Tuesday Treats: A clever way to carry your Aurifil threads

I love a clever idea … especially when it is to do with thread.

When Lois came into the store to add to her thread collection last week she pulled a “necklet” of spools out of her bag to help with the selection of new colours.

Lois had strung her spools of Aurifil together on a ribbon

Lois had strung her spools of Aurifil together on a ribbon

She said she had linked the threads together like this

  • firstly,  so that she had a quick reference for the colours that she already had in her stash
    (maybe she is like me …I’ve been known to buy a book twice because it took my fancy)
  • and secondly so that we would know what colours already belonged to her

Well it took less than five seconds for us to see the possibilities of this idea, and I have already created one necklet of threads to carry around with my latest stitching project.

I've not got much further with the stitching but at least my threads will now stay together until the applique is finished.

I’ve not got much further with the stitching but at least my threads will now stay together until the applique is finished.

Don’t you agree, it is the perfect way to keep spools of thread tidy, and together, for each project that you have under way in your sewing room.

No more lost threads as they roll under a chair, or get left on a table when you pack up the current “carry around” project.

How do you carry the threads for your current project?

Leave a comment to share your clever ideas.

Advertisements

Tuesday Treats: a walk down memory lane

Recently, when I went browsing through an antique shop in Tasmania I came across a treasure trove of old threads.

It is amazing to see what can be found in an antique shop

It is amazing to see what can be found in an antique shop

It got me thinking about the sewing tools that were used by women in days gone by and reminded me of the beautiful sewing box that I had been shown by a friend.

This delightfully, carved, ivory sewing box was given to a family member in the early 1900’s so it is, or is close to, 100 years old.

This ivory sewing box was carved in the early 1900s

This ivory sewing box was carved in the early 1900s

The carvings were personalised so that each side of the box depicts a story of the recipient’s life.

One end of the ivory sewing box. Each image is a "story" about the recipient's life.

One end of the ivory sewing box. Each image is a “story” about the recipient’s life.

The tools that are stored inside the box are also amazing, an illustrated needle case & bodkin closure,

This needle case is kept inside the sewing box

This needle case is kept inside the sewing box

and a little container to keep the embroidery thread organised.

This is a clever container to keep the embroidery thread organised.

This is a clever container to keep the embroidery thread organised.

Another story about a beautiful sewing tool was shared recently by Deborah of Studio Dragonfly

If, for no other reason, it is worth reading Deborah’s blog to see the beautiful decals that decorate her old treadle.

Modern sewing machines do not have such decorative trims, although you can always add a skin to your modern machine to give it a little jazz up.

See the links for some ideas, or ask at your favourite sewing machine shop.

 Skins for Bernina Machines

Skins for brother machines

Today our tools are beautifully practical, but do not necessarily have the same decorative beauty, or personal significance.

Unless, of course you make them yourself.

Here are some great ideas from Tipnut to make a sewing machine cover to brighten your sewing room.

How do you find time for patchwork?

I am the world’s best procrastinator, always moaning that I don’t have time to stitch,  so I just had to find out how Judy found time to make the “Animal”  print quilt on such short notice. 

I knew she used a system  to give herself  “permission”  to spend time on her patchwork hobby everyday but had never thought a great deal about it until today, when I asked her to explain how it worked.

Judy said:  “I call it the “Cleaning-Sewing Combo“.  I divide my time into two parts – one half hour for sewing and the next half hour for housework, or any other chore that needs to be done. The sewing half hour is always from 1/4 to the hour until 1/4 past the hour and the household half hour is from 1/4 past the hour to 1/4 to the hour”

I asked why she had chosen to split the hour in this way and she replied:

” I am usually working in the one place when I am sewing so I can listen to the news on the radio, on the hour. It helps to keep me informed and up to date with world events.”

We agreed that a half hour spent sewing did not sound like very much time but Judy went on to say:

“This works if you have your projects organised. I sort everthing I need to make the quilt (jumper or embroidery) into it’s own bag and I mean everything … scissors, pin cushion, needles, quick unpick as well as the pattern and fabrics.”

Judy's collection of fabrics & tools sorted into a "fat quarter" bag, ready and waiting for her to start work

I asked how many projects she had sorted in this way:

“Well, I work on 7 projects each week, one for each day. At the start of the day I pull out the project bag for that day and do what ever needs to be done to progress the work … cut pieces, stitch pieces together, press seams, trim blocks etc. It is amazing how much you can get done when you don’t have to waste time searching for tools”

Not every project is machine piecing. Even the hand quilting ones have their own storage container

I was curious as to whether she spent the whole day in this routine:

“Only until the housework tasks that were allocated to that day are complete. As soon as the chores are dealt with the rest of the day is mine for stitching. It simply imposes a routine that means that everything gets dealt with over the week. I sort the household cleaning utensils into a portable basket, in the same way as my patchwork tools.  I don’t want to waste time looking for the the cleaners and cloths, the faster I finish the household chores the more time I have to sew!”

Wow! So how many quilts have you finished since you started using this system?

Judy responded: “An untold number, it can take me several years to finish one quilt but at the same time I may have made, and given away, a whole lot of other quilts. In 1988 I started keeping a record of the projects, just the start & finish dates, and it is interesting to look back through the book at my sewing history

When I had small children,  I would get to the end of the day and feel as if I had done nothing all day even though I knew I had been busy. The record book was a way for me to visually see that I was getting my sewing projects finished.”

A page from Judy's record book. Still a few projects waiting to be finished from 2006 but lots of quilt stamp rewards for the finished projects

Judy finished our interview with this comment:

“Half an hour may not seem like very much time, but even if you only get one block pieced, or one leaf appliqued, you are one step closer to finishing your quilt than you were 30 minutes before”

Now she has got me thinking about how I can organise my sewing projects and I am wondering if other people have a well tested method for getting their projects finished.

I would love to hear how you find time for patchwork.