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two "smacking head" moments   General Discussion

Started May-10 by Dee in TX (DBRADFOR3); 222 views.

Every now and then the world will shift and I'll see something a different way, something that seems so obvious and easier than the way I had been doing it.  That happened in my sewing room twice this weekend.  The 1st was when selecting fabrics for some I spy quilts.  I was laying them out on my table to get the mix of colors and make sure I had all the letters of the alphabet represented.  Here they are all laid out.  This helps me decide if I need less red or more green for example.

Normally at this point I would remove the letters flags (used for reference only),  stack the fabrics up and go sew.  Then later I would put the blocks on my design wall, arranging the colors so that they were spread out & even.  I then put little felt flags with row & column numbers on each block, take them off the design wall, pin the flags on with little applique pins to make sure they don't fall off, then start sewing the blocks together.  But as I was looking at these stacks of fabric laid out on my table I realized I should go ahead and arrange the colors NOW & pin on the row/column flags while already on the table.  Then I don't have to do the extra steps of putting up and taking down again later.  Duh.  

The 2nd time was as I was cutting rectangles which will have corner triangles sewn to them.  Sometimes when making this type of block I use a square on top and trim off the two waste triangles.  Other times if I'm trying to conserve fabric, I will cut slightly oversize triangles, draw a line on the back of the base fabric and sew on that line.  Then you only have 1 waste triangle to trim away from the base and just slivers on the triangle.  In this instance I actually wanted the waste triangles from the base to use as small triangles in another quilt.  At 1st I was going to draw all those lines (ugh - 96 of them) and trim, leaving the base parallelogram for the later quilt.  Then I had an AHA moment.  I could measure that exact waste triangle size, and trim it without drawing that line at all.  And I could stack up the rectangles and trim a bunch at once!  As long as I sew a consistent 1/4" seam it will still work.  What an enormous time saver!  Smacking head again.  Why haven't I been doing that all along!  Now if it is a very precise pattern I would probably still draw that line, but most of the time it doesn't have to be that exact, especially for I spy quilts.  

So I now have I spy 4 kits packaged and ready to sew and I learned/developed 2 new ways to sew.  Productive weekend.

Guess all the shortcuts and tricks we figure out take time and much working to discover.

Sounds like a very productive time.

I cut 3 kits to take to the retreat. One is a finished quilt. The second is a pile of blocks and is waiting for me to complete another quilt. The last is in pain sight and I will not start it till I finish the 2nd into a top.

In reply toRe: msg 2

I guess the trick from doing the 3 above kits was one huge fabric pull using the same color theme. This saved a ton of time not having to pull out the fabric 3 times.

The idea of making up kits was from Dee. Just seeing her come to retreats with carefully organized kits and leaving with beautiful tops!


From: tuckyquilter


Way to go Dee.  I learn new stuff all the time too. 

I use my 4" Easy Angle ruler to cut triangles for HST or Snowball corners.  A tiny drop of Elmers on each sewing end, lay it on the rectangle or whatever it's going on and it holds in place perfectly. 

I do label the top block of each column on my design wall.   I hate pins so I stack each column side by side and then sew them together, column by column. Since they are numbered I know exactly which column stack to grab next.   I'm all into faster, easier ways.  


From: bornblesse2


There is always more to learn with all the quilts we make!  And the organizing and short cuts are always the hardest parts!  I always try to share those things when teaching classes, as patterns almost never teach those things.

I tend to like doing things in batches.  Pulling fabric for multiple quilts at once definitely saves time.  Refolding all those fabrics is not my favorite part of quilting, so I like to cut multiple quilts at once and only fold once.  

that's a good tip with the glue.  I do have a tenancy to wobble at the beginning and end of a seam.

I made these flannel flags years ago and they stick pretty well, but sometimes they stick to the back of another block.  I use little applique pins so they don't catch on things, but they are fiddly and I can't pin on the design wall, I end up catching the design wall.