Today I'm introducing something new called Five Friday Favorites.
Each Friday in 2016 I'll be sharing some of my favorite things. Each week will have a different theme. I've already brainstormed the list - it was surprisingly easy to come up with 52 different themes....and to be honest, I'm really excited about sharing some of them.
For this first week of my Five Friday Favorites, I'm sharing five of my favorite quilting tips and tricks. These are all things that I use and love. And these are in no particular order -
#1: Yardage Cheat Sheet
I keep one of these handy charts on my desk next to my computer, and another on a cork board by my cutting area. I refer to them often, especially when I'm shopping for fabric for another quilt. In fact, I think I'll print one more to keep in my wallet so I'll have one with me at the store!
The charts that I've been using for years are so boring and plain, so I decided to make some prettier ones for you all. There are 8 different designs (4 on a page). You can download and print them from here, or just click on the one you want to print, right click to save to your computer. Then find the saved file and print from there. (Please only use these for your personal use.)
I love my Machingers gloves. They do a great job of gripping the fabric when I'm free motion quilting (FMQ), and it eases the strain on my forearm muscles. I also use Machingers when I'm stitching the binding on a quilt - I keep just the left hand glove on so it can more easily manipulate the huge quilt. I know there are other glove options out there - in fact a friend of mine just uses (clean & unused) gardening gloves. Any glove that fits snugly and has some sort of grippy texture on the fingers will work! You can read more about quilting gloves here, and here.
#3: Really Fast HSTs with a Seam Guide Template
Several months ago I bought this Quilt In A Day Sew Straight template, unsure of just how much I'd actually use it. But after the first time using it on a huge stack of half square triangles, I'm sold! It was fabulous to not have to sit and mark each HST with a pencil- so much faster with the seam guide! The template is quick and easy to install on your machine (comes with instructions and little sticky dots.) The template can be easily removed and stored away if you don't want to keep it on all the time. The package also has full color photos showing all of the different ways you can use this seam guide - super handy!
#4: Glue Basting
Glue basting has been around for awhile now, but I didn't give it a try until recently. People glue baste all kinds of things in the quilting world. But my favorite right now is to glue baste my binding. I've also been doing more of it with one of the English Paper Piecing (EPP) projects I've been working on. You can read more about glue basting a binding here on the Craftsy blog, here on Diary of a Quilter, and here on Purple Daisies Quilting, and watch a youtube tutorial of it here.
#5: Storing Quilt Bindings
I like to make my quilt bindings right after I get the quilt top completed. Sometimes that means that the binding sits and waits for quite awhile before being sewn on to the quilt. I used to roll my bindings up and stack them on a shelf all pretty like. It looked nice, but took awhile to roll, and also took up valuable shelf space. So instead, I installed a hanging rod in my closet and I now just loop the binding over a hanger and there it stays until needed. It's out of the way, but still in plain sight so the binding is easy to find.
So there you go! Five of my current favorite sewing tricks and tips. Hope you have a great weekend, and I'll be back on Monday with a giveaway of one of my favorite quilt books!