Ada, a Friendly Spider

I don’t like spiders. In fact, I’ve really not liked them since I was 9 and suffered through a bite from a Brown Recluse. I came home from Girl Scout camp with a nasty bite on my arm. I was in a three sided cabin that week and, well, that makes it easy for arachnids to sneak in and make a meal out of you. Yes, it was as awful as you think it would be and I’m lucky that my parents were on top of things and sought quick treatment for me. I think my oversized, bright red forearm was a clue? Seriously. I had a Popeye on spinach forearm. It was not a good look for 9 year old me.

Fortunately, I came out of that experience only mildly traumatized about spiders? I remember 13 year old me freaking out about a spider the size of a pin head on my ceiling so I think I’ve come a long way since then. Mostly I just avoid them and, even though I don’t like spiders, I try to scurry them out of my house with a piece of paper or a cup (or both) when and if they make it inside. I mean, one bad experience with spiders doesn’t make them all bad and just because they aren’t smart enough to stay out of my house doesn’t mean I should squash them, right? I’ll be honest. I want to squash them, but I also want to be a friend to Mother Nature so I don’t. It’s not easy, y’all. It’s all about balance. And trying to be a good human. And not leaving a mark on my white walls.

Anyhow, a few years ago a gorgeous orb spider wove a silvery web outside my bedroom window. As much as I don’t like spiders, I was absolutely mesmerized by her. Perhaps it was the close up view of her world from behind a piece of glass. Maybe it was watching her work day after day to keep her web tidy and secure. I don’t know what it was but I was absolutely fascinated with her. I watched her for weeks and was inspired to draw this embroidery of her. You can click on the images for a free download of the designs.

It’s taken me three years but I finally made Ada into something useful.

To make your own Ada you’ll need:

(2) 8” squares of fabric for top and bottom of mug rug
(2) 8” squares of InsulFleece (you can get some here)
(1) 8” square of batting
45″ of scrap bias binding
thread for quilting
needle and thread for embroidery (I used 12wt Aurifil Lana Wool)
contrasting carbon paper

Print the design and trace it onto your fabric. Put a piece of white carbon paper (or whatever color carbon paper you are using) between the fabric and design then carefully applied pressure with a stylus to transfer the image. If you are using dark fabric, I recommend using white, pink or yellow carbon paper so it will show up on the dark fabric.

Partially completed piece that shows the outline of the spider since I forgot to snap a photo before I began stitching.

Take a needle and thread of your choice and lovingly stitch, following the outline of the spider. For this particular piece I chose to use a split stitch. DMC has a great resource about stitches here if you are looking for a little inspiration.


Once you’ve completed your spider you can start to assemble the mug rug.

Top, backing (those spiders glow in the dark, y’all!), and scrap binding
Glamor shot of batting and InsulFleece

Put a piece of InsulFleece on either side of the batting with the shiny sides facing OUT like then put the spider embroidery, right side facing out, against one side of the InsulFleece, then put the backing, right side facing out, against the other side. Once you’ve created a sandwich, quilt as desired then attach binding.

I opted for simple, diagonal quilting using a variegated thread.
Scrap piece of binding because nothing makes a spider less scary than pink and turquoise!

Turn the binding to the back of the mug rug and hold it down using clips. These clips are seriously one of my favorite sewing room tools and I highly recommend everyone make the investment. I use them all. the. time.

Lots of clips on a small piece but they keep everything tidy!

Don’t forget to pay attention to the corners!

Et, voila!

Mug rug, coffee, and breakfast! Perfect way to start the day!

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