Blog hop! Fabulously fast quilts to make (+ tips and giveaways!)

Fabulously Fast Quilts by Amy Smart
Photo courtesy of Amy Smart

Count your UFOs. If the number you came up with is bigger than you’d like or more than you thought it would be (or if you’re still counting), you just might be a short-attention-span quilter. And if you’re a short-attention-span quilter, we’d like to introduce you to Amy Smart. She’s the quilter who coined the phrase!

Amy whips up stacks of quick quilting projects on her wildly popular Diary of a Quilter blog, forging ahead with what seems like the speed of superhero. In her debut book, Fabulously Fast Quilts, she shares the techniques that have helped her become so speedy—techniques that result in beautifully quick quilts that you’ll never need to banish to the UFO pile.

Today we’re thrilled to be a part of Amy’s blog hop for Fabulously Fast Quilts. It’ll be well worth your while to click through to each blogger’s post about the book (see links below). Why? Because Amy’s asked all of us to share our best quick-quilting tip! We gathered up three of our favorite tips about thread to share with you.
Modern Buzz Saw quilt
Photo courtesy of Amy Smart

But first, let’s take a peek at Amy’s new book! Get to know and love her timesaving techniques: strip piecing; quick corners; slick slicing; and stack, slice, and shuffle.

Zig quilt
Strip piecing:
“Zig” + 2 more (photo courtesy of Amy Smart)

Roundabout quilt
Quick corners:
“Roundabout” + 2 more (photo courtesy of Amy Smart)

Crossing Guard quilt
Slick slicing:
“Crossing Guard” + 2 more (photo courtesy of Amy Smart)

Quick Puss in the Corner quilt
Stack, slice and shuffle:
“Quick Puss in the Corner” + 2 more (photo courtesy of Amy Smart)

At just $16.99 for a dozen of Amy’s fresh quilt patterns (or $11.99 for the eBook), an attention span isn’t needed—owning Fabulously Fast Quilts is a no-brainer! See all 12 quilts here.

Now, on to our three favorite thread (or more like dethread) tips!


Block from Fabulously Fast Quilts

TIP: Rip It Good
“If you have to unsew, use a seam ripper to undo every 4th or 5th stitch on the bobbin-thread side of the patches. Then pull the top-thread side and the seam will magically unzip!”

–Karen S., Managing Editor

TIP: Sticky Stitches
“Whenever I have to remove my stitching (which is more often than I’d like to admit), I keep an adhesive lint roller nearby. After unpicking the stitches, I pass the lint roller over the seam. The stray threads easily stick to the tape. Now I’ve got a clean slate, along with high hopes that I’ll do it right next time!”

–Jenny, Content Editor

Block from Fabulously Fast Quilts

TIP: Thread-Free Fashion
“When you have those little thread bits from, say, a seam you just unsewed, a nylon-net dish scrubbie is a great (and cheap) tool for swiping them off your clothing. You can get craft netting at fabric and craft shops by the yard, to make your own for pennies on the dollar. Either gather strips, using your machine basting stitch, to make a sewn thread remover, or cut strips and crochet them. Years ago I worked in a fabric store and we had a box of craft netting under the counter so we could dethread before leaving work at the end of the day.”

–Karen S., Managing Editor


Fabulously Fast QuiltsHope you enjoyed our tips! Now, share yours: what’s your favorite quick-quilting tip? Share it in the comments and you could win a copy of the Fabulously Fast Quilts eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

Comments are closed for this post.

Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Bridget, who says:

“I came across this tip a while ago and I find it really helpful now that my eyes are not so good. I sew on black fabrics with navy thread and on while or cream fabrics with a light grey or beige. It helps me to see the thread easier if I have to rip out the seams.”

Bridget, we’ll email you about your prize. Congratulations!

Get more quick-quilting tips when you follow the Fabulously Fast Quilts blog hop:

Monday, April 28
Sachiko Aldous of Tea Rose Home
April Rosenthal of April Rosenthal
Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane

Tuesday, April 29
Stitch This! blog at Martingale (that’s us!)
Amy Ellis of Amy’s Creative Side
Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet

Wednesday, April 30

Faith Jones of Fresh Lemons Quilts
Melissa Mortenson of PolkaDot Chair
Amy Gibson of Stitchery Dickory Dock

Thursday, May 1

Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced
Lynne Goldsworthy of Lily’s Quilts
Jeni Baker of In Color Order

Friday, May 2

Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt
Lindsay Conner of Craft Buds
Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life


155 Comments

  • My tip is for my iron and machine– I keep a can of compressed air (the type they sell for cleaning your computer keyboard) on hand. I use it for cleaning out lint from the machine, both above and below. I never need to use the brush and it is really quick.
    And I use it on my (completely cool) iron to remove the lint that builds up behind the plate. Just spray from the sides till nothing comes out. It’s amazing how much lint and gunk gets into the iron, and it keeps heating up too. Yucky to get that on your nice fabric.

    Lizzie on April 29, 2014
  • My favorite quick-quilting tip is to mix large blocks of fabric in with the finished pieced blocks. I had 2 UFOs that started as BOMs that I was giving for Christmas last year; I turned them into fast lap quilts by adding in 9.5″ squares of coordinating fabric (put with the 6 blocks I had done for each) and had a quick quilt in no time! Great way to quickly finish up a UFO!

    The Reader on April 29, 2014
  • Turn your cutting mat over, and cut from different angles for extended use. I love my large green mat, and have used it for years. But I do turn it to make the best use of the surface.

