QofTD 11/15/11 MacGyver Quilters?

magothyrivergirlNovember 15, 2011

A fun question for today!

What did you have to 'invent' out of necessity or because you did not want to buy what you needed to work on a sewing project?

Yesterday I had some time to add snowflakes to the SnoGlobes - thank you Teresa! for the suggestion. She told me to use Sulky 12 wgt thread - I could not find it, bought DMC floss. It was pretty, but not perfect - too bulky and using one strand shredded. I pulled out the Bright White Glide Poly thread for Machine quilting & embroidery. It has a high sheen, and 2 strands were perfect. I also needed an embroidery hoop - I have one somewhere - metal, and it must be at least 45 years old ~lol~I have not embroidered since Junior High School probably......what to use.....I had time to either go buy one or figure something out. I cut a round deli container leaving only a ring at the top and used a rubberband from the newspaper! It worked! Not perfect, but it did the job.

I can't be the only one who 'makes do' in a pinch. How have you solved a problem using everyday household items?

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Marsha he is adorable, I love snow people!!! I machine embroidery and I have used the poly thread on occasion. It washes very well and does have more sheen than cotton (when it is needed!).

I needed a stiletto when embroidering and piecing on the sewing machine.

E. Burns sells a brass one for $14 on her site. I use FREE wooden chop sticks I kept from a take out lunch and it has lasted 5 years and works perefectly!!

The magnetic wands to pick up pins can be expensive and I was given one my dad uses in his shop. It works very well!

I always look for an item OUT of the quilting area before I will buy something 'cause usually if the word 'quilt' is associated with it it is more expensive.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 11:53AM
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Love the snowflakes, they add a nice touch.

I have used just about all my plates and cups for circles, but my all time favorite thing to use is my junk mail to make English Paper Piecing patterns. Well, there is also the old x-ray film for pattern pieces. And the rolls of paper used on doctor's office tables for paper piecing ...


    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 12:26PM
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Hardware stores have so many solutions to quilting and sewing problems, not to mention flea markets (my favorite, by far!)
Especially here in Florida.......so many!
Clamps, for holding quilt to table when sandwiching, extendable magnets, bicycle clamps for holding rolled up quilt to keep it contained, different pliers, and more. I love just browsing in some areas.
Did I mention...prices? Less than most stores!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 1:40PM
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I roll binding on an empty toilet paper roll then put it on my thread stand to feed it neatly as I'm machine sewing it on. That's about the only thing I can think of, but I do buy tools and stuff at the hardware store instead of the craft store...needle nose pliers, staple gun, craft knives, wire cutters, and especially glue sticks. You can get a package of 50 12" long ones from Lowe's for less than Michael's charges for about 6 of them.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 2:45PM
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Huge box of deli paper ($5) for paper piecing, stabilizer under embroidery, and I recently read where a young mother used it on top of her daughters school book bag with her name printed on the paper and did hand embroidery, then tore it away when finished.

My favorite little sewing scissors were Fiskars for kids found in the school supply area at Wal-mart. Cost much less than the scissors in craft/sewing department. I've been looking for them again, but no such luck.

The hardware store is where I found my rubber doorstops to put under the back edge of my machine to tilt it towards me for better vision of the machine bed.

Toy dept. = matchbox car plastic storage case for spools of thread! Also, plastic pencil boxes for general or specific notion and machine feet storage. One of these holds my collection of Sulky 12 wt. thread for hand and machine embroidery.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 3:07PM
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Old coffee mug to hold the mini clover iron when in use.Couple layers of blue painters tape on sewing machine bed,as a guide for how wide i want some seam etc.Label maker for marking all those drawers of stuff in the sewing room.

Funny how your mind goes blank when you try to think of these things.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 7:57PM
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My favorite are my tuna fish cans. I use most of those things mentioned above, especially my bamboo skewer, but I love the large size tuna cans. Each of my bobbin rings has a tuna can in the middle and I have cans sitting on the ironing board and cutting table. I use them for bits of thread and tiny bits of fabric. Other places in the house they catch screws as I work and small tools. I do throw a few in recycling, honest.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 9:36PM
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When I was in college some friends were trying to break into the business as a Christian rock group. I'm a percussionist at heart, so when I was getting ready to move back here to Michigan I asked the drummer for a couple of drumsticks. Now I use them whenever I'm turning a sewing project inside-out and need to square up the corners.
It makes my projects look better, and brings back a lot of good memories at the same time...lol!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 6:50AM
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A small turn table topped with crystal glasses of various pens, rotary cutters, stilettoes, skewers, scissors, small rulers, etc is on my sewing table. Just give that baby a spin to reach for what I want.

