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Terrific Techniques

Over the past few years this blog has well documented everything that I love about quilting. Now it is time to revisit a couple of those things - the importance of knowing the right techniques and the fact that there is always more to learn about this craft. In the past few months I have learned several new techniques that are just too good not to share.

I discovered one new technique out of necessity after I washed a Quilt of Valor and found that one of the red fabrics had bled terribly into the beige background fabrics. Since it was a scrappy quilt it was fortunate that not all of the reds had bled but one in particular had. I was just sure this gorgeous quilt that my group had spent so much time on was ruined. So I turned to the Internet and discovered a blog called Confession of a Homeschooler that at least had an idea that I could try. She recommended filling a bathtub with hot water, adding one cup of Dawn dishwashing liquid and submersing the quilt in it. After swishing it around often during the eight hours of soaking I put it in my washing machine to spin out the water. It was like magic! The bleeding red was gone! Phew! Thanks to this technique our quilt was saved and we were able to award it to a veteran at a ceremony in May.

I was reminded of yet another technique when I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts - A Quilting Life - on my recent drive to Pella, Iowa to snuggle my newest grandson Finn. Sheri McConnell shared that after each sewing session she sets out blocks next to her sewing machine so that she can just sit down and get right to sewing the next day. I do the same thing with the quilt on my long arm frame. Before I stop for the day I prepare for the next row by advancing the quilt and lining up the pantograph. That technique is also helpful because I don’t have to stop and think about where I was in the process when I stopped the day before. It’s all about efficiency!

Another technique that I have found extreme useful is the binders that I have put together of all of the quilts on which I have worked. I take pictures of every quilt (with the help of any family member who may be available at the time) - one picture of the full quilt and one or more up-close pictures of the quilting. After the pictures are printed I make note of the name of the quilt, date completed, thread(s) and patterns used in the quilting, and any other pertinent information on an index card. I then glue the pictures and index card to colored card stock and slip them into clear binder sleeves. The sleeves are then added to a binder which I can easily reference. To date I have two binders for my Forest Acres Quilting Club’s Quilts of Valor, two binders for other Quilts of Valor, seven binders for customer quilts, and four binders for my own quilts. While all of that takes a bit of organization, it has certainly been worth the effort.

The final technique that I have recently made use of occurred when we purchased a new mattress for our bed. Because mattresses are now made much deeper than a few years ago I discovered that the quilt that I had specifically made for our bed no longer fit. My heart sank as I had purchased the fabric for that quilt from the gift cards that I had received from my Lincoln Public School’s music colleagues when I retired from teaching. In addition I had spent hours on this quilt sewing the many blocks and adding custom quilting to the finished product. What to do now? I did some research and found that I could purchase a lightweight navy blue bedspread that I could put underneath the quilt to give it some added length to cover the mattress. Problem solved!

Speaking of problem solving - the craft of quilting is full of opportunities to problem solve. That is definitely one of the fun things about it. It can also be one of the frustrating things about it. Just depends on how you choose to look at it!

I hope you found these new techniques helpful and inspirational. What techniques have you discovered recently that have made your quilting experience more enjoyable? Please feel free to share in the comment section.

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