MPQ Tuesday Tips: Tame the Rocky Ruler

MPQ Tuesday Tips: Tame the Rocky Ruler

Usually I don’t have a problem with my rulers “rocking” while I’m cutting fabric.  But, it’s different when I’m trimming half square triangles—or blocks with seams.

RockyR1

I’ve added thin plastic discs to most of my rulers, but I didn’t have a chance to add them to my new Olfa 4-1/2” frosted square ruler.  While trimming (squaring up) my tiny 2 inch half-square triangles, I noticed  that because of the “hump” in the middle made by the seam (from corner to corner), my ruler would teeter-totter and make my cutting accuracy challenging.

What do to?  I don’t have any more of the plastic disks.  So…I found a post-in note pad in my sewing drawer…PERFECT!

DSC06020

I tore off 3 or 4 pages and cut a strip along the top (the part with the sticky underneath)—and cut it into thirds…

RockyR3

And “stuck” each to the bottom of my ruler on the three corners farthest from the 0″ mark.

RockyR4

It “leveled out the playing field” and now my ruler doesn’t rock!  If you give it a try, you might need a few pages more or less–it’s easy to add or subtract pages if you need to.

RockyR5

So now I’m on a roll…without rocking!    And I can easily take them off when I’m done.

I’m sure painter’s tape would work as well, but the post-it’s were in my sewing room, and there’s no sticky residue after I take them off.

Hope you enjoyed this “TUESDAY TIPS”…

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Making a Flat Label for Quilts and Quilted Items DIY

Making a Flat Label for Quilts and Quilted Items DIY

I needed a flat sew-in label with my shop name and logo for smaller items, like placemats, mug rugs, key fobs, etc.  So I think I figured out a way to do it myself using my PC, Microsoft Word, and an inkjet printer.

I opened up a new Word document and, since I knew I wanted very small labels, I went to page layout and created four columns (see “more columns”).

FlLabels1

Then it was just a matter of “inserting” a jpeg picture of my logo that I had on file (resizing it to fit)  and adding the wording in the style, size, and font I liked best.  Once I had one done, all I had to do was “cut & paste” it down the page until all the columns were filled up for one page.

FlLabels4

Next, get out the freezer paper, and the tightest weave white muslin you have on hand.

FlLabels2

Iron some freezer paper onto the muslin and cut it down with your rotary cutter and ruler so it’s exactly the size of a piece of paper (8-1/2 x 11”).

FlLabels

Iron it again—just to be sure all the corners and edges are secure.  I like to run my lint remover over it, just to be sure I didn’t pick up any stray threads.

FlLabels5

For my printer, I needed to put the prepared fabric upside-down so it would feed correctly.  And print on best quality setting.

FlLabels6

To be sure it’s secure on the item, I fused it to a sheet of Steam-A-Seam 2 (double fusible web).

FlLabels7

Hint:  After it’s cool, it’s easier to pull the backing sheet off now, rather than later.  But be sure to save the backing sheet!

FlLabels8

Then it’s just a matter of cutting the labels to the size you want.  I like to do them a column at a time, and only cut what I need.  I can put the sheet of labels that’s left back onto the saved backing sheet to store for the next time I need them.

FlLabels9

First I iron them onto the item (it helps secure them for stitching).

FlLabels01

And then I stitch them in place, using a matching thread.

FlLabels02

And here are the finished key fobs!

I’m not sure how much these labels will stand up to washing—but since many of my smaller items don’t need to be washed much (if at all), I’m not worried.  I may do a test in the future just for fun.

Until next time…HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

4 Easy (Cheap) Ways to Organize Fabric (part 3)

4 Easy (Cheap) Ways to Organize Fabric (part 3)

The last two posts dealt with organizing fabric over 1/3 yard.  Now we’ll talk about organizing all those smaller pieces of fabric.

If you’re anything like me, you can’t resist buying another fat quarter, or quarter-yard, or keeping all those little leftovers just in case you might need them.  That adds up to a lot of little pieces of fabric.  For those anywhere from 1/8 yard to 1/3 yard, I use this technique that’s been working well for me.