    Jocelyn on April 29, 2014
  • As a new quilter, I do not have many tips of my own. But I do like to use and share a tip I received!
    Pin a flannel backed tablecloth, flannel side out, to your wall. This makes an Inexpensive ‘design wall’. And is ideal, as I can leave my design right there on the wall to view and review until I am completely happy with the layout!
    I can’t wait to own this new ‘fabulously fast quilts’!!

    —Winona on April 29, 2014
  • I have to take out many seams because I’m not a good sewer, but I do love perfectly matching points. The quilt-shop ladies introduced me to the electric seam ripper, and it has saved me a TON of time taking out my wonky seams! The electric seam ripper is also known as a beard/mustache trimmer! – you can get one for between $7 and $12 at just about anyplace that sells shaving supplies.

    —Marty Campbell on April 29, 2014
  • my tip is when trying to match seams or points, stick a pin through the seam of both pieces, then a dab of glue to secure the match (seam allowances opposite each other of course) and then pin the rest of the piece. Perfectly matched seams and then PRESS, PRESS, PRESS, NOT iron.
    Thanks

    —Flor Chavarria on April 29, 2014
  • I just made a little pocket to hang off my table beside where I sit to sew. I can put my little scissors, stileto, seam ripper, and remote control for my audio player all right within easy reach! Why didn’t I make this sooner? I always seemed to be searching for my little tools- no more!

    —Janet on April 29, 2014
  • HI,if you are without a thread holder that is sturdy enough to hold a large spool or cone of thread at the sewing machine, simply place spool in a glass or vase behind machine,works great! Thanks for sharing!

    —LINDA J on April 29, 2014
  • the little brushes meant to get between teeth are wonderful in tight spots in your sewing machine.

    —Peg on April 29, 2014
  • A great scrap tip is to go ahead and cut your scraps into 2.5 in strips and or blocks. Then they are ready for use. Sort by color if you want to and have the time.

    —Chris on April 29, 2014
  • Precut sis my favorite time saving technique. Wrangling with a yard or two fabric inorder to cut it down to size can be tough, so precut fabric to the rescue.

    —Heather on April 29, 2014
  • Starch and pressing make everything go together so much faster and easier for me.

    —Dana Gaffney on April 29, 2014
  • Plastic baggies are wonderful for keeping your parts in order and keeping projects together. You can label each baggie with the size/identification and then when you have all your parts for your blocks you can then put them in a large (gallon size) baggie so you can just grab it and go or store it so it is all together.

    —Kiska Stevens on April 29, 2014
  • I cut leftover batting into small squares and keep one near my sewing machine. As I cut threads I just put them on the batting and they don’t fly away. When I finish sewing or a project just toss it into the trash. I also keep a piece of batting with me when I am doing hand stitching – again my threads don’t fly around.

    —Beverly MacKay on April 29, 2014
  • I have a pair of smooth flat edged pliers to pull out threads when I am ripping an unwanted seam. They work like a champ.

    —Patricia D. Roberts on April 29, 2014
  • I use a sponge envelope moistener from the office supply department to remove water soluble pen markings on my quilts.

    Susan G on April 29, 2014
  • When your rotary blade needs to be changed, take it out, turn it over, and put it back in the cutter. When you’re cutting, it’s at a slight angle, so when you turn it over, you use the other side. You’ll get twice the use out of a blade, and if you sharpen your blades, you get FOUR times the use. I haven’t bought a new blade in quite a while.

    —Jill Ellis on April 29, 2014
  • My favorite tip is keeping a piece of rolled sticky tape on my ironing board. One side sticks to that, and the other to all the thread bits that are on left the fabric after washing. Of course, on "ironing day", it might take several pieces to catch all the loose ends.

    —Lynne on April 29, 2014
  • Good starch not from the dollar store can make all the difference. The smell and performance is worth the difference of price. Press as you go as much as possible. It will also help with the quilting. I open my seams, they will not rip out because of it. It makes stitching in the ditch a smooth job.

    —Linda Christianson on April 29, 2014
  • When I need to press seams open, I first press them by rolling with a wooden wallpaper seam roller. Then they will be fairly flat for ironing without putting my fingers near the steaming iron. The seam roller is also great for pressing when paper piecing.

    —Lisa Marie on April 29, 2014
  • The best "medicine" for a quick quilt is big block that you enjoy doing! Nothing slows a quilt down than finishing something you don’t find fun to do.

    —Lauren aka Giddy99 on April 29, 2014
  • This tip is one I read on another site and it is great. Use Elmer’s School Glue in stick form to hold your binding in place instead of pins or clips. My bindings have never looked so good or were as easy to sew.

    —Kathy Hancock on April 29, 2014
  • I pick up quilting magazines from my guild, the public library, and garage sales. When I have time I enter them in a word document. The information includes name of magazine and date issued. Magazines can take up lots of room and this eliminates doubles.

    —Diane on April 29, 2014
  • I like to number my flower pins and pin the left row of each section with a number. When I go to the Machine, I don’t forget which row goes to which, and where is the left and right side of the top.

    Gail G on April 29, 2014
  • My favorite tip is to cut leftover pieces into 2 7/8″ squares for half square triangles and 5 1/4″ squares for quarter square triangles so have an assortment for making scrap quilts quickly.

    —Regina Harris on April 29, 2014
  • Mark the number of a thread spool on the matching bobbin with a removable marker so that you know which threads and bobbins are matches. Thanks for the chance to win this wonderful book!

