Category Archives: sewing

Skirt Hangers aren’t just for Skirts


Do you keep those plastic skirt hangers when you buy a skirt at the store? Of course you do. Even if you have nice hangers at home, you need these for your sewing room. And really, what will the store do with them? Throw them away? Recycle them? You can recycle them just as easy, maybe easier than the store, and no other outside costly energy is expended in the process.

How can you use a skirt hanger:

1. Hang your cutting mat on it when not in use. If you only have a small area for your sewing and quilting your mat needs to be stored in a flat area so it doesn’t warp or get all wonky. Hanging it up with a skirt hanger is the perfect solution.

2. Store blocks in progress.  Hanging your blocks on a hanger allows you to have them in view (if you want) yet out of danger of being covered up with other fabric. It also keeps them free of wrinkles. You can add each block as it’s finished which also lets you see at a glance how many are completed. These hangers often will slide, so it doesn’t matter what size blocks you’re making.

3. Hanging a quilt for photos. We want pictures of our quilts, but taking them is often  challenge. Experts suggest taking the photo straight on, that is having the camera and the quilt at the same height and angle. If you don’t have someone to hold the quilt, or a sleeve on your quilt for hanging this can be difficult. Skirt hangers to the rescue. Once you take a “straight on” photo then you can take more artistic ones. Pictures of the quilt covering a loved one, on a bed, draped over a chair or fence. All quilt pictures are worth taking and viewing.

4. Store your fabric.If storage is at a premium add a lower rod to your closet and hang your hangers of fabrics. They will be out of the sun, out of plastic tubs, and easily viewed. Of course this will only work for a few of your fabrics, so you’ll have to make some choice. After all, few people have that many closets.

5. Holding fabric for a project. When you buy fabrics for a specific quilt you can clip all of them to one, or two, skirt hangers to keep everything together as you work on the quilt. You’ll know where the backing and binding fabrics are because they will be on the hangers.

Do you use skirt hangers in your quilt room?

Do you have other uses for skirt hangers?

What non-sewing items do you use in your sewing room?

This post is part of the 31 day challenge. Check out some of the other blogs posting there.

Spoons in the Sewing Room

Spoons are for more than stirring.

Spoons are for more than stirring.

I love my wooden spoons. They serve several purposes. On the rare occasions that I cook, they are great for stirring mixes together, stirring food in the skillet or saucepan. I’ve even used it to move the ingredients in the blender.

However, my favorite use for the spoons is in the sewing room. To be more correct, with my sewing since I sew in the dining room, cut and iron on my kitchen bar. Maybe I should have started with the bar as a sewing tool.

I digress. I love the wooden spoons for sewing.

First, they are great cold irons. They can “iron” the seam to one side, or open if need be. If you don’t have a cold iron, try using your wood spoon.

The handle end works for helping to push stuffing into a narrow tube. The handle can also be used to help turn a tube right-side out.

Linking up with The Nester in the Too Awesome to Categorize category. There are almost 200 bloggers in that category alone. There are eight other categories, each just as full.  Enjoy the awesome blogs.

31 Days of Sewing Tools From Around The House

Quilters,and sewists,  love gadgets. Even if we missed the shoe buying gene, the shopping gene, and the “must have chocolate” gene, we seemed to have managed to acquire the, “anything for the sewing room” gene.

We have multiple sewing machines, templates, scissors, and untold number of items designed to make our sewing life easier, or just because we like them.

Sometimes all of those nifty gadgets and tools cost money the electric company insists on having. If not, they will make sure our sewing machines and lights don’t work. Bother!

Other times, it’s not money that stops us from adding to our ever-growing collection of helpful items, it’s time. We are working on a project and need something RIGHT NOW. Not tomorrow, or next week, not even in an hour. We want/need it NOW. We don’t have time, or want to take the time, to run to the store and purchase the item.

We begin to scour our house, we look in the kitchen, the office, even the garage, for something that will suffice. So, for the next time you’re in dire need of a tool you don’t have, look around your house.

