Sewing Room Archeology

If you sew or make quilts or other textile art, I’m sure within easy reach of your sewing machine you have an odds and ends tray, box or perhaps even a side drawer, where you keep a group of essentials including a small pack of kleenex tissues, a backup pair of old glasses in their protective case, a couple of thimbles, pencil sharprener and eraser, assorted scissors and some used but still ‘useful’ blades (if only I could find that blade sharpening tool … )

In my odds and ends tray the other day, I found a strip of clear vinyl about 10cm x 3cm labelled Katie Lane Quilts Thread Wrap, and it was a timely find, because I could immediately smoothe it around a small reel of metallic thread I’d finished using. Metallic threads so easily fall off their reels becoming ‘untidy’ very quickly, and untangling it invariably wastes more thread than you’d like to. Wrapping that strip around that reel reminded me that I used to have a bunch of those thread wrap strips somewhere, and I hadn’t seen any of them in ages.

This morning for some reason I picked up a neat little tin storage box my daughter gave me several years ago:

It’s been sitting on the shelf beneath my cutting table on the window side in the direct morning sunlight for ages, for most of the time I’ve had it, and as I looked ruefully at the faded colour, I realised it had some stuff in it, so opening it was like unwrapping a birthday present, and equally exciting!

L – 45mm rotary cutter blade sharpening tool C– thread wraps, showing how they’re used R – buttons – what can I say?

There were things that I must have ‘tidied away’ sometime… and right on the top were the couple of packs of those thread wrap strips I’d been wondering about only the other day. They’re clear vinyl, printed with the logo Katie Lane Quilts, and being about 10cm x 3cm, I realised I could also cut them in half, and for larger reels or cones could partially wrap and then place another wrap over the gap with the same effect – these things are so much more brilliant than I realised when I was dazzled enough to impulse buy them, years ago, on a trip up to the USA. I now have some fine clear vinyl sheeting in my studio, and on checking this morning, I can tell you that works just fine, too. I googled all around the brand and the thread wrap thing, and could find no mention of them, so I must have just been lucky finding it in a trial marketing thing or something. Brilliant idea though, works well, and a bit surprising they’re not a (quilter’s) household name.

Moving on through this archeaological find, there were quite a few buttons, individual and in sets, but I also found that rotary blade sharpening tool I just knew I had. In addition, I found 2 complete packs plus a few 45mm rotary cutter blades (at least 30) and with them retailing at about US$5/blade, I seem to have a serious investment in spare, new blades. This is very reassuring, as the pandemic could go on for a long while yet.

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