Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen: Working with metallic threads

29 04 2014


I don’t have a good history with metallic threads. They are oh so pretty, but many’s the time I’ve wanted to throw the thread in the trash as it just won’t work for me in either my domestic sewing machine or my Sweet Sixteen. I follow all the rules and guidelines, and occasionally… just occasionally, it will work. And then there will be several months before I’m willing to try it again, knowing that there will be frustration and that angry words will be spoken 😉 I’ve watched Helen Godden demo HQ machines at quilt fairs and she often uses metallic thread and she seems to have no issues with it so I figure it has to be tamed somehow.

My latest foray into metallics was using a Fil-tec ‘Glisten’ metallic thread in gold. It was such a pretty thread and the quilt top begged to be stitched in gold… I had Fil-Tec Magna Glide in the bobbin.

But I went crazy trying to get this metallic thread to work without snapping every inch or so or stitching.

Here’s my litany of frustrations and what I tried, as I emailed to my dealer:

Top thread settings and things I tried:

  • one hole only in the 3-hole thingy
  • loosening top tension to the point that I had to unpick as I had scrunchies on the back
  • horizontal spool holder and upright (it’s a cross-wound spool), with and without a thread net.
  • slowing down from 50% to 25%
  • Size 18 Groz-Beckert needle set at 5:30 and then 6:30 position (I have very little success with ANY threads at 6:00 position). HQ’s website says the size 18 needles ‘work well with metallic thread’.

I’m trying to use it with a ruler but it keeps snapping. If I’m lucky I get to stitch about 2 inches, then SNAP. Changing from 5:30 to 6:30 helped a bit, but not for long.

My test piece worked fine – no ruler for that though, and it was only to check tension. However, I need to use the ruler as I need to get straight lines around 18 blocks. I haven’t even finished ONE block after nearly an hour….

I don’t have much luck with monofilament either, but that’s not today’s issue.

While I was waiting for her reply, I checked the archives of the forum I’m on and found that some people had luck with putting a few drops of Sewer’s Aid onto the spool of thread. I had some of that, so I tried it and it worked SO much better. Not perfect, but a LOT better, though not enough for me to continue with the metallic thread after I’d finished the outside stitching around each block. By dribbling three drops of Sewer’s Aid onto the spool, I was able to complete the ruler lines around a block without a single break – it took 2 minutes instead of the hour of frustration for the first block! I put another two sets of three drops in total for the rest of the blocks, so this isn’t a one-off fix — you do have to reapply it. But it worked so much better than doing nothing.

My dealer also got back to me with these suggestions:

I quilt all the time with metallic both FMQ and with rulers.  I don’t have any troubles.  Here is what I do:

  • Use a thread net.
  • Reduce the tension in my bobbin slightly so that I can back off the tension on the top
  • I usually quilt at around 35-45% depending on what I am doing.
  • I will use either size 16 or 18 needle (whatever is in usually suits)
  • Mainly I use 2 holes (but have gone to 1 if thread performance is questionable)
  • I don’t look at my needle position – whatever position it is in is fine.

Recently at Helen’s workshop she demonstrated in metallic.  Of course everyone wanted to sew with that.  Most people had trouble.  But honestly the thing that will tame metallic thread is a thread net!!  It is an essential when using metallic in my book (cannot be used on horizontal spool holder though).

The thread net will add tension however, so you will have to compensate with the tension and reduce it a little.  If you are getting looping underneath, then back the tension off on the bobbin case.  You can tweak this a fair bit.  Each wrap in the 3-hole guide will also add tension, so you might find that with all of the above you still have to drop back to threading through one hole.

Also, you must consider wadding types.  Thread performance is also affected by different types of wadding.  Was your sample piece the same as your quilt you were working on?

After all that.. I am out of ideas.  I would have to sit and work with the thread myself to get it going… Sometimes – the thread just has to be filed.. in File 13 (trash!)

I have no trouble with monofilament either – but see if the abovementioned helps you to use mono as well.  All the same principles apply.



