10 Quilty Little Secrets

10 Quilty Little Secrets


I decided to jump on the bandwagon and participate in 10 Quilty Little Secrets, a fun post stared by Amy @ 13 Spools. I was actually surprised at how hard it was for me to put together my list!

10 Quilty Little Secrets
10 Quilty Little Secrets

1. I almost never use pins when piecing. The only exception I can think of in my recent sewing history is when I sewed the half circles in the modern mystery quilt hosted by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr about 2 years ago.

Modern Mystery Quilt - Week 4
Modern Mystery Quilt – Week 4

2. I love to use steam when I iron. And iron I do. I understand the theory behind pressing – but I would much rather actually set my seams. I tend to piece blocks a bit oversize and then trim after ironing. It works for me.

3. I work on one or two projects at a time at most. I currently have one UFO that will probably turn into something much different than originally intended… someday. I like lists and marking things off lists way too much to have a big backlog. Earlier this year I had 6 WiPs after going to SewDown Portland. And I quickly and methodically worked through them all before picking up anything else.

4. I don’t always cover my Olfa rotary blade when I walk away from my cutting mat or put it down. I try really hard to remember to do so… but I have the kind you have to slide the cover up and down and sometimes I walk into my sewing room in the morning to see my Olfa blade exposed. Oops. (This actually makes me very sad, it’s a bad habit!)

5. EPP hexies are not for me. I will admire from far, far away.

6. My least favorite part of the quilting process is cutting the fabric. I hate hunching over my rotary mat for hours.

7. I am currently not in love with my sewing machine. I think I have a lemon. She is frustrating me to no end and I don’t know what to do about it. I keep using her and thinking I’ll warm up to her… but it has been 1.5 years and I keep thinking that. I totally regret selling my old machine. 🙁

8. I love pin basting quilts. I used to hand baste with thread (until about 1.5 years ago). It took FOREVER. Pin basting is fast, and I feel like I get a good stretch in my legs and lower back while I am working (I try to sit off the quilt in a corner and lean in with a flat back to pin).

9. I don’t like applique. Don’t get me wrong, it can be beautiful… but it is something I am not interested in doing in my sewing.

10. I cannot seem to get the hang of machine sewing down binding to my quilts. I actually really enjoy hand stitching them down to the back, which is totally surprising given my thoughts about applique and EPP. Totally illogical, I know. (Actually, in my defense, if I ever really did hand applique or EPP I would probably love it but I just don’t want to invest the time…)

What are your secrets? Play along and make a post (if you haven’t already) or leave some thoughts in the comments below!


  • 4,5,6,7. Those are all me, especially the lemon machine. I know that mine is a lemon and I’ve had it serviced so many times in it’s short little life. I am stuck with it and that is that. I have my hugely expensive Babylock, but I feel strongly that I don’t want to do a lot of lint-producing work on that one. I really bought it for embroidery only. Why don’t I cover my rotary blade? I honestly don’t think about it that much. As with knitting and other repetitive crafts, it’s a “muscle-memory” thing. Sometimes I go to cut and the cover is on, and I don’t remember having slid the button.

  • I am sorry to hear about your machine dramas.
    Does anyone in the world press? I am starting to think not. I am guilty of the blade cover too.
    I wrote myself a list after reading Amy’s and Molli Sparkle’s. My list already has 15 not 10 confessions and I haven’t decided if I should post it.

  • I hate batiks and I don’t like Kaffe Fassett or any prints/colors in that style. Yuk. I iron with steam too, I want those seams to be crisp. I rarely have UFOs because finishing is as much fun as starting. I know I can come up with more little secrets, but those are my biggies.

  • I’m so with you on number ten! Maybe if I was better at machine binding I might change my mind, but I really don’t like the look of it. The first quilt I ever made 10 years ago has held up well, the binding hasn’t come off yet so I’m sticking with hand sewing it on!