To help you locate these multi-use items, for the next 31 days, I’ll be highlighting one for you. I’ll also be linking up with The Nester, where over 1000 others bloggers are gathering and sharing their 31 day blogs. The blogs cover a variety of subjects divided up into specific categories. You’re sure to find something you enjoy.

I’ll be posting a list here of the items I cover, so you can find them easier.

Do you have any sewing room tools you enjoy using that were designed for another purpose? Share them in the contacts.

Sunday Sewing, Not

I don’t sew on Sundays. Don’t ask why, it doesn’t make sense to me either.  I do other “jobs” on Sunday, laundry, dishes, housecleaning, even yard work.

Ok, I don’t do any of them often on Sundays, but that’s because I try to avoid “work” whenever possible.

But sewing? Why not sew? I understand about it being the Lord’s day, and I think that’s why I don’t. But, really, why do other chores? Why limit it to sewing?

Someone suggested it’s because I sew for pleasure and the other “chores” are necessities. Especially, the way I do them.

I’d buy that, except I can’t even make myself sew on my charity projects, the prayer quilts I make for women I know, or meet, who have buried a husband, or the ones I make for raffling to help the charities of my heart. No matter how helpful the reason for a quilt, sewing on Sundays is a challenge.

When I posted here about posting daily, I had a topic for every day except Sundays. What would I blog about on Sundays? I needed a subject.  I won’t bore you with the thought process. Suffice it to say, I have an idea, now whether or not I can successfully carry it out is another thing. Sundays will be for my monthly project. No, I won’t be sewing on it, blogging about it however, is acceptable in my head.

The  Plan.  For the monthly project posts, I needed a monthly project. Funny how that works. There are plenty of sewing/quilting projects in my house. However, I once again needed a plan. Enter, A Lovely Year of Finishes  hosted by, Melissa of Sew BitterSweet Designs   and Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts.

The idea is to select one project and  commit to finishing that project. Next I need to write a blog post about it, link up with others at BitterSweet and Fiber of all Sorts to share the post. Once the project is complete. I’ll blog again about the finish. Sounds like a workable plan.

The Project. January’s project is the Twist and Turn quilt. I started it in a class a while back. Returned to it last year, hoping to use it as a Christmas gift. That didn’t happen. So, this month, I will finish the top, piece the back, quilt and bind that quilt. Not only will that give me one finish for the year, but one Christmas gift for next year. Yay!

The top of scraps is started:


And the backing, using masculine fat quarters.

HPIM1478.JPGWhat challenges are you tackling this year? What’s your plan?

To Rip or Not to Rip

Recently, when commiserating with an online friend about the terrors of unsewing a project she mentioned that she spent way too much time with “Jack”.  On the other hand, I don’t spend nearly enough time with him.

I’m not a big fan of unsewing and resewing. Unless it’s horribly obvious, or I’m making something for someone else I consider most goofs a learning experience. I’m currently working on a quilt project with my quilting group, a friendship quilt using a modified leaf pattern. We are all  making several leaf blocks and signing them.

Once they’re all finished (some of us are a little slow, and it’s not me this time!) we’ll exchange them and each of us will have a leaf quilt representing each member of our guild.

When I sewed my blocks, I was in a hurry, thinking the deadline was fast approaching. Though I tried to be careful, I wasn’t. The resulting blocks looked nothing like the pictured leaf. See?


Because these blocks will be given to other quilters they were taken apart  and resewn in the proper order. Although, I left a couple “wrong.”  One of the ladies in our group wanted my block to be the ‘mistake’ block to include in her quilt. She said it’d be a different block, and when  asked about the different block, she could say, “That’s Nita’s block, she does things her way.” Not a bad way to be introduced, as an individual who does things my way. 🙂

A couple of the ‘wrong’ blocks will also go into my quilt as “crumpled leaves.”

