Tips and Techniques Directory
Answers to your questions by members of our guild.
2000 and before --assembled by Lisa Rice
2003 -- assembled by Marcy Abernathy
Double your thread rack capacity and other hints
from the January 2003 Quilt Chatter, newsletter of the RHQG
Marking utensils for hand quilting?
from the February 2000 Quilt Chatter, newsletter of the RHQG
How do you baste for quilting?
from the March 2000 Quilt Chatter, newsletter of the RHQG
What is your favorite method of hand applique?
from the April 2000 Quilt Chatter, newsletter of the RHQG
What is your favorite tip?
from the May 2000 Quilt Chatter, newsletter of the RHQG
What is your favorite tip? Part 2
from the August 2000 Quilt Chatter, newsletter of the RHQG
Double your thread rack capacity

Slip a plastic drinking staw over the thread holder dowels. Slip as many spools as the straw can hold (usually about two large spools). Cut off the excess straw.

For a wedding quilt, scan the wedding invitation to print out a label for the back of a quilt. Add your name and date.

When ready to put down your hand quilting for the day, thread your needle and put it in the quilt. You'll be ready to go on quilting when you have few mintues. Sometimes just having the needle threaded is an extra incentive to quilt a bit. Surprising how many blocks you get quilted with just a half hour here and there.

Have trouble threading your machine? Hold a small piece of white paper behind the needle. It makes it esaier to see the hole where you need to put the thread.

What is your preferred marking utensil for hand quilting?

Kay K.
"I last used Roxanne's Quilters Choice. I liked it well and I've used the Ultimate Marking Pencil which uses a super thin lead (it's a mechanical pencil with lead that you replace). I don't like the yellow pencils...they didn't wash out."

Kathy W.
I'm still looking for the perfect marking pencil, but I've used the Ultimate Marking Pencil and Quilters Choice by Roxanne and liked them both fine."

Karen G.
"I use the Hera Marker often for straight lines. It's plastic and creases the fabric. I like 1/4 " masking tape, too, but I don't like to leave it on more than a day, it could leave a residue. I really like the Quilters Choice by Roxanne, too! I'm totally against the chemical kind that claims to evaporate on its own. They seep into your batting and backing and ruin your quilt."

Betty B.
"I often use a chalk wheel by Clover. I also like to use a graphite paper called Sarai. I've picked itup at Wal-Mart and Hancock's. I once tried a wash-out brand, but I accidentally hit it with an iron and it heat set."

Monica L.
"Sometimes I use a lead pencil and I never use the evaporate kind...they disappear too quick,"

Mary K. R.
"I'm afraid of the water soluble kinds. I used one once on a wallhanging and it kept coming back. I like to use a white soap sliver on dark fabrics. I aslo like the Ultimate Marking Pencil, which is mechanical, but I use a real light touch on anything I'm marking!"

How do you baste for quilting?

Agatha H.
"I use brass safety pins and tape the backing to my dining room table, then I start in the middle and work my way out,"

Joceylyn K.
"If I'm making a wall hanging and I'm hand quilting it, then I tape the backing to the table or floor. I use a curved sewing needle to baste large basting stitches. If I'm machine quilting, then I use curved safety pins, starting corner to corner then working side to side and in between."

Nancy K.
"I use safety pins. One day I ranout so I used a needle and thread to make large basting stitches."

Nancy R.
"I like the basting guns. I really don't feel like it left very large holes in my quilt. There are special little clippers that I wish I owned though, because I'm a little worried that I might accidentally clip my quilt removing the tabs. I also don't use the grid, but I wish I had it. I go in the top and right back out the top so the end tabs are both on top of my quilt. I feel this makes it tighter since I use thin batting."

Nancy P.
"First I tap my cotton backing to the legs of my 4 x 8 foot table, then I sue #1 size safety pins to pin baste using the handy tool to close the pins. I don't like basting guns because I think they leave big holes. I have used the spray on a couple of small wallhangings that I haven't washed. liked it real well, but you have to spray them outside because of the forms."

Diana L.
"I use quilting thread and a needle to baste. I thought the quilting thread would come out easier."

What is your favorite method of hand applique?

Karen G.
"I like freezer paper on top because when you trace your pattern they are exactly as you traced them, not in reverse. There's no pulling paper out from underneath and placement is extremely easy. For major plaement I use a master pattern, usually on freezer paper, under the fabric. For circles, I make templates using the subscription cards in magazines. I rarely mark anything on my background fabric?

Madeline G.
"I like Templar. It's a plastic that's heat resistant. You brush spray starch on the fabric, iron it over the Templar template, and have a perfect piece to applique. I use 60 weight Mettler machine embroidery thread and John James straw needles, size 11."

Judy R.
"I like freezer paper on top method. I put my pattern on pattern tracer. It's like interfacing that you can see through and verylight weight. I baste that along the side of the block, and then I position my applique piece according to that. I don't mark on my background fabric at all. My favorite thread is 60 weight Mettler embroidery thread and my favorite needle is #12 Clover quilting needle or #12 applique needle. The SEMO quilt hooked me on applique"

Mary K. R.
"I like needle-turn best. I put my pattern on freezer paper, then iron freezer paper on top tracing around it. Then I cut out pieces using an 1/8 or 3/16 inch seam allowance. My favorite thread is Mettler 60/2 weight embroidery or 100 weight silk in a neutral color. My favorite needle is Milliners size 10 or 11."

Beverly S.
I needle-turn using 100 weight silk thread. I use a 10 or 11 Milliner's needle. I use freezer paper. I took a class once using contact paper. I tried the lcear and it worked but left a sticky residue. I haven't tried washing it out yet."

Lynn T.
"I use freezer paper on top, turnign under as I go. I mark a line where it's going to go on the background fabric. I use a Straw #11 needle and cotton covered polyester by Coats & Clark. I recently read about and tried a new method that uses no background fabric... I liked it real well, but I can't remember who wrote the article."

What is your favorite tip?

Jane S.
"When your under-hand fingers get sore from being pricked just one time too often, try using 3M electrical tape on your finger. Try to find the very thinnest (not black). It will be stretchy and mold easily to your finger. You'll be able to quilt for hours, still feel the needles, and your fingers will not be sore at the end of your quilting session."

Dorothy B.
"Safeguard bar soap takes odors out of fabric. Just take an unwrapped bar of Safeguard and keep it anywhere you want rid of an odor. Only Safeguard will work, though.

Betty C.
"Downy fabric softener sheets take the old musty odor out of your featherweight machines. Also, when trying to thread a needle, try moistening the eye of the needle instead of the thread. It works!

Merle D.
"I use the double size cereal boxes, like the ones you buy at Sam's Wholesale Club, to store my magazines in. I cut the sides about 1/2 or 1/4 of the way down on the two long sides, then I cover them with contact paper. The double size boxes are sturdier."

Lisa R.
"I use new white pizza boxes to store my unfinished quiltss in progress. They keep me from having to fold my blocks up, I can stack them up high,and I label them, too. They only cost 35 cents. I'm sad to say I have about 15 stacked up already...oh dear."

Phyllis H.
"I use Whisk laundry detergent to get any stain, even rust or blood from my quilts. Also I cut a little triangle off the corner of my fabric before washing it. It keeps it from tangling and fraying and I know it's been washed."

What is your favorite tip? Part 2

Debra R.
"I carry a plastic container with a hinged lid and a handle around the house with me to add pieces to blocks, lor just something I'm working on at the time. It's very handy.

Vonda S.
"I store my instruction books and magazines in milk crates. To store my block-of-the-month patterns, I use a 3-hole punch on the left side of a 9 x 12 inch manilla envelope. I keep the top flap on it, and store them in a 3-ring binder. I glue a picture on it, or if one is not available, I simply label the envelope."

Laura H.

    "This tip allows you to avoid tying knots when doing handwork. Follow these simple directions: (for when you're using two strands only)
  1. Cut about 18" of thread.
  2. Fold in half and put the 2 ends through the eye.
  3. Pull through 2" or so.
  4. Stick needle through fabric from the wrong side up.
  5. Stick needle down where the 1st stitch should be.
  6. Put needle through the loop, pulling snugly."

Dottie W.
"I buy extra fabric when making a project, then Cut the left-over fabric into 2 1/2", 4", and 5" squares. I then store them in large ziplock baggies that I have labeled with the size. This saves valuable time later."

Caroline T.
"When machine sewing, to keep my bobbins separated, as to thread type, I use this simple idea. I wind all of metal bobbins with cotton thread and all other types of thread go on plastic."

Linda R.
"I carry the Quilters Companion in my car, so when my husband and I are out driving and happen upon an area I'm not familiar with, I can look up any quilt shops in the area. Then I rate the shop by writing good, so-so, or poor so if I find myself in the area again, I can see if it's worth returning to that shop."


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Jeanne Rae Crafts

Copyright River Heritage Quilt Guild

Last modified January 2003