Thursday, March 31, 2011

Re- Learning. Is that a word?

Just a SHOUT OUT to everyone that has sent in
their block for the JUST ONE STAR project. I had the honor to start sewing some of the blocks together into quilt tops.

I joined the blocks into rows of 6 chain piecing them as I went along.
I have been quilt for 30 years and I continue to learn or RE-LEARN things. I recently attended a quilt guild meeting where Bonnie Hunter was the speaker. It was so good I went to another guild meeting 2 nights later. Bonnie has won the award for making the most fantastic quilts from scraps, leftovers and recycled, re purposed fabrics. Bonnie's blog, Quiltville is a must read.
Bonnie's book, Leaders and Enders, published by Kansas City Star is amazing.
This is the part where I re-learned.
Bonnie wrote an entire book that utilizes Leaders and Enders. The picture above shows what a leader is. Basically a piece of fabric to begin sewing on, before you start chain piecing your blocks together.
The leader does a couple of things.
1. It keeps your needle from coming un threaded.
2. It makes you not have those long pieces of thread to trim away.
The bonus thing it does is you can actually sew an entire separate project just by using leaders and enders.
You may remember my candy bar post from 2 days ago. I am making the dresden plate sections as my leaders and enders while I assemble Just One Star quilt tops.

Here is my ender (another dresden plate fan section) To make an ENDER sew half way and stop. Cut off the sections that you have chain pieced. Your ENDER now becomes your LEADER and you are ready to start chain piecing the next section. I love my auriful thread and using the LEADERS and ENDERS saves thread.
I never thought I needed to use a leader or ender. I didn't have much trouble with my needle coming un threaded BUT I did hate trimming those excess threads. The back of my projects looks so much neater.

and



Did I forget to mention that I got Bonnie to autograph 2 of the books while she was in town?
AND I am giving them away here.
Leave a comment with a sewing TIP or something you have RE-LEARNED
and I will randomly draw for 2 books
and post the winners on April 7th.
(1 book per person)

151 comments:

  1. I relearned a binding tip from Carrie at Miss Rosie's when she did a tutorial on binding. Specifically how she handles her corners and when binding sews both sides of the corner. No matter how long you've been quilting, you can learn something new every day! Thanks!

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  2. i don't have a design wall, so when I lay out my blocks on the floor, I take a photo with my digital camera, and then refer to it when I get time to actually sew them together.

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  3. Bonnie is a great teacher and author. I have recently re-learned the importance of checking my bobbin before I start sewing. My work goes so much faster if I have sufficient thread in the bobbin to start rather than having to stop part way to put in a fresh one.

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  4. I have wanted to try using actual projects as leaders and enders but am afraid of getting confused. :) I am using scraps right now.
    Something I have re-learned, I don't know, really I am pretty new to the sewing scene so mostly I am learning for the first time.

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  5. For my leaders and enders I use small contanter or bag then label it for whatever project:4-patch, scrap stripes ect. When they start to overflow I start using them as new leaders and enders.
    If you ever see a little battery operated Wahl razor,don't think twice just buy it. They are the greatest un-seamer, thread nipper there is. A must have tool.
    Lissa I have 39 stars coming your way.

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  6. I love the Just One Star project - I am working on a few more this week, and will probably send them off to you next week. I re-learn every day that lint rollers are a MUST-HAVE, especially if you have cats! I have 2 lint rollers in my sewing room (and some in about every other room in the house). Sure wish I would have bought stock in them when I first started quilting. I keep one on my ironing board and one on my sewing table. I use them on my design wall when it has accumulated a lot of threads. They are the best!

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  7. It‘s kind of silly, but I just learned that it is totally okay to sit and wind multiple bobbins at a time so you don’t run out while quilting. I never, ever did that when sewing clothing. It’s saved me a lot of time and annoyance. (corollary: there’s no such thing as having too many spare bobbins, especially if you wind them with neutral cotton thread. Also, always have a couple spare empty ones, just in case)

    I love Bonnie’s blog and have been planning to buy her books eventually (although I’m still building up a stash.)

    And I need to finish up my stars for the Just One Star project!

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  8. mine involves the camera too ... Once you lay out your blocks, take a picture. Not for reference but to find mistakes in blocks and layout. It's so much easier to spot them that way!

    I already have Leaders and Enders, but would love to win Bonnie's new book. Thanks for the opportunity

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  9. I just re-learned how wonderful it is when I plan ahead and have straight grain to use for a binding. I'd sewn one on and it needed to come off and it ripped off so easy since the grain was strong. I just nipped a few threads and ripped, if it stuck, I cut a few more threads and ripped again.

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  10. At Mom's suggestion (Mother Knows Best), I've recently stopped using my quilting gloves in favor of Neutrogena Hand Cream. When I'm machine quilting, I don't like to have that extra layer of fabric between my fingers and the quilt.

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  11. I think I re-learn every day...thank goodness for all the amazing info. out there on the internet! I love this tip on leaders and enders...it's something I've heard of but not used before.