Improvise! Bungee cord system to hold up quilt

27 04 2014

One of the ladies on my quilting forum has designed a system for holding up quilts to prevent drag when the quilt falls off the edge of the table, as any large quilt will do unless you have a HUGE work area. You can buy her system from here: http://www.jennoop.com/suspenders.html. However, because the shipping costs for such as system to Australia would be HUGE, she’s also suggested that we develop our own. So I did.

I remembered that we had an old portable hanging rack that we’d dragged around from previous houses, and that had been very useful in the day. But I didn’t know where it was as we’d either given it away or stored it after we last moved some four years ago. But my husband said that it should be in the shed (I’d looked) if we hadn’t given it away, and he thought we might have dismantled it. After some hunting around in the shed, I found it in pieces on top and behind a couple of storage racks. He also said we had bungee cords in the stuff for the bike rack, so I found those too, and grabbed two of the clamps I use on my basting table, and voila! I had a suspension system for my large quilts made from stuff I already had.

Here’s my setup after I’d finished putting it together (30 minutes to find the stuff, 10 minutes to put it together).




The only downside is that I had to move the table out from the wall about 6 inches to accommodate the legs (my Sweet Sixteen is in the main living room). I’ve yet to use it, but will report back once I have. If it doesn’t work for me, then I’ll just dismantle everything again and put it back in the shed 😉

And yes, that’s an Eagles ‘Hotel California’ poster on the wall. And note the 1980s grey of the hanging rack 😉

Update later the same day: Well, these are brilliant! I didn’t realise how much drag I had put up with, as I thought I puddled my quilts pretty well. But once the drag was taken away, the quilt moved effortlessly across the table top/sewing bed without much shoulder/neck/arm movement and no death grip grabbing and pushing/pulling. Yes, I had to reposition the clamps every so often, but I had to reposition the ‘puddle’ much more when I was doing it that way. This is a winner!!


Threads and tension: Practise before quilting

26 04 2014

On the Yahoo! Groups forum for the HQ_Sit_Down_Model, J asked for some advice on what sort of threads (top and bobbin) I use in my Sweet Sixteen, and how I get the tension right. She also wanted to know whether I used the same size/colour/weight thread in the top and bottom threads.

Here’s my (long) reply… You might want to get yourself a coffee…


I know that the purists say to use the same colour top and bottom, and even the same thread top and bottom. But I wasn’t taught by a purist and I didn’t know ‘the rules’, so I do what works for me. The bottom line (no pun intended!) is that I use whatever thread I want in the top and whatever thread I want in the bottom. I always stitch on a small practice sandwich first to make sure the tension is right, and then off I go.

So with that said, here are some of the things I do when deciding on a thread to use and then testing it out:

