The Kitchen Quilter
This tutorial is not about quilting on the kitchen table, or cooking and quilting. I am presenting some tips for saving a little cash so there will be more to spend on quality fabric. These are not all original ideas, but have been gathered from quilters everywhere. I love gadgets and tools, but some common, more economical items do the job when we need to spend less.
Look in the dollar store at all the plastic containers and see how you can use them for organizing your sewing supplies. Of course, totes of all sizes can be used to store your fabric stash, either by color or size, It goes without saying that the see-through ones are preferable. Other plastic containers are in the baby food section of the grocery store or the plastic and paper aisle. Beads, buttons, pins, etc will fit in these. How about a plastic Hot Wheels container for bobbins, thread, sewing machine feet, etc. Plastic sandwich bags are wonderful for keeping cut pieces for a quilt separated. Larger recloseable bags can be put in a binder to store patterns or handouts from classes and guild meetings.
A small toolbox or fishing tackle box is great for a portable sewing kit. You cam stock one with all the essentials and it will always be ready to take to classes, guild meetings, sewing nights, on road trips, etc.
One of my favorite tools is a 1" paintbrush that I use to brush away fuzzies every time I change a bobbin and when I get serious and give my sewing machine a good cleaning.
Do you have one of those rubber thingies that helps open a jar lid? Put it on the floor under your sewing machine foot to help keep it from running away.
A plastic "Chore Girl" (used for scrubbing Teflon pans) will gather up heads from the carpet around your sewing chair until the next vacuuming. A fingernail brush will do the same thing.
Do you free motion quilt? If you are just learning, buy an inexpensive pair of gardening gloves with rubber dots on the fingers. If you love FMQ then you can spend more on gloves from the quilt store. If you don't, you still have a pair of gloves for pulling weeds.
Dryer sheets can be used to clean the bottom of a hot iron. They take static from your sewing chair so you don't get shocked. Run your embroidery thread through one a couple of times to prevent tangling.
An orange stick is not just for manicures. Use the pointed end for a stylus or to poke out corners. The flat end can be used to finger press seams.
Always have a quilting notebook and pen handy. Doodle, draw, plan, make your quilt shopping list, journal your completed projects. Make it cute with a book cover you made from favorite fabric scraps.
I saved my two favorite things for last. The first is a roll of blue painters tape. Use it to mark your ruler when you have to cut a lot of strips or pieces the same size. It saves a lot of mistakes. Use it to stick down thread ends on spools and bobbins. Tape patterns down when tracing. Wrap it around your hand (sticky side out) for a quick lint roller substitute. Tape sewing instructions on the wall close to your sewing machine or cutting instructions by your mat. You can probable discover many more uses.
Another favorite is Reynolds freezer paper. It really is better than cheaper brands. The box has instructions printed on it for applique. It can also be used to make your own templates. You can iron two or more pieces together if you need a heavier piece. Great for Grandmother's Garden hexagons, etc. Fuse two pieces shiny sides together and cut out different size windows to take to the quilt shop to preview fabric for fussy cutting or different size quilt blocks or pieces. Cut a piece exactly 81/2" by 11", iron a piece of fabric to it a print a photo, quilt label, foundation pattern, etc. onto it. It really will go through your printer. If you need a small piece of fabric to finish a project and can't get any more, scan some of what you have and print another piece. Print drawings, doodlings, handwriting, etc. for embroidery. Or design and print your own fabric!