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  12. I'm always learning! Squaring up blocks usually saves me trouble in the end.

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  13. Seems I'm always learning some tidbit - there is so much info out there. My tip is that when joining blocks, sew just 4 or 5 stitches right where things need to match. If you don't get it right it's easy to pull the bobbin thread and the stitches come out. Then you can adjust and try again. Once I have everything matched, then I sew the whole seam.

    Thank you for having this Just One Star program. I was glad to send in a few blocks. It is a small thing that everyone can do.

    I would love to win one of Bonnie's books because she has so many smart ideas and her quilts are beautiful! Thanks for the chance.

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  14. I am a new quilter and just learned that the corners on blocks will "nest" together when seams are pressed in the opposite direction of one other. The front of the block matches up perfectly (!) and really look great!

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  15. Don't have any of Bonnie's books and would love to win one. I was at the same guild meeting you were (Denton) and thought the program was great. I picked up several tips on sewing down binding from Carrie at Miss Rosie's. One I had not thought of was to slightly put tension on the binding as you sew to keep it from being wavy. And I have a star to send in as well.

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  16. I learned to use glue to join the ends on the quilt binding from a tutorial at The Sometimes Crafter. Now I do it this way every time and that stinky little seam is always perfect. Thanks for the great giveaway

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  17. I would love to win one of these books! I'm still in the learning stage, so I haven't really got to the relearning stage yet! One thing that took me awhile to catch on to is basting aplique circles before you sew them down. That way they look like circles, instead of a kindergartners art project!

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  18. Very interesting post.
    I recently re-learned the importance of using starch! I know there are several schools of thought on this, but I do get more accurate and correctly shaped pieces when I sew after using starch.

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  19. I have never learned how to machine piece, so my piecing is done by hand, which also works for me since I piece while watching movies or tv shows on my computer.
    My Sewing Tip: When I have small pieces of fabric to keep track of, or to keep in a particular configuration, I put them on a piece of felt, which can also be rolled up if/when I am interrupted and need to clean up my space.
    I had never even heard of leaders and enders before this post, but I'll have to explore the idea more since I need to learn effective techniques of machine piecing.

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  20. I relearned how to use Electric Quilt. I had forgotten how much I love using EQ! After a 15 year hiatus from sewing, I had relearn many, many things :)

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  21. Measure twice! Cut once! I never messed up my cutting before I turned 40. Now I'm watching brain cells fade away, a few at a time!!!

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  22. I love all the little tips that make things easier! One thing I like is pressing my strip sets closed and then opening them up and pressing. It seems to help sink the stitches and keeps my strips from getting shifty!

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  23. Don't sew tired. Once you start making a lot of mistakes is the time to walk away from the project for a bit. Whether it is for an hour, a day, week, or month. Sometimes rest from a project is just what you need to rejuvenate yourself and make it fun again.

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  24. I've relearned the value of graph paper! If a quilt design is buzzing in my head, I've often been known to print out a free sheet (I Google free graph paper) of graph paper and sketch away on my lunch hour!

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  25. I've been using Leaders, but never thought that an Ender could be just as helpful--AND could quickly be promoted to the next Leader!! *angels singing*

    I'm rather new to quilting so I'm learning every day. One tip that I found most helpful is to prepare the binding and the quilt label right away. I store all pieces with the pattern in a plastic see-though envelope to keep it all together. If I am out of envelopes, I have too many "UFOs" so it motivates me to get some done.

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  26. I keep a light weight apron on a hook at the door to my sewing room. I put the apron on when I enter and when I leave hang it back up. This way I'm not covered in stray threads. They stay on the apron and I no long waist time looking for the lent brush.

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  27. I love Bonnie Hunter. I have done a few of her mystery quilts and learned something new with each one. With the last quilt I learned about using phone books for string blocks.

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  28. I've re-learned the importance of pinning. I became pretty lazy and found my piecing didn't yield the best result. Back to basics....pin, pin, pin.

    Thanks for the opportunity. I'd love to win any book by Bonnie! {I'm a bit embarrassed to say I don't have any of her books}.

    SewCalGal
    www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

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  29. this is gonna sound really, really dumb ... but i had to re-learn how to turn on my sewing machine (Sven) ... i was quilting downstairs with a different machine (Thor) and hadn't been in the Magick Shoppe for weeks - my left hand was fumbling around the back of the machine, searching for the switch (that is on the right hand side of the FRONT of the machine) - i had to ask my daughter how to turn it on ... how's that for forgetting the basics?!?

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  30. Measure twice, cut once. Have 5 blocks to 'repurpose' because i trimmed wrong.

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  31. wow - after almost 20 years I am STILL learning so many new things I can't recall what I've re-learned recently. I sent in two blocks :) what a wonderful thing this project is! And thanks for the chance to win - Laurie

    llsbaskets at comcast dot net

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  32. I learned that if you are a smidgen off on your seam allowance, always line up the sides opposite your stitching and after sewing your 1/4 inch, when you open your pieces, you will have the correctly sized pieced block. ... trust me, it works! I would so love a chance at Bonnie's books, so I thank you!!