  • I pick one or more colours for the top thread. I don’t really care what brand – it’s the colour I’m looking for. I tend to favour the trilobal polyesters over cotton (far less lint!), and favour Glide and Isacord over other brands. But if the colour I want to use is only in a rayon or cotton, then I’ll use that. I’ve even used DECADES OLD overlocker/serger thread in the top! See also: Threads I’ve used in my Sweet Sixteen
  • Most of my top thread stash is 40 wt thread, no matter what variety.
  • I’m lazy so I don’t like winding/changing bobbins too often. So I’ll try to use either a pre-wound Magna Glide Classic (no cardboard sides) bobbin (made by Fil-Tec; 60 wt, size M), or a bobbin filled with a lighter weight thread (a bobbin takes a lot more light weight thread than 40 wt, for example). I’ve used these sorts of threads in the bobbin – Deco Bob (80 wt) and Invisifil (100 wt) from Wonderfil; Bobbinfil (70 wt I think); and 40 wt threads as per the top. My preference is the Magna Glide Classic pre-wounds (I only have their ‘white’, which is really a light creamy colour when you look at it; part # 12445), followed by Bobbinfil, followed by Deco Bob and then Invisifil. I’ve never used Bottom Line in my bobbin as it’s hard to get where I live and is very pricey compared to the others.
  • Mostly, my top and bottom threads are totally different in brand, weight, and type – as I said, I’m not a purist.
  • My top and bottom threads often aren’t the same colour either. Depending on the quilt, I may try to match the bottom thread with the backing fabric. But I find that except for really dark backs, the white Magna Glide Classic pre-wound just disappears into the backing fabric and is hardly noticeable. Then again, I’m not quilting show quilts, so I’m not so fussed about the colours being slightly different.
  • If I’m using a dark thread on top and the top is also dark, I might use a darker bobbin thread (e.g. black Bobbinfil), but only if the bobbin thread starts to show on the top.
  • I ALWAYS drop-test my bobbin thread tension before threading the top of the machine. I use Jamie Wallen’s method and it works every time for me. Once I have the bobbin tension adjusted, I rarely, if ever, have to change it for that bobbin.
  • I thread the machine using 1, 2, or 3 of the holes, depending on the thread. Cottons and trilobal polys seem to do OK through 3 holes, but the rayons mostly do best through just 2 holes. Metallics, monofilaments, or fine threads like 80 wt or 100 wt, seem to do best for me through just one hole.
  • I use a thread net over the cone/spool for fine threads and metallics to help prevent them spooling off too quickly and getting tangled.
  • I brush out the bobbin area at every bobbin change, and put one drop of oil in the bobbin area then too. But with the Magna Glide Classic pre-wounds, there’s not a lot of lint in the bobbin area.
  • I try to change needle with every quilt I do (but if I have a couple of small quilts, I might use the same needle for a while).
  • I mostly use a size 16 or 18 needle. I have 14s but I only use them for very fine thread.
  • I usually have the needle in the 5:30 position – that seems to work best for my machine; 6:30 position sometimes works too, but I don’t have a lot of luck with the 6:00 position.

Once all that’s done (hopefully I didn’t forget anything!), I grab my practice sandwich and:

  1. Stitch a couple of loops and points at the speed I’m likely to use on the quilt.
  2. Pull the sandwich away from the needle and turn it over to see the back – I’m looking for looping thread and eyelashes at this stage. Looping thread (see 2 and 3 in the photo below) and eyelashes (1 in the photo below) mean my top tension is too loose, so I turn the top tension knob at least one turn (depending on how much loopiness/eyelashes) to the right (away from me) and test again. And repeat until I can’t see any top thread on the back (actually, that’s not quite true – I use a cream practice sandwich mostly, so if I see tiny pinpricks of the top colour, I’m OK with that as my practice sandwich is a usually a little thinner than the actual quilt)
  3. Once I can’t see top thread on the back, I’m pretty sure that everything on the top will be OK, but I look at it anyway. If the top is puckering or I can see more than a dot of bobbin thread at the points, there’s a good chance that my top thread is too tight, so I turn the knob a little to the left (towards me) to lighten off a little. And test stitch again. And loosen. And stitch. And look at the front and back. And adjust the top tension knob in smaller increments until I have stitches that lay flat on both top and bottom and that don’t pucker the quilt.

And then I’m ready to put the quilt under the needle. Even so, I start stitching on the quilt and after a few inches, I stop, lift the quilt to see the back and check my stitches (it helps if you have excess border fabric etc. to do this test stitching in). If the top thread is looping/eyelashing on the back, then I tighten the tension knob (and if it’s bad, I pick out the stitches and start again), and start stitching again. And then I check the back and front again to make sure it’s all lying flat. Once I’m happy with my test stitches on the quilt, I’m off and running.


Yes, all this sounds an awful lot to check/test, but in reality it might take me just a minute or so.

That’s not to say that I don’t get frustrated with tension issues at times, but the worst of those have usually been related to something else, like the timing going out as a result of a needle breakage/jam, and thus the machine can’t make a proper stitch.

When nothing seems to work, I try a new needle, different thread top and bottom, and switching the power off and walking away for a while. Wine helps too 😉

If all that doesn’t work for you, can you take your machine back to your dealer and get them to use it (in front of you) and you use it in front of them to see if it’s you or the machine. Sometimes it’s the machine! And it may need a service or the timing adjusted.



