Scissors & Strings
When taking my latest pictures of my sewing area for this post, I realized it has been over a year since I had anything interesting to share.
I was so liking my new hanging scissors area, I had to share that.
used an accordion mug holder I had stored in a box.
I also found (due to unpacking more boxes lately) this large, vintage sewing box that is now great storage for my bags of strings.
I've been filling them up when I can, by cutting skinny strips from my stash fabric, to use in making my Welcome Quilts.
My New Work Station
I'm excited about my new work station, which is better than the table I've had to work on, while I've lived in this little house.
I have a 2
foot wide board I had been saving to make into an extra large ironing
surface, but hadn't gotten to it yet.
This is my model, minus the linen rack.
It's so wonderfully strong,
that it holds the board I have been saving, to make it into a portable
counter, where I can now do my cutting and other work on.
I took these pictures outside because there was no way to take a picture of the whole thing while inside - I couldn't get back far enough. :)
Tips to Share
The Seam Ripper & How to Use It
learnt how to sew, by making clothing - beginning with doll clothes,
and eventually making my own.
Perhaps this is okay for clothing, but with small patches for quilts, there's a better way, that doesn't pull at the fabric at all.
stitched this sample to show you how.
the ripper, cut the threads every 3 to 4 stitches, all the way along
the seam needing to be removed.
Stitching my bindings is another way I use my plastic clothes pins for my quilting.
Meet Scarecrow Jane
finally got a picture of her, as she's been packed away for over a decade!
then coloured her as a picture, which became a printable note card...and
then a quilt pattern. You can see both of those here.
I'm having so much fun sewing hexies...that I'm already dreaming about my next hexagon quilt!
The box I put together for sewing my hexies needed a hexagon pincushion :)
I've added the how to for you here.
Come join me while I explore this English Paper Piecing method!
It's a new year and I've decided to finally learn how to use our camera.
My husband has been teaching me and has pointed out some great tips, allowing me to use a tripod, add the two second delay and take okay pictures.
What that means for you is that I now will be able to photograph my process and share picture tutorials with you....as I won't need to work taking these pictures around Brad's busy day.
As an example, here's one I took of the tools and notions I use when I'm appliquing.
may have seen some of these before.
basket is holding my needle book - The one I made from a lovely ribbon.
You can read the how to here.
The brass cup holds scrap threads and my scissors.
I've just posted my first picture tutorial - Santa's Rising Sun Quilt.
I hope you enjoy our learning year and shopping from our stash!
Organizing My Scraps
had quite a creative spurt going on - Which means I need to collect
the fabric for the new quilt designs that are planned as my patterns
moving here, I added this wooden box
(on the left) that has been helping me process my scraps into colours
as I make them.
old spice jars (on the right) now hold a sampling of the tiniest bits
(under 1½" square), for use in appliqué & paper
piecing - and I'm amazed how handy these have been!
In the tin (with the snowman) I've got all the small pieces that I can
get a 1½" square from.
Using Wooden Boxes for Organizing
I love old wooden things, because of how natural they are and they're usually are so well made they continue to be useful.
This was my Mom's sewing box, which I'm so pleased to have inherited.
Those are my little sewing treasures I keep in it.
I have been keeping my spools of thread in several wooden utensil trays.
There are several missing drawers in my large wooden desk and these trays fit nicely, tucked into the open space.
you can see the full view of my double-sided wooden desk.
You can see the many different wooden boxes, trays and cubbyhole shelves that I use to keep my desks organized :)
There's always a use for a good wooden box!
Making it Pretty
If you're like me, you have tools in your sewing items that were received from companies... with their logo printed on it.
I decided to make a pretty cover for my retractable tape measure.
You will find my Retractable Tape Measure Cover Tutorial here, so you can get an idea how to cover the one you have!
My Old Irons
These are my antique irons....
The brass one I received from my grandmother many years ago and I treasure it.
My husband purchased the other two for me, when we were planning our move off-grid. He thought I could use those to iron my fabrics when our power was limited.
The clunky one on the left, with the removable handle sits as a door stop, and the one on the right has been useful when I need something heavy to hold down something.
I prefer to wait until there is enough power and use my electric iron, instead of taking the chance at scorching my fabrics :)
Ribbon Needle Book
In my sewing box that I keep next to my hand sewing chair, I've always had bits of fabric scraps with different needles and special pins that I use for all of my sewing.
always wanted to make myself a needle book to keep these in.
