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  Do you have an unconventional sewing/craft tip?
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Picture of KC_1930
posted
I see a lot of newbies on the boards--including me! Smile

Let's post some of our unconventional sewing tips here. Include a photo if you can.

Here's mine. Save your plastic closures from your bakery bags and with a Sharpie mark your tags with row numbers. These are great to place on the top block and pin on using the center slot. It's amazing how quickly you can collect enough for a large quilt!


http://hexagonswap.blogspot.com/

Formally known as KC1930
Original beginning date of February 9, 2008 with a total of 9,224 posts


 
Posts: 200 | Registered: Mar 28, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That is such a good idea!
This is a silly one - one I didn't come up with but use often. To put a hole in a new regular sized spool of thread, use a pencil. Just push it into the center and you get a perfect sized hole! Silly, but useful?!!
Susan
 
Posts: 746 | Location: West Central Ohio, USA | Registered: Dec 28, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I store my broken needles, pins, etc. in a used medicine bottle. When it fills up I simply throw away the whole bottle.


Nicki





 
Posts: 8533 | Location: Texas / Zone 9 | Registered: Sep 18, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of StarrySky
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The pencil/scissors point in the spool hole also keeps the label from coming off so you can see the color number later.

My newest trick is to pre-sew a line of stitching inside the seam allowance of an opening, whenever you have a pattern that has you sew & then turn right side out. If you run some stitching where you have to turn the seam allowance in later, it helps stabilize that area, it gives you a folding guide, and it reminds you not to sew the rest of the seam through that area, so you don't sew something completely shut when it's inside out.

Just run a line of straight stitches in the seam allowance first, maybe 1/8" away from where you'll fold later. You can use whatever color thread because it won't show. You don't even need to back stitch because that area will be inside the finished project.

Particularly helpful if what you're turning right side out has a slightly curved shape. You really need a seam tucking/folding guide then.
 
Posts: 6174 | Location: About 28,000 Light Years From Galactic Center | Registered: Jul 23, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here's something I found out when I ironed Wonder-Under onto the RIGHT side of fabric. I managed to get it off by putting aluminum foil over it and ironing the foil. Amazingly enough, the sticky stuff came off on the foil and I was able to use the piece of fabric. In a few spots I needed to iron it again, but it all came off.

I searched the internet and even emailed Pellon to see how to remove it (Pellon said you couldn't remove it.) Nothing worked except the foil. Don't remember if I put shiny side down, but I think I did.


Ruth Ann
 
Posts: 1635 | Location: MA | Registered: Sep 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Handie Ann
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Use your bread bag tags to mark your cords for your sewing machines, foot controls, lamps and ironing cords. where you have them pluged into your serge protectors. That way you know what cord to unplug when you need to. Put your name on one side so when you take your machine to a class your cords are marked.


Handie Ann
 
Posts: 3612 | Location: Des Moines, Wa. USA | Registered: Jan 05, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Use those freebie address labels to label your cords and supplies (& phones & chargers) when going to retreats or classes.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: toryam,






 
Posts: 4179 | Location: Meridian, Mississippi | Registered: Aug 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have to hem a lot of jeans for my family and I often use a "mash" hammer to flatten that really, really thick seam so it will fit under the sewing foot.


Sometimes I laugh so hard tears run down my leg! Lois
 
Posts: 2290 | Location: sunny Florida | Registered: Aug 19, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of KC_1930
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I store all my needle packages in a weekly medication holder by needle size/type.

It makes it easier for me see if I need to purchase more when a sale is on.


http://hexagonswap.blogspot.com/

Formally known as KC1930
Original beginning date of February 9, 2008 with a total of 9,224 posts


 
Posts: 200 | Registered: Mar 28, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I found this template for scrapbooking and use mine for templates for quilt labels and marking quilts.


http://hexagonswap.blogspot.com/

Formally known as KC1930
Original beginning date of February 9, 2008 with a total of 9,224 posts


 
Posts: 200 | Registered: Mar 28, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This is plastic tubing (I believe 3/8" wide). I got mine from Home Depot in a 25 yd. bag for $6.99 a few years back.