    —Karen Watkins on April 29, 2014
  • When shopping/collecting fabric for a specific pattern, I cut a 2″ square from each purchased fabric and glue/tape it inside a blank greeting card which then goes in my purse. On my next trip I can tell what I have already, and it’s easier to match colors than try to remember them. When done, the 2″ squares are used in my quilt scrapbook along with a photo of the finished quilt.

    —Gee Hubbard on April 29, 2014
  • My quick quilting tip is to change your rotary cutter blade often. This will help cuts be fresh and quick and prevent ravels as well as having to recut a snippet!

    —Lana Stewart on April 29, 2014
  • i keep similar size of scraps of materials in different clear boxes I get from the craft shops. You can pick them up on sale 2 for $5 so when I need a certain size I’m not digging thru piles of scrapes.

    —Dawn on April 29, 2014
  • I would say my best "fast" tip is to start out organized and stay that way. When you have piles ready to piece or cut, and all are in order, you can spend more time doing the work, and less time figuring out what to do next.

    —karen on April 29, 2014
  • Being a newbie, I don’t have many tips I came up with. My favorite one is the leader-ender tip from Bonnie Hunter. 🙂 Loving all the tips, seems like it’s taking forever to finish my second quilt.

    —Connie on April 29, 2014
  • I’ve only recently started quilting. But here is a tip from years of sewing and doing other crafts.

    I have a plastic box for each project I’m currently working on or planning. Most are large shoe box sizes. I keep my fabric, thread, pattern (if there is one), notions, and needles in the box. I make a note with what the project is, who it is for, and what it is for and tape the note to the end of the box. If I don’t have everything for the project, I list what is missing on a note tapped to the lid and I put a star sticker on the end with project note.

    For yarn projects I use plastic grocery bags and write in the bag my hook or needle size.

    —JennB on April 29, 2014
  • I recently learned the tip you shared about clipping every few stitches when you need to rip a seam. It is so fast this way and prevents frustration, especially if you are somewhat of a perfectionist!

    —Suzanne on April 29, 2014
  • My only advice is what my grandmother told me as she taught me to sew…"if it’s worth making, it’s worth making right!" It’s helped me take many seams apart when I’d rather just keep sewing!!

    —LindaV on April 29, 2014
  • I use a lint roller on my cutting mat to get the threads and lint out of every groove!

    —Karen Seitz on April 29, 2014
  • My tip would be, use stacked painters tape on your sewing machine bed, to keep your seams accurate while sewing. Thanks for the giveaway.

    —Janie on April 29, 2014
  • I have two cats that love to get into my sewing things when we leave them home alone. If I have things spread out on the table, which I usually do, I just spread several 20″x30″ pieces of foam core to cover my precious tools and resources on top of the table so the cats don’t rearrange or steal them!

    —JudyHansen on April 29, 2014
  • Unfortunately I don’t have any tips as I haven’t gotten very far in my quilting "career", but I’d love to win!

    —jane d on April 29, 2014
  • My tip is Roxanne’s basting glue. It is washes out easily, doesn’t gum up your needles and is tacky and dries quickly. It is a temporary non stiff way to match up points, appliqué and I live it when ii make self binding items like mug rugs. With no pins or any other holding device, I can stitch close to my binding edge using a foot with a center bar. I just click the needle position a few clicks off center, and the binding is next to the bar. Voila! Perfect stitching!

    —Judi on April 29, 2014
  • My best tip is taking your time to nestle seams so when you sew the seams match up well .thanks for the chance ,

    Sheila on April 29, 2014
  • Sometimes, when I need more than one quilt to donate to charity and time is limited, I choose a simple quilt pattern, and cut 2 different fabric/color designs at the same time. Then I can piece them concurrently, and quilt them in the same manner, for 2 quick quilts.

    —Karen on April 29, 2014
  • Starch- Every step of my quilt seems to go together easier when my fabric has been starched. It takes a little longer when I begin but I save it back in the long run.

    —Tina on April 29, 2014
  • My favorite quick tip is using a pipe cleaner to get into those tiny nooks & crannies when you’re cleaning your machine. It bends easily to get to the dirtiest areas. Voila!

    —Claire on April 29, 2014
  • If my iron gets gunk on it, and I don’t have anything to clean it with, I pour salt on my ironing board and move the hot iron in a circular motion. The gunk comes off because of the salt’s abrasive quality. This works for me in a pinch.

    —Melody DeGraziano on April 29, 2014
  • Nothing slows me down faster than a dull rotary cutting blade! Change them when you notice it’s not cutting a nice smooth line. I know blades are expensive so I purchased a small rotary blade sharpener to get more life out of my blades.

    —Judy F on April 29, 2014
  • OMG! so many good tips on the blog hop so I guess I’ll tell about Dritz Fray Check, the superglue for fabrics. It has helped me numerous time, both quilting and everyday life. I use it to stabilize threads and seams that may be a litlle weak or a small unintentional tear that invaribly happens. It won’t wash out and I love to use it on jeans to prevent them from looking like they’re ready for Goodwill. It’s extended the life of so many things I guess I recycled a lot more things before I discovered it.

    —Rosemary on April 29, 2014
  • I use painters’ tape to hold a small piece of surplus batting on the far right of my sewing machine. Any threads that I clip get put there — the batting really holds them out of the way. When I’m done I either clean off the batting to use again, or throw it away, depending on my mood.

    —Judy W on April 29, 2014
  • I like making a few big blocks to make a quilt as opposed to making many small blocks. It goes faster.

