Monday, December 7, 2009

Mug rugs and quick gifts

I was inspired by a post on the Dollar Stretcher forums about DIY stocking stuffers to make a few "mug rugs" for Christmas, then got a little carried away. The upshoot of it was this heart mug rug, published by

Cute Heart Mug Rug

Which brings me to the point of this post: Making quick gifts and stocking stuffers for Christmas. Knitting, crocheting or sewing are all pretty quick and can use salvaged or second hand materials, even when making gifts. It's really hard to tell whether a yarn or piece of material has been used for something else before or has been stuck in the back of someone's closet for ages.

How to get that material or yarn? Check thrift stores, of course, but if you don't see skeins of yarn for a low price, look at the sweaters on the racks. The yarn in hand made sweaters can be ripped out, washed and used again. Wash it by hand and wind it into a loop, then weight it and let it hang to dry.

No material for sale there? Look at their sheets! If you can find a good quality sheet, there is a lot of material in it. Don't overlook full skirts, bedspreads or anything else that has a lot of material.

Wash material and use a vinegar rinse to help ease old fold or pleat lines. If that doesn't do it, iron the piece, misting with a tablespoon of vinegar in a cup of water. The smell will disappear quickly.


  1. Great ideas! I think that you could even cut up those old sweaters if different, whipstitch the edges with some of that salvaged yarn, and use those for coasters as well!

    Thanks Pat for sharing all of your wonderful ideas!

  2. I'm sure it you could, Cheryl, thanks for the idea!

  3. I've recently begun thrifting for re-usable textiles and found it to be thrilling! Linen skirts & dresses can be used to make many other "new" items for MUCH cheaper than buying new linen fabric by the yard. A skirt of any kind is $2 at my favorite thrift store! Also, all-cotten men's dress shirts can be cut into great quilt pieces in plaids, checks & solids. Wool sweaters can be felted - shrunken in hot water & dried in the dryer - and made into quilts, toys, totebags, christmas & other decor, etc. I've also started directing my own cast-offs to my fabric stash to become something new instead of always donating them to the thrift store. Sometimes I have a piece that gets outdated but I still love the fabric, so it goes to my stash (a big basket in my sewing room) to be reallocated into something new that I will enjoy all the more because of its history. I feel like my grandma with her button box!

  4. Yep... that's exactly what I was talking about, "anonymous"! :)

  5. I didn't know that vinegar would help remove wrinkles! I learned something new today!

  6. Vinegar is amazing stuff. There seems to be no limit to the ways it can help.