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  33. Let's see, what have I re-learned? I have re-learned that in order to get clean cuts when cutting strips with your rotary cutter to check every few strips to make sure you haven't gotten off-kilter along the way. I seem to have to remind myself every time I cut strips to check! Don't want a whole bunch of strips with that wonky "V" in them!

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    Sandy A

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  34. Spray starch. Complete lifesaver with bias cuts. Well, before you cut them that is. Why I ever ran out and didn't buy more, I don't know.

    Thanks for the opportunity.

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  35. As many times as I've sewn a binding, the time is often far apart from one quilt to another. So I took a digital picture of EXACTLY how each step is done. Now I have a picture and re-learn it every time I need to bind. But I wish my mind would remember so I wouldn't need to relearn!

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  36. It wasn't really recently but I relearned the value of pressing...when I first started sewing I tended to skip that step...ya, my quilting has improved quite a bit!

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  37. I relearned how to end the binding so that the seam is diagonal like the rest of the pieced binding. There is no way to tell where the binding begins and ends! Very easy and works wonderfully!

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  38. Spray Fabric Sizing is better than Starch for firming/stabilizing quilt blocks or small pieces. It does not stick to irons either. Thanks so for sharing!

    jldouglas@wispwest.net

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  39. I save all those trimmed off corners from snowball blocks, etc and keep them in a short vase. They are easily accessible for leaders and enders and when pressed and trimmed up they can make a wall hanging, table topper or small border.

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  40. Whenever I make a block such as a snowball or geese that involves sewing a square onto a square at a diagonal, I always go back and sew 1/2" away from the original seam and then I have a "bonus" half sqaure triangle to use in something else.
    I would love Bonnie's Leaders and Enders book. Thanks for the opportunity to win!=)

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  41. "spiders"
    Marsha McCloskey calls them spiders.
    Once you 'spider', you'll never go back.
    Thanks for your part in this project - sending you a stack of blocks from Idaho and Cali.

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  42. I re-learned the importance of blocking a quilt once it's finished but before the binding is put on to make it square. It makes all the difference in the world, especially when the quilt is going to be hung.

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  43. There are so many tips that I am always learning. It seems like it is never ending. I am just starting to do leaders and enders - even though Bonnie was at our guild a few years ago, I just finally started. So that is my new thing I learned and finally put to use!

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  44. I was at one of Bonnie's trunk shows once. I would love it if she would come around here again. She's wonderful. I have learned to check the blogs of quilters as you can always learn something new. Love the "Chefs" at the Bake Shop. I have sent three blocks. It's great to have you showing the assembly of the quilts. Thank you.

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  45. I love the leader and ender idea but need to implement it. My favorite sewing tip is "respect the bias" be careful with bias edges, handle once and very gently or your blocks will be wonky. So great to see One Stars turning into quilts.

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  46. Clip those bunny ears! I tend to get lazy and don't do it, but then I'm constantly fiddling with them when I come to intersecting seams, and they can really throw off the 1/4" seam! Doesn't happen when I snip first.

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  47. I was at my guild meeting the other day and someone was using the ender idea. It was not a project she was working on, just a piece of scrap but it was interesting at how natural it was for her.
    my favorite tip was the one given to me when I started quilting any years ago... Pin Pin Pin. It's the only thing that saves me from disjointed corners or stars without peaks, etc. Thanks for the info on the books!

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  48. I have re-learned how to cut half-square triangles. On a recent blog, a tutorial suggested that you put two squares right-sides together and then sew 1/4 inch all the way around. Then you cross-cut the square into four and, voila, perfect half square triangles. I love these two books, thanks for the chance to win.

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  49. If you like these tips check out the book Quilters Tips by Rachel Pellman. However, the best tip of all is to always have dark chocolate available while you quilt, 3 ounces per week!

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  50. I sent my star in!!! I wonder if you are sewing on it. I've started working on a quilt to be auctioned off for pancreatic cancer awareness and used a variation of the star in that quilt. I was honored to do the star for the soldiers.

    My tip, that I re-learn every time I sew - accuracy in the 1/4 inch seam allowance!!!! It's so important when putting the quilt together if you are accurate in all the stitches. I mark my blocks...not all of them, so that I can practice getting it right.

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  51. Self taught quilter so every day is a learning or re-learning experience. Leaders - enders, snipping ears, going outside my "quilting comfort zone" (which is basically just squares so there is alot outside my comfort zone! LOL), folding fabric for better organization, fuzzy hair ties to keep bobbins and thread from unraveling, and many many more things or techniques - Thank Goodness for bloggers!! Plus I get some AMAZING inspiration... and a huge " I wanna do this" list! LOL
    Happy Sewing!! :)

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  52. I just relearned how to make perfect half-square triangles from "Heartsdesire." Thanks!!

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  53. I found you from Bonnie's post today ;) and love the Just One Star Project! What a great way to be part of something BIG! :) Can't wait to make one and send in myself.

