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I am going to jump on the wagon, and start this discussion, which someone suggested.  Let's share our tips and hints for CUTTING, SEWING & QUILTING.

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When I cut strips of fabric and need to subcut them into say a 2 1/2 inch square, I do what I call a reverse cut. On another piece of paper, I will write down each increment I need to make my cut at, with the largest number at the top. Example: for 2 1/2 inch cut -- 20 inches, 17.5 inches, 15 inches,,, etc.
Measure from the selvedge side, with selvedge removed,,, your 20 inches.... then back your ruler up to 17.5 and make your first cut, back to 15 inches, then cut. You won't have to square it up, as your square cut will always be your first cut. Hope I explained this where it makes sense.
I have numerous pieces of papers with subcut measurements on them. This is NOT a math test, but you do need to know fractions.
I like to thread up about twenty hand quilting needles before I start quilting. I also knot the ends so they are ready to go. I keep them on my magnetic pin holder. I find that I get more done this way, cause I am not interrupted when quilting to stop and rethread. I can also start several needles when I am doing a grid or echo quilting and I don't have to reposition my hoop as often. I also keep a empty plastic coffee can with a 3 inch hole cut out of the top to throw small pieces of thread into. Then the empty needles go back on the magnetic holder to be rethreaded again.

Since I just bought a new iron, I thought I would share this tip that I read of Bonnie Hunter's blog. She suggests that you never use water in your iron.  I started thinking about that and all the problems I have had with irons had to do with the water tank.  She suggests using a spray bottle, instead.  Just thought I would pass it on.

I also am finding that I can be patient with a dry iron that my blocks are not as distorted as they were when I steamed them.

Great tip.  I'd not heard this one before.  I think you (or she) may be onto something there.  I think my former iron problems were all steam related.  Simple solution.  Wonder why I can't come up with these common sense things on my own? 
Buy a plastic sprtiz bottle at the Dollar store.  I also buy distilled water for the spritz bottle, as I am on a well.
I feel seem the same way, PQ, maybe if I slowed down and paid attention it could have time to connect up in my brain.  I probably wouldn't have caught Bonnie's tip, but I was reading my manual on my iron, and it said to empty the water tank after each use, not to put it away with water in the tank, then the light bulb finally turned on, DUH!

My Mother-in-law always used a spray bottle - so picked up that idea from her.  Never put water in my iron.

Me either, the spray bottle works way better!

It's been several quilts since I last posted to this list, but I do keep reading if not chatting a lot.  I've been handquilting this past couple of weeks, so thought I'd share a couple of tips with you.  First of all, I found this W'nder thimble which I wear on my finger under my quilt.  It's just a little bit of blue plastic, but it's awesome, so you might want to check it out here:  http://quilterslittlehelper.com/thimbles.htm  Somewhere, who knows where, I've misplaced my Roxanne's thimble so in desparation tried the Clover open thimble available here at CT.  I absolutely love it....even more so than my Roxanne's.  I have fairly large hands, so had to make it larger (just expand the top of it) and it worked really well, very comfortable and man, the price is sure right <G>.  Thanks for the tip from Bonnie Hunter.  I appreciate that.  Also, on the subject of thimbles, you might want to check out Bonnie's blog tomorrow as she explores the thimble issue.  That's all for now.. Happy Quilting!

I use the aunt becky underneath my quilts, it is metal and I can't imagine quilting without it. I do want to try the quilting spoon by tjlane, need to get one ordered, I read a review on Celebrate Hand Quilting and the dutch quilter that tested both said she liked the spoon better. I love the way that Bonnie Hunter shares so much information on her her blog and website. She is so inspiring.

I also bought an Aunt Becky, and I tried to do the rocking motion to quilt, but being left-handed, I have been so used to doing the stab up-and-down motion that I find Aunt Becky being more in my way than being helpful.

Since I quilt in a lap frame, after I baste my quilts for hand quilting (the larger ones), I fold up the extra backing fabric with the batting tucked inside and either pin (as shown) or baste the edge so the raw edges of my backing, batt & tops don't get frayed , dirty or worn in the quilting process.    


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