Tag Archives: tools

Tuesday Tip! How to Keep a Quilting WIP Organized

One aspect I love about quilting is how we take hundreds, sometimes thousands of small pieces & create something beautiful out of them!
One aspect I really dislike about quilting is keeping track of those hundreds or thousands of pieces…..
It used to be simple for me, I mostly worked on one project at a time, either at home or at my LQS during a class.  Then things (as they are wont to do) got complicated fast.  I started teaching more so a project would be interrupted so I could make a class sample.  Then there were the moves, then I started some challenging projects for myself that could only be worked on when I had quiet time to myself, oh & then the retreats started (so I needed easier projects to work on in a talkative group) as well as the block of the month projects (and who can have just one going on at a time?).
Yes, things got crazy fast & I found if I didn’t keep things together in a way I could keep track of, I’d ignore a project just because I had no idea where I was at.
I started with bins.  Nothing fancy, just bins that closed nicely & would fit on my shelves.  I believe they are the 18 qt. bins.
Then I gathered a bunch of empty plastic resealable bags from various projects.  Some came from kits, some from LQS block of the month projects, some from my kitchen drawer, you get the idea.
Then as I was cutting away, I would put all my cut pieces in a bag with a post-it note (or scrap of paper) that gave me a clue as to what was in the bag.
Here are a bunch of notes I wrote for the Scrapitude mystery quilt.  You can even see where I kept track of how many I had already cut & how many I still needed to cut.  (Again, I didn’t go out & buy anything special, I just used what I had around the house):
Then as pieces are sewn into larger blocks, I would put those in a bag & note how many where there & if I needed to sew anymore blocks.  (ok, so there are no notes in these bags, but you get the idea, right?)
All the different segments/plastic bags are kept in the same bin, with the pattern or picture at the top, so I could literally grab a bin & start working!
This became especially helpful for various mystery quilts like Scrapitude where you only received one clue a month.
Then when a quilt top is completely pieced, I sew the binding & the backing & place them in the “to be quilted” pile.  Then I go through the remaining fabric and decide what will be put back in fabric bins & what will be cut down into scraps.  Then the bin is empty to be used for the next project!!
So this is the system that works for me, I hope you can take pieces of it & tweak it into something that works for you!  Do you have another system?  I’d love to hear how you keep track of your WIPs!

Tuesday Tip! Cleaning Your Iron

Tuesday Tip!  Cleaning Your Iron with Ormondbeachquilts.com
I recently noticed my wonderful Rowenta iron was in need of a good clean….

While I do try to treat this iron well & I don’t purposefully get it gunky, over the years there’s been a build up of wonder under residue, some t-shirt quilt adventures, and starch (I *really* love my starch!).

I’ve tried the various frugal methods out there to include: windex (that was so bad I actually thought I might have ruined the iron!) and the dryer softener sheets (made it worse & then I had more gunk to wipe off), but none really cleaned the iron plate.

I decided to actually buy an iron cleaner from the store (gasp!  I typically don’t buy things like this!) & after balking at the price (over $7 in my part of the country!) I was able to find it (specifically “Dritz Iron-Off Hot Iron Cleaner) at a box craft store where I could use a coupon.

I was hesitant (had I just bought another chemical that wouldn’t do anything?), but in the end it worked so well, I can’t believe I spent all that time with the other methods.

The directions were easy:
1. Turn off steam & set iron to High heat
2. Put a dollop of the iron cleaner on a rag (I used an old towel)
3. Iron over the goo on the towel in a circular motion, until all the goo has been ironed into the towel
4. Check the iron to see if you need to repeat the process

Now my iron was really bad, so I had to do this about 3 times, but wow did it come out all nice & shiny!  It now literally glides over the fabric!!

In the end I want to say this tip isn’t about this particular brand of iron cleaner- I just wanted to share how well it worked for me.  It doesn’t actually matter how you clean your iron (I’d be sure to check with your manufacturer first about their recommended cleaning processes though) just that you keep your iron clean so it will last & not damage or leave marks on your projects.

There are many ways to clean an iron out there, I’d love to hear what’s worked for you!

Tuesday Tip! Keep Your Rulers from Shifting

Has this ever happened to you?  You’re going along, cutting all your fabric pieces & then suddenly your ruler has shifted & you realized you’ve made a crooked cut like this?


I’ve tried the sandpaper dots on the backs of rulers, but I don’t like them on “regular rulers” as I feel their opaqueness prevents me from accuracy.

I’ve tried the plastic dots, but I felt they lifted the ruler too high & sometimes the ruler would shift.

I’ve tried the plastic sheets you place to the back, but they were difficult for me to afix them (think of a bad duct tape experience….)

So when I found this technique!  I couldn’t believe how wonderfully simple it was!

Take a 2″x2″ or so piece of non-adhesive plastic shelving liner:

shifting 2

And place it under your ruler:

shifting 3 final
I love this because:
1. Since it’s not permanent, it doesn’t interfere with any markings on the ruler
2. I can use 1 for several rulers instead of buying enough for every ruler

Tuesday Tip! How to Keep from Losing your Tools at Classes

I’m very excited to bring back the Tuesday Tip!

Have you ever been to a class or sew-in or retreat & at when cleaning up to go home, you can’t find your rotary cutter or scissors?

This happens to me all the time!  Somehow it made it’s way to the community cutting table or even someone else’s sewing station!

I used to put my initials on the cutter with “permanent” marker, before I learned it would eventually rub off the plastic handle.

Now I use a beaded fob on the end to avoid any confusion.  I received mine as a retreat gift, but I’ve seen cute ones at LQS’s.  If you can’t find a fob, or if you need one right now for the class you’re going to in 10 minutes, you can take a scrap piece of fabric & knot that around the end!

Happy Sewing!