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a bobbin tension trick you may not know


bobbin tension test

Did you know that your bobbin case has its own tensioner?  Many sewers don't.  If you're experiencing difficulty with tensioning your machine, it might be that your bobbin tension is too loose (or, less frequently, too tight).  To test your bobbin tension, remove the bobbin case and bobbin from your machine and hold the end of your bobbin thread.  Swiftly pull up on the thread.  The thread should unwind just slightly and the bobbin case should drop an inch or two.  If the thread unwinds without resistance and the case slips to the floor, your bobbin tension is too loose.  If the bobbin case doesn't budge, your bobbin tension is too tight.  To tighten your bobbin tension, turn the tiny screw on the bobbin case a smidgen clockwise.  To loosen bobbin tension, turn the screw counterclockwise.  A quarter turn or less is a good place to start.

bobbin tension adjustment

fixing bobbin tension




Another great quilt by Anne Whiting, thanks Anne!


Just look what's hanging over our fireplace!

crosses quilt

15 minute coasters


This easy coaster pattern is a great beginner project, a perfect way to use up your scrap, or an easy we're-leaving-in-20-minutes-for-a-dinner-party-and-I-want-to-bring-a-hostess-gift gift.  I was first introduced to this patter a few years ago when a friend of my housemate gifted a set of these coasters to our house.  We stared at them for a long while trying to figure out the secret to their construction.  No top stitching at all? How is that possible?  Here, we share the secret with you.




First, a shot of the finished product:


easy 15 minute coasters


The trick? The top of the coaster is just like a cardboard box top, with overlapping rectangles and a tiny hole in the middle.  Here's what you'll need:

Four fabrics for the coaster top
One fabric for the coaster back
A scrap of quilt batting, or heavy interfacing


pick fabric for your coasters


Cut your six pieces of fabric to 4 1/2" square.  (With a 1/4" seam allowance on all four sides of the coaster, your finished coaster will be 4" square.)





In a real hurry?  Stack your fabrics on top of each other and cut through all six layers at once.  You'll need a very sharp rotary blade, but four cuts and you're done!





Fold your four front fabrics in half and press them to set the crease.







Next we layer the four top pieces just like a cardboard box top.  The fold of each piece should point toward the center of the coaster.


laying out fabrics for your coasters



cardboard box top layout for coasters


Now, take your bottom fabric and place it wrong side up on your coaster top:





Then place your quilt batting or interfacing on top of that:


sandwich your quilt layers


Sew all the way around with a 1/4" seam allowance:


stitch 1/4 inch all the way around


Clip your corners:


clip your corners


And turn the whole thing inside out from the center:


turn it inside out

simple coasters in no time


Press and you're done:


15 minute coaster tutorial


Now, time for coffee!


easy coaster or pot holder

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