Anyway, I'm still trapped in my own personal binding quilts hell (::whine::) so I haven't been up to much other than that. Even the chicken quilt is on hold! Well, for the moment. So while I'm busy not being at all productive, I thought I'd do a blog about tips...safety and otherwise...that I use on the daily (when I'm quilting) or that I haven't tried yet but people at the shop keep telling me (I promise I'll try them out eventually!). If I know/remember who I heard it from, I'll attribute it to them (no last names for privacy's sake!)...if not...well, thanks for the tip whoever you are!
- I know we're all really careful not to hysterically wave our rotary cutters around and to not use them to hack at fabric as though they were a broadsword, but accidents can and do happen. A good way to lower your odds of filleting yourself is to keep your fingers away from the edge of the ruler when you're cutting, and to ensure that happens, place your pinky on the outside edge of the ruler. This helps prevent the ruler from sliding and guarantees your fingers are away from the cutting edge. Suggested by Koleen. Nothing is ever 100% foolproof (not even those stupid gloves), so you may still get cut if something bizarre happens. Always be careful!
- Here's another tip for quilting injuries...we get stabbed by pins and needles, occasionally sliced ourselves with a rotary cutter or scissors or run our fingers over in the sewing machine (bad news) - sometimes we get blood on our work...eek! This sounds gross but I swear it works (unless you have gotten a significant amount of blood on your work, this is more for pinpricks and papercuts): Dab a little bit of your saliva on your (non injured) finger and put it on the bloodspot on your fabric. It may take a couple tries, but it will remove most if not all of the blood. This is great in a pinch if you aren't at a place where you can stop and wash your fabric or your quilt. Also, did you know there is a reason why little kids (and some of us big kids) stick our cut fingers in our mouths? It looks and sounds icky, but our saliva is a natural coagulant - if you have a minor cut or pinprick, saliva will stop the bleeding. Suggested by Helen. Just promise me you won't go spitting on other people's cuts...it only works on your own blood, and really, that's just nasty.
- If you don't have a no-slide cutting ruler or if your grips are worn down and you're not ready to buy another, in the mean time try placing Press n' Seal wrap on the back of your ruler. It is translucent, so you can see through it reasonably well and it has enough tack to it to keep your ruler from sliding on your fabric. I tried it - it leaves no residue on either your fabric or ruler. Suggested by some lady in the Tips portion of The Love of Quilting with Fons and Porter.
- Patterns can be a real pain in the butt to wrangle with by your machine sometimes, and storage can be an issue with all of those many pattern and their little plastic baggies they usually come in. To cut down on the storage issue, I numbered and wrote the pattern name on the bottom of the page on each page of the pattern. Then I shoved those pages in the clear binder sleeves and stuck them in a binder. Any applique pieces and patterns I slip between the pages in the sleeve, or keep the little baggie and slide it in with the pages. As for those little baggies the pattern came in, if they're salvageable, I use them with other projects to keep my cut pieces in so nothing gets lost. Otherwise, when you need the pattern just take the page you need out of the binder and there you have it, all nice and contained by your machine. This is my own method, and so far it's worked pretty well!
- Ripping out stitches just plain sucks. If you promise to be super careful, you can quickly and effectively rip out those stitches with your rotary cutter. Open the seam enough to get the blade in there,a nd using small strokes, let the blade snip the thread. You need very little pressure for this! Once your thread is all chopped to bits, use an emery board and run it gently from the inside of the old seam to the edge of the fabric. This will remove those little threads! Mom taught me this one :) We won't be held accountable for any injuries stemming from this tip! The key is to go slow and be very, VERY careful.
- If you're not comfortable using a rotary cutter to take out a seam, using your seam ripper you can do the same thing, run the sharp part of the ripper down the seam. Or, as Loretta suggested, cut every 4th stitch - it'll come right apart without having to snip every single stitch.
- Here's something I learned after doing it the hard way - If you're using a circle cutting ruler (you know, the ones that have all the sizes of half circles cut into it?), use a small rotary cutter to cut your fabric through the ruler with, something like a 28mm or an 18mm. A standard 45mm is too wide and can damage your ruler or knick your blade.