Hints and Tips

  • Running out of Bobbin Thread Any time this is especially important, wind two bobbins, one for the bobbin case, and a second one to replace the spool of thread on top. When the top thread is low, so is the bobbin. Why didn't I think of that?  
  • Choosing the right values for your quilt Lay out the proposed choices and take a photo with a phone or camera and convert it to black and white. The values will be much easier to discern.

  • Cleaning and maintaining your cutting mat Use a sponge/scour pad you can get at the dollar store. 10 for a $1.00. The scouring pad works great for cleaning the little threads left behind. Just be careful you don't scrub off the lines on your mat. Olfa recommends that we give our mats baths occasionally to keep them from drying out. Put it in the bathtub to soak in cool water and dry flat. Never leave your mat in the sun or use it under a hot iron. Both will warp it permanently. Store flat whenever possible.

  • Rotary Blade Replacement When Changing your blade, write the date on it with a permanent marker. It will help you remember to change it later.

  • Fused in the wrong place? If you have accidentally fused an appliqué in the wrong place, use a fabric softener dryer sheet as a pressing cloth to loosen the web so you can remove the appliqué to reposition it

  • Tool Chasing If you are constantly looking for a seam ripper at the ironing board or a pencil in your cutting area, try this. Set up a small tool station at each area. It can be as simple as a tin can weighted with a few pebbles, or as fancy as a spinning tool holder (Tip in a tip: look for these at your local thrift store. Another good holder is a plastic flatware tote, frequently on clearance at summer's end. Set this on an old turntable, a Brooklyn Revolver or other spinning cutting mat). Equip each holder with scissors, pencil, marker, ruler, pincushion, or whatever you need most. Another tool to add would be a business card magnet or other small magnet, a great place to stash a needle. You'll spend less time searching, leaving more for sewing.

  • Need a "How to..." answer? Don't think you have to phone a friend, and you know we always need the answer at midnight. There are tons of tutorials on YouTube, everything from choosing fabrics to binding techniques.

  • Free Quilt Labels and More When you buy new pillows or bedding, they come with non-woven tags which are often printed on one side only. Cut these off and save for an emergency label (Maybe the show entry date is looming and there's no time for a nice label, or the show requires info that is not included on your pretty embroidered label). Write on it with a felt tip marker, attach with safety pins, and you are good to go. These are also great for covering your name on labels, required for judging in many shows. If you need to number stacks of blocks for assembly, cut the labels to a smaller size and mark. You'll be able to reuse these many times.

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