BBQ Skewers in the studio

Back in March I posted about using a chopstick run thru safety pins to keep quilts hanging straight…..

Lots of people liked this suggestion but many also suggested using BBQ skewers!!

Since you can buy a package of 100 for next to nothing, I decided that this was an even BETTER solution.

There are several things that I like about using them…..

First of all, you can use smaller safety pins…..

You can use one skewer……

….or two if that makes it sturdier……

and…..voila…..

…the quilt hangs with no flopping corners!!

I also had the thought that I could put another safety pin/skewer combination at the bottom of a small quilt if it was not laying flat!!

This combination is DEFINITELY a win for the studio!!!

Thread Storage — CHECK!!

Eighteen months ago I remodeled my studio and started looking for the BEST storage ideas to suit my needs. I found solutions for most things, but not for thread!!

I previously stored my thread in these boxes…..

…and it worked fairly well.

BUT over the years, I have added lots of different types of threads, all in their own shapes and sizes, and my box system was starting to get tedious.

PLUS the fact, when I was quilting my last quilt with lots of different threads, these boxes kept getting pushed off of the machine bed and making huge messes on the floor.

So, the hunt was on for a new system….

I started at Amazon, and searched for drawer systems designed for scrapbooking paper and supplies. Before long I landed on this one…..

I spent some time measuring the sizes needed and comparing to the dimensions given and became fairly sure that it would work for me.

It arrived in a few pieces…..

….but was quick work to put together.

The only mistake that I made was that I put both of the “locking casters” on the same side instead of one on each side, but that is a mistake that I can deal with!!!

I started moving my threads into the storage drawers……

…and quickly realized that I was going to need some sort of separation in the drawers or the threads would become messy really fast.

I looked at the box that it was shipped in and found the perfect solution…..

Let’s add cardboard dividers!!

I first figured out how far apart these dividers needed to be and then drew a template to work from……

I placed the drawer on top of the template and used the lines to direct where the hot glue needed to go…..

I would lay down a bead of glue and then stick the cardboard strip on top of it…..

When I switched to different sizes of spools, I re-did the calculation and changed the orientation of the spools…..

In less than an hour, my threads were stored……

….and I am one happy camper!!!

There are even two empty drawers so I can go shopping!!!

The unit sits neatly beside the bookcase and can easily be rolled to Julio (my sit-down Juki Longarm) or rolled a bit further to Juanita (my Juki QVP2200-mini).

And now I have 2 extra shelves for future storage…..definitely a Win-Win!!

I am still debating one thing….. the drawers are open to the air so I am thinking about making a slip cover to fit over the entire unit.

Do you think that is necessary?? I would love your opinion!!

A good light goes a long way

I just signed up for Medicare which tells all American readers that I am rapidly approaching the magical age of SIXTY-FIVE!!!

My eyes have never been wonderful, but lately, they seem to be getting worse….especially for those sharp-pieced points and tiny applique stitches that are so important to us quilters!!

A while back I purchased a wonderful lamp from “Daylight Company”…..

It bends in almost any direction that I need and can easily sit over my shoulder to provide light on a larger area, or between my eyes and the needle to focus that light where needed!!

This is the floor model and I now own TWO of them, but they also come in different configurations, including desktop and clamp on versions.

I also use it when I am trying to photograph quilting designs… beaming the light from one side makes tons of difference…..

…but the REALY reason that I love this lamp is because it reminds me of “Star Wars”….

I know that you remember this guy from the Cantina scene!!! Can’t you see the resemblance!!

Do you have a favorite lighting source???



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How do I store my fabric paints

Over the years I have accumulated quite a collection of fabric paints, from bottles, to squeeze tubes and everything in-between.

When I purchased the last set back in November, I looked at my big bag of STUFF and realized that something had to be done about them!!

BUT WHAT????

Then my eyes landed on these nice boxes that were in my office…….

They had once held Tax-Return client folders but I thought that this might be a much nicer use of them!!

My first task was to figure out which of the paint bottles were still viable and I ended up toss a good number with dried out contents.

Because I often purchased these in sets, I often had more than on in the same color so I marked thosee bottles with a line around the lid…..

…alerting me to the fact that I needed to use the older of the bottles.

Finally, I added a date to the lid of the new bottles that I was adding…..

They all fit perfectly in one of the boxes…..

The squeeze bottles (and a few specialty paints) fit perfectly in the second box…..

The final box contained all of the miscellaneous bits and pieces that I have picked up over the years…..

So, now I feel a little bit better about how my stuff is stored!!!

Do you have a special way to store your fabric paints??? I am ALWAYS open to suggestions!!!

Did you know that many tools from your kitchen can move to your studio, making your quilting even more fun? To receive a free pdf featuring 5 such tools, please subscribe to my newsletter. You can sign-up in the top, right-hand column of this blog, or click HERE

Perfecting Half-Square Triangles

At the retreat this past week, I spent some time working on a scrap quilt that I started last year.

The design has LOTS and LOTS of Half-Square triangles and I was looking for a way to make them quickly and accurately!!

My first decision was to use two squares of fabric, sew a line on the diagonal and then discard the other portion of the squares.

I know that technically this wastes fabric but it made use of the 2.5-inch squares that I had already cut and it meant that I didn’t have to do any trimming!!

I started out drawing a line on one of the squares and sewing along that line but that took WAY too long!!

To circumvent the process, I decided to mark the sewing line on my machine using painter’s tape……

I started out with the needle squarely in the corner of the squares…..

I then carefully stitched, making sure that the opposite point followed along the tape edge….

I normally use BOTH hands to guide the squares but one hand had to hold the camera steady!!

Note that I ended with the needle square in the corner!!

The next step was to iron the dark triangle over…..

Trim off the excess fabric…..

And then press it flat!!

Now, I know that there are tools designed for this very purpose…..

…..but it was nice to use something as simple as a piece of tape!!!

And, I LOVE how the quilt is looking now…..