    —Karen A on April 29, 2014
  • I am still not the most comfortable with machine quilting and stippling the quilt top, batting, and backing together. So if I have extra time and I picked up a larger piece of fabric from say our ‘free table’ from the guild meeting, I sandwich it and practice my stippling. If large enough I can donate to a local children’s charity or to pet rescue. I would love a copy of Amy’s book!

    —Marie Chat on April 29, 2014
  • I wind four bobbins at the beginning of a project and when I’ve used the last one, I know it’s time to clean and oil my machine. Then wind four more bobbins and get back to sewing. This way if I’m interrupted with my project I don’t have to remember when I last cleaned out the bobbin area of lint.

    —Marianne on April 29, 2014
  • When making a block of the month from pre cuts provided by my local quilt shop I always press the pieces using a spray on stabilizer lie Maryellen’s Best press.

    —Judy Allen on April 29, 2014
  • Have all of the equipment and supplies collected you need for the part of the project you are planning to work on. This will really save "searching" time when you start to work.

    —Winona on April 29, 2014
  • Here is a NEW and DIFFERENT TIP for you, to applique I cut the piece out ( which includes the seam allowance for turning ), then sew it right side to very thin non fuseable webbing, all the way around so your sewing meets, then I cut an opening into the center of the non fuseable webbing, and carefully turn the piece so the seams are encased inside the webbing, leaving te webbing on carefully iron it on the fabric side ( which will be right side out ), just pin it onto the piece and sew on like you would binding onto a quilt ! This saved many projects for me as I hated turning the pieces to be appliqued and trying to keep them accurate. and thats my tip !

    Shirley Vick on April 29, 2014
  • When doing setting triangles – always make them a bit bigger that you think you’ll need. It’s much easier to just trim while squaring up than ripping them out. Speaking of UFO’s……

    —Sara on April 29, 2014
  • my favorite tip to pass along to new quilt makers is to make your binding as soon as you finish the quilt, before you pack up your project. That way, when your quilt it quilted you will be ready to sew on the binding and finish it.

    —Barb on April 29, 2014
  • sew strips together and then as a tube, then you can cut triangles or slices and get strips in various arrangements depending upon which seam is undone.

    —TRACY DVR on April 29, 2014
  • My favorite quick tip is to make a portable pressing table, or a tv table covered with insulbright and fabric, to make a pressing station right next to my sewing area. That way you can press after every seam, instead of having to get up and walk to your ironing board every time you finish a seam.

    —Cindy Dahlgren on April 29, 2014
  • We all have strips of batting left over from projects, the ones I can’t put together for a quilt I cut into pieces that will stick to the bottom of my Swiffer mop to clean the floor in the sewing room. It picks up all trashcan oops and then it goes into the trash. Works great on hard surfaced floors.

    —Sewslo on April 29, 2014
  • I use a cookbook holder to keep my pattern book open while cutting for easy reference.

    —Robyn on April 29, 2014
  • I keep all my quilting tools in a tote, ready for transporting to my dining room table which, at the moment, serves a dual purpose as a part-time quilting table.

    —Linda B on April 29, 2014
  • My quick tip is I bought a Sizzix and it cuts the strips (2 1/2, 3 inch, etc.). It does 8 layers of fabric at once. No I am not a rep, but I love this machine for when I have a project that takes 2 1/2 inch strips.
    Can’t wait to get my hands on this book! Thanks for the giveaway!!

    —Robyn Conners on April 29, 2014
  • My favorite tip is press and measure every block. No guessing. The quilt will come out to size without and trimming if the blocks are right and the seams are consistent in width, of course. I love the phrase ‘quilter with a short attention span’. I am another one so this book would be most welcome.

    —Judy on April 29, 2014
  • Whoops, should ‘read without any trimming’.

    —Judy on April 29, 2014
  • I dislike how beards of batting get stuck on my cutting mat when I cut batting so I turn my mat over whenever I have batting to cut. I also use a separate rotary cutter with an old blade. It is surprising how dull a blade can be and still cut batting effectively. Thanks for the giveaway.

    —Audrey on April 29, 2014
  • My tip is:use a small scrap of fabric at the end of a string sewing chain, then you are ready for the next set of piecing with out the constant tail threads at the beginning and end of your string piecing. This also saves lots of waisted thread!

    —Kathy on April 29, 2014
  • When I have seams to match and really don’t have room to squeeze a pin in there or the seam will get knocked out of alignment when I pull the pin I will use a light drop of school glue on the join area, iron it to fix it and it will easily wash out when you are done.

    —OHSue on April 29, 2014
  • Measure twice, (or more) and cut once. Do not talk to someone while cutting, and don’t cut out fabric when you are tired! I know it looks like more than one hint, but it all comes down to "Pay attention to what you are doing"!! It’s cheaper that way!

    —Janet T on April 29, 2014
  • I had a fabulous quilt teacher who, unfortunately, passed away way before her time. I was so blessed to have had her for 2 1/2 years. She was always giving quilting tips. Her super duper great tips were called her $5 tip. The most simple one I use all the time is using a left over scrap as a starting fabric to guide your fabric under the needle without the beginning of the fabric getting shoved into the throat plate hole. It’s just a lead and the fabric pieces that follow, glide easily under the needle with no problem. I also love the 4 small squares and 1 large square to make 4 flying geese. Look on line for the directions. It’s great

    —Marguerite Namdar on April 29, 2014
  • I have a large wood cutting board that I have covered with batting and a heavy towel. Nice portable ironing board.

    elr on April 29, 2014
  • I put a piece of colored painters tape on the bed of my machine together cover the little gap between it and the needle plate. When chain piecing four patch units or rows together, the seams stay nice and nested and don’t get flipped the wrong way. When time to remove it, leaves no residue.