Cut it into 1/4" or so widths and make a cut on one side. These are perfect to put on your bobbins--much better than those pesky knitted ones that you cannot see through!

This package will give you TONS of covers--be prepared to share with your other quilting friends.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: KC_1930,


http://hexagonswap.blogspot.com/

Formally known as KC1930
Original beginning date of February 9, 2008 with a total of 9,224 posts


 
Posts: 200 | Registered: Mar 28, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I was using glue and Fray check this weekend and ended up using several pins to keep the holes open. Duh! I taped them on the bottle to save for the NEXT use.

P.S. Usually, I save my bent pins for this so not to waste good pins.


http://hexagonswap.blogspot.com/

Formally known as KC1930
Original beginning date of February 9, 2008 with a total of 9,224 posts


 
Posts: 200 | Registered: Mar 28, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Instead of buying those expensive rolls of pre-printed quilting paper, try using adding machine tape! I take a 2' length of tape and using a template mark my lines. I then cut about three more pieces of the same length of paper and pin together. Using a non-threaded long stitch, I sew over the marked lines.

Place the ready pieces on the quilt and stitch away! Remember to always use a smaller stitch so you can remove the paper easily.


http://hexagonswap.blogspot.com/

Formally known as KC1930
Original beginning date of February 9, 2008 with a total of 9,224 posts


 
Posts: 200 | Registered: Mar 28, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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On the same premise, try regular white tissue paper! Cut tissue paper into piles of four and mark. Sew as before and pin on your quilt.


http://hexagonswap.blogspot.com/

Formally known as KC1930
Original beginning date of February 9, 2008 with a total of 9,224 posts


 
Posts: 200 | Registered: Mar 28, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Who says candy is bad for you? Empty M & M containers are great for your bobbins for taking to classes or just for your current applique project!


http://hexagonswap.blogspot.com/

Formally known as KC1930
Original beginning date of February 9, 2008 with a total of 9,224 posts


 
Posts: 200 | Registered: Mar 28, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Frustrated by running out of bobbin thread right in the middle of a special quilting project or while decorative stitching?

Try making sets of thread bobbins to use for top and bottom threads. Since they will run out at the same time, just watch the thread level on the top and you will never run short again!


http://hexagonswap.blogspot.com/

Formally known as KC1930
Original beginning date of February 9, 2008 with a total of 9,224 posts


 
Posts: 200 | Registered: Mar 28, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I wanted to quilt a flower design onto something one time, so I made petals out of template plastic, a little smaller than my desired quilted design. I stuck the plastic petals to the fabric with blue painter's tape & sewed around them. Kept the stitches just a hair or two away from the plastic so I could reuse the pieces. No marking the quilt beforehand & no marks to remove after!

Also, I'll sometimes make templates out of poster board or even foam core board, if I'm cutting out the same pattern piece over & over. To use the patterns with my rotary cutter, I make the pieces 1/4" smaller all around. Then I (blue painter) tape the pattern piece to the fabric, lay my acrylic ruler 1/4" outside the edge of the pattern piece, and cut with the rotary cutter. Of course, I mark in BIG BOLD letters on the pattern pieces that I need to add that 1/4" all around! But it works -- cheap template that can be used over & over without slicing into it.

To further protect the pattern piece, I'll tape large squares of blue painter's tape to the back, and then tape the rolled-up pieces of painter's tape onto those squares, for when I stick my pattern to the fabric. If you try to remove blue painter's tape from poster board or foam core board, you'll peel off layers. But if you stick your tape onto TAPED areas.....

Save plastic from grocery store salad greens containers - the flat lids -- use it in the sewing room for tracing or templates or whatever. I've used the white semi-clear plastic lids from peanut cans, too (Planters uses blue, but my store brand peanuts use white).