TIP #4 Smaller Pieces of Fabric (under 1/3 yd).

I love salads—yummy and good for you—so I found the perfect re-use for the plastic tubs the salad greens come in.

To organize your smaller pieces of fabric, all you need is:

  • A clean left-over salad tub (the smaller size works best for this), and
  • A piece of thin cardboard cut to about 3×5” (or an index card)—or whatever the height & width of your container.

Lay your fabric out selvedge to selvedge, and (whichever way works best, depending on it’s size), fold it over and iron it to about the 5” mark.

Place the cardboard on one edge, and begin folding it over the card until it looks like this (below)…then press.

Slip the cardboard out (so you can re-use it)

And place the folded fabric into your clean plastic salad bin.  Organize by color (or however you’d like)…

I’ve got some by color, batiks by color in another area, and some are by stripes or plaids, or seasonal prints.

It makes it easy to find the bits and pieces you might need for your next project…and the tubs fit nicely on my particle board white shelving…

Here’s what the organized part of my quilting studio looks like (below)–I won’t show you the rest right now…HA!

There’s more work to be done.  When your “studio” is only about 8 x 10 ft., you have to stay as organized as you can or you can’t move! You should see the mess when I’m starting a new project!

Oh, I also use the larger salad bins to keep strips that cut from leftovers and a bin with 5” squares.  The bins are also great for keeping small future projects together or keep leftover patches.

While catching up (and watching new episodes) of Downton Abby, I did a little knitting, and shipped these new items off to Mikayla’s Grace:

Shipped January 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

4 Easy (Cheap) Ways to Organize Fabric (part 2)

4 Easy (Cheap) Ways to Organize Fabric (part 2)

So in the last post I dealt with organizing fabric that’s one yard and over.  Now we’ll deal with the pieces that measure under a yard…

I purchased this garment folder from REI to help me organize/pack clothes for a trip.  Basically, it has a thin board that you use to fold your clothes around.  You slip out the thin board and stack the clothes in a neat little pile into your luggage.  Great idea…and then the “light went on”…this will work for fabric just as well!

#3 One-third to One Yard Fabric

So…I decided to use this idea to flat fold my fabric (about 1/3 to 1 yard) for stacking on the shelf.   Start by pressing the fabric  with selvedges together, then fold one more time.

Then grab a folder–they’re about 9-1/2 x 12″.  If you don’t have a folder, cut a piece of thin cardboard about that size.

Center it on the piece of folded fabric, and then fold each raw edge over it…

And press!  Finally, slide the folder out…(to re-use again)…

and fold it in half once more time and press

This is the perfect size to stack on a shelf.  If you have most of the folds facing the front, you can easily see what’s there and grab a stack when you’re looking for that special batik, or color.

Next time I’ll post about an easy (and cheap) way to store or organize your fabric under 1/3 yard…

Until then, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

4 Easy (Cheap) Ways to Organize Fabric

4 Easy (Cheap) Ways to Organize Fabric

For some reason, at the beginning of each new year I get the urge to clean up and organize things.  How about you?  Is it the cold Wisconsin winter with no distractions of gardening? Or is it just the realization after Christmas is over that I’ve got too much clutter?  If you’re the same way, and have stacks of hoarded collected fabrics in various sizes, I’ll share with you the tips I discovered that work for me to organize fabric in my teeny tiny quilt studio (sewing room)…

TIP #1:  Two yards or more

Anything two yards or more gets rolled onto a used fabric board.

These cardboard fabric boards are free (free is my favorite)—just ask at your local fabric store when you see them stacked up by the cutting table.  Most stores are happy to give you a few (you’re being environmentally responsible—and “recycling” too)…they’’ll just throw them out anyway.

Iron your fabric (folding selvedge to selvedge) and simply roll it onto the board.  You can find your fabrics easily—and it looks so pretty…and it’s feel good, like you have my own little quilt fabric shop!

TIP #2: One to Two Yards

These are large enough you want to see them too–but you don’t want them taking as much space as the larger boards.