Easy cathedral windows quilting motif

19 01 2014

I have LOTS of 2″ squares in my scrappy quilt — probably about 500. As all the fabrics are a mixed bag (batiks, cottons, fabric from old clothes, cheap fabrics, expensive fabrics, stiff fabrics, fraying fabrics, etc.), I wanted to stitch a quilting design that held them all down as much as possible and that secured the seams and joins as far as possible, while also creating a rounded effect against the stark geometry of the squares. I decided on the cathedral window quilting motif (shown finished below), and took photos as I went to explain how to do it super simply.


What I like about this motif is that you get all sorts of sub patterns within it — you get circles, semi circles, flower shapes, and curved diamonds all in the one pattern!

While I could have used rulers to create the arcs, I would’ve spent many hours quilting each block and likely getting frustrated if the rulers moved a little. This quilt is for me to use — it is NOT a show quilt — so my arcs didn’t have to be perfect. The method I describe and illustrate below took me about 15 minutes to stitch in one continuous line — that’s 15 minutes per 1100-square block. And to be honest, the effect is just as dramatic as ruler work if you don’t look too closely 😉

The essence of this motif is the ‘S’ curve — if you can free motion stitch an ‘S’ curve you can do this!

How to create your own cathedral windows:

  1. Start at the top of a block of squares — I started one square in from the edge of the block.
  2. Stitch an ‘S’ curve with the centre of the ‘S’ going through the seam join. I tried to make my curves between 1/4 and 1/2 inch at the fattest point, and arcing relatively evenly throughout the curve. But don’t beat yourself up over this — it doesn’t have to be perfect as the end result still looks good. Just go with the flow of the ‘S’ curve.
  3. Repeat the ‘S’ curve motif all the way down to the bottom of the column of squares.
  4. When you reach the bottom, come back up the column stitching ‘S’ curves in the opposite direction.
  5. You’ll end up with small ovals with pointed ends (like little footballs).
  6. You end up where you started so stitch an arc across to the top of the next column and repeat the ‘S’ curves going down and then back up.
  7. When you’ve finished all the ‘columns’, arc down to the rows and stitch ‘S’ curves across all the rows. Turn the quilt if you find it easier to stitch up/down than left/right.
  8. Stitch an arc at the end of the row down to the next row and repeat….
  9. Repeat until you get to the bottom of the block, then stitch arcs across the bottom and up the left side until you get back to the beginning.

And you’re done! Cathedral window quilting the easy way.

Here’s a diagram in case you learn better this way or want to practice with pen and paper first (explanation below the diagram; the arrows show direction):


  1. Start at the green star position.
  2. ‘S’ curve down the column (solid line with yellow ‘1’ in the diagram).
  3. Come back up the column in the opposite ‘S’ curve direction (dashed yellow ‘2’ in the diagram).
  4. Stitch an arc to the next column (yellow ‘3’).
  5. Repeat steps 2 to 4 for all columns (NOT shown on diagram).
  6. When you’ve finished the columns, stitch an arc to the edge of the block (red ‘1’ in the diagram).
  7. Stitch another arc down to the first row (red ‘2’).
  8. Stitch an ‘S’ curve along the first row (red ‘3’; solid line).
  9. When you get to the end of the row, stitch back in the opposite direction (red ‘4’; dashed line).
  10. At the end of the first row, stitch an arc down to the next row (red ‘5’).
  11. Repeat for the rest of the rows (NOT shown on the diagram).
  12. At the bottom, stitch arcs all the way along the bottom, then up the left side (NOT shown on diagram), back to the start position (green star).

Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen bobbin case

30 12 2013

When is an M bobbin case not an M bobbin case? When it’s made by different manufacturers for different machines! Currently, there’s a discussion on the forum for the owners of sit-down models of quilting machines about the M bobbin case for the Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen/Babylock Tiara, and one of the members posted a picture of the black spring she was told to remove to use the pre-wound Glide bobbins. The problem is that my bobbin case DOES NOT have this black spring and I suspect never had it as I can’t recall seeing it. (Update: Newer Sweet Sixteens have bobbin cases with the black spring.)

