Tips, Tricks & Tools

If you have a favorite tip, trick or tool, click here to share it with the other members on this page!  

January 2024

Support local quilt and sewing machine repair shops.  Here is a list of shops in Nassau, Suffolk & Queens.  https://eveningstarquilters.org/resources/

December 2023

Tension issues?  How does tension affect the outcome of a stitch?  Superior Threads has an interesting blog post on what affects your sewing machine tension.  https://www.superiorthreads.com/education/tension-guide     ~From an article by Connie Kreskin.com

Retayne or Synthrapol: Prevent and Reverse Color Bleeding
Rob Appel teaches how to stop and even fix fabric dye bleeding using Retayne and Synthrapol. Use these products to make your fabric color fast or to get dye out of light fabric. 

Click this link to watch Rob Appel’s video:  https://youtu.be/VuJyrwLUc7M
Click here for the information in a printable version.  

November 2023

I watched Donna Jordan’s video called Fix Any Quilt! How to repair mistakes and tears! She shows how to fix or repair a quilt AFTER it has been quilted and bound. I found it so helpful, I hope you do, too. https://youtu.be/DYYqhf3YFV8?si=XsZOAwKZRlLOOsbk
~ Maureen

October 2023

Loose Ends Project: Finishing Projects Loved Ones Left Behind
Masey Kaplan and Jennifer Simonic founded the Loose Ends Project to keep your loved ones close by completing the projects they’ve left behind. When a maker dies mid-project or is no longer able to do handwork due to disability or illness, they may have unfinished items they were making. These tangible, handmade expressions of love could get lost, donated away, or thrown out. Loose Ends welcome quilter and handwork volunteers of all sorts from anywhere in the world, and matches projects to volunteers to get the priceless gift done.

It is also available in multiple languages to share. Looseendsproject.org
(from Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting, November/December 2023 issue)

September 2023

Click HERE for tips about Aurifil thread and how to select the right one.

July 2023

I’ve been reading a lot about rescuing quilts that have had some bleeding. I found some interesting articles about it and thought I’d share. Save My Bleeding Quilt!
https://www.colorwaysbyvicki.com/uploads/7/6/6/4/76648385/savemybleedingquilt.pdf
Vicki Welch

June 2023

My car mechanic puts a sticker on my windshield letting me know at what mileage I’ll need an oil change. With many of us having more than one machine, why not do that with our machines to keep them working at optimal levels. Yes, we could read the manual or be sure we’ll remember. (I don’t kid myself that I’ll remember – I won’t.) So, put a dated note in your machine with whatever service schedule makes your machine happy and note the date it was last oiled/cleaned. ~ Maureen Mitchell

March 2023

Quilting Acronyms
From time to time we use quilting acronyms and we all know what they stand for. You know what I’m talking about – UFO – Unfinished Object – We all know what that is! But here are a few that I didn’t know or I haven’t heard for a long time. See if you can figure them out! (Answers are below.)
PhD
SEX
FART
WWIT
Did you get them?

Answers key:
Project half Done
Stash Enhancing eXperience
Fabric Acquisition Road Trip
What Was I Thinking

February 2023
Starch Tips
If you do choose to use fabric starch, STARCH ALL THE THINGS. Starch and no starch don’t mix.
Fabrics work differently with each other based on how you have treated them beforehand, so make sure they’re all getting equal treatment.

Fabric starch spray is not the only way. Canned fabric starch is common because it’s pretty darn
convenient, but you can also make your own fabric starch!

Don’t starch & store. If you’re going to use fabric starch, you should be ready to use your fabric
soon after. If you fabric starch your beautiful fabrics and fold them up… those folds won’t be easy to get out.  From: https://suzyquilts.com/

January 2023
Speak Positively and be Proud
A quilter – beginner or advanced – will hold up their quilt during show and tell and then
begin to talk about the things they don’t like about it or that they didn’t do right. What?!
When you go to show and tell, stand up there with your awesome self and be proud of
what you’ve done! Is everyone going to like it? No. But that’s ok. You know what went
into it. Don’t sell yourself short. Instead consider discussing your thought processes
along the way, what you learned, or what inspired you to make the quilt in the first
place. Speak positively and be proud!

Posture Matters
Your sewing space may be a converted computer desk in the corner of the living room
to the kitchen table or a beautiful custom-built sewing desk. Not all spaces are
conducive to good posture. “Spine straight, shoulders back and down.” There are
plenty of exercises and stretches we can do to make good posture second nature.
Chat with your doctor about what would work best for you and then do it.
From: For the Love of Thread https://fortheloveofthread.com/7-things-i-wish-id-knownwhen-i-started-quilting/

December 2022
Remove Chalk & Pencil Lines
Removing chalk or pencil lines isn’t always easy – some fabrics are a little more resistant than others. Try using a lightly moistened Mr. Clean® Magic Eraser for those pesky hangers-on. It’s quick and easy and works every time. –from Quilting Daily – Fons & Porter

November 2022
Use Shout Color Catcher(s) the first time washing a quilt. Tip: never let your quilt sit in the washing machine – remove it as soon as the cycle ends. Tip from Connie Kreskin https://conniekresin.com/

October 2022
Alex Anderson’s Video, “How To Get Quilting Right” on YouTube!
Alex Anderson recorded this YouTube video last March 19th, the day before National Quilt Day.
It’s entitled “How to Get Quilting Right” and it is a great overview of tools and techniques to help quilter get the best results.
Follow this link to watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vonU7j2xXAo

MakerSpaces
Have you heard about MakerSpaces? A MakerSpace (also called an Innovation Center) is a
community center that offers a variety of technologies, machines and equipment to foster creativity, sharing of ideas and the opportunity to learn by doing.

