Since I started reading all the wonderful quilting blogs out there two weeks ago, I have learned so much! I love how quilters reach out to each other and share what they have learned. Two things have really made me stop and go "Ah-ha!!!!"
I am the bird nest queen, no seriously, I am! When I was a child I was banned from using my mother's sewing machines. It wasn't because she thought I would get hurt, but because of what I could do to them. She sewed upholstery on an industrial sewing machine, and clothes on a regular. She tried very hard to teach me to sew. But every time I would try to sew I would create this bird nest of thread that not only ruined the fabric, but it would somehow migrate down into the bobbin case area and foul that up too. It would sometimes take her 30 minutes to clean it all up and get her machines back to sewing right. When I was in high school in home ec. I was tasked to sew a skirt. You had to sew it or flunk the class. My mom had to sew it for me, because of the mess I made of her old Singer.
Now imagine her suprise when all these years later I started quilting. I started on an old Singer that was 20 years old. I really didn't worry about breaking it, though there were many sessions of trying to clean all the thread out of the bobbin area. I finally watched a quilting show and saw a tip on using a "tween". Thats where you use a small scrap of fabric in between your pieces so you don't have to deal with the loose thread. So my bird nests became non-existant.
But because of all these wonderful blogging quilters I have learned an even smarter technique. It is called the "leader-ender" quilt. Instead of "tweens" you just sew a piece of a seperate quilt. You lead with a block and end with a block from a different quilt. So you are basically sewing two quilts at the same time!! Ah-ha number one!!!
Last year one of my goals was to become more enviromentally aware. I purchased a composter, dived into recycling, and really trimed our waste output. When I stated quilting again this year, I was loathe to throw away all the small scraps I was generating when I cut out the cloth. Then I read how one quilter was saving all her scraps and making cat beds out of them. She would sew a pillow bed, leaving one end open and throw all her scraps into it until it was full. Then she stitched it closed. I have 3 cats! Also I can donate any extras I make to my local no-kill shelter for their cats. Ah-ha number two!!!