And one last thing I learned today: Pre-shrink your freezer paper! It supposedly shrinks in one direction when ironed. I did not know that & had never noticed! But I've been doing it for ages with my paper-piecing paper, because it can draw up & distort your patterns, too.
 
Posts: 6174 | Location: About 28,000 Light Years From Galactic Center | Registered: Jul 23, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of pinecone476
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quote:
Originally posted by KC_1930:
I store all my needle packages in a weekly medication holder by needle size/type...


I use one of those (maybe a bit larger) to keep wound bobbins in. Perfect for my traveling bag, it holds 4 bobbins in each section. BTW, KC, fingernail polish remover takes the blue letters off!

piney
 
Posts: 3245 | Location: New England, U.S.A. | Registered: May 21, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of royalboomer
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I use an Altoid's tin (empty) to put old rotary cutter blades and used needles - I tape it shut when I'm ready to start a new one with labeled tape DON'T OPEN - USED BLADES AND NEEDLES!!!!

I found it easier to do this so I only had one container as well as it is easier for me to open to dispose of them than with the "childproof" caps on the other bottles. The arthritis in my hands and fingers don't like them at all but my brain can't seem to remember to screw the top on without the childproof side down. Smile (Unfortunately that's not the only thing my brain doesn't remember.....)
 
Posts: 6711 | Location: Great Midwest | Registered: Oct 29, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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CraftyRad, great tip to remember. I'm going to keep a square of aluminum foil with my Wonder Under to remind me what to do when this happens to me(and it is bound to happen to me - again Smile).

When I take a class it usually surprises people when I take out two rubber wedgie doorstops. I put them in the back of the machine to tilt it forward slightly. It gives me a better view of the sewing machine bed. This is a tip for us shorties.

I keep package sealing tape nearby to swipe off the strings from the cutting mat. And I roll it inside out around my fingers to pick up loose threads on the back of the top. I can clean up the areas between seams without fraying more threads from the edges.
 
Posts: 4494 | Location: Maryland | Registered: Jun 14, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by pinecone476:
quote:
Originally posted by KC_1930:
I store all my needle packages in a weekly medication holder by needle size/type...


I use one of those (maybe a bit larger) to keep wound bobbins in. Perfect for my traveling bag, it holds 4 bobbins in each section. BTW, KC, fingernail polish remover takes the blue letters off!

piney

Oh wow, this is perfect timing. I almost bought an overpriced bobbin holder last week, but didn't think it was worth the money. I was looking for something to hold my bobbins and I have an unused medicine box just like the one you showed. I think I just had a "Duh!" moment.Big Grin
 
Posts: 4494 | Location: Maryland | Registered: Jun 14, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The foam toe separaters you get when you have a pedicures holds 4 filled bobbins. Nice to be able to see what color is in the bobbin. I put my separaters in a small vase on my sewing table.
 
Posts: 539 | Registered: Nov 30, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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● ● ● Starry, have you ever thought to make your templates out of freezer paper? Then you can iron it in place and reuse numerous times.




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Posts: 9829 | Location: SE Wisconsin | Registered: Aug 27, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Pizza boxes! If your local pizza place will give you a clean box it will hold you BOM blocks nicely. I did a BOM years ago that had 15" blocks & they are still sitting pretty in a large pizza box Wink
Lots cheaper than those plastic art bins or craft boxes.
 
Posts: 4732 | Registered: Apr 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Several good ideas here and some I use.

I keep my used needles in the plastic medicine bottles but I have three of them. One is for the needles or pins that get bent or broken. One is for the needles that need resharpening. And the third one is for the needles that have been resharpened. The lids are marked.

I use an emery file and run the dull needles across it a couple of times to get a new point. Just cuz it's dull doesn't mean it has to be thrown out.

There are two containers for my rotary blades. One for those that need resharpening, one for those that have been resharpened.