    I also noticed something that you wrote: "To make an ENDER sew half way and stop. Cut off the sections that you have chain pieced."

    Why sew only half way? Seems like you are cutting yourself short - It would be just as easy to sew the entire piece then snip the thread behind it... much easier to get to behind the needle and then start off with a 2nd dresden plate fan blade.... then your L/E project will go twice as fast with very little effort. ;)

    My tip that I read in a magazine - is to use an old calendar to cut up the dates with numbers and use them to pin to quilt blocks or rows to keep them from getting mixed up :)

    Glad I found your blog today!

    Love from Texas! ~bonnie

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  54. I'm loving learning everyone's scraps is anothers treasures. I've happily accepted scrap fabric & enjoyed passing on what I can't use.
    Thanks for chance to own one of Bonnie's books

    Love Leanne

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  55. Don't have any of Bonnie's books and would love to have one.Best advise I ever heard (but often forget) is: measure twice , cut once.

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  56. Measure twice, cut once...not a new tip, but one I should remember daily (I have an extra 2 1/2" strip I did not plan to have because I did not follow this tip). I have both of Bonnie's books, so if I win I will donate it to my Guild library.

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  57. My sewing tip is to keep a stiletto and half of a spring-loaded wooden clothespin close to the bed of my sewing machine while I piece. The stiletto is used to guide the fabric over the feed-dogs and the clothespin is used as a wooden iron if I need to press open seams quickly without having to use a regular iron.

    Thank you for the opportunity to win one of Bonnie's books!

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  58. I relearned that if I give the paper a bit of a spritz of water, it comes off very easily after paper piecing. Thanks for the chance!

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  59. I just relearned how to sew on my binding. The way I learned in a class kept confusing me and sometimes I would get it all twisted up when I joined it together. A wonderful friend of mine (she's been quilting for years) came over and showed me a way that works to join it perfectly every time - no twisting - just flat perfect bindings! I love my friends - they are a wealth of information!

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  60. My tip is to use a can of pressurized air (with the long skinny straw) to clean the bobbin area of my machine every time I change the bobbin. My machine is an old vintage Singer, so this works well. If yours is new, and computerized, you may want to be careful you do not blow lint INTO the workings instead of AWAY from them.

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  61. I have been learning Bonnie's scrap system and one of her books would be great motivation to use up those scraps.

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  62. Aren't Bonnie's methods a treat? Glad to find your blog through her link to you. Would love to win a book :)

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  63. I'm a new quilter, so am still learning, rather than relearning. I'm anxious to try Bonnie's technique for making the bonus HST that she posted recently--need to get some time at the machine! Would love to win one of Bonnie's books! Thanks for the chance!

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  64. I really love Bonnie and would love to have her book, my budget just won't allow it, so it would be great to win.

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  65. I am signed up for a Bonnie Hunter workshop soon, and I can't wait!
    If you do free motion quilting, when you drop off your machine for servicing, tell the person who will be working on it. Leave the foot with it, too. I recently did not mention it, and when I got it back and tried to quilt, it was a nightmare. Piecing was fine, but quilting was a disaster. They fixed it right away, and now I know to remind them.

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  66. Haven't re-learned anything recently but I always use leaders and enders - usually crumb blocks. My best tip ever was finished is better than perfect

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  67. I've learned to always have several bobbins wound in tan thread (my usual piecing choice). Nothing's worse than to sew a couple of feet with no thread!
    Thanks for the great giveaway!

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  68. Working on a Big Project involving sewing quilt squares out of the clothing of someone who was killed in the line of duty. It's totally random sizes of blocks - and now the challenge is to get them to fit together happily. I have rediscovered what can be done with strips of 2" blocks sewn together. They serve as "coping strips" to join the colors and the sizes of the blocks together.

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  69. I always seem to conveniently 'forget' to square my blocks - and it ends in disaster. Definitely a re-learn issue that needs to be re-inforced once more... Thanks for the give away!

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  70. My sewing tip is to finger press everything before taking it to the ironing board, or maybe I should say fingerNAIL press. Running my nail down the seam on the front of the piece really helps open those seams all the way and helps keep your blocks the right size. Also, I never press with the iron until the block is complete. The fingernail pressed seams are easier to nest, and I have less distortion if I don't overpress.

    Thanks for the chance to win Bonnie's books!

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  71. Hi, here's a tip I learned many years ago and now I really need to use it...put a tiny bit of saliva on the sewing machine needle and the thread goes right into the hole. I love it. It works every time.
    Thanks for the chance to win one of Bonnie's books.

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  72. I relearned how to finish the ends when doing binding from Karen at Quilts....etc. It's lumpless and you can't tell where the begining and end are!

    http://karensquilting.com/blog/category/tutorial/lumpless-binding/

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  73. I don't usually pre-wash but when I have to I make small diagonal cuts on the end just abpove the selvedge...it really does save me the tangly strings - they are too small to even be crumbs though, so not savers!

