Some Favorite Tools

In the past year I’ve tried a number of new-to-me tools for my quilting, so I thought I’d share a few of my favorites. As always, these are not affiliate links; they are just for your convenience.

A New Table for My Sewing Machine

I’ve had in mind for years (literally) to get a table I can “drop” my machine into, but goodness! Have you looked at the prices of sewing furniture?!? Not in the budget!

However, I’ve seen a couple of people use the SewEzi portable table and both recommended it. It still isn’t cheap by any means, but it’s a lot less than “sewing furniture” and I’m very pleased with it. I got the portable version rather than the Grande because I have every intention of taking it to retreats with me. I positioned it perpendicular to my usual sewing table so I now have all the large table to the left to support the quilt when I’m attaching binding. The only drawback is that I had to wait several weeks for delivery, but of course we’ve come to expect that these days.

A New Seam Guide

I’ve had the Angler 2 seam guide so long it has turned yellow! I learned that it’s no longer made, so I’m trying Clearly Perfect Angles from New Leaf Stitches. It’s getting a good workout because my current project has about a zillion flying geese.This tool has, as advertised, eliminated the need to draw a diagonal line on the back of my squares. There’s even an auxiliary line that is used to sew the second seam needed to make those scrap HSTs that are a byproduct of the “waste triangle method”. So now I have 2 zillion HSTs….

New Non-Slip Stuff

I’ve tried multiple products, at multiple price points, to keep my rulers and templates from slipping while cutting. Most recently I found Grippy, and after trying it on one template I just lined up all the templates and rulers and sprayed the backs of all of them! On a per-use basis I think it’s the least expensive of the products, and it doesn’t leave a gummy mess on the back of the template like some of the stick-ons did. It’s my fave.

So tell me, what are your favorite tools? I’m always looking for something new to try ūüôā

5 Favorites of 2014

1. Favorite quilt show I attended: Vermont Quilt Festival.  You can see some quilts from it here and here.  And here again is a detail of one of my favorites:

big stitch quilting

Detail of Fill the Void by Cinzia Allocca, at Vermont Quilt Festival 2014

2. Favorite thing about blogging: Meeting new friends, both in person and online.  Read about a couple of them here and here, if you like.
3. Favorite modern quilt trend: some textures and low-volume prints (those that show more background, having the prints smaller and farther apart)  to get us away from all solids, all the time.  Some of my favorites include these from Carolyn Friedlander:

and these from Alison Glass:Alison

4. Favorite new (to me) quilt tool: Frixion pen.¬† It comes in lots of colors and erases when you iron over the markings.¬† Only drawback I’ve found is that you can’t see the mark on dark fabric.¬† For that I still love my chaco liner with yellow chalk.¬† Show below:¬† chaco liners on left, frixion pens on right.

5.¬† Favorite lesson learned:¬† I’d rather see my designs in print than at quilt shows.¬† Yes, I entered several shows and contests, and I won something.¬† But my favorite quilt of the year (from those I made) was the one that was published in Modern Quilts Unlimited.¬† So here is a picture of it again.Zippy Star 2

And what were your favorites of the year?

Holiday Hints–Just a few!

If you’re thinking of gifts for quilters, or for yourself, here are a few hints based on either things I’ve found useful or would like to try. (Please note: these are my personal opinions for which I received no compensation of any kind.)

1. Very large square ruler. A friend recommended this, especially for Large squaresquaring up quilts. It’s great! You can buy it here or here, and you can see a tutorial on how¬†to square up a quilt here.¬†¬†The big square ruler is a great¬†help. ¬†The largest I’ve found is 20-1/2″ square.

2. Curved ruler. I don’t have one of these yet, but I’m intrigued by¬†Allison’s post showing a ring quilt made using this ruler. Looks like lots¬†more fun than the usual way of making ring quilts! And of course there are many other possibilities for new designs with these curves.

Quick Curves ruler

The Quick Curve ruler is available at Connecting Threads, among other places.

And here’s a picture of Allison’s quilt.

Metro Hoops Quilt

This quilt was made by Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew

The pattern is Metro Hoops, by Sew Kind of Wonderful, the company that also makes the Quick Curve Ruler. ¬†Allison’s review of the quilt pattern and ruler¬†is here.

3. Batting tape. I use this stuff a lot to join scraps of batting. Sometimes I have the piece I need for a quilt, IF ONLY it were a few inches longer. Just use this to add a few inches and you’re good to go. I’ve also joined two fair-sized scraps near the center to make a piece big enough for a quilt. I’ve had absolutely no trouble quilting through this stuff, and it doesn’t feel or look different once the quilt is finished. You can find it here or in many local stores.

4. Finally, no quilt can be made without CHOCOLATE! ¬†So be sure to ask for chocolate for the holidays to keep your quilting efforts fueled ūüėČ

P.S.: ¬†Here are a couple of things I’ve tried that didn’t work for me. ¬†Maybe you’ll have better luck, but I say borrow from somebody else and try before you buy:

This looked like a good idea but it was no better than just holding the rulers together while I cut.

This looked like a good idea but it was no better than just holding the rulers together while I cut.

Kwik Klip

This does help with pin basting, but probably is no better than the spoon I used for years