So I took some photos of my only bobbin case — the one that came with my Sweet Sixteen machine back in April 2011 — so that I’d have them on hand for future reference. I took several photos from different angles.

The only ‘spring’-like thing INSIDE my bobbin case is the flat metal piece that’s screwed into the housing — you could not remove it without first removing the screw. On its inner side, this flat metal piece has a straight edge, then sweeps into a scythe-like curve. Also, note the width and shape of the bobbin case opening (not the ‘fingers’ surrounding the opening, but the opening itself) — it’s a sort of skinny ‘D’ shape.






As a result of this discussion, I went searching for M size bobbin cases on the internet and found that there are all sorts of variations of these. Below I some photos I grabbed from the internet. Notice the shape of the opening, the ‘spring’ shape, and the black spring (in some cases), and even a ‘pigtail’ spring. They are all a little different to the bobbin case I have. So buyer beware! If you purchase any old M size bobbin case from the internet, it may not be the correct one for your machine!


Tin Lizzie






Japanese A1 long-arm

Cleaning stubborn water stains from a toilet

26 12 2013

We moved into our house nearly four years ago. When we moved in, the house was three years’ old and the toilets were stained (the water here is fairly hard), as were the plug areas of the white porcelain hand basins in the bathrooms.

Below is an example of the staining — yes, these are WATER stains!!!


I tried everything possible (e.g. CLR, Steradent, abrasive and non-abrasive cleaning gels, sprays, solutions etc.) to clean them, all to no avail. They remained stained. A plumber we’ve used over the past few years said that we’d never clean them as ‘there was a bad batch made about the time your house was built and the porcelain was porous and therefore the stains were ingrained’. Short of replacing the toilets with new ones, we were stuck with toilets and hand basins that were clean but that looked dirty.

I even emailed pictures of the stained toilets to the manufacturer back in November (I’m still awaiting a reply…), as the building guy I spoke to said they had a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Meantime, we had some roof plumbing work done by a plumber just before Christmas  and I asked him about his availability for replacing the two toilets. He came inside, took one look, then beetled back to his van where he grabbed some abrasive mesh. He rubbed a small area of one toilet bowl and voila! The stains had disappeared!!! and there was some milky stuff in the water. He said they were calcium stains (which accounted for the milkiness) and that the porcelain was fine — we just needed to get the calcium off and they’d be as good as new. He even gave me about 30 cm of the mesh he used and warned me not to press too hard with bare fingers as I’d cut them. The porcelain doesn’t get scratched by this process either — it was very smooth where he’d rubbed the calcium off.

So, wearing rubber gloves, I got to and over the past couple of days I’ve cleaned both toilets and hand basins and they are all shiny new again! And even better, I’ve saved myself the expense and inconvenience of having to replace toilet pedestals and hand basins. All it required was the right ‘tool’ for the job and a fair amount of elbow grease.

Here’s one of the toilets with one side cleaned, and then finished.



Below is this magical abrasive mesh (I think the AO is for aluminium oxide and the 180 is for the grit level).


You don’t need much of it to make a big impression, and you can use it wet or dry — I found wet was best:


I’ve since attacked a few other areas around the house with this stuff, but be careful as it will scratch metal surfaces if you put too much pressure on it. I haven’t tried it on the glass shower screens yet, but I suspect it may scratch glass too. However, a light rubbing removed rust-type stains from aluminium without obvious scratching.

When I’m next in town, I’ll try to buy a roll of this stuff from the plumbing supplies place — plumbers use it for filing off rough edges on copper pipes etc. I figure that I’ll need to give these toilets a periodic rub down with the mesh as our hard water issue isn’t going away any time soon.

Joining quilt binding: Easy method

26 10 2013

This YouTube video shows a ‘foolproof’ methods of miter-joining quilting binding. The relevant info is between about 7 and 11 minutes in.


