24 November 2014

Top 10 Tips for New Quilters - The Seam Ripper is your Friend

It has been quite a while since my last Top 10 Tips for New Quilters post was published.  It's been a busy time with so many projects and sooooo many giveaways!  In between projects, I thought to myself.... "I better get back at writing these posts.  Either that or I will have to change the title to Top 6 Tips for New Quilters."

So without further ado....

Welcome to this week's installment of the Top 10 Tips for new quilters - The Seam Ripper is your Friend.  For the complete line up of weekly tips, please see this page.


The Seam Ripper is your Friend:

In the previous tip post, I stated that your sewing machine is your best friend.  You spend hours and hours sewing and quilting.  The hum of the engine.  The sound of the needle slipping down through the fabric and reaching into the bobbin case to catch that bottom thread.  A description of bliss.  Here we are.... Happily sewing away!

But.... Wait a minute!  That's not right!  This piece is supposed to be flipped this way.  Or...  That next row does not line up with the previous row.  Or...  Wow!  Right sides together.  Duh!

We all make mistakes.

When I do, my first instinct is to figure out a way to proceed without having to rip out that seam.  Sewing is fun.  Unsewing?  Not so much.

I have learned that it is better to unsew than it is to carry on without fixing that mistake.  Yes, even the simplest patchwork rows.  If you don't unsew a misplaced square, it will bother you later.  "That's not where I wanted that piece to be.  It's too close to this one that looks just like it."  Or....  "Maybe I could just flip this row around and put it down over here.  No, now this piece is not where I wanted it to be."

Back when I was working on my Oink A Doodle Moo quilts, I was googling around, looking for inspiration, and that's when I ran into Heather Acton, a fellow Canadian quilter.  She also had purchased some of that fabric.  Then she purchased more.  She really is hilarious.  You just have to READ THIS POST!  Some of us will do anything not to have to use our seam rippers.

Meanwhile....  Here is a recent example of my having sewn something without the right sides together.

I use my seam ripper to cut the top thread, about every 5 or six stitches apart.

Here is a close up.

 Then I flip to the back side and use my long pointy tweezers to grab that bobbin thread.

And give it a tug!
Then I use the tweezers to grab all the small pieces of top thread that are now poking out.

 I placed those pieces back onto my units with right sides together and was back in business!

SUPER TIP:  Having trouble ripping those stitches?  Just like rotary cutting blades, your seam ripper can get dull over time and use.  For those of us who actually DO use our seam ripper.  Make sure to pick up a new one every once in a while!

Not only is the seam ripper my friend.  I have these four little companions close by whenever I am sitting at my machine:  Seam Ripper, Pointy Tweezers, Medium Needle and Small Snips.

Oh.... And my reading glasses, too!

Hope you enjoyed this week's tips on how the seam ripper is your friend.
Do you have any tips to share?  Leave a comment!

Keep On Quilting On!


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Pam @Threading My Way said...

Oh, I think we'd all be lost without our seam rippers. I like the idea of the combination of seam ripper plus tweezers. Will have to try that.

Colleen said...

I always pick out the stitches one by one, until I have pulled out enough to grab the thread end, and pull it until it breaks. Then I go to the other side and pick stitches from that side. It is a slower way to seam rip, but you don't get all those tiny bits of thread everywhere.

Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl said...

I agree with Colleen - I tend to pick out the stitches one by one. I'm pretty darn fast at it these days. It is, after all, a good friend... :)

Daytona Damsel said...

I just rake my finger nail over the threads and they come right out.. I use the seam ripper the same as you. I also have a seam ripper next to my recliner so if I have a lot of ripping, like the baby quilt I decided to quilt differently after done, I can put my feet up and watch TV while ripping.

Farm Quilter said...

When you are burying the tails from quilting, use a self-threading needle - so much easier then trying to get both tails through the eye of a needle and since you are only going in for one long stitch, it holds just fine.

Kaja said...

I hate to use my seam ripper, but you are right, of course, sometimes it's the only thing to do.

Julia D @ Jada's Quilting Adventures said...

I purchased a seam ripper from Sew Sisters that has rubber ends and it works perfectly to pull out the threads after using the seam ripper. It's always handy and I always travel with it! I'm going to be purchasing a few more for when mine does get dull. I also always have all my presser feet nearby so I may change my presser foot quickly and a Frixion pen for marking.

Patricia said...

Great tip, thank you.

Kate said...

I couldn't sew without the seam ripper! :D

sunrise4501 said...

I also put the seam ripper to good use. I used to try to "fix" the mistake but have learned to take the extra minute and ripit and start over. I have also discovered the tweezers. I also don't like the threads so I fold a kleenex and quickly place the threads on the kleenex. The kleenex holds them till I am finished and I can easily pick up the Kleenex and throw the whole thing in the wastebasket.

Lara B. said...

What you wrote is so true Lorna: I always regret not ripping a mistake out and fixing it, because for some reason I then feel compelled to mention it whenever someone gives me a compliment on the quilt. LOL I will have to try your tweezer tip - i've never done it that way before. Thanks for the lesson!

Kali said...

It's good to know that even the experienced need to use the seam ripper sometimes! ;-)

Nancy said...

I too have learned it is better to rip now than later when you can't stand the mistake. It has taught me to be at peace with making mistakes--they are usually fixable. I actually use surgery blades. I got 2 whole boxes at a garage sale. It takes a bit of practice but I can go through a seam in no time. When the blade is dull I put it in a sharps container (from a pharmacy) and start with a new one.

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