20 Favourite Quilting Tips of 2011

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As you may know, we share tips on the Quilter’s Connection Magazine Facebook page, and occasionally we ask our readers to share their tips with us when they enter a contest from one of our magazine issues. Here is a collection of our favourite tips – shared on our Facebook page and by our readers – from 2011…

Remember to breathe! And enjoy yourself. There is only the deadline we give to ourselves, don’t make it work/stress! Only pleasure. – Cathy Raphael

Have several different size thimbles on hand for hand quilting/sewing – your finger size changes depending on the time of day/temperature!

A great way to remove creases from fabric is to spray with a mixture of water & vinegar (equal amounts). Put the mixture in a spray bottle and keep near your iron. – Gail Wiebe

Add an extra 1/4″ width to your border fabric, that way when you trim your quilt to prepare for binding, you won’t get caught short!

I LOVE this silly little tool – the little bamboo-like kabob sticks you can buy in packages at the Dollar Store. They are the handiest tool to flatten heavy, bulky fabric when stitching, to ease excess fabric when stitching and to save your fingers when feeding fabrics through the feet on your machine. I always have one right beside my
machine. – Carol Penman

If you find a fabulous fabric in the shop you just have to have, though no specific project in mind, purchase at least 3 metres or you’ll be sorry!

I save all my used dryer sheets for my machine appliqué. It works well for smaller, simpler items such as circles, hearts etc. Place your fabric right sides together with a dryer sheet and draw your pattern on the wrong side of the fabric. Sew on the line with a short stitch and then cut out 1/8″ approx. outside the stitching line. Slit only the dryer sheet down the middle and turn everything right side out and press. Your appliqué edges are now enclosed and you can pin the appliqué to your main fabric and attach it using your favourite method (blind hem, blanket stitch etc.). The dryer sheet is soft and smells good left in the quilt and it’s a green way to go. – Jean Lee

Empty pill bottles are great for dull needles, just toss in the trash when the bottle is full & no one gets poked!

I live in a very small house with limited storage. To store my quilts, I put them one on top of the other on my spare bedroom bed. When company does come to visit, I leave my most recent accomplishment on the bed as a bedspread or fold it at the end of the bed. The remainder of the quilts I fold over chairs/couch/whatever throughout my home, so that they can be seen and admired by my visitors. Of course, I just bask in the comments that I’m “Just so talented”. Who doesn’t like to receive compliments after all that hard work!!! – Lori Skerget

Keep a digital camera handy in your sewing room to check colour values of fabrics, record quilts, tricky sewing steps and design ideas!

Many quilters make a sample block before starting a quilt to help them solve any problems. I have an additional purpose for those blocks. Once I have my project done and ready to be quilted, I make a sandwich of the sample block, backing it with the same fabric that I used in my project. I use this block to work out my quilting (top stitching) design and machine tension. The blocks are then either bound and given to my church for hot pads or put together with sashing to make a quilt as you go sampler. – Anna Branch

Make your own row markers by writing numbers with a felt pen on flat flower-shaped quilting pins!

Be sure you use the same ruler if you are cutting with your rotary cutter. There can be a slight variation in measurements between rulers and it can be enough to make piecing difficult. – Salli Rice

To keep your rotary cutter in tip-top shape, take it apart and clean off the lint after cutting all the fabric for a quilt project.

When I see a good quilting motif in one of the magazines I own, I make a photocopy on a clear transparency. I tape a second transparency over top of the first so that when I am marking a quilt I won’t get any ink onto the quilt. All of my transparencies are in a three-ring binder so that I have an easily-accessible library of designs. – Millie Cumming

If your local shop offers free classes when you purchase a new sewing machine – take them, even if you are an experienced sewer/quilter. You’ll learn something new, guaranteed!

Always read ALL of the pattern instructions before cutting or sewing. – Brenda Kish

To help with free-motion quilting, doodle in a notepad for practice!

Attach a small suction cup (the kind with a little hook on it) to the side of your sewing machine. Hang your thread nippers or small scissors on it to keep handy. No more looking around for scissors! – Adrienne Forsyth

Always iron your fabric before cutting. Wrinkles will distort fabric, resulting in inaccurate cuts!

If you’re having trouble removing the paper backing from appliqué pieces, score the paper with a pin to split it. Removal should be easy! – Kim Jamieson-Hirst