Friday, February 18, 2011

The Bitchy Stitcher's Top 10 Quilting Tips

Since I am a marginally famous quilt writer (I am less famous than your local TV news weatherman, but more famous than the Justin Bieber cover band that’s playing at that dive bar off the interstate where you hooked up with that sailor one time), people are always emailing me, asking for quilting advice. And not even specific quilting advice, something I could perhaps go look up in a book and then pass off as my own. No, it’s all vague, like “Do you have any tips for a newbie quilter?” And that’s when I say, “Why, yes! Click here!”

Clearly, that’s not endearing me to anyone (especially my dad, who I think has finally given up on reading this. Took you long enough, Dad). And then today I picked up the new issue of American Patchwork and Quilting, one of my favorite quilting mags. And oh, joy of joys, it was their annual “101 Top Tips: Experts Share Their Secrets” issue. Sprinkled amongst the patterns and articles are various helpful hints from almost nobody I’ve ever heard of. But they are clearly more famous than me, because they’re getting their quilting advice printed up in a magazine, with their pictures and everything. And while most of the advice is actually quite good, some of it is just BRILLIANT. Like, “Relax and enjoy it.” That’s a tip? Did you get paid for that? That’s what I tell my husband when I get out the handcuffs, but nobody forks over a twenty.

So I’ve decided to stop being such a tip hog and share with you, my seven or eight loyal readers, my very own Top Quilting Tips. Yes, I have scoured the recesses of my brain and come up with those little tricks and techniques that make my quilting so uniquely my own. Instead of yours, or that guy’s over there.

The Bitchy Stitcher’s Top 10 Quilting Tips

1. Try to use both fabric and thread for your quilting projects. You’ll find they come together much easier and you won’t run out of staples so fast.

2. When free motion quilting, ignore the oft-heard advice to have a glass of wine to loosen you up before you start. Valium’s way better.

3. Do not attempt to rotary cut while drunk, stoned, sleeping, playing Wii games, or having sex with large, redheaded Scotsmen. You can rotary cut while having sex with small, normal-haired Americans since it’ll be over pretty quick anyway.

4. Do not curse, flip off, threaten, insult, or otherwise taunt your sewing machine. Not because anything bad will happen; it just makes you look like a douche.

5. Always use a firm, flat surface when fusing appliqué pieces. But if that doesn’t work for you, try ironing on a series of spiked, rotating cubes or the back of a panicked hedgehog.

6. Some people get inspiration from nature, from cityscapes, from the laughter of a small child. I spin around really, really fast until I fall down and whack my head on something.

7. Don’t worry about Cheeto crumbs, chocolate smears, blood spots, or red wine stains. Just add some more, call it an “art quilt,” and tell everyone it’s a statement about child labor or vaginas. Then sit back and watch the show ribbons roll in!

8. Store absolutely everything in empty cardboard tubes from toilet paper and paper towels. Yes, even your sewing machine. You figure it out.

9. For machine appliqué that looks like hand stitching, simply pull a length of thread off the machine spool and thread it through a separate needle. Then get your mom to do it.

10. Relax and enjoy it. It won’t hurt at all. You can trust me, baby. Now where’s my twenty?


Linda said...

I see you've been reading more about Jamie!!
Love your tips--heh, heh!
Lurking Linda
ps my wv is layessi wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Barbara Sindlinger said...

Your tips are so much better than any of the others I have read.

Peggi said...

Not to go off on a tangent, but OMG I so want a chandelier like that. Just imagine how the conversation would go at your next stuffy dinner party!

"I was standing on the 7th green and turned to Biff and said - oh my gawd, is that a penis chandelier?!?!?"


Anonymous said...

Perfect! I can't pick one that I like best!

scicurious said...

LOL!!! Well played! My Dad actually still reads my blog, so clearly I need to try harder. :)

And yes, I WANT that chandelier, I would hang a teensy version of it over my desk at work.

Megan said...

Were you wondering where the spike in hits this morning had come from?

BTW, your blog is marvelous and I am going to waste several hours on it in the next few days.

scicurious said...

Yeah, I keep a rather scary eye on my hits. Like cocaine to us, precious. :(

But I also like YOUR blog! I learned to quilt when I was 6. So we can waste time on each other's blogs this weekend :).

