I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog.
"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources. I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.
These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above.
Recently I've found that the most important tool in my sewing room is a pen or pencil. I know that sounds strange, but it's true.
I'm assuming you all have at least one UFO or a project that you've started and need to be away from for a while. If so, I'm sure you can relate to the "get acquainted again" issues that go along with them.
You know how it is. You started a project and then hastily packed it away because you just "had" to make something using that wonderful new fabric you bought.
Well, days can turn into weeks, months or even years. And when you do start to work on the project again, you have no idea how many blocks you still need to make because you can't remember which size you were going to make. And then there are those random pieces of fabric that you aren't sure how they were to be used. Are they for the borders? Backing? What?
After running into a couple of projects recently that included only minimal explanation or direction, I decided to take the time to not only be sure that fabric and patterns were together, but to label the fabrics so I know exactly where and how I was planning to use them. Sure, I may change my mind when I actually work on the project again, but I don't waste near as much time trying to figure out where I ended and what I still need to do.
You can use whatever labeling method you like. I've written the information along the selvage, adhered snippets of the fabric to block mock up sheets, used pieces of paper pinned to the fabric, stuck Post It Notes on each piece of fabric, etc. Whatever you do though, be sure that the labeling will not leave a residue or destroy the fabric. I know someone who wrote notes on masking tape and adhered that to the fabrics only to find that the tape left marks and residue that she could not remove. Granted the project had been stored in a paper bag in the basement for almost ten years, but it was still a mess and when she tried to cut around the residue, she did not have enough fabric to complete the project.
Labeling the fabrics also allows me to know if I have all the fabric I need or if I have yet to purchase some. I've been known to make all the blocks and get ready to sew them together before I realize that I don't have the sashing fabric. (In my defense though, I often intentionally wait to buy border fabric so it doesn't count if I don't have that.)
And finally, as much as I hate to admit it, my memory really isn't as good as it used to be. With that in mind, I've been keeping a pretty good record of each project as I'm working on it - almost like a journal. I habitually make notes on patterns in case I decide to teach it as a class because I like to give students various tips or suggestions so they can avoid any pitfalls that I encountered. Not only do these notes help me for teaching, they make it very easy to jump right back in to working on a project after having been away from it for a while.
So the next time you start a project (or revisit an old one), have a pen or pencil ready. You'll be glad you did.