Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ode to the zip lock bag

All quilters love cheap, easy to find, effective tools. And when one of the best is no farther than your kitchen drawer, that's even better.

Yes, I'm talking about the humble zip lock bag. With or without a slider, cheap or expensive, double zipper, color change seal, lightweight or freezer, I love 'em all. From organizing your tools, sorting your patches or protecting the completed blocks, they do it all.

There's a stash of zipper bags in my sewing closet that have seen heavy service. I use the small sandwich size to sort and hold cut patches, one per block. When I'm making a very scrappy design it's helpful to distribute all the pieces throughout all the blocks at the outset to be sure your fabrics and colors are scattered evenly. Each block goes into its own bag, and if order is important, I number them with a Post-it.

After the blocks are sewn, they go into a larger bag for protection while the quilt is in progress. Rows are pinned together using my system - number of pins equals row number, points facing the direction the seams need to be pressed. If there are a very large number of rows, I have used the pins to form roman numerals! X is a lot easier to do than 10 pins in a row.

A zipper bag keeps my magnetic pin cushion away from kitty feet when I leave my sewing machine, and spools of thread out of kitty mouths. They hold my supplies for sewing on the go, and keep my applique tools at the ready. Larger bags hold entire projects and the humongous ones carry work to the quilter and finished quilts home and to the Project Linus coordinator.

Pretty good for a little piece of plastic!


The Calico Cat said...

I use them a lot too. I have one that has held my hand work... I need to replace it - the bottom is splitting it has been used so often for so long... (I have it in a cloth bag as well - easier to grab & go. & I have no shortage of cloth bags either!)

My favorite Ziploc - teh super JUMBO. The size I pick up everytime I see it - not as often as I look - 2 gallon!

paula, the quilter said...

I use them too. I have some of my oddball threads sorted into them and I write on the outside the thread type and weight. This way my old eyes don't have to peer at that little type on the end of the spool.

Morah said...

As with so many things, it is the most humble that is so very useful! My humble little addition is cigar boxes! I love the way they store and stack!

Joan said...

Alright - that "number of pins equals row number" suggestion was just TOO handy! I've got to write that one down!

Tanya said...

Thanks for the hints!

Kay said...

The Roman Numeral for 10 rows is such a good idea. I use your system of pin marking, but when the number of rows gets high, it's a problem.