The 5th annual Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop!

This year, I’m so excited to announce the bloggers who are part of the Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop. It’s hard to believe that I started this little hop over five years ago, on a lark because I had to clean up my own studio. I have so much to show you this year and it’s gonna be great, but you have to wait, because these amazing bloggers are all before mine!

The 5th Annual Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hoppers!

April 29 – Linda Bratten –
April 30 – Sandra Johnson –
May 1 – Jennifer Schifano Thomas –
May 2 – Becca Fenstermaker –
May 3 – Sue Griffiths –
May 4 – Kate Starcher –
May 5 – Jo Westfoot –
May 6 – Sam Hunter –
May 7 – Simone Fisher –
May 8 – Elisabeth DeMoo-
May 9 – Sarah Myers –
May 10 – Amy Bradley –
May 11 – Kathy Nutley –
May 12 – Carla Henton –
May 13 – Sherry Shish –
May 14 – Kate Colleran –
May 15 – Pamela Boatright –
May 16 – Cathy McKillip –
May 17 – Cheryl Sleboda –

Be sure to check out the others participating in this Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop 2019 and follow this hashtag on Instagram! #springcleanyourstudio2019

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Basics for Labeling Your Quilt

Everyone should label their quilts! But what should you include? I’ll help you with the basics.

Labeling your quilts has been a long tradition, and it’s super helpful to determine details about the quilt and quilter. But what are the real basics of labeling your quilt? Let’s go over some of the details you need to know.

First of all, your label should be created from the same quality fabric as the rest of your quilt. You don’t want the label to be the first thing to disintegrate. You should also write the details on your label with an acid-free, archival permanent pen. You want this kind of pen because you do not want the ink to eat away at the fabric and for the color to last as long as the quilt does. Sakura Pigma Micron pens have been my pen of choice for many years.

Sewing your label onto your quilt is also important. Most labels are appliqued onto the back. If possible, stay away from fusing or ironing on your label. Not only could the fusible degrade over time, storing your quilt in a hot environment could possibly loosen the glue and detach your label from the quilt. Always additionally sew down your label to the quilt.

Now it’s down to what to write on your label. It can be easy to include a novelization of the quilt’s creation on the back, but there are a few “must haves” on the label. This information may vary for quilts you enter into shows or competitions. However, the true basics of your label should Include some data about the quilt, the maker, and other crucial info.

Details about the maker. You should include your name and also where the quilt was made. If the quilt was quilted by someone else for you, then you should also include that person’s name. The reason to include the place is so that if someone is trying to find more information about you after you are gone, or the quilt is lost, they have an idea of where to start looking for you.

Details about the quilt. If your quilt has a name, or is used from a pattern that is named, this is a good place to include it. If your quilt is a gift, you could include that it was made for that person and why, such as “Made for Margaux for her First Birthday”.

Include the date. You will also want to include the date the quilt was completed. When people look at your quilting work years from now, they will be able to arrange your work in chronological order.

Competition or quilts for sale often include the artist’s full address, phone number, and web address. This way if the quilt is lost, or someone inquires to purchase a similar work from the artist, there’s a way to contact the artist. Of course, after many years, the artist could have retired or moved, but it is a starting point. Some competition quilt labels are amended with shows that the quilt was exhibited in or awards it has won.

You can create your label using your embroidery machine and have a stitched label, but I love hand written labels. I like the “hand of the artist” in my work, and a handwritten label is a way to preserve the maker’s handwriting. And you can use an Heirloom Smocking Template to help make lines so your writing is straight.

Do you label all of your quilts? Share with us on my Facebook page!

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Honoring the broken needle – Hari Kuyo

Today is Hari Kuyo, the ceremony in Japan to honor your broken needlework tools. On February 8th, in Shinto and Buddhist temples across Japan, needles, pins, and small scissors are laid to rest in soft jelly or tofu. Kuyo is a redemptive fire ceremony for tools by artists, chefs, and others to burn their worn tools, brushes, and knives to honor them for their work in their art. Needles and pins have a different ceremony, called Hari Kuyo, meaning Needle Memorial. No fire, but a soft cake to pierce one final time.

