Monday, June 6, 2016

9 Common (And Not-So-Common) Household Items For Quilting

As I look around my sewing room and others' sewing rooms I was quite amazed at how many things that are there that were designed for other uses originally, but quilters have claimed them to make our quilting lives easier and more fun. Here's a very quick round-up, some of which are quite obvious, some of which you have to admit are brilliant. (And I didn't come up with any of these, so I do not take credit!)

9) Painter's Tape - Obvious but must be said for all the use I get out of it for quilting purposes. Securing the backing while making a quilt sandwich, marking lines on the quilt, organizing rows, I use this every day.

8) Elmer's Glue - Another very common sight in the sewing room, mostly for basting seams, securing bindings, and a few souls prefer this for glue basting a quilt sandwich over spray basting. I admit, I'm intrigued, I must try that some time.

7) Lint Roller - I find the best way to clean the cutting mat and the pressing board from all the little lint and threads that get on there after vigorous cutting is a lint roller. I even have to lint roller myself before leaving the sewing room, or I find little threads sticking to all my clothes.

6) Freezer Paper - Originally used for packing meat (really?), I suspect it's used more for crafting than not. For quilters, it's a wonderful item for tracing templates, or doing turned edge applique, and it's even reusable quite a few times.

5) Pipe Cleaner - Ever used the brush that came with your sewing machine to brush out the lint under the throat plate? It's pretty bad, right? Mine just brushed the lint from one corner to another. But after getting a tip from Christina Cameli, I bent a pipe cleaner in half and used it to clean, and it's wonderful. It gets in all the tight places and the lint naturally clings to it.

4) Post-it Notes - A stack of post-its is both a great seam guide and a great seam jumper! My sewing machine (and yours too, maybe) gets very very upset going from 0 to a very thick seam, and this helps to coax it into working again.

3) Laser Level - Squaring up a small quilt is easy. Squaring a large one, on the other hand, is really difficult, as no matter how hard I try, I can't ensure that my lines are straight over a really really long edge. A teensy shift in the ruler adds up over many ruler lengths. But with a laser level, squaring up is easy! Though it might expose that the quilt you thought was a rectangle, is actually veering toward a diamond, but I digress ...

2) Sandpaper - Marking on some less stiff fabrics, especially with a pencil, can be tough sometimes, as the fabric likes to stretch around. Putting a sandpaper beneath it makes it cling and provides it with a good base for marking.

1) Dog Grooming Arm & Muslin Clamps - All I can say when I saw this, was brilliant! And so cheaply achieved. This came from Katie's Quilting Corner, and suspends the quilt so that free motion is much easier. See her blog post for more details.

Quilters are quite resourceful, aren't they?

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