(Note: Barbara is out of town for the next few weeks. Expect a post in a few weeks from our vacation, with maybe a few exotic quilt shop pictures! During the interim, here is a blog post from the blog post “stash.”)
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
― Albert Einstein
My quilting room is in its third iteration. When we first moved to our current house, almost 18 years ago, our youngest daughter was a newborn. Now that she has moved into more spacious accommodations, her little room has been made over into my space for creating.
Today I will share some of the things that have contributed to success with sewing, the tools of the trade, so to speak, and and my set up to allow efficient work flow.
I ran across an interesting Petals and Pins repost from Material Girl Quilts about Pam Damour, who showed several techniques for using her seam ripper. She made that little thing sing! It was so fabulously effective, it had me vowing to update my very old (and probably very dull) seam ripper. I have very little to rip out, as I am usually careful and try not to sew late into the night or when I am over-tired. But… when I do, it seems to take so long. I am going to look into her brass seam ripper, but at the least replace mine with a new one with a sharp blade, if not! Pam’s blog is called The Decorating Diva. My very favorite, most used ever tool, however, has to be the following which was gifted to me by my youngest child:
She purchased it at Sarah’s Thimble quilt shop, which has wonderful notions and gorgeous fabrics. I use them as my go-to scissors for any handwork, such as binding, or when I need small portable scissors, as they weigh very little and take up very little space. Best gift ever! I have had troubles with FMQ on my Juki, mostly top thread tension problems, thread breakage, even needle breakage. I think I broke 7-8 needles on one quilt! Frustrating! Looking at my set up and the thread I was using at that time, I didn’t have a spool holder that would hold a spool vertically. So I made one out of an unused takeout chopstick and blue painters tape.
Not the best look, but it revolutionized my ability to use regular spools of quilter’s cotton from my local store when those matched better than the aurifil thread, which is only available in limited colors at my local quilt shop. I do use Aurifil when possible, but if they don’t have the color I need, I often don’t want to wait to order it, so I go to the large fabric store nearby. Here is a photo of my set up.
Sarah, from the quilt shop, ultimately diagnosed my tension problem as a bobbin tension problem. I brought my bobbin in to her, and after her ministrations, I have had the most wonderful FMQ experiences ever! I can’t believe I have done nearly a dozen quilts under such horrid conditions! But now it is such a dream. Thanks, Sarah!
Today, my husband built me a functional little table to sit behind my sewing machine to hold the outflow of my quilt as I sew. We went to the local hardware store, bought a 24″X48″X3/4″ plywood board, four legs, brackets to screw the legs into, and contact paper to cover the top with. This was to make it a little slicker for the quilt to move easily as I am quilting it. Here is the result:
We also installed several hooks to hold my rulers. Here they are before and after installation. So nice to get those large rulers out of the way. (They have been loudly knocked over quite a few times!)
Gloves are so helpful to get a good grip on the fabric as one moves it around. I use gardening gloves (a clean pair). They are a little bit hot, so I may upgrade to quilting gloves specific for the task. I am also interested in trying the teflon sheets, Supreme Sliders to cover the bed of the sewing machine and part of the table, I have tried the silicone spray with modest success.
A good light, (I have one clamped to the table) is essential, as room lighting is just not enough, especially in the evening. When the sun is shining in the windows, I often do not need any artificial light, but otherwise really appreciate my Ott light. This one has replaceable bulbs. My first one did not, so when it died about 13 months after purchase, I just had to throw the whole thing away!
The design wall is incredibly helpful for quilt top layouts.
Look for other great posts at Crazy Mom Quilts!