WFMW–Storing Stabilizer Rolls

It seems like all my tips are about storage and organization. Can you tell it’s a hot topic in my current small, cramped quarters? 🙂 I buy stabilizer for machine embroidery off the bolt at my LQS, and I can’t see folding it up when I get it home to store it like I would if it were fabric.

I know you can iron stabilizer (well, depending on what kind of stabilizer it is anyway), but why put fold lines in it to begin with when you can just leave it in a roll and cut off what you need to use? Problem is, how do you store the rolls so that they don’t get squished flat by other things and have mega creases in them anyway?

Enter the waste bin. Yup, a medium size basic white plastic Rubbermaid 21 quart waste bin does the trick. You can sit it straight up in a corner and toss the rolls in it, or use it on it’s side on a shelf, and rolls of stabilizer, fusible web or freezer paper are contained and easy to access. If you’re into colored bins that go with your decor (I’m not, but that’s another story), Rubbermaid’s got you covered in either Blueberry Frost or Bisque.

Stabilizer storage

Longaberger baskets sometimes work well for this task too, but obviously Rubbermaid is the budget-wise choice. For the ultimate in organization, make tags or labels for the rolls so that it’s easy to tell what’s what, since in my experience many stabilizers look frighteningly similar. If you need medium weight tear-away, a wash-away stabilizer might cause some problems in your project, right? I’ve had moments in the past when I’ve had to use some water to try to figure out which was which…

(You might notice that there are no labels on my rolls. I said “for the ultimate in organization” and I’m not quite there yet, but hey, it’s the thought that counts, maybe? It’s on my list of things to do…maybe later today…) This works for me!

Have a WFMW tip you’d like to share with the blogosphere? Find out more about Works-for-Me-Wednesday at WFMW headquarters at Rocks in my Dryer! Basically, the idea is that on Wednesday you post a little tip you’ve learned on any topic–anything that has “worked for you” in making your life easier. Visit Rocks in my Dryer for great tips on everything from kids to money on this Works-for-me-Wednesday!

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Quilting Warm Fuzzy Feelings #5

Mmmm....Quilting!When you have an idea pop into your head, you can try it out immediately, and the result is even better than you’d hoped it would be.

Despite all the misery, this quilt does have it’s enjoyable moments, like this one which is definitely a Quilting WFF. This is what’s supposed to happen when you quilt:

Border medallion quilting

This is one of the machine embroidered medallions in the outside border of The Misery Quilt. I’ve been a bit worried about these medallions since the beginning; the flower is really dense machine embroidery and the medallions are fused to the olive green background fabric and then the edges are sewn with a very small satin stitch in #100 silk thread, and when you put that many variables together, sometimes the finished product isn’t going to lay flat. I’ve been afraid all along that it might end up looking slightly bowl-like and ruffly around the edges in the end.

As an added bonus to the host of unknowns, I really hadn’t figured out how I was going to quilt the gold-ish background fabric behind the flowers either. All I could think of was echo quilting, which is very heavy, close together stitching, and not only might that heighten the chances for a bowl-like, bubbly outcome, echo quiting isn’t my strong point and there are lots of little squidgy points and dips around the edges of the flower, so I wasn’t sure echo quilting in that area was going to go well.

This morning I had an epiphany about the background quilting, and thought that these radial lines might be cool, since the area could probably use some straight quilting lines anyway. I took a wild “hey that looks about right” guess and figured that dividing up the outside edge of the oval into 3/8″ bits would look good, and it divided up evenly, believe it or not. It worked perfectly, from the marking to the last stitch, and it’s perfectly flat without a bubble or ruffle in sight. I couldn’t stop smiling while I was quilting it, because I could just tell it was going to look soooo cool!

*sigh* This is how quilting should be all the time…mmmmmm. Feeds the creative spirit, it does. 🙂

Monday’s Melange

I was digging around in my browser bookmarks the other day, and thinking how badly they need to be organized. I have hundreds (maybe thousands??) of bookmarks, some of which probably date back to the beginning of my serious Internet usage more than 10 years ago. I’ve been carting these bookmarks around from computer to computer, and from browser to browser for all these years. After all, if whatever it is was important enough to bookmark once, it must be important to save it, right? Well, maybe. Yes, I’m just as much of a packrat on the computer as I am in the rest of my cluttered life. Inside my Firefox Bookmarks folder, I even have folder of Internet Explorer Bookmarks from the time of my great sickness back when I thought IE was the only browser in existence. (Psst! Get Firefox!)

I’ve decided to plow through a few of these sites weekly with the intent to cull and organize, so that hopefully when I open my bookmarks folder, it doesn’t look like this—Eeeewww:

The evil bookmarks folder, before

And guess what? I’m going to share a few with you every week as Monday’s Melange! This week, I’ll start with some (related to) quilting links, since that is my “thing,” but obviously not all of my bookmarks pertain to quilting, since I do have a life outside my studio (an unfortunate fact, sometimes!). As I’m sure that my readers have that kind of “life outside the quilting” thing going on too, I figure that there might be something of interest in the “non-quilting” bookmarks, even for quilters.