I know we have all been seeing the Marie Kondo Tidying Up series on Netflix being discussed, and much has been said over her “thanking each item for it’s service” before it’s discarded. But I don’t know that we really think about how useful, yet disposable, items help us do the work we need to do each time we sew. I think this ceremony speaks to me in a strong way, above my love for the Japanese culture.

I spent about 10 minutes going through all of my pins looking for the truly crooked and broken ones. It was a nice way to assess my collection of these little sewing helpers. Now my pins are refreshed and ready to help, and these broken and bent ones will be retired.

For those of you who are curious, after I honored my needles and pins, and then removed them from my little square of tofu, and wrapped them for the recycle bin.

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Thread Conditioning Tip – Beeswax

As you know I teach hand sewing techniques for fabric manipulation. Because you are making multiple passes through the fabric with your needle and thread to create the texture on the back, it’s important to use a “strong” thread, meaning the thread is not brittle or will break or fray easily. One of the things you can do to your thread is apply a conditioner to it to help it keep some of it’s strength.

I’m not going to discuss silicone-based conditioners that coat your thread for ease of pulling it. There’s a suggestion from conservators that silcone-based thread conditioners “hasten rot”, which over time, disintegrates the thread and the area you have sewn through. Now this may never be in your lifetime, but for those of us passing our work down and on, it’s not a good thing to have something in your toolbox that will eat your work.

For Beeswax, however, it’s another matter altogether. Beeswax does not “have a negative impact on thread”.  Thread coated with beeswax is strengthened for multiple passes through fabric. It protects thread from that constant wear as it is used. It’s not meant to make your thread slippery. And for “heirloom sewing” which is meant to be passed down, it’s perfect.

Beeswax has been used in sewing toolboxes for hundreds and hundreds of years. You may have an old slab of wax that your grandmother or her grandmother used. When I went to look for mine, it was coated with dust and dirt. That led me to think about ways to make it more useful (and dirt free) in my sewing toolbox, and I thought of my lip balm tube! Next thing you know, I was making 100% pure beeswax tubes with my dad for use in your sewing.

Interested in trying some out for yourself? You can get it in my shop, just by CLICKING HERE!

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Spool School: Which way does it go?

Ever wonder which way a spool is supposed to go on your machine? I’ve got you covered!

Loading your thread on your machine on the wrong spool holder pin isn’t the end of the world, but if you’re experiencing troubles with a particular thread, this can be a really handy thing to know. Let’s start by talking about thread. Thread is either cross wound or parallel wound. They are pretty easily identified and there are pictures below. Once you identify which thread you are working with, then you know which pin on your machine to use. Let’s take a look.

Parallel wound thread looks stacked on itself, and should come off the spool on the side of the spool. The spool should be able to spin freely to allow the thread to unwind off the side. Therefore this thread is best used on the upright spool holder pin on your machine. Remember, you want the spool to be able to spin so don’t cap it tightly.

Cross wound thread, including large cones, are wound in a criss-cross pattern on the spool, and are meant to have the thread come off the top of the spool while the spool remains stationary. The thread should be placed on a horizontal spool holder pin so the thread can unravel from the top of the spool. Using a cap will help keep the spool in place. Some machines come with sponges to put on the pin before the thread so that the spool doesn’t rotate on the pin.

Some people like to use those large cones of thread on their domestic machines. Typically, thread cones are cross wound, so they should remain stationary. Those should be used with a separate thread stand so the thread is wound off the top of the spool properly. Even if the spool is not in a stand, it should be stationary and not rotate.

Hopefully these tips keep your thread moving through your machine properly! Got other thread tips for us? Share them on Facebook!

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