So lay your fabric selvedge to selvedge, then fold it over one more time and press.

Cut one of the fabric boards in half (I use a kitchen serrated knife), and wrap the fabric on the half-board.

And put these on a shelves that aren’t as tall–takes up half the space.

And doesn’t that look great on the shelf?  A good reminder of what you’ve got on hand.

Okay—we’ve taken care of the fabric that’s one yard and over…what about the smaller pieces (and I’ve got a lot)…

TWO TIPS DOWN, two tips to go…  I’ll share the next two tips in my future posts.  “Stay tuned” 🙂

Until then, HAPPY QUILTING

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Madison Quilt Expo–The Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool

Madison Quilt Expo–The Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool

Don’t you just LOVE the vendor booths at the Madison Quilt Expo.  It’s one of my favorite parts of the quilt show…seeing all the latest and greatest gadgets and fabrics, with plenty of demos.  And there were so many vendors to choose from–395 vendors to be exact…wow!  No wonder my feet were tired.  🙂

One booth was demonstrating a ruler from Creative Grids that I just had to have.  It’s called the non-slip 8″ Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool.

RLC1

The look of log cabin blocks has always intrigued me, but round log cabin blocks are especially interesting.  They showed a few table runners and quilt samples that were just amazing.  I’ve done round log cabins before, but this new tool was “calling my name”…HA!  Can’t have too many templates and rulers, eh?

So I found (in my stash) almost a complete jelly roll of beautiful blue and brown batiks and added some Kona black cotton fabric for the background to make it pop.

The round log cabin is based on cutting wide and narrow strips (which creates the round look, with no curved piecing).  The wide strips should be cut at least 2-1/4″ wide, so the 2-1/2″ strips in my jelly roll will work with just a bit of waste, and the narrow strips must be cut at least 1-1/2” wide, so that’s the measurement I used to cut the black yardage.

RLC2

Round 1 – trimming wide strip side

The center square is cut 1-3/4″ in the background color (black).  Next you add the two wide strips (batik), and then the two narrow strips (black).  There’s a square on the ruler called “Wide Round 1” which you put directly over the center square and trim off the excess batik fabric (see photo).

RLC3

Round 1 — trimming the narrow side

Then you simply turn the block and the ruler to place the square marked “Narrow Round 1” on top of the center square and trim the narrow black side (see photo).

RLC4

Round 2 — trimming the wide side

I’ve just finished round two!  So I’m trimming the batik side in the photo, lining up the ruler square marked “Wide Round 2” with the center square.  I’m going to work on trimming the narrow round 2, then adding round 3 wide & narrow and trimming up the blocks.  I hope to have them up on the design wall by tomorrow.

Using the “Trim Tool” is a little more time consuming than just cutting the strips and piecing them,  but the results are so much more exact.  I think it’s worth the few extra minutes.

I’ll get back to you with progress.

Here’s a YouTube Video from Creative Grids.

Hubbie is recovering from rotator cuff surgery this month–so I try to get a little bit of quilting in while he’s in the “Continuous Passive Motion Device”, which we’ve nicknamed “The Electric Torture Chair”  🙂

Until next time…HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Better Way to Organize your Bobbin & Thread

Better Way to Organize your Bobbin & Thread

 

How to organize your bobbins & thread

Old way

After storing my bobbins with my thread wrapped with a rubber band (see my blog here), I found it took too much time to get the bobbin on and off.  There must be an easier way…right?

 

 

I recently purchased some ponytail bands from the store.  I find them useful for keeping my charger cords in order.   The “light” went on…these will work great for storing my bobbins too…

I found that by simply “threading” one end of the ponytail holder through the center hole of the bobbin…

And then feeding it into the center of my thread spool…

DSC05275

INSTANT ORGANIZATION! …It’s a much easier way to store your bobbin with your thread…

DSC05276

Ta-DA!

Oops!—seeing the photos (above),  I noticed put a grey thread (bobbin) on top of my cream thread spool!  Oh oh.  Oh well, two out of three’s not bad.  (I’ll fix that.)

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts