Snow day…

As you read this, I may or may not be in the office.

Snow-Day

While it was sunny and beautiful outside Thursday morning, there was a thin layer of ice under that snow so the roads are still a mess and probably won’t be clear until late Friday morning.  The good news is that this kind of day let’s me catch up on a few things – like my mail.

This book arrived last week and I finally had a chance to linger over every single beautiful page.

Quilt-Lovely

If you like scrap quilts, you’ll love this book.  It’s simple – the book is that good.

I can also get to some of your questions from the Tip Jar.

After I shared the tip about using fusible thread for bindings, a friend asked me if I was really going to do that for all my bindings.  No.  I think it’s a cool trick, and I know there will be times – like right before Market – when I will need a binding to look “finished” so it can be hung.  The fusible thread is perfect for that – as is glue-basting, another trick I like and use.  So I’ll still use my beloved binding clips, but I’m happy to know about this method.  It’s a great tool for my “toolbox”.

To answer two questions – no, the fusible thread doesn’t leave a hard edge on the binding.  The folded edge that you’ll be stitching down isn’t adhered to anything.  Only the underside of the fabric directly over the seam allowance is fused.  In that respect, I prefer the fusible thread method to glue-basting as that can sometimes leave the edge hard, especially if you I’ve had a heavy-hand with the glue.

And the method will work with bindings made with strips cut at 2 1/2″.  There will be a little more of the binding that isn’t fused but the thread is only there to hold the binding in place for stitching.

Cleaning your rulers – yes, you should be doing that.  Think about anything you handle all the time… like maybe your cellphone.  How often do you wipe off the fingerprints, grime and oil?  While you don’t see it on your ruler, it’s still there.  There will also be build-up on the underside from your hands, as well as any sizing or starch, soap residue for the pre-washers, and whatever is used to finish fabrics at the mill.  So every three or four months, I use glass cleaner to clean both sides of all the rulers I use regularly.  I also remove and replace any tape, sticky dots or whatever on the underside.  (Just so you know, I don’t do windows.)

Rulers

I think you’ll be surprised that you will start seeing a difference – seeing being an operative word.  It’s like changing the needle on your sewing machine, it doesn’t take long before you notice the difference.

You are changing your sewing machine needles regularly, right?

Do I use the lines on my cutting mat to align my fabric?  Nope.  I know a lot of people who do with great success but I got better results using just the ruler, maybe because that’s how I learned… back in the olden-days before rotary mats had lines.  Old dog, old tricks.  (And the lines aren’t showing on my mat because I’m using the “wrong side” until it’s used-enough to need replacement.)

While on the subject of cutting mats, yes, you should soak your mat every so often to keep it moisturized – flexible.  Full disclosure – I’m not good about doing this.  Meaning, I think I’ve done tried it twice in twenty years.  I didn’t have a bathtub big enough and I didn’t have much success trying to use a kids’ wading pool.  As soon as I started filling the pool, Rosie climbed in because surely it was being done for her enjoyment.  The best information I’ve found on caring for your rotary cutting mat can be found here.

Tearing fabric?  Absolutely!  In fact, we’re working on the pattern for a quilt kit coming later this year that will require the border strips to be torn.  It’s simple – a good quality quilting fabric will tear well without much loss on the edges.  The higher the thread count, the better it tears.  I know it bothers some quilters to do it but I’ve never had any problems.  So I let her rip!

Snow day / sew day?  Maybe just a tiny bit.  I worked on some log cabin blocks last night – they’re for a Log Cabin book I’m contributing to that comes out next year – and I have plans to sew this weekend.  After I finish that quilt top, I’ll get back to these…

Progress-Collage

No. 1.  I only need a few more of the triangles for my pink and yellow strip project so these will probably be first.

No. 2.  I haven’t made any progress with my Repro Stars but I did get enough pieces cut for another 20 blocks.  I’m now officially behind – big surprise – so I’ll try to get caught up this week.

No. 3 and No. 4… I started a new project using Gardenvale and Bella Solids in Fog and Maize.  If you’re wondering why the Gardenvale squares are hanging, I decided to try something Lisa Bongean showed on her blog.  Instead of spraying the fabric with sizing/starch and pressing it dry, the fabric is sprayed and then left to dry.  Then it’s pressed flat with steam.  Genius.

I had the clippy-things from years ago and while they’re working well, I’m going to try using a couple of Command hooks to hang a clothesline over the bathtub so I can do more than one Layer Cake at a time.  I’ll let you know how that works.  I’m also going to need more starch.

Are the roads clear yet?

(Have a good, safe weekend wherever you are!)

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