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  74. I am a new quilter and just learned several hints by reading these posts!
    Including the leader and enders, I never thought of that! I'm gonna give it a try thank you.

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  75. change the needle more often than you think you should. My sewing machine was clunking along and finally I realized the needle was bent. and my second tip: it's always more fun to make a quilt with your friends because the end result is totally different than what you had anticipated. thanks for the chance to win the books.

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  76. My tip is to sew the second seam before you cut off the triangle when using 2 1/2" strips to make a hst unit. These little bonus hst are so cute to use in a future project and sewing the seam first eliminates handling all those tiny triangles. Would love one of Bonnie's books!!

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  77. This is also a "Bonnie-learned" tip. It saves so much time and handling if you pair (right sides together) your fabrics and cut triangle units out. I always try to nub the corners off and then it's just smooth sailing at the sewing machine. Mona R

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  78. I met you that night in Texas too! I've been a Bonnie-follower for so long, but isn't it fun to actually see her in person and some of her tricks just make more sense?!

    Fun!

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  79. I haven't been quilting very long, so I have lots to learn. Binding was a problem until a friend told me to cut it narrower and it fits just fine now. Would love to win one of Bonnie's books.

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  80. From Bonnie I have learned to use the easy angle ruler. I love it now and can't imagine quilting without it. I love Bonnie's quilts and would sure enjoy having this book!

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  81. I've had to re-learn: replace the machine needle! The corollary is replace the blade in the rotary cutter before you think it really, really needs it. Yes, now would be good!

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  82. I have a tip and that is to always put a copy of the pattern you are using with the project when you put it away just in case it is quite awhile before you get back to it. I love Bonnie's blog and would love a book.

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  83. One of my favorite tips has been to press my binding to the back after attaching it to the front of the quilt. This makes it so easy to finish the back either by machine, and pin pin pin, or by hand.

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  84. I like to do applique and hand work. I always have several needles threaded with my floss colors and ready to go. I keep them on a magnetic "pin picker upper" so I don't lose them. Also, I re-use a take out salad bowl to collect my snips and threads. Bonnie's blog is one of my favorite ones and I read it every day. I'd love to have one of her books. And I sent 14 stars in for the project, hope we get to see more pictures of the quilts they are going into!

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  85. One new thing I learned recently was using Elmer's School Glue on a binding to hold the quilt and binding together. Heat with an iron and you don't have to use any pins!

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  86. Every time I put on a mitered border I re-learn how to do it...thankfully I keep the instructions pinned to the bulletin board in my sewing room! (maybe the real teaching point is to keep instructions you use often somewhere they can't be covered in fabric or cat!)

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  87. Oh goodness. I relearn something everytime I sit down to sew! Just this weekend I "relearned" to check and recheck the size of my seam allowance and the resulting size of my blocks. Sigh. Re-sewing is no fun! :-)

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  88. The most useful tip is to always have blocks prepped, so you can pick them up and sew when you have to wait for an appointment. Works for me since I work by hand.

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  89. My tip is this. When you buy a book that is not spiral bound, or coiled, take it to your local copy shop. For a couple of dollars, they will coil the book for you. Then when you are trying to follow directions to learn a new technique, the book will lie flat.

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  90. I am always a student. I love to learn and find out all the different ways things can be done. I do like to look at household items and find a quilting use for them. ie hair clips work great to hold down a binding while hand sewing.

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  91. I have had to learn to press no iron my quilt blocks. It was hard to make a switch. I am trying. I love how Bonnie uses shirts in her quilts.

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  92. Would love to win Bonnie's book. The tip I learned and can't remember exactly where I read this is that it's easier to get opposing seams to "butt" together without ironing first. It works too!!Thanks for the chance to win!
    Razzemtaz@aol.com

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  93. I follow Bonnie Hunter's blog and done her last mystery quilt learning to do string blocks. I would never have tried them if it wasn't for her. You never know what you can accomplish
    until you try it. Love her quilta and love her books. Would love to win one.

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  94. My tip is if you are trying to make a quilt in a hurry then you need to keep the seam ripper handy.

    In re the book - I have the mens shirts ready to cut up just don't have the book yet.

    P.S. - I sent 3 stars. Cathy L from Iowa

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  95. I am excited that Bonnie will be teaching a class for my guild in May. Would be great to have one of her books!
    My tip is to re-purpose a dental floss container to use in your sewing kit for traveling by plane when scissors aren't allowed. When you pop it open and remove the insides, a filled bobbin fits in perfectly. Mine is Crest Glide brand, others may not work as well. Bring the thread up and through the cutter. Be sure to have a needle threader handy as it doesn't make as clean a cut as scissors.

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  96. My tip is turn the radio on when sewing - it keeps you company but doesn't distract your eyes like TV!

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  97. I have learned that when I need to rip out a seam (more often than I'd like lol)... that if you snip every 5th thread on one side then grab the thread on the other side, it will pull out easily.

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  98. I have learned to use my digital camera for block placement and a pleasing design, and the remember how it was done....