buteau3rd, I just picked up some clamps at Howard's Flea Market a few weeks ago. I think that's one vendor table DH doesn't mind standing at and browsing.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 9:15AM
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Binder clips!! medium sized ones help me intead of pins when I'm making totebags with Peltex. and yesterday, I used small ones to hold cord trim because pins wouldn't go through it while I sewed!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 11:10AM
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I wouldn't know where to start but a few of the things that come to mind are the binder clips, ice tea spoon (greatest thing for closing pins), picture frame rack to hold currently used rulers and patterns. Many of the things I use are left overs from my OR days. Package trays, forceps, needleholders, tiny scissors.etc. etc. I am a scavenger from old school; use it up, wear it out, make do sort of person. Jayne

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 2:44PM
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Great question! I do use chop sticks for many sewing tasks. I don't buy many things that are strictly made for quilting (too expensive!) but can't think what else I do use. Binder clips and clip on industrial lights. A long, extending thing with an alligator clip on the end to pull cord through. Sometimes I clip a magnet on the end of it to pick up pins. Painters tape to hold down edges of fabric when I'm doing the sandwiching.

Now I need to look around my sewing room and see what else I use!


    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 4:22PM
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My favorite non-sewing tool - tool is a very old pick from a nut cracker set. The curved pointy end is my 'stylus', the rounded ball end pokes out the edges when I have to turn something inside out, but my favorite part is that the little ridges hold the sides of safety pins so they can be closed or opened very easily. And.. it looks cool.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 7:34PM
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This probably doesn't count as an "invention" but I sew on my (antique?) round dining room table, which is very awkward. So I keep a TV tray right next to the bench I sit on. It helps keep everything handy.

It's probably considered an antique; although I doubt it's worth a lot....maybe with some restoration. My grandparents purchased it "gently" used from a neighbor and It was given to my parents when they got married in 1959.

By the way, mom, I'm going to have someone help me put in the leaves dad made for that table. I think elongating the edge will be helpful in sewing and crafting.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 9:23PM
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The 'neighbor' my parents got the table from was the gardener for one of the Kellogg brothers. I think it was W. K. but can't remember for sure.

The leaves will give you a straight edge for the machine and should make it easier for you.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 10:47PM
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Don't "restore" that table till you have it checked out! Every expert says something old would have been worth a lot more if only the current owners hadn't restored/refinished it.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 9:27AM
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Thanks Donna. I don't actually plan on restoring it....I don't have that kind of money. But I'll make sure whichever son gets it from me will have it looked at before doing anything.

It IS a nice table though...very, very heavy standing on one center round column with claw feet. Lots of memories. I remember stealing a lot of homemade noodles that were left on it to dry over the years!!


    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 12:47PM
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This post is too funny, because when I read the start of it I said to myself everything I use comes from a quilt shop, I have nothing to add. Then I started reading everyones supplies. Yep, I too use papertowel holders to wrap my binding around until I'm ready for it. Yep, I too have a wonderful matchbox storage container for my thread! I love my homemade design wall that started at the hardware store and then added a flannel sheet. I get mylar washers at my hardware store to make perfect appliqued circles.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 8:09PM
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I've got one more thing to add to this list. I was getting ready to clean up the front garden on Saturday morning and couldn't find my favorite rake. It's one of those very lightweight aluminum rakes that you can adjust the tines so they are very close together for small things or very wide apart like a traditional fan-shaped leaf rake. It was nowhere to be found in the garage. Then I realized it was in the sewing room! I've been using it to rake up little scraps and threads off the carpeted floor! I didn't think of it when these posts first came up but it's definitely a non-sewing shop tool that I use all the time.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 8:21AM
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I moved a two-step ladder out of the g'houses to the sewing room, so that I can easily reach high up on the design wall to pin blocks. Moved a wheeled, swivel office chair out of my old office to put on one side of the quilting frame, so that I could slide easily from one work point to the next as the quilting progressed, and leave another chair on the other side of the frame. You can't believe how often you change positions at a floor frame.

I use the compass from my old EKG interpretation class for making circles, the straight edges from my drafting supplies, old crocks with bails for things like straight pins, a sprayer from my house cleaning supplies for water when ironing, paper from a huge roll of butcher paper salvaged from my hubby who is a retired butcher I use for paper piecing, cone thread not related to quilting for basting. Knitting needles for stiletos to turn seams. Use the old pole lamp light brackets to hang sections of sashing and bindings as I make them. Washable markers I borrow from my 'kiddy fun supplies' for marking complex quilting lines. OMGosh.........everything can be multipurposed. My fav is an old stuffed bear my dd was going to throw away as a pin cushion at the ironing board. I keep another pin cushion also at the machine and when it fills up I just swap the nearly empty cushion from the ironing board, where I often pin blocks. Saves a lot of steps.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 9:37AM
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Woodworker's glueing clamps, I have a bag of all sizes, for sandwiching the quilt. DH steals them all the time, though, and I won't reuse them after he does whatever it is he wants them for. I use the cardboard roll that ribbons come on a lot for drawing circles or arcs, they seem to be just the right size for a lot of projects. Tin snuff boxes for holding pins, etc. Cookie tins for lots of stuff, especially extra thread stashes.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 9:55AM
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Kate - I remember raking my shag carpeting ..... I think it was avocado green :)

I love your little rake!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 11:55AM
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