Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tips and Thoughts


Tip for the day Sometimes..things happen and you just want to slap yourself upside the head cause it took you so long to figure it out. In the process of changing a needle out on the sewing machine that broke, it occurred to me that it always worries me what to do with the bad needle. Being a diabetic taking insulin, part of the process is disposing of the used needles. At the time, following doctor instructions, I went to the local pharmacy, and for a mere 5 dollars, I purchased the bright red small plastic bucket with the lid that says danger all over it, to dispose of my needles. And as part of the deal, you save the box it came in, along with the label, and mail it in to a company that disposes of the needles as part of the service of buying the container. You may own the container for twenty years or for a year...but just knowing you have a place to put the pin and needles and other sharp objects you use in your projects and knowing that you can dispose of them if you have too, and no one should get hurt in the process.


I saw this tip in a sewing tips book years ago.  Thank you to whoever published the tip.  I am forever doing three or four projects during a time frame..and being able to put little notes or things that jog my memory on the project helps a lot.

I just take whatever leftover paper I have, cut it into tabs and throw in a bowl.  I have my paper punch in my sewing basket and I just make notes, attach to fabric and move on.



Sometime back in the '80's, I had heard of a 'Quilt Show' happening in a small town truly out in the middle of the Toolies.. so I went to it.  Finding the town was probably more exciting for me than the actual show..except for one quilt.  It was a crib blanket.  As I was walking around looking at the quilts on display and trying to understand how some real 'shoddy looking' pieces received a ribbon..I spotted this white blanket at the very back of the room ... with no ribbons on it.. I was intrigued to go look at it, because it was white.  No other color.  Nothing that would draw you to it..except that it stood out amongst the gaudiness and terrible examples of quilting.

When I got to the blanket, I saw that it was totally hand stitched in white thread.  The owner had done a meandering stitch and as I looked at it, I could see that she had maintained an almost even quarter inch space between the rows of stitch.  What blew me away was that she had sewn 9 stitches to the inch throughout the blanket.  My mind was reeling.  I had taken hand stitching classes and was proud that I could do 5 stitches to an inch; and this one had 9.

I found myself examining it in quite a bit of detail.  I was totally impressed with everything about it. I was so caught up in the blanket that one of the ladies from the show came over to see what was capturing my eye.  In chatting with her, I asked her why this piece hadn't received any ribbons, because I couldn't believe that the ones that received the ribbons were better than this piece.  (Keep in mind, I was still young and tactless.)   She asked if I had any questions about the blanket and I told her that I would love to talk to the person that made this piece to ask some questions about how they did certain things.  She admitted to being the maker of the quilt.  So we chatted for a good half hour.

My conversation with her taught me quite a few things.  She showed me several tips for sewing: from not knotting the thread when sewing, how to do cross-stitch without leaving the visible line of stopping and starting, holding the needle when 'in and outing' for running stitches, and etc...etc...etc..

What I truly learned is that your stitches matter.  

Your workmanship to the piece makes the piece functional (a work of art), or sitting in a drawer or hanging in the back of the closet (a piece of garbage that will get thrown out long before the material is wore out).


I am following the advice of Nancy Zimmerman in particular when it comes to this project.  

Have your material ready to work on and kept handy.  When you have an extra ten minutes or twenty minutes or thirty minutes, then sew for that amount of time.  That way, the project doesn't become a chore, but something to look forward too.  

I have been trying to so that and I have been picking half hour to one hour slots each day, then go do something else.

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