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back to school…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Are you also trying to squeeze a lot of summer into the little bit that remains before school starts again? Why do we do that, even when we aren’t going back to school? I will admit that when I was still teaching for my supper, I hated to see the first back to school ad-whether it was a print ad or on tv. They seemed to come earlier and earlier each summer. I would boycott that business for awhile in my own childish protest at summer’s speed in passing. Nowadays I like to comb the back to school ads looking for bargains on school supplies that I can re-purpose into my quilting. Sometimes the item will be a store’s loss leader and the savings will be phenomenal! I’ll list of few of my favorites for you. If you’ve heard any of my lectures, or taken any of my classes you can probably name my item #1.

#1) Elmer’s washable school glue, both the stick form and the liquid. I use these more and more; my first use was for glue basting my bindings, rather than pinning them. I prefer to machine finish the majority of my bindings since my quilts are washed regularly, and because stitching by machine is so much faster. I know there are many who find the hand stitching of those bindings to be quite relaxing––but I’m not one of those. I also use the glue here and there for any job where a straight pin would be an annoyance. Last evening I worked on preparing some hexies for a demo on English paper piecing. A dab from the glue stick held the paper hexie in place nicely, keeping it centered until I had basted the six corners into position. (And for those who are amazed that I am doing that sort of hand work, the goal of the demo will be to show how the machine can be used for this sort of project. Exactly how I will do that is still a secret!)

#2) Crayola washable markers, both fine and bullet tips. I use them for drawing applique shapes, for tracing quilt stencils, and markings of all kinds. They have never failed to wash out completely. (Keep in mind though I wash my things in the washing machine, and am very careful not to accidentally heat set the markings before washing.)

#3) Nice clean pink pearl erasers. Great for helping to remove or gather together thread ends.

#4) Adding machine tape. Easy way to measure and subdivide the measurement for evenly spaced placements of motifs for quilting or applique.

#5) Mechanical pencils. Nice for very thin, nearly invisible lines on fabric, and accurate tracing of pattern pieces.

#6) Funky paper tapes. (Not duck tapes-I mean the ones kids use for marking and jazzing up notebooks). This is a new addition this fall to my school supply/quilting tool list. This paper tape, sometimes called washi tape, works just like blue painter’s tape but is more fun, and in a good sale can be much cheaper.

If you have any ideas for repurposing household and school items into our quilt rooms, please leave a comment.

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