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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The right tool for the right job.

My father does woodworking for a hobby and taught me that you should always use the right tool for the right job. I believe that not all quilting tools are equal. For instance, the term "silk pins". What does that mean?
If you have been sewing for a long time you probably have some very old pins. When quilters bring those to class, to pin their delicate cotton fabrics, I pass around the pins that I use for quilting to demonstrate the difference between them (I call theirs "nails"). There is a definite "feelable" (if that is a word) difference. Silk pins is a term used for a lot of different pins. They come in different lengths and widths. I always recommend that if the pin label does not tell you what size they are (specifically the width), do not get them. It is important to get pins that are 0.5mm or less. Sally Collins recommends a 0.4mm pin which slides through even the tightest weave batik like butter. I carry both of these type of pins on my website Without these fine pins I wouldn't be able to do some of the pinning techniques that I do when piecing.
I promised I would show my unique pinning technique for piecing curves. I hope that the photos show up better than yesterdays. I am trying to learn the ins and outs of blogging and adding photos is one of those learning curves. If I can get someone (maybe my DH) to video me sewing, I will try to put in a video of sewing the curve in a few days.

The most important thing about sewing curves, in my opinion, is that the concave (inny) curve is on top and convex (outy) curve on bottom when sewing. The concave curve is the one that is more manipulable. The larger curves you do not have to clip, but as the curve gets smaller you will need to make small clips closer together. Rob Peter to Pay Paul block is a large smooth curve that is easily manipulated.

The first step is to find the center of both sections. I do this by folding each one in half, one wrong sides together and the other right sides together and making a small crease on them. I tried using pins for a long time but always got frustrated trying to get the pins on top of each other. The creases fit into each other and make it easier to match. Here is the first pinning trick.....Weave the pin to hold the two layers together in the center.

I repeat this on the beginning and end of the seam also. The problem most people have sewing curves is, that in the beginning and end of sewing, the edges tend to pull apart. By weaving the pin in and out (just like sewing) it holds the edges together better.
Now here is the second pinning trick....At the end of the seam, weave a fourth pin along the seam line (parallel to it) next to the raw edges. The two pins at the end form a "T". This pin is used to help hold the final sewing edge together and slowly gets pulled out as you get closer to the end. I leave the other pin in to help guide the edge to stay at my exact 1/4" seam allowance. (That will be tomorrow's tip of the day.)

Well, again, got to get back to my quilting. I will show you a photo of the Hoffman quilt tomorrow, hopefully almost done and will give you a tip for getting a perfect 1/4" seam allowance everytime.

Everyday do what you love and love what you do, 'Til tomorrow, Toby


LynnEl Springer said...

Sally Collins came to our guild and we took classes from her! Oh, did a learn a TON! I was fairly new at quilting and I think that was good, because I didn't have to unlearn too many things, altho I have been sewing since I was a child of about 10 years or so. I too use the pins she recommends and wouldn't use any others ever again with piecing! I do have some "Nails" to pinning my quilts to the leaders on my quilting machine, tho! Yes, the right tool for the right job! Love Sally Collins too! She's awesome!

LynnEl in Illinois!

Unknown said...

Hi Toby,
I love that your blog teaches something about quilting. Since I am a relative beginner, I will probably learn alot of things I would never otherwise learn. Thanks.