A Few of My Favorite Hacks

A Few of My Favorite Hacks

Posted by Marty Walsh on 14th Sep 2023

Like many quilters I prefer spending my money on good fabric, precut kits and quality thread. These are some of my hacks that save more of my budget for that goal.

I am sure you have seen the small squares of wool for pressing your projects. They work wonderfully, however they tend to be small. One alternative is to felt your own wool which can net you a much larger surface. You might also look for wool in thrift stores as the price should be reasonable. Directions for felting wool can be found on the
internet and you will find several options.

If felting your wool seems like too much work, you might look for a horse blanket. Yes, horse blankets are wool and make a fine pressing surface. I have an old iron which I put on my finished blocks to help set seams. Make sure the blocks are dry as an old iron might rust.

Many design walls are available today. They are great for laying out quilt blocks. A flannel backed table cloth is a great and inexpensive start. You can attach it to a wall or simply lay it on the floor. This also rolls up nicely for putting away or taking it with you. Flannel yardage works as well. Friends who do not have wall space have solved
the problem with rollers and blocking windows or a door.

Chopped sticks are good for pushing out points or helping turn a piece right side out.
School glue sticks are a handy aid as well. Sometimes pins make the project to wavy or lumpy. This glue should not gum up you needle and allows a flat surface.

Most everyone agrees that the rotary cutter was a great improvement to the world of quilting. We also realize we have to be safe. My rulers have glue with salt or sand dot to keep them from sliding while cutting. On my rulers I add a plastic wallpaper corner. These can be found at places that sell wallpaper. I cut it to fit the length of my ruler and
apply with double stick tape or glue about ½ to ¾ inches from the edge.

Speaking of safety, I also protect my fingers by using a stylus to move some pieces under the sewing machine foot. My favorite stylus is one I made from an orphan knitting needle. Since it had two pointed ends, I put a wooden bead on one end.

For cleaning mats, my favorite if the scrubby that you can find at craft sales. Wonderful people crotchet these with netting and they do a good job of cleaning the mat.

Marty is a lifelong sewer and quilter. Her skill and passion for her hobby has propelled her into teaching classes for quilt shops as well as at the college level. She is a member of several quilt guilds within the St. Louis area. Most recently, her focus is on the refurbishing of donated sewing machines. She knows just how to get them back into fighting shape. Then these machines are collected and distributed to sewers in foreign countries who will use them to make a living to support their families.