CHQuilts: Simple hint makes a difference

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Simple hint makes a difference

I have long said that for me, quilting is a learning experience.

The range of learning never ceases to amaze me. From circles and Y-seams, to the very simplest of established habits, I remain amazed at the wonderful learning experience that is quilting.

For instance, I have been sewing on a Janome sewing machine since I started quilting, some 20 years ago. I wore out the first one and am now on my second machine, which is only a couple years old.

When I sew, sometimes I use scissors to cut the threads, but I often use the thread cutter attached to the machine, circled in red on the photo. Most domestic sewing machines have them, as far as I know, and what I am about to say is applicable to any machine.

When I am finished sewing a seam, I gather my sewn piece guiding the still attached threads from front to back across the blade, away from me. This procedure cuts both the top and bottom threads at the same time. Then, when I start to sew again, I push both threads under the presser foot.

I never realized that in all these years, I was doing it wrong.

I didn’t realize I was wrong until one day I observed someone on a quilting video cut the threads in the opposite direction, bringing the just sewn piece of fabric across the blade from back to front. I didn’t think too much about it, until one day, as I remembered it, I thought I’d try it, even though it looked really awkward to me.

Well, what a surprise! The direction of cutting threads makes all the difference. I never realized that by directing the threads up and over the thread cutter toward me rather than how I’d been doing it, the threads are cut closer to the piece, saving on thread. But the biggest benefit is that the threads stay under the presser foot, which alleviates the extra step of having to place them behind the needle in a separate motion.

This is silly, I know, but it illustrates 1) I’m still a newbie (sewer) quilter despite my 20 years’ experience; and 2) it is the simple things that make all the difference.

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