And another one:

Stitching feathers in an octagonal shape

14 10 2013

When I was faced with the octagonal snowball blocks in one of the community quilts I quilted, I decided to stitch feathers. But making feathers flow nicely in an octagon is a challenge because of the odd angles. Here’s the end result, and how I did it.

(Note: I use a Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen machine, but you can use this technique on any domestic sewing machine, mid- or long-arm quilting machine, or even hand stitching.)

The finished feathers inside an octagon:


Step 1

Stitch a long sweeping curve diagonally across the block from one corner to its diagonal opposite.


Step 2

Echo stitch back down that line to about the halfway point. This is the main spine.


Step 3

At about the halfway point, stitch out to another point on the octagon with a sweeping curve, then echo stitch back to the main spine. This creates one of the two minor spines.


Step 4

Where the spines join, stitch a little curl.

I can’t remember where I learnt this trick, but it’s a good one as it gives a curved shape ready for the feathers to curl around and avoids the issue of which side of the feather to start stitching, and thus which feather will dominate that space. And once the feather is finished, you really can’t notice that there’s a little curl in there unless you look hard for it. (Note this photo is taken from the side so I could get a clear photo of the curl.)


Step 5

Start stitching your feathers up one spine, using the curl to give your first feather its curve — it doesn’t matter which side of the space between the spines you start stitching. Don’t go too far over into the other half of the space, or leave too much space for the other side to fill — imagine about a halfway point and stitch your feathers to there.

When I’m stitching feathers, I think of commas — some people think of half hearts, but bulbous fleshy commas work for me 😉 I also leave a slight gap between my feathers and complete each one in its entirety — I don’t use the ‘bump’ method of stitching feathers, but that’s a personal preference, so use whatever method you like to stitch your feathers.


Step 6

After you’ve finished stitching the feathers along the first spine, stitch back down that spine to the curl, then start stitching the feathers on the other spine, again using the curl as your starting point. Try to make the feathers ‘kiss’ (or ‘air kiss’) the feathers on the other side of the space. When you’re finished, travel stitch back down the spine to the central area.

In the photo below, see how the curl looks like a feather once it’s surrounded by other feathers? And see how I have a small gap between the feathers and how each gap is a little different? And notice that some feathers just touch (kiss) the ones on the other side, and some don’t? You don’t have to be perfect! You’re looking for an overall effect, not a perfect feather every single time. Life’s too short…


Step 7

Your first inside space is now complete. That wasn’t so hard, was it? Now it’s time for the next space.

As before, from about halfway down the main spine, sweep out and echo stitch back in to create the second minor spine. You can add some interest by NOT starting the next minor spine from the same place as the first one.

The reason I create three spines (one major, two minor) is to break up the space, and because using an odd number is more pleasing to the eye than an even number (e.g. most [all?] flowers have an odd number of petals — 3, 5, 7, 9, etc. so if it works in nature, it has to work in quilting, right?).



Step 8

As before, stitch a curl at the junction of the spines, then stitch the feathers up one spine, then travel back down the spine, and stitch the feathers up the other side of the space, kissing (or air kissing) the feathers on the other side.



Step 9

Stitch back down to the beginning of the main spine (where you first started), echoing the first line of stitching.

Start stitching the next lot of feathers from the base, working your way up the spine and curving around the outside of one of the minor spines. Your aim is to fill the entire space.

When I’m stitching these feathers, there’s a temptation to create big feathers to fill the space. But these can look odd. So I just try to keep creating similar sized feathers to the previous ones. How? By adding *little* feathers in between the normal size ones, and by curving over those little feathers to kiss the *side* of another feather, not its ‘nose’, as shown in the second photo below.




Step 10

When you’ve finished filling the space, travel stitch back down the spines to the starting point and stitch feathers up the empty main spine and curve around to finish the feathers on the other minor spine, just like you did in Step 9.



