Friday, November 9, 2012

Hello Friday!

Quote for the Day:
"Weekends are a bit like rainbows; they look good from a distance 
but disappear when you get up close to them."
  ~John Shirley I had a question from my last post about what a "stiletto" had to do with quilting.  I'm here to answer that question for you, Miss Kristin.  (BTW, Miss Kristin is my niece!  Hi, Kristin!!)  

A "stiletto" is anything long enough with a point on the end of it and is used to help guide your fabric through the machine when there isn't enough room for your fingers.  In other words, if you just let go of your fabric when there isn't room for your fingers, the fabric may not continue to go completely straight, thus throwing off your "perfect scant 1/4" seam".  If your seam allowance isn't consistent, then your quilt won't lay flat and you will have "hills and valleys, puckers, etc., in your quilt.  Those do not make for a pretty quilt.  :(

In the past, I bought a package of wooden (bamboo, maybe?) skewers and had Andy chisel down the end to a point.  However, since they are thin, they tend to bend over time from the moisture and heat from your hand.  

This past weekend, the retreat coordinator, Maribeth, had two "gifts" for each of the attendees...a handmade metal and bead stiletto and a chicken pin cushion.

The stiletto is perfect because the point is smaller and can fit into tinier spaces than my one made from a skewer!  And isn't that pin cushion just the BOMB!  She is filled with crushed walnut shells to help sharpen your pins when you stick them in!  :)  I love her hot pink "comb" made from some sort of specialty yarn, I think!   For some reason she reminds me of the chickens that they used to have on The Muppet Show.  Remember those?

I also wanted to tell you about a trick that Bonnie showed me to find the elusive "perfect scant 1/4" seam".  She had a little tool/ruler called "Sewing Machine Seam Guide".   It is a little ruler with holes at 1/4" and every 1/8" up to 3/4".  You place it on your machine and you put the needle down through the hole that you want your seam allowance to my case, 1/4".  Then Bonnie took 3 layers of green masking tape and placed them along the edge of the ruler, thus making a mark for me to run my fabric along.

However, she took me to her machine and showed me how she had "upgraded" that and told me how to do the same when I got home.  So now I'm sharing it with you...

You need an old credit card, a rotary cutter with a dull blade (but I found just using scissors works, too...just not your GOOD sewing scissors!  LOL), and some double-sided mounting tape.

I had a credit card that had just expired, so I took a magnet and ran it along the black strip in back to demagnetize it.  I then cut off about 1" of the credit card and ran the part with the numbers through the shredder.

I put the needle of my sewing machine through the 1/4" hole of the little green "ruler" and then positioned the credit card along side of that ruler.  

After removing the green masking tape that Bonnie had put there, I applied the credit card strip to my machine using the double-sided mounting tape.  Now I have a raised surface to run my fabric along so that I can consistantly have the "perfect scant 1/4" seam" allowance in my quilts, making quilting faster because I don't have to do as much trimming to get blocks the right size!  

Here you can see how I ran the edge of the light green fabric right down the edge of the credit card to get the 1/4" seam.  AND...the point on my new metal stiletto is so tiny that it fits BETWEEN the credit card and the foot...see that little gap there?  That way I can feed triangles in at the top there, where sometimes the feed dogs like to "eat" points.  

How clever is that???  

Any other questions that I can answer for ya?  Just ask, and I'll try to answer them to the best of my ability!  :)



  1. Thanks - that was so informative!! I think that I NEED to cut up an old credit card right now!!!!!

    sao in Midlothian, VA

  2. Wonderful tips, thank you!