free motion
June 18, 2021
block too small?
August 2, 2021
free motion
June 18, 2021
block too small?
August 2, 2021
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back to school supplies

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Already the back to school ads are appearing on tv and in print. Before I retired I used to hate to see those beginning –summer vacation was on the downhill! Now I react differently–it’s time to get those supplies to use in my quilting! The prices are great at this time of year–watch for the loss leaders!

My favorite school supply that I use for all sorts of things is Elmer’s washable school glue. The number one use for me is holding my bindings in place for hand or machine stitching. Once I discovered how well this works I have not looked back! A second use for me is holding miters in place on borders and sashings. The glue makes accuracy so much easier! The washable glue in stick form is great for holding appliques, buttons and other embellishments in place temporarily. (There may be other companies whose glue products would work well too, but I can only vouch for Elmer’s. I have never had any problems washing it out, or even removing it with a wet wash cloth when I get spots of glue where I don’t want them.) I saw the regular sized Elmer’s bottles in a Staples ad today for 50¢ per bottle.

What other school supplies do I use? Crayola washable markers are great for marking quilting designs. They wash out completely–even purple on white comes completely out. Of course this will not be a help if you do not like to wash your quilts before using them. I always do because I have a sensitivity to the fabric sizing. I also love the crinkled old fashioned look of a quilt after washing it. Any quilt that I am giving away to a baby or a senior will definitely be washed, and then given with washing instructions.

How about 3 x 5 cards? The lines printed on a 3 x 5 card are almost always spaced exactly 1/4″ apart. (I sneak a pack of them to the ruler aisle in the store to check before I purchase them.) You can cut the cards into strips to use when hand stitching a blanket stitch border or any other stitching which needs nice spacing. You can also roll edges over them for turning hems on pockets, tote bag straps etc. to get nice sharp creases on exact even turned edges.

Composition notebooks with grid paper in them: I love these for my quilting notes. The grids make rough draft illustrations so much easier (especially when trying to draw from memory a great design you spotted at a quilt show!) Best source for these? Tops market! Who knew?!

Do you have a favorite repurposed supply that you could tell us about? Please share in the comments.


  1. Annette Meyer-Grunow says:

    Love these tips. Have used the washable markers with success too. Annette

  2. Sylvia Siegel says:

    Thanks for the tips. I also use sticky notes to mark different fabric pieces. Last year, I began using a large notebook with lines to plan all my quilts. That way I can look back and see what I did for a specific quilt. I sketch out a block and then the whole quilt. I write down the size of the blocks and pieces and the dimensions of the whole quilt. Then I am not losing small pieces of paper.

  3. Theresa Utz says:

    I too am a fan of Elmers glue. As well is the lined paper. Mary Ellen‘s tips are wonderful. If it if you haven’t tried any of them, give it a shot. I am always looking for tips to make coaching easier. Especially at my age.

  4. Betty Lerner says:

    Glue sticks! The non-permanent glue stick is perfect for holding applique pieces in place and washes out completely. Also more controllable for messy people. (Learned this from Jane Sassaman).

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