Patty said...

I am going to my sewing room and try #6 for inspiration. And if I don't get any inspiration from it, I'll at least get a little buzzed without booze or drugs.

Love the light. Wish I had a 2 story entry way. That would be a hoot to hang in a house and watch people's expressions when they see it!!

Anonymous said...

ROFLMAO I just love reading your tips and everything else you write too!! Thank you for sharing!!

Lisa said...

AHAHA! This post was a goodie. I laughed and laughed.

Ever since I read about the Outlander series on here I have been devouring the books. I am unfortunately on the 7th one now. (Not liking it quite as much.) What on earth will I do when I am done? Clean? Acknowledge my family?

(Oh, and BTW, my husband very fervently says thank you for introducing me to Jamie...)

Unknown said...

LOL! I'm a nobody!

That was my feather tip and advice to "relax and enjoy it"...I didn't get paid for it though.

Maybe if I told everyone that free motion feathers were easier to stitch on their head, or in Timbuktu, or three steps off the edge of the Grand Canyon they would have passed me some cash.

I hope I don't think of this tonight during my lecture. I may end up saying aloud "Free motion quilting is much easier if you've recently taken a valium or screwed a hot scottish guy."



Helen said... totally rock!! I'm printing off the Top 10 Tips list and posting it over my sewing machine!

Love the chand, um chendalir, chandela...dammit---LIGHT.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Anonymous said...

Deborah says:

Classic post.

Loved the tips....ALL the TIPS!

Haven't yet read scicurious's blog, but I have to say...reading your blog is NEVER a waste of time. It's a necessary ingredient for retaining my sanity!

Keep'em coming!

Jodi-JoJoMia's Place said...

You are so funny!!!! I love your tips, the best yet. (I love Jamie in the Outlander series too!)

Jodi-JoJoMia's Place said...

Love your tips! Best I have ever heard. I love Jamie from the Outlander series too! You are very funny.

WilmaNC1 said...

This is my favorite post so far!!!

Rebecca Merry said...

I absolutely love your tips!! Much more practical than those vague and useless ones you read all the time! I'm dying to get a start on them!

Marla said...

This would have been a great article to put in Quilter's Home Magazine! Thanks for making me laugh today. I needed and TGIF!!

Teresa said...

Lovin' it! As one of your eight adoring fans (ahem) I am ever so grateful for your tips, especially the photo.
BTW, the twenty is in the mail.

quiltzyx said...

I was glad to read that Teresa has already put your twenty in the mail as the only one I have has already been promised to the gardner.

Micmacker said...

Your quilting tips are nothing short of classic, sure to be bookmarked and referred to by the entire online crafting community for years as THE standard by which all other tips are measured. The chandelier, however, is a bit pretentious.

Megan said...

Did the gardener use handcuffs?

The Vintage Seamstress said...

you sooo funny gurl...;-O

Sarah Craig said...

OMG, Megan, you crack me up! I should so know better than to click on anything that says CLICK HERE on your blog!! Where do you find these photos??

And regarding the large red-headed Scot, I've been streaming Grey's Anatomy re-runs all week while quilting - and Kevin McKidd is SOOO Jamie!!

Lush said...

As one of your "8 readers" I have to say I nearly peed!!! I opened that link at work and had to scroll very fast!! LOL
Love the tips! To the oft heard question (usually accompanied by a large sigh) "Oh I wish I could do that!" I generally say, "so go do a bloody course like I did!!".
BTW I am a dyke and I would do Jamie!!! LOL Must get back to those books - got waylaid with Lord John waiting for the next issues.
Lush ;)

Anne said...

This explains a lot, about my rotary cutting, that is.

gaye ingram said...

Now these are tips a person can really use. Like that one about not using staples: I tried out a needle and thread, and danged if they didn't work better than staples! Who knew? Of course, the work is slower, but you avoid the rust problem that way. I'd always thought spi=staples per inch, and so I had felt something of a failure in my joinery. Now that I know otherwise, I've experienced a big boost in my confidence level. I can hardly wait to try the remaining 9 tips!

autumnesf said...

I'm safe except for number 4. Who knew I looked like such a douce? Really must work on that.