    —Cindy on April 29, 2014
  • I like to keep a sticky lint roller close to my cutting board and ironing board to pick up quickly any little bits of fuzz, threads and small scraps.

    —Debbie P on April 29, 2014
  • My best tip would be read instructions carefully and measure twice so that you only have to cut once.

    —Cathy on April 29, 2014
  • My tip is that you can keep a square of batting stuck to your blouse and you will have a handy place for all those stray threads. works Great!!!!!

    —Rosemarie Graham on April 29, 2014
  • My favorite quick tip is to use a spray bottle to dampen fabric as I iron – no matter how much steam the iron puts out, there are always wrinkles, but a light misting spray loosens wrinkles before ironing, and there are none left after a quick pass with the iron.

    —Karen Cohn on April 29, 2014
  • I cut my binding at 2 1/4 inches as opposed to 2 1/2 inches. A quilter who always had perfect binding taught me this saying that it made for a tighter binding.

    —Charlie DiSante on April 29, 2014
  • Use precuts. Saves a whole lot of time and you can jump right into the sewing.

    —LeAnne L on April 29, 2014
  • Keep machine well serviced, so you don’t get too overwhelmed with problems & can stay calm & stitch on.

    —Brenda on April 29, 2014
  • My favourite quilting tip is to wind four or five bobbins with the same colour thread when starting a new project.

    —Linda Webster on April 29, 2014
  • Fairly new to quilting so I don’t have any of my own tips. Love all the tips here, so useful. Changing my rotary blade often is one of my favorite tips. Thanks for the giveaway.

    —Diana Collins on April 29, 2014
  • My favorite quick tip is to watch a Jenny Doan Tutorial.

    —Nora Brofford on April 29, 2014
  • My favorite tip is to spend a little of time initially planning the quilt so you can chain piece as much as possible and also to have at least 1 spare bobbin of thread ready to go. Both of these things allow me to get a lot done quickly so I can see results fast. It is instant gratification.

    —Jill on April 29, 2014
  • I came across this tip a while ago and I find it really helpful now that my eyes are not so good. I sew on black fabrics with navy thread and on while or cream fabrics with a light grey or beige. It helps me to see the thread easier if I have to rip out the seams.

    —Bridget on April 29, 2014
  • When I make half square triangles I don’t draw a diagonal line, sew either side and then go back and cut the line. I just cut the first time, this save loads of time and my sanity by cutting out an unnecessary step.

    —Jen B on April 29, 2014
  • When I buy a set of sheets or anything that comes in those nice plastic bags that zip, I save them. They are great to store your projects. And this is why I have so many UFOs 🙂

    —Nancy D on April 29, 2014
  • I like to keep odd scraps of fabric close to my machine to use as the starting piece when chain piecing. That way, I don’t get the edge of my "good" fabric doesn’t get caught in the feed dogs.

    —Robin M on April 29, 2014
  • Using panels can really speed things up. You only need to make some in-between blocks (like a 4 or 9 patch) and you have a quick quilt. You can also get more complicated with the filler blocks, but then it won’t be as fast 🙂

    —Patty Moffitt on April 29, 2014
  • I use scraps of batting to remove all the threads I carelessly toss about in my sewing area, just a couple of swipes and a fold over to do my clothes and we are ready to do it all again tomorrow.

    Jeanne on April 29, 2014
  • I have 3 ring loose leaf binder that I keep photocopies of patterns in so I can flip through them quickly. A picture of each quilt that I have made using that pattern is also on record with each pattern, along with notation of who received that quilt.

    —Mary on April 29, 2014
  • Get organized before you start and stay that way!

    —Jane on April 29, 2014
  • short-attention-span quilter! That’s me! My tip is to measure twice and cut once! Don’t be attention deficit when you are cutting!

    Margo on April 29, 2014
  • One tip I learned is "leaders and enders". First you take two equally sized squares and pair them up. Run a "set thru the machine before you start sewing your regular quilt/project. Before you cut the threads at the end add another set and sew that. If you continue to do this consistently you will have a scrappy quilt in no time! you can use any size scraps or charm packs etc. Also by running the first pair thru the machine you eliminate any snags that might occur when sewing your regular project. This is a great way to use your scraps/stash. If you aren’t into scrappy quilts you can donate them to a worthy cause! Win Win.

    —Doreen on April 29, 2014
  • my quick tip is to use sticky tape round around two fingers to remove loose threads after you have unpicked a seam….. works great, i also unpic a seam by pressing it open & running the ripper up the open seam…. no danger of catching the threads of the fabric….

    —Suzanne Keal on April 29, 2014
  • Whenever I get a new charm square pack, layer cake or jelly roll, I always use my lint roller to clean it up. That way, when I pull it from my stash to sew (at a later date), I know that I can take it apart and play with the pieces without making a big mess. Looks like a beautiful book that I would love to win – thanks for the chance.

    —Kathy Biciocchi on April 29, 2014
  • I keep an empty boutique tissue box next to my machine – it is a great little garbage can for threads and snippings, and if I put used needles or rotary blades in there – it is more protected when it goes into the main garbage.

    —Regina on April 29, 2014
  • My favorite quick quilting tip is one that I think everyone knows by now – chain piecing. I always have more than one project or set of blocks on the go at the same time. That way, I always have a patch ready to send through the sewing machine and rarely have to cut the thread.