Google “public library with makerspace with sewing machine”–you might be surprised. I was. Turns out the Levittown public library has a maker space with 3D printers, Cricut Machine, Sewing & Embroidery Machines, a kitchen and more!
Learn more at www.levittownpl.org/innovation-station
Do a Google search to see if there is a maker space near you!

Signs you need a new sewing machine needle:
• Needle makes a thud or popping sound – it is having difficulty making a hole in the fabric
• Broken or shredded threads
• Skipped stitches
• Puckered fabrics
• Uneven threads
• Hearing the needle hit the machine, needle plate or hook

Your machine works harder to pierce the fabric with a blunt needle. Save money and time at the sewing machine spa by using a fresh needle.

September 2022
Get perfectly square cuts! Line up your fabric with the thinner quarter-inch line on the ruler instead of the inch-line. You can better see exactly where your fabric is and will get a more precise cut.  Found online at www.stitchesoflovequilting.com, submitted by Maureen M.

Free quilt patterns (or maybe inspiration):
https://www.robertkaufman.com/quilting/quilts_patterns/free/

August 2022
Useful tutorials and free block patterns are available. Check out these two sites! www.quiltdoodledesigns.com and www.quilterscache.com.

July 2022
“When cutting strip-pieced units into smaller segments, I cut from the reverse side. It’s easier for me to see the seam lines for lining up the ruler, and any pressing inaccuracies do not cause problems.”
Joanne Colleaux, AllPeopleQuilt.com

I was looking through Pinterest and saw Julie Burton’s website which is called www.runningstichquilts.com. She has lots to offer there but I found this quote really interesting: “ I’m using more solids than prints these days. With pattern writing, I’ve found that it’s better to make the cover quilts with solids so the pattern stays relevant. Using a fabric line that won’t be available in 6 months could make the pattern look outdated, or frustrate a quilter who wanted to make the cover quilt but can’t because that fabric is no longer available.
From the Internet….(shared by Cathy Peterson)

June 2022
Save your ruler
“When rotary cutting, start with the blade about ½” up on the ruler, then cut it back to the tip and then cut forward. “If you always start cutting at the tip, the tip of your ruler will get chipped away from the blade over time and no longer be square,”  Linda Pumphrey, QuiltingDaily.com

May 2022
Take a Stitch
When I’m sewing a long seam, such as adding binding to a quilt or piecing large backing
rectangles together, I backstitch after every 1 foot of stitching. Then if a thread breaks or is torn,
the whole project won’t come apart. Karen Hallenbeck/ Kingsford, Michigan

Compost Fabric Scraps
Turn fabric trimmings and other small scraps into rich soil for your garden. If the fabric is 100%
cotton, linen, bamboo or wool, it’s biodegradable and counts as “brown” material in your
compost bin.

February 2022
When applying binding with machine stitching, fold the corners and tack them down before the final stitching. This makes things so much easier.

Q: Why should I use bias seams when joining binding or border strips for my quilt?

A: End-to-end seaming requires less fabric, but the results are better and stronger when you use bias seams. Strips that are joined end to end are far more noticeable to the naked eye than bias seams and detract from the beauty of the finished project.
– from The Quilting Answer Book by Barbara Weiland Talbert

January 2022
About that quilt binding…
When calculating the needed length of fabric binding strips for your quilt, keep in mind
that for every 2 fabric strips that you join, 2 inches are lost in length. If you also cut off
selvages, you probably will lose another half inch on each end of the fabric strip.

December 2021
A 4X6” photo album can hold prepared applique shapes for wool or needle-turn
projects. Separate applique pieces by pattern or block and slide them into the photo
sheets to keep pieces flat. Add paper labels to each sheet so you know at a glance
what it holds. Choose a photo album that has the photo sheet openings toward the
center of the book. That way your applique pieces won’t fall out if the album gets
jostled.

Use mini ice cube trays to store bobbins.

November 2021
Do you read your quilting magazines front to back or back to front? If you read a quilt magazine front to back you will see the magazine’s color selection first. If you read some magazines from back to front sometimes you see just the pattern outline in black and white. Your mind can see your own pattern and pick its own color schemes before seeing the printed version. Sometimes this is very different from what the author pictures. Try it – it’s fun!

Many times a quilter can have a problem joining a straight grain piece with a bias edge piece. This may help you. Place the bias edge piece on the bottom. Doing so will allow the machine’s feed dogs to ease the bias edge in, preventing the presser foot from stretching it.

October 2021
This is the Stripology XL from Creative Grids It is my latest favorite quilting tool. The plastic grid is large and has a non-slip coating. The grid makes it easy to cut fabric strips, squares, triangles, and diamonds. The cuts are accurate and cutting goes quickly. In no time, required cuts and sub-cuts are achieved.

For more information and a video, check out Creative Grids. CGRGE1XL (creativegridsusa.com).

September 2021
To reduce or eliminate raveling when washing and drying lengths of fabric, pin the selvages together with safety pins every 12-15 inches. There will be little raveling after washing and drying the fabric. (Karen G.)

After washing, ironing, and perhaps starching a length of fabric, roll it onto a pool noodle. Stick a pin or safety pin through the fabric layers into the pool noodle at each end of the roll to prevent unrolling. Using this procedure eliminates folds and creases of the fabrics. (Karen G.)