We all have a few crumpled leaves in our quilts of life, but that’s good. It makes our life unique, special, one-of-a-kind, just the way God intended. We learn from our crumpled days and use the experience, or education for the days that follow.

Some days though, we wish we could ‘unsew’ a day and start it over. Terry Lynne Underwood, blogged about those re-sewn or do-over days. Check it out, it may make you feel better about your “re-sew” days.

How about you? Do you spend much time with ‘Jack?’  When do you wish you could rip a day apart and start it over?

Eating, Quilting, Writing

Eating and writing, eating and quilting. They all seem to go together perfectly, two halves of a nut, at least for most quilters and writers.

Writers, enjoy good food. Many larger groups provide refreshments at their meetings, especially if they have a speaker. The food allows for more informal visiting as we stand around and nibble on the goodies. My writing group is small, and doesn’t offer refreshments, however many of the group will meet before hand at a local Taco Bob’s  to eat, and visit before the meeting. Bob is our local culinary literary supporter. He offers us space for book signings, and offers our books for sale at his counter. A perfect place to enjoy a bite to eat and visit for writers.

Quilters are no strangers to good food either. Most quilt meetings will include time for refreshments. Any time I hear about a quilting bee, food is included in the telling. Generally, those long-ago gatherings included soups, stews, or beans, something that could be kept warm on the stove, something that didn’t have to be fussed with. After all these women were there to quilt, the hostess didn’t want to be fiddling in the kitchen, she wanted to be with her friends, visiting and quilting. Of course, if the quilters brought food for the meal it had to be something that traveled well, and could be served with minimum of fuss. Probably they brought the bread or desserts for the day.

When today’s quilters gather, whether to sew or just visit, they have little interest in spending their visiting time cooking. At most meetings, refreshments include something to drink (no mess, no fuss) and sweets (food that sits quietly on the sidelines until time to be consumed. 

Quilt retreats and camps require more substantial food. Meals at these events are provided by the sponsor, the quilters will take turns preparing meals, or they (the quilters) will bring food to be refrigerated until needed when it will be reheated and served.  

Most quilters, and many writers are good cooks. I don’t fall into that category. I can cook (as is evidenced by my need to exercise and diet), however, I don’t enjoy cooking, and prefer to NOT cook. Which means I don’t have a favorite kitchen appliance or tool. Unlike fellow writer, Anna Campbell who waxed beautifully about her new teapot on her blog, Tote Bags ‘n’ Blogs 

What about you, do you enjoy cooking? Do you have a favorite kitchen appliance or tool?

Mystery Quilt

Mystery lovers plus quilters equal, mystery quilters. These adventurous quilters often participate in a block of the month, making a quilt in a year of someone else’s design. Often, they have no idea what the quilt will look like until they are six months into it. How about a mystery quilt in a day? Okay, it’s not actually a full-size bed quilt, or even a throw, but a 17″ X 44″ table runner. Still, the quilt will be a mystery in the making. Sounds fun, right?

Merry Mayhem, and Planet Patchwork will be having a mystery quilt day today, Sep. 10. Just stop by their website, every hour for new directions. The supply list was posted earlier, however, you can probably pull enough fabric from your stash to play along. It sounds like an adventure worth the time, and once we know how to make a table runner, if we enjoy the process and pattern there’s no reason we can’t make a larger version. 🙂

More information about the Mystery Quilt can be found here. I know this is late notice, but I just learned about the Mystery Quilt and wanted to share with you. If  you like the idea of a mystery day, leave me a comment and we may try the same thing here at Patchwork. Lives 🙂

Unfortunately, I will be otherwise occupied for most of the day so will be unable to participate. I’m hoping the instructions will stay online for 24 hours or so, which will give me time to make my own mystery quilt. It sounds like fun.

Pictures of quilts made during a previous Mystery Day, are available on their flickr site.

Today’s Tip: Use the same machine to do all your machine piecing, this will help keep the seam allowances consistent.