    —Barb Johnson on April 29, 2014
  • I like keeping a lint brush in my sewing case. Use it to clean my fabric when I’m sewing and then to clean me when I’m done.

    —Kathy Luehrs on April 29, 2014
  • Another use for a tulle scrubbie… (I crochet them). I keep a small one with my cutting supplies, & use it for cleaning off my cutting mat. It gets all of the fuzz & threads off.

    —Jeannine on April 29, 2014
  • My tip would be……….keep a whole quilt, table runner or wallhanging pattern, material, matching thread,etc together in a clear covered container. When ready to start a new project, everything will be in one place.

    —Cindy Weeks on April 29, 2014
  • My tip is to use a mug rug beside your machine to hold your scissors, pins, and seam ripper so they won’t slide around on your sewing table. Amy’s book looks great! Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

    —Cecilia on April 29, 2014
  • Keep a roll of masking tape in the sewing room…. mini lint roller, tape on a finger …. tagging/marking stacks of pieces for blocks …. tacking on notes to project bags …. taping together pattern pieces … and the list goes on….lol! I keep a large dispenser on my work/cutting desk with a roll always in it, thus pull off a chunk as needed just like a small hand held dispenser.

    —Tonie Peterson on April 29, 2014
  • Wow! So many Awesome tips! Feel like I just read an Instruction Manual for Quilting Tips! 🙂 As a pretty new to quilting person..don’t really have a Tip like any of these here. I always remember tho…to "measure twice & cut once"! I Always do this!

    —Lori Morton on April 29, 2014
  • I like to piece my binding at the same time that I am attaching the final border, then I store it in a small, lidded plastic container. That way it will be ready to go as soon as I’m finished with the quilting, and I save time by choosing the binding fabric while I still have all my other fabrics out for that particular quilt.

    —Z Any Mouse on April 29, 2014
  • Iam brand new to quilting so I really have any tips, maybe to go slow and take your time!

    —Sunnie on April 29, 2014
  • I always have an ender scrap of fabric in which to stop my line of stitching; this becomes the beginning piece when I begin to stitch again and keeps the machine from swallowing thread and fabric without holding the thread tails. It also saves on thread!
    P.S. I would like to say that I have precut squares or strips at hand to "magically" piece another quilt top while I am working on a present project.
    Thank you for this opportunity to win a copy of QM 100 Blocks!! pj

    —pj stitches! on April 29, 2014
  • Try to end each sewing session at a point that makes it easy to pick up again next time. You’ll be more likely to work on a project that doesn’t require a lot of preliminary effort.

    —kathy on April 29, 2014
  • When making any block with corners/triangles, instead of just sewing on one side and loping off the balance, sew 1/4″ on either side and then cut….instant bonus HST

    —Karyn Ashley-Smith on April 29, 2014
  • A good starch makes everything go together so much easier. Starch your fabric before you begin cutting. This helps the fabric from becoming warped or wavy if you stretch it.

    —cat on April 29, 2014
  • My favorite tip would have to be keep your scraps from project together til it’s completed. This makes it easier to fix a goof you find later in the project since you don’t have to hunt for the right fabric.

    —Sue on April 29, 2014
  • Some medium or dark fabric colors or prints blend in with the color of my favorite cutting mat, making it’s hard to see if I have my ruler lined up right. When there isn’t enough contrast between the fabric and mat, I flip my mat over and use the back side which is a lighter color. It makes cutting those fabrics easier and quicker.

    —theresa on April 29, 2014
  • I make up little kits in zip lock bags; each containing everything I need to complete a hand sewn block: pre-cut fabric pieces, pre-threaded needles, etc. I keep one or two of these kits where ever I may find a few minutes to do a little sewing: in the glove compartment of the car, in my purse, in the kitchen, in the TV room, even in the bathroom! It’s suprising how much you can get done by utilizing those little bits of time.

    —Elizabeth Perryman on April 29, 2014
  • Every inch, I pop a stitch on one side for unsewing a line of stitching. The other side, grap a piece of thread and pull like you’re gathering a skirt until it’s all out. If you run into a stubborn spot, pop another stich on the popped side and continue. I use a dry sponge to gather small threads off the "popped" side.

    I keep a camel hair paintbrush in my notions box and when lint builds up, I use it to clean the bobbin, needle, and surrounding areas. The lint "seems to" grasp the camel hair bristles.

    When cutting blocks for a quilt, I use ziplock bags for the pieces or for each individual block. If I have time to sew only one block, I don’t have to dig through everything.

    I use a rubber mat under my sewing machine to prevent it from moving while sewing. Sometimes, I use, a small ironing mat under my smaller machines.

    When using fusible web such as for Quiltsmart patterns, I use spatulas to "push out" the seam line. A pack of several different size spatulas can be purchased at discount stores like Dollar General and one of the spatulas is so small, it can be used to insert into yo-yo’s and flatten them instead of having to pull apart with your fingers.

    Tidy Cats stackable Kitty Litter handled containers with lids make great storage for your scraps by catagory: squares, strips, rectangles, etc. The containers are good for Fat Quarters or projects too.

    When I have a new project: I use a clear plastic with lid box to "house" my pattern, fabrics, thread, and notions needed until I’ve gathered everything and I’m ready to sew.

    I use a "Kitchen Chef" rotating lazy susan with its 3 layers and several compartments to house my tools.

    Rubbermaid food storage containers with lids make great places for pins, binder clips, etc. Save those magnetic credit cards to paste on the bottom of your pin box when traveling.