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  99. I agree that Carrie Nelson's recent binding tutorial was a great refresher course (and sanity check or recheck) on finishing. She included many great photos and valid, sensible reasons for the steps she uses for binding. Great job, Carrie! We love you! BTW, I'm just beginning to follow Bonnie and would love to win her book. Thanks!

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  100. We've been using the little plastic containers that baby food comes in now to hold our spool of thread when doing applique. Just poke a hole in the top of the lid and thread the thread through the hole in the top. Put the spool in the bottom and close it up. The spool stays clean and untangled and you just pull the thread end when you want another piece.
    Thanks,
    Susan

    mckie2@gmail.com

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  101. I like to place a pad of about 5-6 Post-It notes along the bed of my sewing machin at the 1/4" mark. It's like making a barrier to slide my fabric along giving me a more accurate seam allowance. The other day it just would not stick, soooo, blue painter's tape to the rescue. I used it to tape my pad of Post-Its and voila - a perfect seam allowance.

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  102. My tips is to listen to Podcasts or audio books when I'm sewing. I often listen to an audio book that I've already read. I hear parts of the story that I missed. I also already know the plot so it doesn't matter if I really concentrate on my sewing. Reading all the comments has been wonderful!

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  103. Pressing seams open - I always pressed seams open for clothes, and to one side for quilting. I just finished a quilt where I pressed the seams open - I was surprised at what a difference this made. Thank you "fun quilts" for sharing that tip.

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  104. Always keep several bobbins wound up. I always use gray thread, so I don't have to worry about changing colors. I'd love to win one of Bonnie's book.

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  105. I re-learned this week that marking a quilt ahead of machine-quilting it is not a time-waster; it saves you not having to use the seam ripper too often (ask me how I know ;o) Thanks for the opportunity, Terri in BC

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  106. I learned the hard way to measure the body of the quilt to determine the correct length of the borders. If you just apply the borders without measuring you are going to find you have wavy borders.
    Thanks for the opportunity to win one of Bonnie's books. I have been a fan of Quiltville for a long time and appreciated her generosity with other quilters.
    Regards,
    Anna

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  107. I would love a copy of Bonnie's book! My tip is don't sew when tired or you do more ripping than sewing and to keep good notes. My memory isn't what it once was and when I go back to make something again I forget what I did the first time. I now keep all notes on all projects in a spiral notebook for quick reference.

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  108. I just learned a new way to do applique! Back basting! It makes nice crisp shapes!

    I would love to win one of Bonnie's books!
    Thank you!
    hm

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  109. Sometimes when you sew 2 pieces of fabric together, one fabric will slip a centimeter or two - just enough that it throws the block off. I've learned a pin put in horizontal sometimes is not just enough. Line up your fabric and put pins in vertical at the top and at the bottom also. It hold them in place perfect.

    Another thing is just to take your time measuring, measuring again, cutting, pinning, sewing, pressing (not ironing), measuring, squaring up and trimming -- will do amazing things for your quilt.

    Thanks for the opportunity, Robert in northern Iowa.

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  110. A tip I learned recently - Harbor Freight carpet blades fit a 45 mm OLFA cutter! Would love to win a copy of Bonnie's book. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  111. I really like Bonnie's patterns. They are intensive with the pieces but well worth the work.

    I learned to always check my trimming when paper piecing. I can't tell you how many times I have cut into a seam while trimming. Check twice, cut once.

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  112. I love Bonnie Hunter, and have been doing leader/enders for a couple years now! Amazing how fast quilts can be cranked out! Yippee!

    My tip is: save all those old file folders from your office and use them to keep your arranged blocks together before sewing. (Be frugal and 'green'...use old folders!) When I'm arranging the different pieces of a block, I do it on top of a file folder....get all the pieces in they're proper place, then put another folder on top of it. Arrange a new block on that one....keep going, and you have a stack of blocks between folders....ready to sew. And the folders are sturdy enough to not collapse when moving them around. This is also an easy way to get your blocks from the design wall, to the sewing machine, without flipping or turning pieces around by mistake.

    Thanks for having this give away....I've read through all the tips.....they are really great!

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  113. I've been very amateur-quilting for a while. I'm still an amateur but am learning lots. I love Bonnie's two sites and have devoured so much in the past few weeks. One of the things I've relearned is that the seams should be pressed to one side (the darker side). It makes it so much easier to align the seams when I do that. I was also thrilled to learn about leaders and enders. I always tried to not waste thread by cutting it as short as possible but more than half the time I had to rethread the needle and pull the thread longer. What a savings - and how easy - to use leaders and enders! Thanks for offering her two books.

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  114. I love the fact that I'm making TWO quilts at once when I use Bonnie's Leaders and Enders method. Much better than stitching over the same doubled piece of fabric a gazillion times.

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  115. I keep an old pill bottle beside the machine and use it to put used needles in for disposal. When it starts to fill, I just lock on the lid and dispose of it in the trash. The larger ones will even hold smaller rotary cutter blades. I have two of Bonnie's books, and would love to win the most recent one.

