When I find the time to quilt, I want to sit down and do it, not spend time searching for my scissors, the right thread, rulers etc. Just a few simple steps can help to keep us all organized and get right to the fun stuff!

  1. I confess that my studio is *not* neat, but I do know where the most important things I use are. The drawer in my sewing table holds my machine needles, favorite presser feet, and marking tools.
  2. When I quilt (as opposed to piece or appliqué  ) I often use many thread colors. Rather than search through all my threads each time I’m looking for a color, I grab the threads I think will work at the beginning of the project and keep them together until I’m finished quilting.

    machine quilting unlimited blog thread
    The threads I used to create my latest quilt.
  3. Speaking of thread, I’ve dramatically simplified how I use it. In the past I’d use whatever thread best matched the color I needed. This meant changing brands during the quilting process, and therefore continually readjusting the tension. I now stick with one brand throughout so that I can focus on the fun! It also helps me to be a little more creative in my color choices.
  4. Take notes. Seriously, this really helps. Some computerized machines can be programmed to save stitch settings. If yours doesn’t, just jot down the details on a post-it note and stick it next to your machine. This is particularly helpful if you’re using a variety of decorative stitches and have carefully determined how you want them to look.
  5. And how might you have carefully determined this? You’ve got it, make a sample. Sometimes making a sample at the beginning of a project seems counterintuitive as you just want to get to work, but it can save lots of time down the road. You can even write notes directly on your sample so that you’ll be sure to keep track of them.
    machine quilting unlimited blog diane doran sample
    An ancient sample I made before the turn of the century. But, I have notes! If I ever work on this project again I can use the same machine settings

    machine quilting unlimited blog note to self
    Notes to self on my sample.
  6. I try to take the time before I dive in to make sure that I have enough of the basics, such as thread and needles, before I start quilting. It’s no fun to get started and suddenly come to a grinding halt because you ran out of something crucial.

Do you have some streamlining tips you’d like to share? Just comment below or on our facebook page, we’d love to hear from you!


2 Responses to Streamlining

  1. When I read over a pattern, I set up baggies( many different sizes and even those great zippered bags that come with sheet sets and such) for the different cuts and label them so I don’t drive myself later when the pattern instructs you to take the 4″ square and cut into half square triangles, for example. That is, assuming you’re using a pattern!

  2. When I do raw edge appliqué I save the larger parts that I trim off when cutting out the appliqué piece and adhere it to a piece of the same fabric as the background. Before stitching the quilt I try stitches or quilting on the sample writing the stitch info and thread on the sample piece.

    Everyone has a favorite thread maker and type. Instead of randomly buying thread stick to your favorites and collect the entire color range and you always have the right color in your favorite thread.

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