer. The Leprechaun Hat pattern stated it was on an intermediate level.
  4. Tu-Na Helper thinks I’m making new mug rugs for each season and holiday. Hmmm. I guess it’s beginning to look a little like I am. No promises, though.
  5. Life’s too short not to celebrate something everyday.
 Question: What do you do for St. Patrick’s Day? It’s fun to celebrate…anything. So we take this opportunity to wear some green, eat some corned beef and cabbage if we eat out, and just have some fun. Maybe I’ll get time to make a new outside wall hanging for the day, too.

If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read and would like to receive notifications when I publish more posts, follow me using email, WordPress, or Bloglovin. You can read more about me here and about my first quilt and the whopping amount I sold it for here.

Thanks for stopping by and do come again. 

Karen, Tu-Na Quilts

Linking to:

Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt

Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts

Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River

Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts

Midweek Makers at Quiltfabrication

54 thoughts on “Tu-Na Quilts: Can It Get Any Smaller Than This?

  1. farmquilter

    Your new mug rugs are adorable! I like the way you stapled the fabric swatches to your pattern…brilliant solution! I’ll have to try that with my next confusing paper piecing project.


  2. Sharon Vrooman

    What cute new mug rugs you have made. Paper piecing intimidates so many, but I love the very preciseness it can give to a pattern.


  3. kathy70

    I love the mug rugs you have made. I do find that once I get started with making them it’s very hard to stop. Then I have gifts for the next year stockpiled.

    Since St Patrick’s Day is on a Saturday this year, a nearby town is taking advantage and turning it into a fireworks display. For the first time a reason to go out as a family and watch the fireworks.


  4. Lisa Marie

    Oh wow, your mug rugs are fabulous! I have made Janeen’s larger version of that hat, now you have inspired me to try the little one!


  5. Carol S.

    Oh my gosh, you really took this small thing seriously…wow! I love to paper piece but those tiny pieces might have thrown me over to printing them bigger. These are amazing and beautiful! The little bit of Irish in me is dancing a jig over both of them. The hat is beyond words. Love it! Thanks for sharing your tiny little projects and joining in the hop. I read your first quilt story and having it sell for a whole dollar made me laugh, though I’m sure it was worth a whole lot more.


  6. Mary

    Those are adorable. I love Janeen’s patterns, but they do have tiny pieces. You will enjoy those mug rugs for years. You did a great job on your blog assignment.


  7. rl2b2017

    Hi Karen,
    Both mug rugs are just great for the season! I haven’t done any paper piecing for quite a while, but that Leprechaun Hat looks quite hard to me. Your back looks almost as good as the front – well, not really but admirably so for sure. ~smile~ Roseanne


  8. cindy

    if you print your paper piece pattern onto the dull side of freezer paper, you can iron it onto the pieces and fold it back to the seam line (using your cardboard) and sew right next to it and then you don’t have to pick out the paper. you can reuse these several times, too, if making more than one of an item.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. thedarlingdogwood

    So cute! That had is fantastic but I would have to at least double it–I don’t do super tiny pieces. Makes me crazy! Lovely mug rugs!


  10. Marian Pena

    As usual Karen, your gift to make me laugh came into play today… The mugrugs tho are faaaaaabulous!!! I love the tips along the way, why didn’t I ever think about tweezers, I like that one. When you have those complicated patterns even if they are a large block, taping a sample onto paper for the fabric guide is a good idea so am glad to know I wasn’t the only one doing that.


  11. selina

    1st, I am of Irish heritage and these mug rugs are fabulous. I am not a paper piecer but I am very impressed with your tiny pieces. wow. Oh, 2nd we’ve got the red, white and blue holiday coming up and a “Star” blog hop coming up, I’m just saying “mug rug” for the helper.


  12. Kathy E.

    How adorable! I’d be tempted to update your “intermediate” paper-piecing status as “advanced” as I looked at those tiny pieces! Hats off to you! Yes, I think you should make fun mug rugs for every holiday, as Tuna Helper suggests. Why not? Not very Irish here, but I do wear some green and try to kick my heels together! (Gone are the days where I’d drink green beer until the cows came home.)


  13. Kathleen McCormick

    Karen, this is a terrific small, smaller, Smallest. I don’t love doing things that small and doing 2 is commendable. You did find a way to make it work and they look terrific. Enjoy your March mug rugs.


  14. Joan

    ahhhhh…you put on a bit of the Irish, you say!! LOL I do love your little cuties and I’ve been in your shoes with paper piecing. I still have nightmares of Harry Potter eyes! 🙂
    My youngest birthday is St Pattys Day, so it’s always special to us! Keep on paper piecing. It does become addicting.


  15. Rochelle Summers

    I do love the way you challenge yourself. I’m not sure I would have taken on the hat challenge but it did come out beautiful. Maybe I would rank you higher than an intermediate….an intermediate ++. Enjoy reading how you and the hubby tackle these projects.


  16. val

    Oh my Oh my….I’d never be able to create something so very tiny….and yet you did it perfectly!! Hoping you wouldn’t mind if I used yours to highlight at my Tuesday Archives linky tomorrow?? As our theme is CLOVERS! I invite you and your readers to stop by and join us every Tuesday as we rejuvinate old postss according to a weekly theme. https://myplvl.blogspot.com/


  17. helen

    these are brilliant Karen. You have excelled yourself in these, both the Valentine’s mug rugs and the St Patrick’s Day mug rugs. All those tiny pieces!


  18. Lisa

    I’m sure somebody out there could get it smaller than that but it wouldn’t be me! I am very impressed with your very tiny pieces in that leprechaun hat. Both minis are really lovely.


  19. dezertsuz

    These are great. I love St. Patrick’s Day. My husband used to always fix corn beef and cabbage for me. I miss that! I’m not a great cook.


  20. Lj Meyers

    Wowza! What a challenge with the L’s hat. It sure turned out well. I did laugh when I saw that you needed the magnifier and the tweezers; now that’s SMALL! St. Patty’s Day is pretty mellow around here; when I was younger a glass of green beer was special.


  21. Corrie

    Oh those are tiny tiny! Cute. We don’t do much for St. Patty’s Day here. Try to have everyone wear green, that’s about it. Maybe we’ll kick it up this year. Thanks for the reminder.


  22. thatfabricfeelingcom

    What ambitious and beautiful little projects!! I love paper piecing and thus,I truly appreciate the tiny piecing and tweezer image that you showed. It takes a great deal of patience and fine motor skill to work those little scraps. What great additions these will be to your growing mug rug collection. Well done!!!


  23. Leslie Schmidt

    These are just charming! You did a wonderful job with the paper piecing. I know what you mean about it taking a little while to get into the rhythm of the technique and then being able to continue smoothly. Looks like you’ve started something!


  24. Mary Ann Maciel

    Amazing paper piecing, I would never have gotten through that hat! Have fun making more holiday mug rugs. 🙂


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