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  116. I don't have a design wall like many so I use the back of my grandmother's quilt - it's natural muslin. It works perfectly!

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  117. I have just switched to using Aurifil thread and love how my piecing is coming out. I did the RRCB mystery quilt of Bonnie Hunters and learned sew! many new tricks from her. Just for instance, to save time after you have chained pieced, do not cut them apart until after you press each one. You can press a whole string of them and then snip them apart while they're still on the ironing board.
    Keep up the good work gals.

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  118. TONIGHT I learned not to "temporarily" stick my hand sewing needle in a couch pillow "just for second". I leaned over it without thinking, accidentally pushed the needle ALL the way in and had to open the pillow up, take the stuffing out, restuff and resew. SO, needles go IN PINCUSHIONS!

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  119. From doing Bonnie's roll roll cotton boll, I learned it can be helpful to put even a small simple border around a quilt with a complex border, so that the binding doesn't cut off points and so that it helps tie up the bias edges and bits and pieces.

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  120. I have always used a tape measure, to measure the centres of my quilt tops before cutting the border fabric. Then I would carefully measure the fabric and cut it to match. Now I lay the border strips over the centre of my quilt top, slip my cutting board underneath the overlapping ends of border fabric and trim it to match the quilt. Same as measuring, but quicker.

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  121. I learned that it is a smart move to cut up all your scraps right away after completing a quilting project. Cut left over scraps into 5", 3" and 2 1/2" squares since these are easy sizes to incorporate into a quilt. Then you already have some pre-cut squares ready for another project. This controls your scraps and keeps them organized!

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  122. Hi Lissa, I like to mark my quilts with washable crayons. So easy to see because there are many colors to choose from and in my experience they always wash out (pretesting is ideal). Thank you for your work on the Just One Star project, our guild is sewing up a storm. ~~Lisa

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  123. Hi Lissa,
    I'm a new quilter, so my tip may not be new to you. I learned to recognize the 'clicking' sound of my needle in the machine. So now I now I'll be needing to put in a new needle and not damage my work by continuing to work with an old needle.
    Love from the Netherlands!
    Christine

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  124. Thanks for a great giveaway! I love using leaders and enders and the biggest tip I can share is when working on a new project, cut up your excess fabric right away into usable sizes...don't let it go in the scrap bin! This also means fun "new" fabrics are going into my leader/ender projects right away!

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  125. Thanks for the chance to win one of Bonnie's great books. I have 2 tips, keep a scrap of batting next to your iron and when you snip off threads and bunny ears, put them on the batting. The threads stick to the batting and when it is full of thread and snips, toss in the garbage...you won't have threads all over! Also, I keep a reminder next to my machine about tension - if the bobbin thread shows on top, loosen the tension, and if the top thread shows on the bottom, tighten the tension. I had to look it up to make sure I typed it correctly - it's hard to remember.

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  126. I have relearned what my mom taught me decades ago : your wrong side of your project should look as nice as your right side (aka : take your time and don't be sloppy ! I have learned not to try to wipe the 'fuzz' off of your rotary cutter blade , no matter how 'straight' you think you keep your finger ! thanks for the chance to win the books ; I mailed 4 star blocks in last week ; thanks for doing this fabulous project !

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  127. Wow! Would love to win one of Bonnie's books! I learned my favorite tip at my first ever retreat. When laying out the pieces of a block to sew them together, I use 2 pieces of flannel-backed tablecloth cut to 18" squares. Lay the first square down with the flannel side facing up and arrange the block pieces on it. No worries about the pieces getting knocked askew or blown away by a fan etc. Plus, if you have to stop piecing in the middle of the block, simply cover it with the 2nd square, putting the shiny side down, next to the pieces so they don't stick to it. This works really well at a sit-n-sew... you can fold up the squares with your block still neatly arranged inside, and then unfold and pick up where you left off at the next sit-n-sew!

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  128. I'm a new quilter so I haven't relearned a lot yet, just trying to process ALL the info and tips I have been given by my quilting friends...one of my favorite tips is to use a dab of glue stick instead of pinnning seams...I could never get my seams to match using pins and the glue stick works like a charm!

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  129. I have learned the value of chain piecing recently and found it to be wonderful. thanks for the opportunity to win a book from a great lady.

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  130. I use a kabob stick/bamboo stick to help feed my fabric through (especially at the end, when pieces tend to swerve). It is easily and inexpensively replaced and does not put a burr on the sewing machine needle, if you happen to hit it. ...and you don't have a heart attack, if you lose it or misplace it, like you do with the expensive brass stiletto.
    quiltschon@att.net

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  131. I roll or wind my binding on an empty toilet paper core, slip a string or ribbon thru the middle, and hang it around my neck while I sew on the binding. It doesn't tangle and it feeds thru the machine without twisting or falling on the floor- hands free.

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  132. I've sewn garments for years & years. When I learned quilting, I leaned you don't press the seams open, but to one side or the other. One of Bonnie's books would be a wonderful addition to my quilting library.