And you’re done! One octagonal shape filled with feathers:


Other hints

  • I tried to stitch my feathers in all the octagon blocks of the quilt from every angle. I stitched the spines from top to bottom or bottom to top, other times from left to right or right to left, yet others on an angle. I did this to get practice at creating feathers from any position, no matter how the quilt is oriented to my machine or my body. While I can do that successfully now (LOTS of practice), I’m still not as good at stitching feathers ‘backwards’ from the top of the spine to the bottom — I still have to get to the bottom of the spine to start my next lot of feathers. One day….
  • When you get to the top of the spine, you may have a space to fill. Just do a loop (like the top of a cotton swab tip) if you can’t do a curved feather in that space. Take a look at some of the photos above to see how I dealt with that odd space.

Have fun!

Using Elmer’s washable school glue on quilts

7 10 2013

I recall hearing about Elmer’s washable school glue some time back, so when I was in an art supply store in Texas earlier this year, I picked some up (forgetting what it was useful for, but knowing that it’s not easy to find in Australia).

Then last week I came across this forum article about using Elmer’s washable school glue on quilts: http://www.quiltingboard.com/tutorials-f10/how-use-elmers-washable-school-glue-because-yall-asked-t217470.html There were lots of hints and tips in it, and quilters seemed to be using it for all sorts of things, including basting full quilts!

When I was quilting one of my community quilts on the weekend, I noticed that the edges were starting to pull apart, as shown in the first two photos below:



I thought about trying to stitch them down with stay stitching, but then I thought of Elmer’s glue! Why not give it a try?

I tried various ways to use Elmer’s glue to fix the edges together — straight from the bottle was a bit blobby and way too much glue, but when diluted with water (about 1:3) it was too liquid and just disappeared into the fabric and wouldn’t hold when ironed. After a bit of trial and error, I just squirted a bit of the glue into a paint tray (any plastic lid etc. would do), wet an artists’ paintbrush a tad, then dipped it into the glue and painted it onto the seams I wanted to join. I found I was able to get the right consistency and had a lot more control over the paintbrush than I had over the squirt mechanism on the glue bottle.


I only put glue on the underside of the seam, then pressed down with a finger before ironing. You can only see it pressed down here as taking a photo on a phone with only one hand is tricky 😉

After doing about 10 of these seams, I ironed them down with a hot, dry iron. This sets and dries the glue for stitching, though it will eventually wash out (you’re using WASHABLE glue),


It worked a treat and none of that stitching came apart while I finished quilting this quilt. It’s a keeper!


Navigating the new Yahoo! Groups

11 09 2013

A few weeks ago, the Yahoo! Groups web interface underwent a redesign. Some people on one of my Yahoo! Groups are having trouble finding the uploaded files and how to search for archived messages. So here are the instructions for the members of that group — they apply equally to other Yahoo! Groups that have this new — but less user friendly — interface.

Here’s a screenshot of the new interface; I’ve used numbers to mark the areas I discuss below.


After logging into Yahoo! Groups, you’ll see all your groups listed in the Groups Home panel on the left (#1 in the screenshot above), and your Yahoo! ID will show in the top right corner (#7). Click on the group you want to see.

The main menu for the selected group sits under the banner photo — the active view has a dark blue line underneath it (Conversations [#2] in the screenshot above). When you’re in the Conversations view, you can change the subview from Topics to Messages to Trending. Messages is selected in the screenshot (#3) — when selected, the text changes to black and a tiny pale white indicator shows beneath it. Yes, that indicator is very hard to see!

How to find the files

  1. Click More on the menu bar immediately below the banner picture (#4 in the screenshot).
  2. Select Files.
  3. Click the folder you want to view.
  4. Click the file you want to open. Depending on your browser window settings, the file will either open in your browser, or open independently in the applicable application (e.g. Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Word).
  5. If you want to download the file to your own computer, right click on the file, then select Save Link As (for Firefox) or Save target as (Internet Explorer) (I can’t give you the options for other browsers as I don’t have them installed).

How to search the messages

  1. Look ABOVE the banner picture! (yes, it took me a while to find it too!)
  2. Enter your search text in the Search Conversations box (#5 in the screenshot).
  3. Click Search Groups (#6).
  4. Once you’ve got your search results, you can either scroll down, or continue on and do an advanced search (that box is just above the start of the results list).