How to Thread a Needle with Silk or Metallic Thread

My sister taught me this one. It is a technique she uses with special threads for counted cross stitch.

Fold the end of the thread in half, a couple of inches from the end. Push the folded end thru the eye of the needle, the length of the needle. Pass the point of the needle thru the fold (loop) and slide the thread back down to the eye of the needle. You have made a slip knot thru the eye of the needle. Cut your thread the length you want to use and start sewing. When finished you might have to cut the thread off the eye of the needle rather than un-do the slip knot. Your thread will not fall off the needle. It also kept me from loosing my needles when I dropped them without thread attached.

Save the salvage edges with the fabric name and color codes. This little strip is your notes for the project. It is easy to take with you when you need to shop for more fabric. You can make more note on the strip w/ a permanent marker.

Use your project scraps to mark your things at a retreat. Tie scraps around your water bottle and anything else not marked. Everyone will know it is yours since it matches your project.

Practice; make samples, practice some more. Keep these samples with your project until done. Then make them part of your quilt journal. This is the easiest step to skip. We want to get going on the real things. Then, when we get back to the project a few weeks later, we forget the stitch, the thread and all the other decisions we made as we started.

Keep your small rulers in a stand up file folder organizer or CD rack. They can sit on a shelf or hang on the wall.

Use those odd coffee mugs or silverware holders for markers, small scissors and tools. Put a piece of batting on the bottom to protect scissor points.

Attach a magnetic wrist pin cushion to the arm of your sewing chair. Drop your pins and needles on the magnet. Keep away magnets from your sewing machine.

Use a purge protector power strip but TURN IT OFF when you are not using your machine for added protection and saving electricity.

Use preprinted panels as the center. Piece the borders. This can be half the work. There is often complimentary fabric available with the panels. Traditional quick pieced blocks always work well. The size of the quilt can easily be changed by adding more borders. These make quick gift quilts.

If you save your scraps, keep your organization boxes always at hand. Clean up as you go.

If you are making a second quick project with the scraps, sew them as part of the main project. A few extra seams and pressing won’t take much time and you will feel good about completing multiple projects. Examples: triangle corners, extra strips for 9 patches or 4 patches.

Take pictures of everything you do. Even partial pieces if you want to remember steps later. With digital cameras it is easy to download our pictures and have them open to see on the computer while we work. Label your pictures and save them more than one place. BACK UP YOUR PC.


Best Advice I Ever Heard

When I am asked what is the best advice I could give a quilter I say “Practice, practice, practice”. We are told to make sample blocks before we cut out the whole quilt. We think that we have the experience to follow directions and sew a straight seam so we just jump in and start. For the time and money we are investing, we need to warm up, just as any athlete or musician would do.

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Keeping Organized

I hear more and more about working more efficiently and techniques that lessen strain on our hands and bodies. Yeah! We need more of this. Please send us your ideas for saving time while improving the quality of our work. I recently attended a lecture where the instructor had showed how to snip the dangling threads from the top of the piece by tugging on the top thread to pull up the bobbin thread and snipping both at the same time, rather than cutting threads from each side with a scissor action. She claims to save hours of time and strain on her hands. It works.

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Why Appliqué? Why hand work?

The rocking of the needle has always added a rhythm to my life. It is my rocking chair. When I have something that I need to ponder and simmer in the back of my mind, hand quilting or red work type embroidery, where the same stitch is repeated, lets me think about the problem without really thinking. The best for this is whole cloth quilting. Just follow the pre-printed lines with the same stitch and rock away your troubled thoughts. With appliqué or hand piecing, my corners always meet and my points are never cut off. If you can draw it (or trace it) you can reproduce it in appliqué.

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