Friday, February 25, 2011

Tip Time

It's time to share some more helpful tips with you from last week's meeting. Again, thanks to all who participated and shared their ideas with us.
Sue showed us how to do a temporary hanging sleeve - very timely with our upcoming Show. She makes her rod pocket tube, then pins it along the top edge of quilt, on the back side of course. The key is to make sure the upper edge of the rod pocket extends just slightly over the seam attaching the binding. Then turn the quilt over to the right side and with nylon or polyester monofilament thread (the clear "invisible" stuff) on your spoolpin, stitch in the ditch between binding and quilt, with a basting stitch, catching the top edge of
the sleeve. This will not show on the front of the quilt and is very quick. Now you just have to handstitch the bottom edge of the sleeve. Thanks Sue!

I gave a binding tip. You have no doubt experienced having a long binding all nicely rolled up and on your lap, ready to machine stitch to your quilt... then it falls to the floor and gets tangled around your leg, or your chair leg, or the dog/cat tries to run away with it.. it's twisting and making you say bad words... Try this: Roll it up and then insert your extension table's leg into the centre of the roll. It holds it nicely in place as you stitch.. no more problems. Works like a charm!

When using a Hoffman Bali Pop, you may find slight variations in the 2.5" width of the strips. They are handcut in Bali- no precision lasers used there... Try this suggestion from Brenda Henning (author of the Strip Therapy books) - rather than measuring the 1/4" seam at your presser foot, you will instead use a line 2.25" to the left of your foot, keeping the left edges of the strips lined up there. Now the width variance in the strips has been removed within your seam allowances. Click here for a complete explanation with photos. Sounds like the perfect solution!

When sitting down on your couch to do some hand sewing, instead of sticking pins and needles into the arm of the couch (now WHO would ever do that?!), place one of your many flexible fridge magnets on the couch arm to "catch" those pins and needles. Great idea! And who doesn't have a few extra fridge magnets?

Place two rubber wedge style door stops under the base of your sewing machine at the back, to angle it slightly towards you - it will give you better visibility, and help relieve back and shoulder fatigue.

For those of us who find it hard to "keep track" of things... two tips from Linda G: place a small piece of Velcro on your seam ripper and attach other piece to end of your machine or sewing table. Then your seam ripper will always be close at hand ( or see photo at left to see where I put my seam ripper... fits perfectly on my bobbin winder!) To keep track of your small snips, wear them on a lanyard and protect tips with knitting needle tip protectors if you are concerned about damaging the tips.

A great idea for "recycling" bread tags - stick one on the end of your masking tape (or packing tape, scotch tape, etc.) to make finding the end easier and prevent struggling to get the tape started. I will definitely use this one on my masking tape roll. Perhaps it will make it more evident to hubby that it is MY roll.

Paula told us about Hampstead House Books, a great source of discounted books. Their website is found at Click on Crafts under "Browse Categories" on the sidebar, to locate the quilting books.

More tips in a few days... In the meantime, hope everyone is working on their entries for the Show, and our Spring Challenge!

Happy Quilting!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

These are a Few of our Favourite Things....