  • This is a great list, Yvonne 🙂 Ummm…. rotary cutters have covers for the blades??? I’m guilty – I never ever use it. . . the cover that is. Number 7 makes me really, really sad too!! I don’t even know what to say about that one 🙁

    Funny, we are on polar opposite sides of the binding universe! Do you use glue when you bind? (my new obsession LOL) I think using glue is going to make my machine sewing of binding go a lot smoother.

    As for all the others – wholeheartedly agree! 🙂 BTW, we are in the UFO minority LOL

  • when I am cutting smaller pieces, I use a small mat on my kitchen counters. the higher work surface is more comfortable than a table top. You could also put something under the legs of a table to raise it up for when you need to use a larger mat.

    • The table base I usually keep my cutting board on has been my computer desk table for the past year. Hopefully in the next year or so that can change. 🙂 Yes, having a higher cutting surface does wonders!!!

  • I’m having fun reading these posts. I could only spot 2 things we have in common 🙂 Would you guess which ones? 🙂 Sorry to hear about your machine, that sucks.

  • These posts have been fun to read. Funny how some things we are polar opposites on with some of our favorite blogs! I have to agree with the epp here, I have zero interest lol! Machine binding is one of my easiest and favorite parts of making a quilt 🙂 I only spray baste, I hate basting period. I iron with full steam !

  • I iron the dickens out of my fabric. With steam. Even triangles. I also sew over pins. And when something is too hard to line up, I glue baste it. Gluing feels like cheating, but I’m seeing a lot more people do it lately. I have about 10 projects going at any one time. I hate basting, so I’ll work like a mad woman until the basting stage and then it will sit until guilt forces me to proceed. I don’t change my rotary blade often enough. I’m probably killing my mat, because by the time I realize I should change it, I’m pretty much using all my strength to cut through the fabric.

  • Ha, #4. When my mum was visiting a few months ago, she kept getting so mad at me for leaving the blade up (I have the blue Olfa with the slide cover). I only slide it up if I’m actually putting my cutter away when doing a room tidy up or clearing space otherwise I’m the only one that uses my sewing room so it’s not like anyone will randomly go in there and start moving things around and cut themselves.

    I think I prefer the look of a hand sewn binding, but I’m too lazy to do it that way when it only takes a few minutes to finish up by machine (also why i don’t hand piece!!). I’ve read a few times that a blind hem/stitch in the ditch foot helps a lot with machine binding, and I’ve just seen someone post a link that uses glue and I want to give them try to see how much they help improve the look of my binding.

  • Lots of these would be my quilty little secrets too! In fact I didn’t even know I should be putting a cover on my rotary cutter, so now I feel extra guilty! Sorry to hear about number 7, that’s a sad, difficult one.

  • I should probably write a list as well..sorry to hear about your machine – so frustrating to have such an important part of your hobby giving you grief – I hope you find a resolution soon. I don’t like machine sewing down a binding and, quite honestly, my hand sewn bindings look really good and they aren’t coming loose any time soon so I think I’ll stick with what works for me! Thanks for sharing.

  • Totally with you on 4, 6, and 10. And further to #4 I will never admit that my one child was actually chewing on my unprotected rotary cutter one day!

  • #4 – I cut my leg once when I didn’t close that blade. It went flying and hit my leg and before I looked down I prayed that it was closed. Nope. It wasn’t. #5 I’m a EPP admirer but sadly don’t like making them.

  • I am not into hexies or appliqué either. I am sorry you do not like your sewing machine and miss your old one. When I got my new one it took me a whole year to get used to it, but it got better. I would start looking for a model like your old one on ebay!

  • Wonderful list! Though I prefer spray basting. :))) and I solved that “hating my machine” thing by going vintage (crazy fun and easy maintenance).. I have two Singer 221’s and two 401A’s to back up my fancy pants electronic machine. Just sayin’.. .might consider a vintage straight stitcher. 🙂 Then again… you didn’t ask me… my bad.

  • um, rotary cutters are weapons. I sliced the side of my finger off. My friend’s fell from her table and cut all tendons on her foot. Just sayin” blood ain’t pretty.
    LeeAnna at not afraid of color

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