I keep a box of alcohol wipes in my notions unit to clean any glue on my needles from the fusible webbing used with appliques.

Baby ponytail holders keep my bobbins neat. Like the plastic tubing idea, too.

A small plastic water bottle with a slit in the lid, keeps my elastics neat and easy to use. You can do similar with ribbons or bindings.

Crafty Shauna got me using an old coffee mug to hold my large spools of thread stable.

Velcro attached to my machine and the bottom of a pin cushion keeps that object handy to use while sewing.

A small nuts and bolts unit (from the hardware store) with about 20 drawers is where I store all my buttons.

To do gathering of fabric, I use a light weight fishing line and zig zag stitch over it instead of doing the thread pulling thingy. Knots on the starting end and held in place with a pin.

A rubber finger, normally used in an office where someone handles a lot of papers is a good thimble, needle gripper/pusher. Learned that from a carpet installer.

Cotton gloves with little dots of fabric paint on them make good FMQ gloves. You can pick up a package of several gloves at the DIY store for tuppence.

A jar with dried peas or beans makes a great pencil, etc. holder.

That's all I can think of at the moment.

Here's one that has nothing to do with sewing....buy an extra set of measuring cups and keep them in your pantry staples, like flour or sugar. They make great scoops and you'll always have a measuring cup when you need it. I mix my own hot chocolate and keep the 1/3 cup measure in there since that's what it takes to make the hot chocolate.
 
Posts: 6073 | Registered: Aug 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of StarrySky
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quote:
Originally posted by jayardi:
● ● ● Starry, have you ever thought to make your templates out of freezer paper? Then you can iron it in place and reuse numerous times.


Yes, but my iron & ironing board live in another room on another level of the house...my painter's tape & template plastic are within reach of my sewing chair. Easier to tape something down than run to the iron all the time, although that is how I get my exercise when sewing things that absolutely need to be pressed between steps.
 
Posts: 6174 | Location: About 28,000 Light Years From Galactic Center | Registered: Jul 23, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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All great ideas, ladies...keep em' coming! Big Grin


http://hexagonswap.blogspot.com/

Formally known as KC1930
Original beginning date of February 9, 2008 with a total of 9,224 posts
 
Posts: 200 | Registered: Mar 28, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Great Ideas...can't wait to try them out. This is a super topic for us newbies...
Cathy
 
Posts: 38 | Registered: Mar 04, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Florida Farm Girl
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I do believe its time to start saving a list of all these tips! Thanks, ladies. Some I knew of already, but some I never gave a thought to.


www.floridafarmgirlsworld.blogspot.com


Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
 
Posts: 6853 | Location: north Georgia mountains  | Registered: Dec 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here's another for those of you who do handwork on the road...

This is a suctioned-cup soap/sponge holder. You'll find these in plastic or metal at the dollar store, home store and even at home improvement stores!

Just place on your passenger side window and store your scissors, thread, etc.


http://hexagonswap.blogspot.com/

Formally known as KC1930
Original beginning date of February 9, 2008 with a total of 9,224 posts


 
Posts: 200 | Registered: Mar 28, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I generally sew everything with neutral color threads. So I use white on top and ecru in the bobbin so when I have to do any ripping out I can tell which is the bobbin thread. I have always found that one to be easier to pick out.
 
Posts: 545 | Location: Maryland | Registered: Oct 01, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Such terrific tips! Thanks to everyone. I keep my binding clips pinched to one of the curtains in my studio. They're easy to find and when I need them, I can grab one at a time.

I also use the clear tubing to keep bobbin threads neat.

I rescued a rolling office chair from the trash pile and removed the seat (actually DH and kids did with a sledge hammer and brute force). Then added a vertical piece of PVC to the wheel base. It holds a roll of batting nicely and rolls out of the way when I don't need it.
 
