Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nords! I thought it was Friday!

Well, that’s disappointing. If it had been Friday, I would have been well on my way to a three day weekend and a showing of Twilight at the $3 theater. (Hey Allison, I just might need that $3 after all!)

The real Friday will be fun. It’s been a while since I had a night out with my friend Karrie. She’s the one who's responsible for my Twilight obsession and it’ll be her third time seeing the movie. Oh the perfect perfection of Edward…

Anyway…let’s talk about something else. The lovely Regina (a fellow sewing and Twilight enthusiast…see? there’s just no escaping the obsession) found my blog and asked me to share some of my sweet quilting tips.

First, I always use a rotary cutter, a self-healing mat and a clear plastic quilting ruler. They are absolute magic!

Until two weeks ago I was using a 6”x24” ruler. It was ok but sometimes I’d want to cut a strip of fabric, say, 10” and then I’d have to turn the ruler sideways and only cut 6” at a time. Then I bought this:

magic ruler!

A 15” square ruler! It’s the most wonderful thing in my quilting arsenal. You can square up blocks accurately in seconds, it’s weighty so it doesn’t shift when making long cuts and it has black and yellow markings so it shows up on all colors of fabric. I can’t believe I went so long without this. I got it on “50% off all cutting tools” day at JoAnn Fabrics.

*edit* I don't do this next step anymore but if you're new to 1/4" seams, you might want to give it a try. *edit* I also mark all sewing lines with a tracing wheel (I used to use the tracing paper too but it was annoying to have to buy more all the time) and I use a lot of pins, the long quilting kind. They’re expensive (in my world, $5 for pins is expensive) but they’re worth it when you can get them on sale.

When I first started sewing I bought a White sewing machine for about $99. It weighed about 20 lbs and was deafeningly loud. It was raw power! Then a year ago when I started to get serious about sewing, I bought a Singer at the local quilt shop. It’s whisper quiet and can do some fancy stitches. I like it now but it took some getting used to in the beginning.

I piece everything with a 1/4” piecing foot or, if it’s already set up, my walking foot. They’re both the same to me. I use a darning foot for free motion quilting (I can lower the feed dogs on the new machine) and the walking foot for straight quilting.

I always use cotton thread, cotton fabric and Warm and White cotton batting. I always chain piece and I iron all seams open.

When I finally get off my butt and work on the bento box again, I’ll take some pictures of what I mean by all this. But that could be a while so I suggest you check out some of the blogs on my sidebar and see how all those talented ladies do things. There are some really great quilting tutorials out there.

3 comments:

  1. you are awesome!. Thanks for the tips.Why do you iron seams open? I have a 12" square ruler I just might have to buy a 15" too. I also have the long 6"X24" ruler. I don't know if you do this or not but I put stick on felt circles on the back side to keep it from slipping on the fabric while I am cutting long pieces. I love your Bento box quilt I have been wanting to do one for so long and love how simple you have made it. I had a Bernina that was given to me but it stated to go wacky and switch stitches on its own so I traded it in for a pfaff 2046 with a built in walking foot, I love it and have really only used it to sew purses and clothes to I am so itching to try to quilt with it since it is called the quilt expressions 2046 lol.
    on a side not I can't wait for march21st when Twilight comes out on DVD lol I too miss my fictional friends. Happy not Friday

    ReplyDelete
  2. Regina,

    I'm running out the door (to go see Twilight!!) but here are some good links about seams. I like to press mine open because I find it's easier to match them up and because it makes the block smoother. But there are lots of pros and cons...

    To press open or to the side:
    http://quilting.about.com/b/2008/06/22/pressing-seam-allowances-to-one-side-strengthens-seams-fact-or-fiction.htm#gB3

    Accurate seams: http://www.scrapquilts.com/accurate_seams.html

    ReplyDelete