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Tip Jar...

Tip Jar...

Written by: 
cnelson

Do you ever feel like you’ll never know everything you should know?

vintage-notions

It’s not the same as stuff you need to know, or even something you’d like to know just because I’m curious. As in, I should know a dozen different ways from my apartment to work. But I need to know how the defroster works on my car.

TIP: Don’t turn on the AC button at the same time.

And I’d like to know why the guy in the huge pick-up truck insists on texting while doing 80 mph when it’s snowing and the roads are a mess.

TIP: He’s a twit. Stay out of his way.

The same can be said for everything having to do with making quilts. I should know it all but I need to know how to thread a needle – hand and machine – and I need to know how to keep my fingers out of the way of my rotary cutter. I’d like to know more about English Paper Piecing.

TIP: Take a class. Meet Katy Jones.

When it comes to what I know about sewing and making quilts, I learned most of it by experience, trial and error – especially that last part, observation and little bits of information I’ve picked up along the way. I’ve read lots and lots of books and taken classes, and I ask a lot of questions of people who know more than I do. I’ve learned that what works for others doesn’t always work for me, and vice versa. And I’ve learned that for all the stuff I know, I can always know more… because I really don’t know that much.

Really. (I can provide references.)

New-Addition

I also learn by trying to find answers to questions I’m asked. If I don't know, I want to find out.  So we’re going to make a trade here – I’m going to share some of the things I’ve learned over the years, especially some of the quirky little tips, and you’re going to help me learn about those things I don’t already know but should.

I’ve already started making a list but what have I forgotten? Yes, ¼” seam allowance and that whole “scant” thing is there, as is pre-washing, shrinking, etc. Rotary rulers and cutters – you are cleaning them, right? That seam trick, variously called collapsing, popping and spinning, depending on whom you’re chatting with – and clipping seams.  It's on there.  Starching and sizing?  Done.  Binding - width, seams and corners.  Squaring up a quilt?  Crosswise vs. lengthwise - why it's important to know the difference.  Seam allowance, pressing and a whole slew of other "old wives' tales" that really need to be cast aside post-haste.

What do you want to add to my list?

Since I said would trade, I’ll go first. I heard about this from Lissa, who heard about it from Amy Ellis.

TIP: Use fusible thread to adhere a binding before it gets hand- or machine-stitched down.

Binding-Fusible-Thread

First, attach your binding to the quilt as you normally would.

Wind the fusible thread onto the bobbin of your machine using the bobbin winder – do not run it through your machine as the texture of the thread and the tension of the machine can create some problems. I ran across several articles that all suggest not winding the bobbin more than halfway. Since the reasoning made sense and I wasn’t going to need much thread, that’s what I did.

With the fusible thread in the bobbin only, use a zig-zag stitch to sew through all three layers of fabric in the seam allowance of your binding.  Zig-zagging around the mitered corner was easily done, I stitched right up to the fold-seam then turned the corner and continued stitching.

Binding-ZigZagged

I know... it's hard to see but that's the white fusible thread on the white background of the backing.

Fold the binding to the back and press it in place.  Voila!

Binding-Pressed

The binding is adhered to the backing but the edge is still loose.  If you were machine stitching the binding, this could easily be applied either front-to-back or back-to-front.  No pins.  No clips.

Pretty cool.  But now I have a different problem… what am I going to do with all my boxes of binding clips?

Ask anyone who knows me... I have a lot of them.

TIP: Use binding clips for English Paper Piecing. (Tip coming soon.)

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