How to Clean Up Your Work Area

 

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 As you may have guessed, I am a total Neat Freak. And if you guessed this, you would be wrong. Cause I am neither neat, nor tidy, nor clean when I sew. There are fabric and thread clippings everywhere! 

But I do have a cleaning tip for you. Use batting. Place a small square of batting next to your sewing machine and drop your thread snips onto it. It’s a good way to keep the threads from slipping to the floor.

 

580CD0F9-77AE-4EC6-95CC-7C80A2FB8C09 Sweep up your work area with batting. I use it to dust my work tables and Teflon covered work table. You’d be surprised at how many fibers it collects. (No doubt my Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval is in the mail.)

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And here’s another use for batting. Make a small ball and throw it to your cat. My cats would go nuts over a ball of batting. Not sure why. Who knows what’s going on in the brain of a cat?

Another cat related item. A student in my class who loves cats had a bag that said “I’m just one cat short of crazy.” Keep that in mind all you cat lovers out there!

An Etui for Youi

etui12Traveling this summer? Then you need a portable sewing kit or etui like this to carry all your sewing needs. It’s easy to make and small enough to fit into your purse, glove compartment, saddle bags, or under the seat in front of you.

etui10This little etui measures about 5″ x 6″ and is made with felt and a stiff interfacing like Timtex. Stitched together by hand, it holds your scissors, thimble, needles, and pins. Click here for directions on how to make your etui.

How to Make Waves with Fabric

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Betty’s Bloomers #7 by Laura Wasilowski

Need to make waves with your fabric? The answer is bias fusing. Bias fusing is a method of taking a straight strip of fabric and curving it as you fuse. It is magic! And therefore dangerous. So stand back as I show you how to make waves like those in the vase above.

biasfusing51.Cut a square of fused fabric from corner to corner to form 2 triangles. You are cutting the square on the bias or at a 45 degree angle to the grain of the fabric.
2. Cut a set of straight strips that taper from a point to about 1/2″ across from the bias edge of each triangle.

ironcleaning33. Clean your iron! You must use a clean iron to fuse the bias strips or I guarantee you’ll get gunk on your fabric. Here’s how to clean your iron.

biasfusing64. Iron a square of fused fabric to a Teflon sheet or a piece of silicone release paper.
5. Tack one of the bias cut fabric strips onto the edge of the background fabric.
6. Slowly fuse and curve the bias strip across the background square.

biasfusing97. Continue to fuse more bias strips across the square.

biasfusing78. After the fabric cools, remove the bias fused collage from the paper.
9. Fold the square from corner to corner with the glue sides out.
10. Free-cut a vase shape from the folded square.

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Betty’s Bloomer #7 by Laura Wasilowski

11.Stick some leaves and flowers in the vase, put it on a table, and call it done!

Why Bias is Good

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Spring Leaves by Laura Wasilowski

One of the hazards of making a fused art quilt is the dreaded frayed edge. Fabric shapes with threads sticking out like whiskers detract from your gorgeous art work. You want a close shave, fabric edges that are cleanly cut.

Here are a few tips to avoid the dreaded frayed edge.

  • Use sharp tools. Sharp scissors and rotary cutters give you a nice clean cut. Dull tools fray fabric.
  • Practice cutting shapes in one long motion. Starting and stopping while cutting shapes with scissors leaves uneven, ragged edges. biasfusing3
  • When cutting long and skinny fabric shapes, cut the fabric on the bias. A bias cut fabric is cut at a 45 degree angle to the grain of the fabric. Bias cut fabrics don’t fray. To find the bias cut a square of fabric using the selvedge edge of the fabric as one side of your square. Cut across the square from corner to corner to form 2 triangles. The long sides of the 2 triangles are the bias edges.

Happy Fusing! 

Give-Away: What’s that Needle For?

needlesandbookWhile writing my new book, Joyful Stitching, I came across this big pile of hand needles in a long forgotten drawer where I like to put long forgotten things. Without their original containers, I had no idea what kind they were. And I was clueless as to their sizes. Sadly, my needles had lost their identity.

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So I came up with this handy dandy chart. It’s produced by C&T Publishing and helps you identify the size and type of hand needle you have in your stash. It shows you the right needle for the job.

And I’m giving one away today.

There are full-size photos of hand needles in the the guide. Needles like sharps, quilting, embroidery, beading, applique, darners, milliners, plus others are shown.

Did you know that there are Twin-Pointed Stab Stitch needles? They are shown in the guide too.

You’ll find a few tips on needle care and how to match the needle size to the thread size when stitching. And the fold out guide also has images of specialty needles like bullion, packing, doll making, upholstery, and sail making. Any sail makers out there?

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Here’s how the needle guide works. Just lay a needle on the chart and it identifies it for you. It tells you what kind of needle it is and what size it is.

It’s a miracle!

Leave a comment on my blog today and you may be the lucky winner of a Sewing Needle Pocket Guide. I’ll announce the winner next Thursday.

Read more about the Sewing Needle Pocket Guide for Hand Stitching here on the C&T Blog.

Thread-u-cation Thursday: Sheaf Stitch

silkstitchalong24The Sheaf Stitch is another embroidery stitch that heaps thread on the surface of fabric.(Here you see it being used in the Silk Stitch Along Tutorial .) A tidy bundle, long stitches of thread are cinched together and look like sheaves of wheat.

silkstitchalong25But my wheat sheaving days are over so I like to top the Sheaf Stitch with a French Knot or a Bullion Knot to make a flower. Here are directions for making the Sheaf Stitch. Have fun!