Sunday, September 8, 2013

Some Favorite Tools

As I was quilting away today, I realized how important a few simple tools are to me.  Yes, I have many specialty rulers and expensive templates that I pull out every once in a while for a specific quilt.  But I thought I would share some items that make my quilting time so much easier.  



As a longarm quilter, I really couldn't write a post about the tools I use everyday without talking about Pete. (Yes, my longarm has a name and yes, he is a boy male.)  We have been together almost 8 years now.

Lots of people ask me what machine is best to buy.  Short answer is truly, 1) what you can afford and 2) what you feel comfortable running.  There are a lot of good makers out there.



Beside Pete, there are three other tools I use every day. 

   * Gingher snips on a lanyard around my
           neck.  (Love them!)

   * Self threading needles for burying
           threads.     (Best invention ever!)

   * White school chalk for marking.  
           (So handy!)



The chalk works great for auditioning quilt patterns onto a quilt, marking points or even drawing in actual quilting lines.  It stays put really well.  And once you are done, a slightly damp cloth easily wipes it all away.

Caution:  Only use white chalk.  Colored chalks may stain your quilt!




...and of course the thread.  Oh My The Thread!  I love my custom-made thread racks.  They (yep, there are more than one) are along the hallway leading to my studio and their brilliant colors make me smile every time I pass them.






So what tools do you love? Is there a certain brand you favor or a specific tool you always reach for?  Or better yet, is there something new that you have recently discovered that you want to share?  I would love to hear about them.  And I am sure so would others!



Linking up with Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River.  Check it out and see what everyone else has been up to.


16 comments:

Joanie's Trendy Quilts said...

Lately my favorite tools have been my curved scissors and my magnetic pin cushion.

Tami C said...

What brand of self threading needles do you use?

Joanne Goranson said...

My favorite tools are my needle inserter that lets me make sure I have got the needle in all the way without having to try anything else that might damage the needle and my curved scissors that I don't have to put my fingers into any holes, I just squeeze them and they snip away. With my arthritis in my hands beginning to show up more and more, anything I can find that lets me quilt without having to overstress my hands is a blessing. I am an art quilter (my nickname is "The Thread Lady") and I am continuously changing threads and, of course, needles that are the right size for my threads, so I love both of these tools. I am setting up a new blog myself because I want to show lots of different thread techniques that I have taught over the years. I also dye my own fabric and if you lived in the Twin Cities of Minnnesota, you could come to my house and learn how to dye fabric for free. I do this because I have been horrified by some of the DVD's and YouTube videos I have seen where safety is a word those people have forgotten. I learned to dye fabric at the Textile Center Dye Lab in Minneapolis and my teacher stressed safety when we were dyeing fabric. I also dye my own pearle cotton (met Ellen Anne Eddy in Rochester, MN at a MN Quilter's show) and even though I didn't get to take her class because it was full, we spent a lot of time talking about dyeing and what was the best fabric to use. I have some of her hand-dyed pearle cotton and I would never use it because it is too precious to me. Of course, I have her books and do some bobbin drawing, but not anything at her level. She amazes me and when I told her that she was surprised that I followed her and had her one book that was out at the time. I also have her booklet that pokes fun at the judges because you have to hand quilt your bindings. It is a hilarious little slap at this silly leftover from when only hand quilting was done. If you ever come across a copy of it you will love it. I imagine you could contact her and she would be happy to sell you a copy. My friends at MN Contemporary Quilters agree with her wholeheartedly!

treadlemusic said...

Havel's curved embroidery snips ( http://www.havelssewing.com/snip-eze-embroidery-scissors-33010.html) are wonderful.....snips the thread not the quilt!! And reasonable $!

Kathy said...

Why self-threading needles for burying threads? Just for ease of threading or is there a special trick with them? I'm ready to try burying some threads on my very first quilt (unfortunately I left some of my threads short so I'll certainly have trouble there).

Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

I agree, a magnetic place for pins is always helpful. I haven't been able to find a pair of curved scissors that I can use quickly. Thanks for sharing!

Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

I have used the John James, Fons & Porter brand and one other I can't remember. They all seem to work about the same. With all of them, they do seem to have the occasional needle that is bad and the thread area is too tight.

Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

Curved snips sound wonderful!

Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

Curved snips are far more safer than the snips I use. I just love that that mine are always around my neck and I'm never searching for them. Thanks for sharing the link to your favorites.

Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

When you are burying threads all day, every day like me, the ease of self threading is a lifesaver. They are also easier to use when you are capturing those short threads. If you haven't tried them, I highly recommend.

Susan Owenby said...

One of these days I will have a longarm and a place to put it! :) Thanks for sharing!

Barb said...

Great to meet Pete! I fell in love with your Blog originally because you had the photo of your thread rack. And I instantly had thread envy. Not much idea for tools, but just bought some templates and getting acquainted with them - I really like the one that sits around the hopping foot and helps you stitch a straight line.

thebutterflyquilter said...

Love you thread racks!! Favorite tool ~ seam ripper. Never know when you might need one and I have them all over the place!

A Nudge said...

With my self threading needles I can bury thread as small as a 1/4". Try them, you'll like them.

A Nudge said...

My favorite tool for applique is the toothpick. I can thank Becky Goldsmith for introducing me to that great, inexpensive tool.

Valerie Reynolds said...

White school chalk...I hadn't thought of that!! THANKS! (I learn so much from you!!:) Nice to see Pete!