Monday, May 23, 2011

A Few Tips

I have some friends who are new to quilting.  This is REALLY exciting to me; I love to help people discover the big, fun world of quilting.  When I first started quilting - about '88 or '89 - I didn't even know how to change the bobbin on my sewing machine.  Let's not even talk about sewing a straight line.  Mostly because I still find that to be a bit challenging.  Seriously!

Anyway - what I've found along the way to wherever it is that I am, is that there are a lot of "tricks" or methods that many of us take for granted that everyone else knows ... only ... someone might not.  (That someone is usually me!)  Somewhere along the line, we all have an "Ah HA!" moment.  I'll be doing posts now and then to fill you in on some of those "little things" that make life easier for quilters.  Or at least for me.

I may have mentioned this before, but I can't for the life of me find it in the archives.  When you're sewing a button on, you want your stitches uniformly snug - BUT you don't want your button on tightly or it will be difficult to fasten.  I use either a nail or a pin for a spacer - like so:

DSCN1440 Button!

It's second nature to me now, but I had to learn it at some point!

I try to use a design wall for quilts, to help decide on the layout.  However, what I use is just some cotton batting tacked above my closet - so I don't leave it up.  It's also not large enough for some quilts, so I use the floor.  Since I don't want to leave the quilt pieces on the floor, but I need to remember how they were arranged, I number my blocks - starting at the upper left corner, going across the row, then down to the next row and across... and so on.  There are little flag-pin markers on the market, but hey, those cost money, so I tear up scrap paper and do the same thing:

IMG_2222 Blocks

Just remember to use glass-head pins, not plastic, or you'll be very sorry when you hit it with a hot iron. Trust me. And don't ask how I know that!

Moving right along...

Let's talk color. I've had a lot of people compliment me on my use of color. That always tickles me, as I am clinically color blind. Maybe that works in my favor; it's like I have nothing to lose, so I'll try all kinds of combos. But really - just try something! If you aren't sure, leave it on a design wall or put it on the floor in front of your treadmill while you work out. You'll know what works.  Just keep trying and changing things around!

IMG_2237 Dave
Dave, GDFTCB, admiring some Jason Yenter fabrics

Not everyone has a Guide Dog for the Color Blind like I do, but ask your spouse, your friends, your neighbors - use FaceBook!  Just make sure you settle on the combo YOU like.  You have nothing to lose.

I hope those tips help.  Thanks for reading!


Anonymous said...

I don't quilt (and I don't see me starting) but I DO replace buttons. I love the button idea. Thank you!

BeadedTail said...

I wish I could even sew let alone quilt but it's just one skill that eludes me. I would love to have a handsome GDFTCB just like Dave though!

Huffle Mawson said...

I will not quilt because I can just look at the stuff you do. Also: I don't have a sewing machine, nor the room for one.

Meghann LittleStudio said...

What great tips! I like that your dog helps out - great way for him to "earn" his kibbles and kisses :)