Boy howdy. September hasn't been kind to us. Of course with all the stuff going on with mom and our local hospital ardently trying to kill her (not kidding), I'm sick for the second time this month. Hey, September, knock it off! Anyway, my fall table runner is back from the quilter and ready to be bound. I have that leopard print quilt yet to bind, and I'm slowly but steadily piecing all the 312 triangles together for my pumpkin quilt (pictures to follow) and my log cabin/star quilt is looking pretty fancy (also pictures to follow). So even being sick there's no rest for the stitchy.
On to the Tips! Oh, and by the way, if you send in your own tip to firstname.lastname@example.org and it gets posted in the Tips section in the weekly newsletter, you get a prize! Even if you think everyone knows it, submit it anyway - free stuff is a wonderful thing! Unfortunately this offer applies to local ladies only - we don't do prizes by mail, but we still welcome your tips!
* The cardboard trays that soda packs come in are great for holding projects, because despite their size, they take up very little room when stacked up, and they stack very nicely. Label them as you see fit and there you have it - an inexpensive storage method, plus you're reusing something you might otherwise just throw away/recycle!
* Put an empty tissue box next to your machine to toss threads, paper piecing bits, fusible applique waste and fabric snippings into. It's reusable and its contents are easier to throw away.
* If you're having a hard time gripping the needle as you're hand stitching, try using a finger cot on the fingers you're using to pull the needle through. That little bit of extra grip works wonders. Plus, for this purpose they aren't only good for one use and a $2 pack of finger cots will last you a long, long time.
* If your cutting matting is looking pretty haggard with years of cutting grooves on it, fliip it over and use the underside. If your mat is that translucent plastic, then the lines are still visible and you can trace them in permanent marker on the backside, of course being very careful to trace accurately. If your mat isn't the transluscent plastic, well, measure out lines the old fashioned way, or just use your ruler to get your measurements.
* If you're having a hard time maintaining a good 1/4" as you sew, use a piece of blue painter's tape and tape it to your machine below your pressure foot, in line with the 1/4" marker on the feed dog plate. This will enable you to see that 1/4" farther down and give you a larger guideline to go by.
* This one is one of my tried and trues, and I'm not sure if I've posted it before but what the hey, here it is (again): Those gallon sized ziplock bags (with the movable sipper thing on top) are a godsend. I have a tendency to leave and lose blocks and this keeps them all contained and protects the raw edges from ravelling and anything from stretching or wrinkling. The bags are reusable project to project and a box will last a long time.
* Before each project where you need to be using a particular bobbin thread, fill several bobbins with that color to save you time later. When you'r ein a groove and run out of bobbin thread, it's a groove crusher to spend the additional time away from working to wind another bobbin.
* Need a circle template? Use a sample CD that AOL and other companies send around in junk mail. They're durable and just about the perfect size for most projects.
* For posterity, sew your quilt label onto your backing before quilting your quilt. It makes it more stable and more difficult to remove later on. That way everyone in years to come knows who made the quilt!
* Use muslin or fusible interfacing to stabilize t-shirt blocks before you sew them - it'll prevent the knit from stretching funny when compared to the flannel or cotton you use for sashing.