Posts: 3678 | Location: North Alabama | Registered: Dec 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don't have carpet in my sewing room any more, but back when I did every thread showed up - of course! After a short sewing project I did not want to break out the vacuum - I'm lazy. Instead, I wound wide masking tape - cheap stuff - sticky side out around my feet. Both of them. Turned the radio on and danced. Big Grin No one else was watching so why not?!

Disclosure: Knowing how to tap dance is not necessary. Wink Just have fun!
 
Posts: 17431 | Location: Daingerfield, TX | Registered: Feb 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I haven't done this yet, I just read about it online...instead of buying the expensive template plastic - they used overhead transparency film. You can get a box at Walmart or office stores. (I don't know how much box cost, but it sounded good.)
 
Posts: 3321 | Location: Virginia Beach, VA USA | Registered: Apr 03, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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...I cannot resist the throw away chop sticks from restauants .. I sharpen them for pointers for turning, for holding a small piece of fabric or end of the seam in place when my fat finger gets in the way, they hold bobbins standing in a cup, a hair wrap thingy around the bottom end of the shop stick, and I can see the colors I'm working with and not have to keep digging in the drawer, and recently substituted them for knitting needles - sharpened them and then used candle wax to make them sliver free and very mooth..
I use the sleeve/cuff cut from sweat shirts over my large thread spools to keep them clean when sitting out.


I cannot change 'things', but I can change how I feel about them. Me.

Wounded Warrior Project
www.woundedwarriorproject.org

 
Posts: 9146 | Location: Inland Empire, CA | Registered: Mar 03, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have carpet in my sewing room and to pick up threads I use a clean toilet brush from the dollar store. Use this under my long arm also. That carpet is short nap carpet tiles, but it still works.

I use an ice cube tray, also from the dollar store, to hold bobbins at my machine while I am quilting.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: divechime,


Chris
 
Posts: 358 | Location: So. Calif | Registered: Jul 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Cre8tiv1 remined me that I have used old x-rays for templates. My DD is a Chiropractor & Massage Therapist & I've use her old x-rays after she cut the names off of the top of them. If you know a Chiropractor, Vet, Dr. you might ask for some old ones when they purge their files.


Nicki



 
Posts: 8533 | Location: Texas / Zone 9 | Registered: Sep 18, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Speaking of cleaning the rugs...

I use this child's rake and weave a 2" wide piece of quilt batting between the tines. This is perfect to pick up larger pieces and threads when sewing string blocks. Just "rake" away!


http://hexagonswap.blogspot.com/

Formally known as KC1930
Original beginning date of February 9, 2008 with a total of 9,224 posts


 
Posts: 200 | Registered: Mar 28, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I took a tube core from a roll of seal-a-meal, cut it into 3sections wrap tape around them. Now when I cut and fold my binding for my quilt I roll it around the tube core and when I sew the binding onto the quilt I have the binding setting on the right side of my machine on the stand alone thread spool holder and as I sew I just pull it off of the tube. It keeps it out of my way.


Handie Ann
 
Posts: 3612 | Location: Des Moines, Wa. USA | Registered: Jan 05, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have several of those nice Art Bins and they come with plastic dividers. They work very well for making templates - permanent markers work on the shiny side and the reverse side is ridged and really grips the fabric well when you're tracing around the template.


Sometimes I laugh so hard tears run down my leg! Lois
 
Posts: 2290 | Location: sunny Florida | Registered: Aug 19, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Handie Ann:
I took a tube core from a roll of seal-a-meal, cut it into 3sections wrap tape around them. Now when I cut and fold my binding for my quilt I roll it around the tube core and when I sew the binding onto the quilt I have the binding setting on the right side of my machine on the stand alone thread spool holder and as I sew I just pull it off of the tube. It keeps it out of my way.


