Tips collected from members at the First National Crazy Quilt Retreat Canberra 2004

image illustrating a tip to handle beads while stitching

These tips have been collected from the members of the Southern Cross Crazies discussion group while at the First National Crazy Quilt Retreat

When working with beads. Using a small round takeaway container, cut away the top leaving the base about one inch high. Cut a circle slightly larger than the base out of corded material. Glue this into the base.

image of makeshift beading trayIt is easy to pick up beads off the cord. I keep my beads in small plastic bags, so very easy to bend the base and return the beads into the bag.
Florence Martin

Do not wear charm bracelets whilst sewing or embroidering.
Laurel Roberts

Store those used needles in an empty film canister. Dispose of when full.
Carolyn McCulloch

Hint for Crazy Patchwork. Each block will be embroidered with variations of one stitch. Saves time deciding which stitch to be used.
Yvonne Burns

When doing long bullions or cast-on petals instead of counting the number of twists or cast-ons cut all your pieces of thread the same length and forget the counting.
Megan Paris

Remember when using Lola Brazilian cotton stretch to stop thread twisting.
Joan Kent

To keep fancy threads or silk ribbons etc. from unravelling use a self-clinging reusable PVC vinyl tape. It has many uses. I purchased mine from Echidna about $9 per roll. “Easy Thread Tape” 10m rolls x25mm wide
Judy Hogg

Cut a piece of clear contact and attach upside down “so sticky side faces up” to a piece of cardboard. Embellishments, beads, buttons, decorations all sit arranged ready to be sewn on.
Dell Armistead

Always use beading thread when attaching beads and buttons. It is way stronger than sewing machine or embroidery thread and saves those little thread breakages that tend to happen in transit during Round Robins.
Catherine Byatt

Use an empty tissue box for your thread ends and other rubbish when you are sewing (hand or machine). They are always available and nothing falls out if you accidentally knock them over.
Kerry Sutherland

Sometimes it’s difficult to sew blocks together when beads are close to the sewing line. It helps if you finish beading one centimetre in from the sewing line and add the extra beads on a loop of thread tied to the block for later attachment.
Maureen Bond

Always dampen Rahjamal Thread to stop it tangling; then you should be able to use it with ease.
Margaret Johnston

When you haven’t the right colour of shaded thread to give light and shade to your embroidery, use two or three threads of different subtle changes in the needle. Bullion lavender looks great worked in two different coloured threads.
Margaret Roberts

Always buy your husband thick-soled slippers so he won’t complain when he steps on a pin!
Jodie Trinder

Little tiny specialty glass jam bottles make wonderful bead containers or small pin containers.
Lorraine Hartley

If you have a wood heater or open fire and it looks like it is out but is still warm, put some kindling on it and turn your hair dryer on towards the fire and soon you will find the fire going again.
Margaret Goodwin

When you buy fabric, if, instead of buying 10cm or 20 cm you buy 15cm or 30cm, it divides up easier for Baggies.
Linda Barraclough

Save long cotton reels on which to wind stranded or perle cottons.
Long cotton reels provide a holder for fine embroidery scissors; they protect their points.
Adrienne Johns

When using silky or slippery fabrics use weight Vilene (iron –on) on the back. It makes it easier to use and is still okay to stitch through.
(Can’t remember who, but you did get a raffle ticket.)

Make up - 1 cup dye mixture ( I use RIT or DYLON) and put into a microwave safe container. (Baggie/Ziplock will do). Add more dye or water to make stronger or weaker colours. Most colours take instantly. Reds may be a problem.
Mary C.B.

Tired of turning your work from side to side when doing Cretan Stitch?
Take all your stitches in the same direction (R to L for right hander). But every alternate stitch have your thread ABOVE the needle, NOT under. Then pull it taut before doing a normal stitch on the other side. It will look just like normal cretan stitch.
Mary C.B.

Keep beads in clear containers so you can see what is in them before you open it and spill them.
Lids from boxes of photocopy paper make very good trays for organising bits for a project.(Local school a good source for photocopy lids).
Andrea Carew

Hint for aircraft travellers: Carry a small prepaid post bag –adderessed! And if security catches you out carrying scissors, needles etc. – Post it home!
Punch needle embroidery. If the fabric needs stabilising because weave is too loose or a knit fabric, use WOVEN iron-on fabric on back – then draw/ transfer your pattern.
Maureen Curlewis

Use an address book to list patterns found in magazines e.g. Grub Rose Cushion, Quilting Arts Vol. ?, p.56. This entry would be filed under ‘g’. That way you have patterns, ideas etc. listed in one place and easy to find.
‘Tweed’ threads for different colouring effects by joining 2 or 3 different shades of one colour together to use.
Keep a small jar in your handbag that ‘small finds’ such as odd buttons, charms found in op shops can be added to and not ‘lost’ in your bag on the way home.
Kate McFarlane

2mm. of silk ribbon may be wound on bobbin, loosen bobbin tension and stitch on back of work. It will give a lovely bubbly effect.
Maria Vialle

After making your block backed with calico or homespun try sandwiching the block with iron-on pellon and another piece of plain fabric (homespun or calico). Simply tack the three pieces together and embellish to your heart’s content.
Cherie Thompson