I cut a matching felt piece to sew on the backside of the ribbon (folding the ends of the ribbon in first), and blind-stitched it to the back of the ribbon, being careful not to stitch through to the front.
then cut (with pinking shears) a few slightly smaller pieces of felt.
I also stitched a small pocket on the back cover, to keep a needle threader handy.
Now I can keep all of my different needles & special pins that I use for a variety of sewing & embroidery jobs.
Blocking & Pinning Tips
One advantage of having this space is it allows me to share some of my favourite tips with you.
I personally have never been able to sew a perfect block, with perfect seam allowances, which effects how the whole finished quilt top sews together, as each 1/16th of an inch can add up to a significant amount in the finished size.
What I came up with early in my quilting, was to draw a line at the 'finished size', with a mechanical pencil, on the back of each unit or block. I use the line as a guide to pin to the next block, plus to sew along. The final result may have the blocks slightly off, or 'charming' in the quilt top, but the final quilt top itself lays flatter and in the end the finished quilt is nicer.
The 'Blocking' how to page, that describes the technique step by step, is available by request (free) here.
I start with a fine grade piece of sandpaper and tape it to a cardboard with masking tape.
lay the unit or block with the wrong side up onto the sandpaper (or
rough section of my cutting mat if the block is larger), and center
a ruler (the finished block size I need if I have one, otherwise I use
a ruler the closest to the size) onto the back of the unit.
This gives you good corners and makes up for any uneven sewing. You can trim any extra seam allowance, if you wish to take the time.
Pin your blocks together using this pinning trick:
Place a pin in each corner of both the two blocks you are joining. Don't anchor them. Hold the pin perpendicular (90*) with your first two fingers (underneath) and your thumb on top. Now place an anchor pin (going in at an angle) beside it. Do the same for the other corner, and a few times in between, making sure you are matching up the two sewing lines. This pinning method keeps the blocks from shifting out of place.
When you combine both of these tips I promise your quilt tops will end up neater.
Thread Catcher Tip
catch the thread bits that I clip or pick off my patches, as I sew by
my sewing machine I kept a small piece of scrap cotton batting...But
this had to be pinned to the rubber mat that sits under my machine.
removed the shank on the back, cut a circle of cotton batting, and put
this thread catcher together.
Now it sits in front of my machine, and magically holds the threads until I'm ready to move the batch accumulated, into a large 'tiny fabric bits' tin, which I save to stuff pet beds (older pillowcases) to donate to my local animal shelter!
A Sewing Machine Cover
I've always wanted a sewing machine cover to keep the dust from my machine, when I'm not using it.
I hadn't seen any that I
really liked until recently, when I came across one that was made from
a decorated old pillowcase, which did appeal to my 'reuse' gene.
Not giving up the idea of the reused pillowcase, I remembered I had a homemade cream-coloured curtain I wasn't going to use, that I could sew into a shortened pillowcase shape.
Here's how I made my sewing
machine cover, in case you want to make your own.
I then stitched the sides
together using a French seam to keep the inside clean of threads.
I really love how it turned
out, and am enjoying what it has added to my sewing area!
I really like reusing items like tins, as storage for my sewing items.
I found this tin perfectly holds my large spool of basting thread, so I turned the lid upside down, on a piece of wood, and hammered a nail gently through the center of the lid.
I pull the thread through the hole, as I need it, and now the spool stays dust free and looks much prettier!
A New Place to Share My Sewing Room
I like to decorate my sewing area with inspiring items, interesting jars, tins and baskets. These treasures of mine above are extra special to me. They include my Mothers' Sewing Box, the Brass Iron I received from my Grandmother, an antique spool holder, button box, and other sewing notions I like to use.
Some things you might already know about My Creative Space...
this very cracked Delft Blue egg cup, that my parents repaired and saved.
begun transforming a section of the 'panelling' that makes up the walls
of the main room/studio of our new off-grid
the very first quilt top I began at 13.
I designed this Rose Cottage ~ A Sewing Room Quilt for my studio.
I enjoy using this Victoriana Sewing Kit I designed for my hand sewing and applique.
I also love looking at the Victoriana Dresdens Colour Wheel which inspires me with colour.
The Block of the Month in 2010 was Celebrating Words. I made this 'Believe' sign to display in a wooden hoop and it hangs in my sewing room.
The plan is to add some projects and ideas that I hope to add to my studio, that I will share with you here.
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