    Bingo players use magnetic wands for gathering metal Bingo chips. I keep one handy if I drop pins on the floor.

    Keep smiling,

    Lynnita Shipman on April 29, 2014
  • I pre-make my bindings when I finish my pieced quilt top and after sewing my binding on, I keep all the leftover binding strips in a clear plastic storage box. When I’m making a scrap quilt; I sew the needed lengths together and make a scrappy binding. Waste not; Want not!

    Keep smiling,

    Lynnita Shipman on April 29, 2014
  • After I sew on the quilt binding I use fusible webbing to secure it ready for hand stitching or machining with an embroidery stitch (saves a lot of time and you get a very neatly bound edge!)

    Julie Coppleman on April 30, 2014
  • My tip is an old one but one we should not forget. Chain piecing, it is so fast , feeding through one piece after another and saves thread.

    —Teresa on April 30, 2014
  • For a fast set of half square triangles, I cut square 2 inches bigger than the unfinished size of the square that I need and sew around the block a quarter inch from all four edges. Pin all four corners to prevent any puckers. I starch and press the square after sewing. Then cut the square into four triangles by cutting diagonally across the square twice! Don’t move the bits during cutting to keep a nice accurate half square triangle block! Voila! I learned this from Amy Gibson of HicoryDickory Quilt.

    —Jean Blythe on April 30, 2014
  • I purchase and use the less expensive gardening gloves with dots for FMQ. They work just as well for me as the more expensive "quilting" gloves.

    —Susan on April 30, 2014
  • I like to use use double batting in the handles of purses I make. It makes them so soft on your shoulders! Also, I put a drop of FrayCheck on the button threads of my husband’s golf shirts so they won’t come off. Thanks for the book giveaway! Beautiful quilts!

    —Cindy Pilkington on April 30, 2014
  • Scream and run!

    sharon sinor on April 30, 2014
  • I know what size quilts I like to make most often, so when I see a fabric I just have to have I buy enough for the size I’m most likely to make. I can alway make room in my scraps for more fabric but sometimes when I get around to using the fabric I had to have, and I didn’t get enough, oh no fun for sure!

    —Mary on April 30, 2014
  • I like to make three or four bobbins every time I run out so I don’t have to make them as frequently. Thanks for the give away!

    —Jacklynn Grimm on April 30, 2014
  • Measure twice; cut once!!

    Kathy on April 30, 2014
  • I try to do everything "assembly line". I will pin all the pieces I can together and chain sew them. Then press all and start over pinning until the block is done.

    —Nancy on April 30, 2014
  • Use numbered pieces of paper to pin on your blocks to know the order they go in a row. The first block should say Row 1. Mark each row also. Makes sewing together blocks easier/quicker as you can quickly see where the block goes in its row.

    —Sheila Fernkopf on April 30, 2014
  • Always have some fabric strips cut in different widths and then if you see a scrap project you like you already have the cutting done.

    —Lynn on April 30, 2014
  • Having a fabulous quick-quilting tip, I have not, since I have only made a few quilts. I just have to make sure I pay attention to the cutting process because it is so easy to get confused with all of the pieces and fabric. Perhaps Amy will lead me to a more organized and easy way to get the quilting process moving along better for me. I admire all types of quilts and want to make many more.

    —ruby t on April 30, 2014
  • Try using an applique stitch instead of a whipstitch to hand-finish binding – the practically invisible stitches give a nice, tidy looking finish.

    —Mary G on April 30, 2014
  • I love chain stitching and I have a small tool that I only need to cut threads with a downward motion. Prfect and saves more time for quilting.

    —Pat D on April 30, 2014
  • Fast tips. I gather all the tools I think I will need for a project and the fabric and put in either e two gallon Ziplock bag or a tote. Second step I read instrctions and write notes of parts I need to watch our for
    third I start project abd complaete a step. If I dont have time for a step I review what I have already done and save larger spot of time for next step. eMethodicalis fast as it is planned and accurate and for me fun. I like to see the steps get done.

    —MJ Modjeski on April 30, 2014
  • I am fairly new to both quilting and sewing but learned my tip the hard way. My quick tip is to lock the cats out of the room before you do anything at all. Otherwise, every loose thread is a toy, every spool of thread is a toy, every movement of the fabric is a call to pounce and any fabric left alone for 30 seconds is now a cat bed. Multiply by 4. : )
    Thanks for the opportunity! I’m learning a great deal on this hop. Notwendy gmail

    —Kelly Wilson on April 30, 2014
  • That book could be just what I am looking for. Have several "graduation" (or going off to college) quilts to make in the next several years, and "youngsters" don’t seem to want more traditional quilts, but modern ones. Hope I win.

    —Judy Morin on May 1, 2014
  • I usually have a number of projects in various stages all going on at the same time. Each gets a plastic basket (2 for $1 at Dollar Store) where I collect scraps as I go. Fabric, finished blocks, pattern, scrap basket all go into a fabric cube. I often make a quick note of where I am and/or any additional items I need to buy on a strip of "to do" list of paper and toss that in too. I can easily switch from project to project as I like.

    Cleaning as I go keeps things neat and tidy. Near my right knee I keep a trash can to drop in slivers and threads. I highly recommend an auto-thread cutter feature for your machine (gotta love it!) and chain piecing to save thread. I also keep a hand vac standing in the trash can to quickly police the whole area, even the floor. It gets emptied right into the trash can. I charge it right in the can too.

