Practical Thread Magic

When I come to teach to a group, there's always a frantic rush of questions and concerns. I don't play with the same toys other quilters do. Though I talk about that at length in class, I thought it would be helpful to have that information available in a blog. So here we're going to discuss the nuts and bolts of the kind of thread work I love and teach. We'll discuss products, choices, threads, fabrics, tools, stabilizers and all the things that make my work work for me, and will help your work work for you.

If you have an upcoming class with me, you should know I bring almost all of the things I use for your needs. If you want to try something you've got, absolutely bring it. But if you're having trouble finding it, please don't stress. I'll have it there for you.

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Ellen Anne Eddy
Author of Thread Magic: The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy Fiber artist, author and teacher
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Ellen would be delighted to have a class with you or your group! You can check out her classes at She also offers independent studio time in her studio in Indiana. Talk to Ellen about classes at 219-921-0885, or contact her scheduler Melida at 405-735-3703 .to set a date
Saturday, April 24, 2010

Enough Ironing Board: How Board Can You Be?

Every so often I go on a quest. I look at a situation and decide there has to be a better way. There usually is. It's just often outside the quilt world proper.

My father used to say if a job took too long, was too nasty, or didn't work right, you had the wrong tool. He also said you could use a hammer for a saw, but it was hard on the hammer and hard on what you were sawing. He didn't often say much, but he was surely right about this.

I have a small table I've used as an ironing board for years. I covered it with cotton quilt bat and some muslin dipped in boric acid solution as a way of making it fire retardant. It's so much easier to work than an ironing board. It also never falls over.

Did I say it was a small table? I don't often work large but when I do, I do. I'm working on a piece that's around 68"x50". Since all of that has to be backed with a stabilizer, I've been wrestling with it on that small board.

I also have a lovely old Create-A-Space table I bought over 20 years ago. It's about 48" by 74", and it came with a cutting mat. 

I morned the day they stopped carrying these. Mine is a bit rickety but a worthy studio companion. There are smaller versions of this available, but this was worthy.

The smaller versions have an ironing board cover you can order. I did, not thinking the smaller issue would count. I've always been in the headset that you can always stretch things. Not that much.

It had an interesting grid and a foam sheet to put under it.  And it fit just like a mattress balances on a bottle of wine. It was useless.

As I was making my plans to buy some really wide muslin and get some boric acid, I walked past the linens isle in the discount store.  The twin mattress pad fit perfectly.It was cotton with poly bat. It cost around $8, rolls up in the cupboard when I need to cut on the board and doesn't have a odd foam sheet for me to lose in the studio somewhere.

Follow this link to E how, where they talk about how to make fabric flame retardant with Borax, boric acid, and a spray bottle. Easy and low tech.

Wrapping it up:
If you've got a table the size of a twin bed, and you have a mattress pad, you can have a ironing board pretty much the size of God. And if you can think outside the box, you can do  just about anything.


Approachable Art said...

Great post, thanks! :) I use old sheets all the time, but never thought about all those old mattress pads I've tossed out over the years!

Laura Krasinski said...

Wow.. what a great idea... love it..

Wen said...

OK great idea! Not the ironing part- the Big part like in Mr BIG!
Thanks I'll try it!

Sherrie Spangler said...

What a great idea! I think I'll do this soon. Thanks!


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