LOL! I used to use an empty tp roll for my binding and put a string through it long enough to make a "binding necklace" to wear around my neck. Talk about classy! Big Grin HD, I like your idea much better...


http://hexagonswap.blogspot.com/

Formally known as KC1930
Original beginning date of February 9, 2008 with a total of 9,224 posts
 
Posts: 200 | Registered: Mar 28, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Before I do a lot of hand sewing, I use liquid bandage on my finger pads. It gives me just enough protection from the needle to prevent those accidential pokes. If you have a problem point, put several coats on that particular finger.


http://hexagonswap.blogspot.com/

Formally known as KC1930
Original beginning date of February 9, 2008 with a total of 9,224 posts


 
Posts: 200 | Registered: Mar 28, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I cut a little piece of Band-Aid to do the same thing as the liquid bandage. Band-Aid used to have gel bandages called "Advanced Healing" but now they use that term with some sort of blister bandage. Haven't tried those because I'm still working on my old boxes. But look for a bandage with a soft, flexible, & thick plastic adhesive area, then just cut a portion of that area for your finger. Especially useful if you can't stand wearing a thimble.
 
Posts: 6174 | Location: About 28,000 Light Years From Galactic Center | Registered: Jul 23, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I just used a pool noodle cut into 6 inch lengths as my "binding roller". I wrap my binding around it and wear it around my neck and let the binding just feed off. SO, SO much easier than fighting with all that twisting, curling binding if left loose.


www.floridafarmgirlsworld.blogspot.com


Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
 
Posts: 6853 | Location: north Georgia mountains  | Registered: Dec 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by SeeingStars:
I rescued a rolling office chair from the trash pile and removed the seat (actually DH and kids did with a sledge hammer and brute force). Then added a vertical piece of PVC to the wheel base. It holds a roll of batting nicely and rolls out of the way when I don't need it.


OMG Ilove this tip especially....on the hunt...


May
"In Michigan"
 
Posts: 10204 | Location: Michigan,up North,the west side of Perfect | Registered: Sep 14, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Gosh, I know I haven't been on the boards for several days, but this is on page 5.

Will our large and very talented group of ladies, I can't believe we don't have more tips to share--how about YOU?


http://hexagonswap.blogspot.com/

Formally known as KC1930
Original beginning date of February 9, 2008 with a total of 9,224 posts
 
Posts: 200 | Registered: Mar 28, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I was out shopping with DH at Bass Pro and they had this small plastic box (cheap) for holding lures. I bought one and came home and put my needle packages in it. They just fit and hold so many boxes and keeps them separated. A few days later I went there again and bought a few more and one for Sue. Now instead of looking all through the drawer, and wasting lots of time, I just take out my little box and can find just what I'm looking for. Love it.
Plano molding model # 3449.
The Schmetz type needles fit, but not the Klasse' they are too wide.

 
Posts: 8288 | Location: Kenosha Wi USA | Registered: Sep 29, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here are a few little other hints.
Whenever I have lots of little pieces cut for a project I use either binder clips or ziplock bags for storing them with a label saying what they are for, sizes cut, pattern name. That way everything is contained and I don't get things mixed up.
Another thing...I was looking around for a frame for a small flower wallhanging that I made and found a round embroidery hoop that Was in a long forgotten drawer. It worked perfectly.
 
Posts: 8288 | Location: Kenosha Wi USA | Registered: Sep 29, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That's how I store my needles as well - Joann's sells (or sold) the same kind of box. It amazed me how many needles I had of the same size because I had them all over the place and when they would go on sale I'd just buy more....
 
Posts: 6711 | Location: Great Midwest | Registered: Oct 29, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Great tips!
I use the little white or clear clips that come from the cleaners on DH's shirts. The cleaners use them to clip the long sleeves together. I use them for my binding in a quilt and I won't get stuck by a bunch of pins! I just fold the binding and stick a clip on and get in my recliner and sew it on. As I go along I have my container next to me and just slip them off and drop back in for next time.

PamSmile
 
Posts: 5914 | Location: Arkansas | Registered: Jan 18, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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