    At the end of a project I sit and trim the scraps for future use. Then the baskets and cubes are ready to use again. Perhaps the biggest benefit for me is the automatic motivation my filled cubes afford. I have a dozen that are stored in two cube shelves. When they’re all in use I work on finishing projects before starting even new ones.

    Loving this blog tour! So many useful tips 😀

    NanaJeanFL on May 1, 2014
  • I find it helpful to watch tutorials/demos for ideas on making quilts. This is a good way to learn how to streamline quilting.

    —Rosalind Gutierrez on May 1, 2014
  • chain piecing is time and thread saving, sewing an half hour a day the project will finish soon
    thanks for another give away
    Jo

    —Jo T. on May 2, 2014
  • I love chain piecing. And I use individual fabric bins to store different projects.

    —Arianna M. on May 2, 2014
  • My favorite ripping tool is a curved scalpel blade on a handle. I use the same technique that was mentioned cutting every 4th or 5th stitch on the bobbin side of the project and pull on the top thread. The scalpel blade has a cover for storing but the blades can be changed and are never dull.

    —Daenette More on May 2, 2014
  • Remove the bobbin case and clean under it.

    Sallie on May 2, 2014
  • I recently learned an interesting tip from the folks at a local quilt shop and I tried it and it worked great! After quilting your quilt, use your serger to go around the edge of your quilt to make an even cut all the way around your quilt. It’s fast and it leaves a nice, flat edge to put the binding over.
    Love all the tips…thanks to everyone.

    Kim on May 2, 2014 on May 2, 2014
  • Use a rotating cutting mat for squaring blocks

    —Allison C on May 2, 2014
  • Place scissors and pincushion in the same place when sewing so they are always ready. Another tip when doing a lot of rotary cutting, mark the line on the ruler with blue painter’s tape. Helps prevent mistakes and makes lining up the ruler a lot faster.

    —Nancy Angerer on May 2, 2014
  • I wash and starch all of my fabrics prior to cutting. For precut squares and jelly rolls, I use my salad spinner to wash and spin the water out. Then spread them out to dry. Lot less fraying than putting them into a washing machine.

    —Nancy Johnson on May 2, 2014
  • My best tip is to change the needle often or after a project is done. This saves problems from occurring.

    —Margaret Zupfer on May 2, 2014
  • The one tip I learned years ago was when I wanted to make half square triangles I always cut my squares a little larger and then sew them together and then cut to the size that I need. Much easier than cutting to 7/8 inches.

    —Renea on May 2, 2014
  • Forget the starch; use Best Press. A little bit goes a long way. You can buy the liquid for refilling your bottles when you run out.

    Every inch, pop a stitch on the bobbin side of your project when you have to un-sew. On needle side, pull one string and remove the entire seam. If you run into a "snag" pop another stitch, and continue.

    Save those threads and any really small unusable pieces of fabric. Fill a flannel drawstring bag with those thread pieces and fabric to make a dog bed with. No batting, please; if it gets wet; it takes a long time to dry out. There’s a furry pet at the shelter who is waiting for a bed.

    Keep smiling,

    Lynnita Shipman on May 3, 2014
  • My cat likes to knock over waste baskets, so I keep a tall heavy mug near my sewing machine to put cut-off threads and snippets of fabric. It’s heavy enough that she doesn’t knock it over, so the threads don’t make a mess.

    —Evelyn on May 3, 2014
  • My tip is sew with a friend (sister). Especially if she is a master quilter. She will keep you going and every thing is fun when you share with someone else.

    —Betty Woodlee on May 3, 2014
  • Since I had a fabric that bled in one quilt, I pre-wash all fabrics before they go to the sewing room by putting them in the laundry area first.

    —Susan Lanctot on May 3, 2014
  • My favorite tip is to align a stack of painters tape or post-it notes at the scant 1/4″ spot on my sewing machine in order to get that perfect 1/4″ seam. You just abut your fabric along this as a guide to perfect sewing.

    —Darrell Hardenburg on May 3, 2014
  • Organization is really my best tip.

    —Tamie on May 3, 2014
  • I just read all the tips thus far, I use many already, and wrote down a few more! Still getting good tips after 15 yrs. quilting. I use clear boxes and totes to hold the same colors; strips, squares, triangles, seasonal, etc. Makes it very handy for me to find just what I want. This is a wonderful place to get quilting news, etc.

    —Norma on May 3, 2014
  • My tip is to double think your background color. Sometimes the background color you think you should use causes the quilt blocks to look washed out or blend into the background too much and not stand out. Consider a color besides cream, white, or pale grey to color up your life, but…..sometimes your first choice IS the right choice.

    —Catherine S. on May 3, 2014
  • When I am trying to decide on a layout, my favorite tool is the camera on my phone. I let my imagination run wild, making as many combinations as I can. I photograph each one. When I am finished, I look at the pictures two at a time, choosing my favorite from each pair and deleting the one I like less. I repeat until I am left with one "winner", which often bears no resemblance to the quilt I had first imagined.

    —Kathy Renz on May 4, 2014
  • There are lots of good tips here. After cutting for a project, try and cut scraps into useable sizes and store in clear containers. I think you are more likely to use them if they are organised by size and/or colour. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Amy’s book.

    —Sue on May 4, 2014
  • Strip piecing, layering while pressing, layering while cutting, take time to clean up between projects so you can find what you need in a timely manner. Thanks.

    —Mom C on May 6, 2014
  • My tip is pre wash the fabric and iron before piecing together.

    —anna on May 8, 2014
  • When pressing, I add a little white vinegar to the water and spray on the fabric. This will definately press out old creases.

    —Mary on May 18, 2014

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