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  133. I just learned (Thanks to Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville site) to clean up from a project by cutting up all those leftover pieces into usable sizes - the stash users system. Of course I have to play 'catch-up' first for those 10 years of not doing this. So I began organizing my fabrics (which were loosely organized by color). I am making mini bolts for all fabric 1/2 yard or greater. Storing fat quarters together. All other pieces I am cutting up into 2 in. 2 1/2 in. or 3.5 inch strips (if 12 inhes or longer). Anything smaller I am cutting into squares or bricks. I have finished organizing my blue bin and I am about 1/2 way through cutting up the odd shaped pieces from that bin.

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  134. My little tip that I picked up somewhere is using the little table that comes in the middle of a pizza to hold bobbins that are already wound for a project. It's great because you wind a bunch at the begining of the project and then they are all right there and when my quilt inspector jumps up to see what I and doing they don't go flying everywhere!

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  135. I'd love to win Bonnie's Leaders and Enders book. I taught this method to a new quilter last night at guild. We call it string piecing. Something else I 're-learned' last night was drawing a line for my 1/4" seam when someone doesn't have a 1/4" foot on their machine. I hadn't done that in a long time. It's fun teaching and learning at the same time.

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  136. Bonnie Hunter is real force of nature in the quilting world! I do a lot of paper piecing and the tip I use to help remove the paper is to score the seam line with a dressmaker's tracing wheel first. The paper pull away in one piece.

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  137. I like to use a camera to snap a shot of my 'top' before sewing it all together, this helps to see that all the colors are playing nicely together. I love Bonnie's books and tips!

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  138. I recently learned that "quilting" and "sharps" sewing machine needles work better for straight and accurate piecing than other needles.

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  139. Hi, I have just had a wonderful time reading all the tips. Every time I thought of a tip I could add, it would pop up in the next post or two!
    Here's one, hope it helps: I keep all the fabric for my next project in a big plastic shoe box with the pattern. Then I put a bunch of the pieces that I want to use for leader enders in a smaller box next to my machine. It makes it easy to keep track.
    I would love to win the new Bonnie book, I already have her first two.

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  140. Recently I relearned the use of the 45 degree angle on a smaller ruler to draw diagonal lines on a square -- then taught my mother how to do it! She told me it was easier than using one of those quarter inch seam sticks and more accurate. I do not own any of Bonnie's books and would love to win an autographed copy! Thanks for the chance.

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  141. All the previous comments are great reading and putting to use. I recently relearned making a pinwheel by sewing around the outer edge of 2 squares right sides together. Cut an "X" or both diagonals; open up and press and you have HST ready for a pinwheel.

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  142. Bonnie is such an inspiration to a lot of people, I would love to win one of her books.
    I've learned (the hard way) to not let my quilt lie in the sun when I haven't yet removed the quiltinglines with water. Major bummer!

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  143. I too have had to re-learn. I found Bonnie's technique a few months ago and LOVE IT. I have been working on the leaders and enders theory ever since. I haven't been able to finish anything yet, but it sure is fun.

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  144. I LOVE Bonnie's Leaders/Enders idea, but I also love the way she 'webs' her quilt tops together. I can stack a whole quilt after laying it out and know I'll sew each block into the right place. Even my 7-year old son picked up on the process and helped pick up the blocks on the last top I stitched.

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  145. I have been using bonnie's leaders and enders idea for the last couple of years and I love it. MY favorite tip is to use a camera when I lay my blocks out so I can always check where they go. I would love to win one of her books.
    debbie

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  146. I learned to drink only water or seltzer while hand quilting. An "oops" or a spill amount to zero damage to your work.
    I've been reading Bonnie's blog for a long time. Love her work.

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  147. I have been only quilting for 3 years, so there is alot that I havent learned let alone re-learned, however I would have to say.... I re-learned to use my locking stitch. I had some blocks start to unravel and I realized that I didnt backstitch or lock it in place so now... that locking stitch and I are pretty tight!
    Thanks for doing a giveawy!
    Lisa

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  148. I love Bonnie's quilts, and have severeal of them in progress at the moment:D I learned how to sew and use a sewing machine when I was very young thanks to my mom and grandma. After my son was born, I started sewing again. I had to relearn to use a sewing machine when I bought a reproduction treadle machine! It was so worth it, that machine and I get along wonderfully!

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  149. Starch has become my new best friend (again!). It makes my quilting life so much easier!

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  150. I just learned that I can put small pieces of my fabric on the bed of my scanner/copier and print the picture in black & white to get a good idea of value. I have a real hard time with values and this has helped me alot since I can take the sheet of paper with me to the cutting table in the other room and check while I am cutting that the values of the pieces I am cutting are correct.

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  151. I recently learned how to sew binding on completely by machine! Before this, I was handstitching it down in the back. I love the look of it done all by machine. It is so much neater, plus I think it will be more secure.

    I would love to win Bonnie's book! She is a wonderful teacher.

    Frances Robson
    frances@robsonclan.net

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