Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I was liberated from pins

I have been making quilts for sometimes now and I'm a vivid pinner.  I pinned everything before I sewed to make sure that all points meet at the right place, and that took a lot of time.  I even pinned jelly roll strips together before sewing.  I was that bad!

Two weeks ago I decided to take a quilting class at my local community college.  I didn't know the teacher or anything about the class.  In the first class, the teacher showed us what we're going to be learning; how to cut with rotary cutter, how to sew scant quarter inch seam, half square triangle, four patch, skinny border...etc.  I thought this was going to be very basic and boring but I stayed put and listened on with an open mind.  Then the teacher showed us how she sewed a four-patch square together without pinning.  No pinning?  I was blown away at the thought of not using any pin.  I moved closer to her table so I could observe her technique.  She also showed us what she called 'swirl the seams' to reduce bulk in the middle.  Last night I took her tips to a test and sewed these squares.  I almost jumped up and down with glee when I saw the result.  The four-patch squares came out perfect without pinning.  On top of that, I sewed 16 of these squares in less time than it used to take me.

The piece on the left is what I used to do; ironed the seam to one side.  The piece on the right is what I'm doing now.  Opening up the seam in the middle reduces the bulk and the square lays flat.  Then, I put them together into this.  

We have to make 3 of this block for our first assignment - a table runner.  Well, to sew this big block, I pinned a little just to keep things in place.  I don't know if I would ever be totally freed from pinning, but for now I can say that I was liberated.  Thanks to my teacher, Rita.  I'm so glad I came to this class and I think it's going to be a very interesting and fun class.  Rita said she had all kind of tricks she could show us.  I can't wait!

What fun class have you taken lately?  Do you learn anything new?  I love to read all your comments and thanks for visiting.   Have a blessed week!!


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Took time off from sewing to organize my stash

I have been wanting to reorganize my fabric stash, but couldn't decide on how I wanted to do it.  I've heard about comic book boards, but I chose not to use them.  I want to use what I have without buying any more stuff.   I tried to fold my fabric and store them by color, but my shelves looked messy because my fabric bundles were in different width.  So I decided to use a 6" x 24" ruler to fold all fabric that is more than 1/2 yard.  Any piece that's less than 1/2 yard, goes to scrap bin.  By using the ruler, I will get them all in uniform 6" wide.

Majority of my stash is flannels and they take a lot of room on the shelves.  They are stacked up all the way to the ceiling.  The bungee cords are there to stop them from falling down in case of an earthquake.  I somewhat had them by color but they were all over the place.  Not only it was a hassle to get the piece that I wanted out, it was more hassle to put it back where it belonged.  So I tackled them first.  I took down one section of the shelves and started folding, then I remembered the camera.  Hence the empty spot on the shelf.  Here is the before picture.

This is how I fold the fabric: 

1. Put the fabric on a table with the salvage on my right and the folded edge on the left.  Place the ruler across the fabric as in the picture.

2. Fold the end over the ruler and continue to fold until I reach the other end of the piece.

3. Slide the ruler off the fabric and fold it in half along the long side.  Check out the stack in the top right corner of the picture.

 Here is the after picture.

It looks much better, I think.  Now I can clearly see the color of each bundle.  I still have the top shelves to take care of, but I'm happy with the result so far.  Now I can fit most of my flannels in one shelf and the quilting cotton in the other.  In the process, I found a lot of fabric that I bought long, long time ago before I knew anything about quilting cotton.  I'm deciding whether I should donate them, or try to find a way to use them.  I'm leaning toward the first choice just because I'm trying to minimize the clutter.

How do you organize your stash and your sewing room?  Do you keep all your fabric, even the one that you don't care for any more?

Stay cool and have a blessed week!