Without further ado, here is the Melange on this happy Monday:

Monday's Melange

San Francisco Stitch Company—Okay, this is not a bookmark from years ago, this is a very recent addition, like from just yesterday. Their machine embroidery designs are really beautiful and got my creativity totally spinning off the map, and the design packs are downloadable and reasonably priced, too. I found this machine embroidery design company via Irene at Sunimp. She’s made a beautiful quilt (top?) with some embroidered medallions from San Francisco Stitch Company. Love her blog, too!

Treadleart—Heh, I’m already seeing that this bookmark exercise will probably cost some $$ as I rediscover things I’d forgotten about! Treadleart is a fine example. They carry Shisha mirrors (the page includes a great explanation of the different types of mirrors), made popular in the quilting world by Ted Storm, as far as I know. Treadleart also has Tidy Totes which you can buy already made up in various fabrics, or they have the kits including the pattern and kit refills to make your own. I’ve always wanted one of these, but I’ve never run across the pattern anywhere, and maybe now I’ll just buy one ready-made. Lots of other cool stuff awaits at Treadleart, but my only complaint would be a lack of a shopping cart system for online shopping. I could put on my Web developer hat and fix that for them… Continue reading Monday’s Melange

Christmas gifts and Pfaff vs. Bernina experiments

No, I didn’t go on vacation, just been super busy here! Just FYI, busy+notmuchquilting=nofun. Well, maybe not “no fun,” just not as much fun! Anyway, things may be winding down to an acceptable level, so I can just coast through Christmas now. The last party is over, thank goodness, and I finished up my last online programming class for this month yesterday. I’ve been working on a gift for my landlords and I finished it up today:

Placemats

I made them a set of eight placemats to go with the table runner and the napkin rings that I’ve made in previous years. I was a bit worried as I was making them, since they seemed to be a bit “floofy” and weren’t laying flat after they were quilted. I think I should have used a thinner batting. 😦 I decided to toss them in the washer and pray to the quilting goddess for a boon. Since fabric placemats need to be washable anyway, I also figured it would be better to get it over with now in case the machine embroidery didn’t survive.

Placemats detail

The embroidery came out fine, and after a bit of judicious steam pressing, the mats are wonderfully flat! I guess the quilting goddess figured it was my turn or something. Whew! I’m probably going to have to think of something else entirely for next year, since I’ve used up most of the green fabric for the embroidery, and I’m not sure what else to make anyway. Napkins?? Hmmmm…

I got a little bored quilting the placemats (okay, really bored!), so I decided to do some Pfaff vs. Bernina experiments with my machines. If I’m going to do machine guided quilting, I usually use the Pfaff because it has the built-in dual feed, so I started quilting the placemats with the Pfaff 2056, my favorite machine until the Bernie came to live here. When the quilting wasn’t turning out so well, I thought I’d see what the Bernina 440 had to offer with the walking foot. Continue reading Christmas gifts and Pfaff vs. Bernina experiments

The allure of antiques and quilts

I think there are times when ITMan rues the day that I discovered antique furniture (okay, let’s be honest, I know there are times!). Lately, probably due to the number of new pieces that have found their way home with me (more on those later), I’ve been thinking about what it is exactly about antiques that speaks to me so strongly. So take a look at this:

Carved medallion on buffet

This is the carving on one of the doors of my buffet in the dining room. This is not a recent addition, but one of the pieces I got in Antwerp when I took a road trip to an antique wholesale warehouse with two carloads of other shoppers a few years back. I bought some other pieces on that trip, but we’ll get to those later. Anyway, I looked at this carving with new eyes some time ago, and thought about translating it into a quilted design. I think it was Kristin’s needle doodles that started me on that track, and I figured at some point I would work on some sort of a practice piece to see if I could duplicate the look and the texture of this design in fabric and thread. That’s as far as the idea went, but it was still floating around in my head when it came time to figure out what to do with the border of The Misery Quilt. The scalloped border was definitely more perfect than the idea that came before, but it still needed something more, and here’s what developed:

Border medallions

Can you see the roots of this design in the carving on the buffet? I loved those little curved edges around the central medallion on the buffet, and they soften the line of the oval, and add a bit more interest. I can hardly wait to get to the quilting part to add to the effect! I’ve planned to put sixteen medallions, eight each of two different sizes, in the outside border of the quilt. The embroidery designs are all just a bit different, since the feathery magnolia and leafy designs are all actually separate embroidery files that you can put together any way you like and stitch them out.

If you look closely at the background of the medallion on the buffet, the wood has been textured in some way, so it almost looks like stippling, in person anyway. I don’t know that “textured” is the proper term, since I know just enough about wood carving and furniture making to appreciate it, and nothing more, but you get the idea. I’m planning to quilt The Misery Quilt in #100 silk thread, and will probably put some insanely small background pattern around the flower in the medallion. The medallions are fused together, by the way, and I’ll do satin stitching with the silk thread on the edges like I’ve done in other places on the quilt.

I’ve come to realize that many of the reasons quilting attracts me the way it does go for antiques as well. Character, individuality, the unmistakable stamp of loving hand craftsmanship, finely wrought details, and the sure ability to stand the test of time; all these things are inherent to both antiques and quilts. Is it any wonder? Even the excitement and satisfaction of the search is similar: when you find the perfect antique that you just love (and can afford, and have a place to put!) you get that warm, fuzzy feeling, just like when you’ve found the perfect fabric for your current project, or you’ve tried some new technique or design solution and it’s given the project new life and made it better than you ever imagined it could be. What’s not to love about antiques and quilts?