21 May 2008
The Thread Buddy
Happy late spring! Philly looks really pretty right now with all of the blossoming trees, bicyclists, sprouting plants, and sneezy people because of all of the pollen.
I really love this time of year, and May has been really pleasantly cool and crisp. I hate hot weather and this May has been great for people like me. Not being a person that suffers from seasonal allergies, I am pretty happy.... sorry if you're sniffly.
Lately I've been working on some quilting projects for Spool, my awesome day job. I've been learning a lot of great new things while working there. In the past, I've not had a lot of time for quilting in the past because I've been so busy with clothing projects, but working at Spool has given me a chance to learn some new skills.
Right now I'm working on a groovy 9-patch project, which I call my "Minty Fresh" quilt. I hope I will finish hand-quilting it soon before carpal tunnel syndrome sets in. I have to say, it's really soothing to work on. It's kind of like therapy....you think through all of your problems in your head while you hand quilt something very patterned and neat. I'm so used to sewing by machine, and my stitches are very drunk-looking. I'm getting better, but it's a skill, to be sure.
While working away at my 9 patch, I'm reminded of how handy the Thread Buddy is. Thread Buddy? Yes, Thread Buddy.
You know how when you finish a seam on your machine you have to pull out your fabric to the side, leaving a large tail of thread behind? That's fine every so often, but have you have thought of how much thread you waste after a full project is finished?
Quilters already know this, but I'm not sure garment stitchers realize how much thread they waste, because there isn't as much stop and start as when you piece together hundreds and hundreds of little tiny squares. Both types of sewers can utilize this handy little square of fabric.
First, find a little square scrap of fabric. When you finish a seam on your good fabric, leave a little space and then sew right up onto your "thread buddy." Sew a few inches onto your surplus fabric (shown here in blue).
Next, leaving your needle stuck in the surplus fabric, swivel it to the side and cut off your threads, leaving the thread buddy under the machine, holding the thread in place.
When you start a new seam, simply stitch off the side of the thread buddy onto your new piece of fabric, saving you a bunch of wasted thread.
Of course, you want a nice sturdy seam, so make sure to backstitch well before stitching up onto your thread buddy. You don't have to do that if you're working on patchwork projects, since you're sewing a bunch of squares together in the end anyway.
It's so funny how even the sewing vocabulary changes in quilting. Sometimes when I am helping quilters in the shop I feel like we're speaking in different languages. Similarly, it's been interesting as well to see what fabrics "quilting people" chose versus what "clothing people" choose. It's kind of obvious...some things that look good on quilts will look hideous on your body.
Speaking of buying fabric, I just bought some lovely Kaffe Fassett fabric today I'm really excited about using, but I have three unfinished projects to finish before starting on something new. I'll give you some photos soon.
Enjoy spring- back soon.