What a great program we had at our meeting this week! Members were asked to stand up and share tips, techniques or gadgets and it was wonderful- we all learned so much! Thanks to all who took part. There was so much great information, I thought I'd try to do a re-cap for you here - to benefit our many members who are traveling or "snowbirding" at present, and the rest of us with memory issues.. haha! Today I'll recap the gadgets, tools and products mentioned, and in a few more days I'll post some of the tips we heard...
Sue told us of a larger size ziploc bag now available at local Superstores (PC brand) - great for keeping a sewing project together (not to mention many uses in the kitchen). {Edit- I have since found a large (13"x 15.5") zip-loc bag at the St. Mary's Supermarket on Cliff St. - 6 bags for $0.89. Brand is Club Supreme} Several quilters shared how much they love Glad Press 'n Seal, for machine quilting, instead of marking. Jean told us it's also great when you are piling up blankets, quilts or pillows in a closet- a layer of Press 'n Seal in between keeps the pile from falling over! (Here is a link to many uses of Press 'n Seal for quilting.) Freezer paper is another fav product with many uses.
It seems many quilters have issues with slipping- preventing it or enhancing it. Monica showed us her Supreme Slider - an 8" x 11.5" sheet with a slippery Teflon coated top layer to reduce machine-quilting drag and a bottom layer that grips your machine bed. Fons and Porter quilting gloves are also popular with members for easier handling and better control while machine quilting, and really helpful for arthritic hands! They come in three sizes too- small (red), medium (blue) and large (yellow). Donna told us how much she loves the Invisi-Grip on her cutting rulers and several members mentioned using something under your foot pedal to prevent it scooting away from your foot - rubbery shelf liner or a mouse pad were two common suggestions. Donna also showed us her homemade spool holder for metallic or other "challenging" threads. She simply pounds a spike into a small block of wood. She sits her spool on the spike and places it on the floor at the right end of her machine, draws the thread up and through the thread guides. When there is more distance between the spool and the machine's thread guides, it seems to help with metallic threads, in particular the flat ribbon-like threads such as Sulky's Sliver or Coats's Glitz. These threads really do require a vertical spoolpin or orientation, as they tend to twist as they unwind from the spool and the greater distance helps also with giving the thread time/space to "relax". "Flat-film thread tends to twist as it unwinds from the spool and runs through the tension discs and thread path of the sewing machine. When the twists tighten in the tension discs, the thread breaks." (quote from Machine Quilting with Decorative Threads by Maurine Noble, Pub. Martingale and Co. 1998)
I hope you will find the above info useful. Check back in a few days for more Tips to make your quilting easier and more fun!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

February Meeting Reminders

It's that time again. Our February meeting on the 15th is now just a few days away. Hope to see you there! Our program this month is totally "audience dependant"! Remember, you have been asked to come with one or several tips to share with us all. It could be a sewing/quilting tip, a new gadget to show and explain, a new book you have found useful - just something that we all can learn and benefit from. This idea was a great success last time we did it, so we hope all will come prepared to participate and learn from each other. Don't forget to bring any Show and Tell items as well. Speaking of which- if you recently have shown items please check in our Show and Tell Gallery on the sidebar at right. If your photo does not have a caption under it, or the info is incomplete, please contact me by email, comment here, or at the meeting and give me that info (preferably in writing) so I can get things "tidied up". It's impossible for me at the meeting to do the photos and remember all the names of quilts as well. I'd really appreciate your help with this.
If you have done any leaf bowls for Quilt Ontario 2011, please bring them to the meeting as well. We are collecting these to be sent off to the Q.O. Comm. next month. I am working on two today....
Our Raffle Quilt for the Stan Cassidy Foundation will be "on view" on Tuesday night. It is in it's final stages. The quilting is done, a few missed spots were quilted in a hoop, all marking lines have been erased and the binding is on and now being handstitched. We're sure you'll be impressed when you see it! Thanks again to all the members who helped out with this project.
See you Tuesday night!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Done is Good!

It's done!! Yippeeee! The quilting was finished this afternoon, with the final stitch being put in by Helen Steadman about 3:45pm. It is off the frame and will soon be bound and labeled. Hopefully it will be ready to be admired at our February meeting. We estimate about 135 hours of quilting time... A big thanks again to Gail M who pieced the top, Sue R who marked it and the 17 FQG members who hand quilted it! In addition to those listed in an earlier post, also quilting were Barb S, Helen S, Linda G, Carole C, Alice K, and yours truly. A huge thank you to all who helped - you're the best!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Progress Update

Here is the latest update on our hand quilting project. Yesterday was a great day- we had 9 quilters through the day and we made great progress, rolling in four times! Thanks to all the ladies who came to help quilt! What's left now is only 36" wide so it won't take much time at all to finish it. It looks like Mother Nature is throwing another storm our way today and tonight, so we'll have to play it by ear for what happens next. The original plan was for quilting this evening, any time after 6:30, and tomorrow during the day, any time after 9:30a.m. I will be here and the quilt is waiting, but don't take any chances on poor roads. We don't want anyone in an accident. Feel free to check with me first by phone or email.