Quick Tips – How to Use Every Last Scrap of Solvy (WSS)

Sulky Solvy and other film-type water soluble stabilizers have wonderful recycling attributes. I use a lot of this stuff and always place the little leftovers into a glass jar. When the scraps start to add up, I do one of two things with them:

1) I iron small pieces together to make one new larger piece. To do this, I arrange the WSS scraps on parchment paper or a Teflon pressing sheet (you can also use a brown paper grocery bag) so that they all overlap and form a solid shape. I then place parchment paper over the scraps and press for about 8-10 seconds on a wool setting or until the pieces adhere to each other. Allow the parchment paper to cool before touching it.

2) I make Solvy soup by mixing the scraps with water. Here is the general recipe.


About a 1 yard equivalent of WSS scraps
1/2 cup hot distilled water
2-3 tablespoons rubbing alcohol


Place WSS scraps and hot water in a glass jar and shake well until dissolved. If the solution is to be stored, add the alcohol and keep the covered jar in your refrigerator.

To apply, dip a sponge brush or small paint brush into the WSS solution and paint onto your fabric. Allow to air dry or use a hair dryer to speed the process. When dry to touch, cover with a press cloth and quickly press with a dry iron to remove any remaining moisture. Stitch as usual and then remove WSS with water (I usually spritz it away).


Time Treasured

Tips – How to Secure Bobbin Threads

Happy Mother’s Day! I plan on spending a wonderful extended weekend surrounded by my children and grandchildren. If you read some of my previous posts, you know that I was blessed with two grandsons in March and April. I made photo transfer gift pillows this week to commemorate their births, which I will be giving to my children on Sunday.

Additionally, I created the little pink flower in the opening photo and will share the directions with you next week.

While working on the embroidery for the pillows, it came to me that some of you may like to try my method for securing those pesky thread ends on your bobbins. You can obtain products commercially that accomplish the same result, but I have a lot of bobbins to secure, so cost would be a factor.

Instead, I purchase a length of clear tubing at the hardware store. You can take a bobbin sample with you to make sure you buy the correct size. (I believe mine is about 3/8″ circumference.)

With a pair of heavy duty kitchen or utility shears, cut pieces of tubing the interior width of your bobbin. Next, cut through the circle to create an opening.

Simply slip the tubes around your bobbins and thread tails will be a thing of the past.

Blessings to you and have a wonderful weekend.


N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Quilts – Like the Stars (part 4)

The making of Like the Stars coincided with my birthday. In the early stages of planning, I began thinking about quilting motifs that would carry the various themes of Daniel onto the surface of the quilt. One thing I knew: Like the Stars was predestined for some heavy quilting. Well, back to my birthday. Would you believe my wonderful husband gave me a new Bernina Aurora 440 QE, BSR (stitch regulator) and all, as a birthday present! It was love at first stitch and certainly a timely gift considering the project at hand.

With the piecing completed, the time had arrived for surface work. Daniel is best known for his short stay in the lions’ den, so I chose this motif for the border. First, I digitized a lion (redwork style) and saved an additional file in mirror image. Next, I stabilized the areas on the underside of the quilt top where the lions would be embroidered. There is a great stabilizer on the market that is 100% cotton and can be ironed on. It’s the perfect choice for quilters who integrate machine embroidery into their quilts.

Digitized Lion

With the quilt border stabilized, I now marked the positioning of each lion using printed templates. Rather than hooping the quilt, I chose to hoop a tear-away sticky stabilizer that I could completely removed after the embroidery was finished. This way the quilt could be easily positioned and there would be no hoop marks to deal with afterwards.

Lion Quilt Border

When I completed the embroidery phase (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were also embroidered in the center of the quilt), I put together top, batting (100% cotton), and backing with a light spray of 505 Spray and Fix. The emphasis is on “light.” Also, a word of warning for owners of Bernina machines that use the stitch regulator. Do NOT use other adhesive sprays such as Sullivans. Trust me, I know!

Each section of the quilt had its own quilting motifs. For example, I used a fire motif around Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, a thin looping motif around the photo transfer verses, and a wavy motif in the diamonds. The quilting stage proved rather time intensive, but I loved experimenting with the stitch regulator and various needles and threads. And speaking of thread, I used multiple colors on this quilt, which accounts for lengthy time element. Also, I still use some hand quilting methods when I machine quilt, the main one being the popping of thread tails. Yes, I still knot those ends and pop them into the quilt sandwich.

After applying the binding and sleeve, I blocked the quilt for about twenty-four hours. First, I covered a large carpeted area with plastic sheeting. Using t-pins and large rulers, I squared the quilt while at the same time misting it with distilled water. Next, I took a steam iron filled with distilled water (set on cotton) and slowly hovered it over the surface of the quilt, making sure it never actually touched the quilt itself. To speed up the drying stage, I placed a fan nearby and left it running the entire twenty-four hours.

And that completes the story of Like the Stars. It now hangs in a private collection in Charlotte, North Carolina.


N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Quilts – Like the Stars (part 2)

Since fabrics were chosen individually for color placement, cutting proved to be a long, timely process. I just took a deep breath and tried my best to keep all the pieces in order. Following the cutting phase, I began gathering my supplies for photo transfer work.

Twelve verses from various chapters of Daniel were to be printed on the twelve main squares of the quilt. I’ve done lots of photo transfer work before, but this was the first time I worked with fabric that wasn’t white. I simply followed the same process I always. First, I prewashed the twelve fabrics to remove any sizing or chemicals used in their production. Next, I soaked the fabric pieces in Bubble Jet Set according to the directions on the bottle. (I use a large, rectangular stainless steel pan that I purchased from a kitchen supply company.)

Buble Jet and tools

Once the fabrics were dry, I cut them to size using a ruler made just for this purpose and sprayed the wrong side with a quilt adhesive spray. I then attached them to light 8 1/2″ x 11″ card stock. I know many people use freezer paper for a backing, but I find card stock works much better. The key is to smooth the fabric until there are no air bubbles or loose threads on the surface.

Many printer inks work well for this process, but some do not so always check first. It’s best to do a test print and then if satisfied, change your printer’s setting to the highest quality printout offered. I printed the squares on an Epson Stylus with DuraBrite inks.

Owing to a time conflict, I let the squares dry for about five days. What a difference that made! Previously, I had rinsed my work in Bubble Jet Set within twenty-four hours. By waiting days rather than hours, I found that virtually no fading took place. Each piece received a good pressing with a dry iron and the process was complete.

Photo Transfer

When I continue, I’ll share a little about the piecing process and my “secret” to matching all those points.


N. Rene West
Time Treasured