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This page is for all of you to send in your quilting tips for the rest of us to read. I know that many of you have found a simple, easy way to do some basic tasks. Won't you please share them with us? I will organize the tips by topic so that they are easily found.

Please email me with "Quiltaholics:Tips" in the subject name. I will copy only the text to the page unless you tell me that I may use your name. I look forward to hearing from all of you!


To restore old blocks/quilts, try the following recipe:
1 Gallon Water
1 Quart Buttermilk
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
Soak quilt in mixture then wash in mild detergent. Your colors will return to their original brillance.

To remove pencil marks, according to the August issue of Lady's Circle Patchwork Quilts, "Quilt Patch Queries" by Sue Nickels and Pat Holly, suggests the following:
"Make a solution that is one part water, three parts rubbing alcohol, and one or two drops of Palmolive or Joy dishwashing liquid. Do not use Dawn -- it may bleach out the fabric. Use a cotton swab to apply and gently scrub with a soft toothbrush. Wipe dry with a cloth. Again, test this before applying to your whole quilt . . . We hope this helps and remember to TEST, TEST, TEST! We also want to let you know that many a priceless, beloved antique quilt still has pencil marks on it."

Roll left over fabric strips on an empty toilet tissue roll. Gently not to stretch, and you won't have to re-iron or search for that certain strip. Line them up in a shoe box, mark box as to color.

Before washing your fabric, trim the corners off the selvage edges at a diagonal. This prevents the cut edge from ravelling in the wash, and is a great way to tell at a glance if you've prewashed that fabric!

A good tip when washing flannel so that all those loose ends don't tangle is put it in a pillowcase first. I wash "like" colors together and dry them the same way. No more tangles mess when done!

Another good tip for washing small pieces of flannel is to serge the edges first...time taken is made up in less lost fabric in all the loose threads.

I know at least 10 people who are having babies, and of course they all want quilts. My husband just lost his job and we don't have a lot of extra money right now for material, so I started cutting up old receiving blankets to make scrap quilts! They have all turned out beautiful! It's amazing what you can come up with in a pinch! Now I have people bringing me their old blankets too! Cool, huh?


For those who hate to clean...make your life easy and place sheets of Saran Wrap (No Aff) on top of the refrigerator, high shelves, etc....the possibilities are endless. When they are full of dust, remove them and put on new. For optimum time...train DH or SO to do the swapping.

Instant cleaning! Empty garbage, ashtrays etc. Shake up cushions. Straighten up papers, books,etc...into precision piles. Remove obvious bits of dirt with damp cloth - layer of dust on TV, etc. Then get out the beeswax or scented Mr Sheen or any scented polish, put some on a cloth and dust the wooden surfaces - rub one so that it shines. If really pushed for time, just remove the obvious and polish a small table top. When people walk into the house, they will smell that someone has been cleaning and preparing for their visit.

Paper Piecing

Always remember to cut any pieces of fabric so that the edges of the foundation are cut on the grain of the fabric. Fabric stretches and this is where the grain is most important.

Cut the fabric into strips the width of the larges piece, then subcut the strips into squares, rectangles, etc...This does two things: (1) keeps your fabric straing of grain and (2) gives pieces that will fit.

I use a very light wieght sew in interfacing for paper piecing instead of paper. it can stay in, you can see through it and it is cheap. Pigna pens are great for tracing onto it.

Use the dryer sheets for paper piecing instead of paper. The sheets have to be used, then they can be left after piecing for stablization.


Rather than buy an expensive pin magnet, use one of the flat refrigerator magnets, taped to your sewing machine, to keep track of pins. (This comes with a caution from DebK about using magnets on a computerized sewing machine...)

Keep a bar of non-moisturizing soap on the table next to your quilting chair. When you sit down to quilt, thread about ten needles with thread, stick them all into the soap, and Voila!! You have sharp, threaded needles waiting! When finished with each one, stick the empty needle back into the soap! They remain sharp and rust free for ever so much longer!!

Make your own "sharps container" for storing broken needles and pins to keep them out of the trashcan (or carpet), so someone doesn't get stuck accidentally. Use an empty pill bottle from your last pharmacy refill...use the child-proof type top, or tape the top to the bottle. Make a small hole in the top with a corkscrew, ice pick or cuphook. When a needle breaks, or gets dull, put it in the container. When the container is full dispose of it in the trash. This way no one gets hurt.


3M Corban tape... my daughter and I found we can use this tape as thimbles, it is flexible so give a little more mobility in quilting seems I've seen it in some of the quilting catalogs too of late.

Instead of making the bunch of very small stitches at the beginning, just start with your normal quilting stitch length, leaving a tail. When finished quilting, make the quilter's knot just as in hand quilting, burying the knot and the thread in the batting. Works beautifully and looks ever so much nicer.


When pressing the seams in your quilt block, always press the seam flat first, the way it was sewn. This sinks the thread into the fabric and reduces the bulk of the seam. This habit can eliminate the "hanging-up" on the walking foot while machine quilting.


I love to buy gallon and half-gallon sized glass jars with wide mouths for my sewing room. For ribbons, thread, buttons, all those miscellaneous tools ie marking pens, purple thangs, small rulers, bobbins, etc. etc. Keeps stuff dust-free and easy to see!

To store your BOM squares, purchase an unused pizza box from your local pizzaria. It keeps the blocks protected during the year, is sturdy and stores practically flat.


To make thread behave for applique or regular sewing - run your needle and thread through a fresh dryer sheet, folded, and magic - no tangles or those tine little nasty knots.

If you cannot find matching quilt thread, you can take a regular spool of thread; strip the paper ends off and submerge in warm parrafin for 10 minutes, then drain on a paper towel. Makes the best thread...glides through like butter.

For those who love applique and detest carrying around a whole bunch of spools of thread, buy one of those bobbin cases that are made of clear plastic and hold about 30 bobbins. They are made of clear plastic. Then fill the bobbins with all kinds of colours. This way you can clear out some of those nearly used up spools. Place them in a logical order(i.e.)all the shades of pink / blue/green in a row. Put the lid on and wrap a strong elastic band around. When you travel you have all the colours you need. I have 2 like this and it is perfect when waiting in offices or sports events.

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Holliston, MA
Last Updated 13Aug2006.

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