Tuesday, June 9, 2020

updated favorite quilting tools

I was recently at a quilt retreat, and a newcomer asked us each to share what our favorite quilting tool was.  I had to think about it.  Of course, I didn't have just 1.  Here's my list:

You've probably all seen these magnetic pin bowls in the quilt stores.  Anything magnetic will work, but it might as well be cute.  I rarely use pins, but when I am using them, a magnetic bowl comes in handy.  These past few months, I've made almost 500 masks for Covid19.  And I did pin, and this bowl sure came in handy.  

Somewhere along the way, I got into a habit of using tags.  I start and stop sewing with them.  I don't get those birds nests on the back of my fabric when I start sewing.  My rule is to trim at the tag, and leave the tail of thread on what I'm sewing.  This post better explains how and why I use tags.
It's just a personal preference of mine.

I love Aurifil thread.  We are good friends.  We like each other.  And so does my machine.  So, we don't go looking anywhere else.  It is made with long strands, so the lint is minimal in my machines.  

I love this light gray for sewing a quilt top together (notice the shade above).  It blends well with all colors.  

I use these quilting rag sheers when I'm cutting strips on a raggy binding.  It's much faster, and easier on the hands.  Here is a post about raggy bindings.  and another post about rag sheers.

Singer Feather Weight.  This machine is my traveling buddy.  It goes to retreats, on trips, mostly when ever I need to transport a machine.  It's easy for other people to use if someone needs a machine.  It's light weight and travels well, unless you are going into a foreign country, which is not recommended (from experience!!)  This is also my back-up machine when my regular Pfaff is getting a check up. 
**NOTE-  I do not recommend changing machines in the middle of a quilt.  Your seam allowances will be off .   

 lint roller - use to clean off those little strings on your ironing board, design boards, your clothes, the floor around you if you're too lazy to go get the vacuum . . . the list goes on and on.

I free-motion quilt all my quilts on my sweet sixteen and I've tried most everything to help grip my quilt as I'm quilting.  These quilting tips seem to grip the best.  I use them on both hands, just those 3 fingers.

I have also tried numerous products to keep my rulers from slipping while quilting.  This product works well.  Simply paint it onto the back of your rulers and they don't slide as easily.

I love a little squirt of canned air into my bobbin housing unit each time I change my bobbin, as well as into the bobbin.  Some of my friends tried this and it messed up their machine, so be careful.  It works great on a Pfaff.

A simple thread cutter for cutting chained pieces is helpful.  Children or grandchildren love to help with this part.

(If you're over the age of 50), you may need a little extra help with ripping seams out.  This nifty tool is called Mighty Bright.  It's a seam ripper with a magnifying glass (which has a light) attached.  

I'd love to hear about your favorite tool.

scrappy strip quilt

The crumb quilt project was a great scrap buster.  I got 2 quilts out of that project.

But for some reason, after all the mess all over my sewing room, and working several months on those crumb quilts, I still had a huge pile of scraps!!  

They just seemed to multiply!!!

So I decided to try scrap strips instead to see if I could lesson my scrap mountain.  I put my scraps into piles strips that were about the same length.  

I had 6 or 7 piles of different lengths.  I pulled two from the first pile (let's say they were 5 inch strips), and sewed them together, then without cutting strings, I sewed 2 together from the next pile (lets say they were 7 inch strips), and on down through all the piles. 

When I had sewn 2 together from each pile, I started back at the top.  I picked one from the 5 inch pile and sewed that to the existing 5 inch strip, without cutting strings. 

I kept my nice big scissors near by, there was a lot of chopping at the machine.

This was a donation quilt.  So, I used a sheet for the back, and wrapped it around for the binding.  I was careful to start and stop my quilting just 1 time because when you're carrying the backing around to the front, you can't just go running off the edge when you're quilting.  

Do you have a good way to get rid of scraps?  I'd love to hear your ideas.