Tool Tips

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Tool Tips

  1. Great suggestion in Love of Quilting. If you get any fake credit or AAA cards in the mail with your name on it, instead of throwing them away, cut the section with your name off and punch a hole on the end. Loop a ribbon through the hole to identify your scissors and tools!
  2. Save the big plastic snack containers from Costco and BJs for sewing scraps.  They are tall and not too big around so they don’t take up much space your cutting table. You can even store big ric-rack in them.
  3. I was introduced to Aurifil thread at last year’s retreat. I seem to be the last to know how wonderful the 50 wt. is for piecing. While looking online to see whether to place my spool horizontally or vertically on my machine, I discovered an astonishing bit of info. The base on the Aurifil thread is interchangeable on either end of the spool! Depending on whether your machine is an over or under the spool threading, you can pop the base off and switch ends.
  4. I talked about a new adhesive in “sprinkle” form called BoNash. They also have a great cover for your iron when using any kind of adhesives in your quilting. It is called an Iron Shoe and costs $15.99 on their website. A great way to save your iron from being gunked-up when doing fusible applique. Click here for link.
  5. A great tip from Fons & Porter for storing your rolls of stabilizers and fusibles. Save your plastic wrap and foil dispenser boxes for storing and tearing them! Use large white labels for labeling them. No more loose rolls!
  6. A ruler  for squaring up half-square triangles by Bloc_Loc. They have a groove on the diagonal to catch the center seam making your square perfect. The 6-1/2” square trims any size under that as well. They have flying geese and many other rulers too. Check out their website which has a nice video. http://www.blocloc.com/ 
  7. If you thread baste your quilts, you may want to try the new Wash-A-Way thread from YLI. No more removing threads, just wash the quilt and it dissolves!
  8. Bo-Nash Fuse It Powder, which comes as a kit with two small silicone ironing sheets and a small bottle of powder or just a large shaker bottle of powder. The powder looks like table salt and you sprinkle it on the background fabric, lay your applique on it, brush off the excess and then iron! Since you use very little, the fabric is not stiff at all. (Lynne found at Quilters Block)
  9. A Prairie Pointer Pressing Tool, a flat metal tool for pressing and shaping prairie points! Rolls of fusible 2-1/4” batting for bags and bag straps as well as 2-1/2” non-fusible batting. To help iron them to jelly roll strips without burning your fingers, there are Thermal Thimbles, silicone finger covers in sets of 3. (also found at Quilters Block)
  10. I’ve seen the Olfa Folding Cutting Mat advertised many times but it wasn’t something I was really interested in. But I just watched a video on it and learned an additional way to use it. The underside is a felt-like material and you can place it bottom side up on your lap while doing hand work in the car. When you get out of the car, place your work on one side and fold it up to hold your fabric pieces in place! I looked it up and it comes in two sizes: 12” x 17” and 17” x 24” open. They are available at Joann Fabric and Amazon.
  11. My very nice Rowenta iron’s steam button stopped working and I hated to just throw it away but it had to be replaced. Instead of getting rid of it, I decided to keep it as a dedicated dry iron now! No worries about the broken steam button anymore or emptying the water tank for dry use!
  12. Crafty Gemini is a blog and website and by the most adorable Vanessa Vargas Wilson.  She also has a youtube channel with great tutorials!  Search youtube for TheCraftyGemini. Well she has just designed two rulers called the 5” Slicer and 10” slicer, perfectly made to use with that size precuts!  Hop on over to her website to see her videos on how to use them and a tutorial on a little zippered case to store them!! Click here to access Vanessa’s website.
  13. I strongly encourage each and every one of you to read Lori Kennedy’s blog post on sewing machine safety on her blog The Inbox Jaunt.  She had to have the tip of a needle and thread from her sewing machine needle surgically removed from her finger three years ago.  Her tips for not doing that again are good ones.  You can read it here:  http://theinboxjaunt.com/2016/09/08/hard-lessons/
  14. One of the biggest trends for quilting right now is using long-arm rulers for quilting on domestic machines.  These special rulers are typically 1/4″ thick to prevent your presser foot from jumping the ruler and breaking your needles.  Also, you need a special thicker presser foot designed just for this.  Bernina has just introduced the #72 Adjustable Ruler Foot designed for these rulers and they have rulers available too.  There is a nice video on the Bernina website showing how the foot works.  There are ruler feet available for other machines as well.  I just saw a class at a shop in Lewes by Mary Alice Fyock so keep an eye out for classes at your favorite quilt shop.
  15. A magnetic strip designed for knives in the kitchen is a great tool to have near your cutting table for keeping scissors (many) and rotary cutters organized and not thrown in a drawer.  They are available at Target for $10 and there are many on Amazon.
  16. I keep several tools specifically for workshops and retreats and recently saw a great use for those plastic hotel keycards.  They make great seam pressing tools right at your machine.  So the next time you come home with one, throw it in your tool kit.
  17. Chef’s Choice has made an electric, top-rated knife sharpening tool for years and now they have an electric Diamond Hone Scissor Sharpener!  Most of us have a drawer full of scissors and it’s imperative that they are sharp.  It’s not a cheap appliance with a $99 retail price so maybe a few friends can go in on it.  Another plus is that Chef’s Choice is a Pennsylvania company located in Avondale!  Click here for more details.
  18. One of the great advantages of belonging to Calico Cutters is being treated to amazing speakers and their wonderful workshops.  The workshops offered by our speakers are always a bargain compared to taking the same classes elsewhere and come with the bonus of spending more time getting to know our members.  The other thing that is a side bonus of workshops is getting so many tips for other quilters as the day goes along.  Barb Vedder shocked me with the info that Aurifil thread does not play well with your Singer Featherweight!  Apparently 50 wt. cotton is too thin to make good stitches, so use a thicker thread if you are lucky enough to have a Featherweight.
  19. Steam vs. dry is always a debate in quilting and Barb found that since she stopped using steam, her irons last and last.  My nice Rowenta started leaking and my husband bought me a new one for Christmas so I keep my old one as a dry and my new one as steam.
  20. If you are an owner of a Singer Featherweight sewing machine you may be interested in checking out The Featherweight Shop at www.singer-featherweight.com.  They offer parts and accessories for your machine as well as many helpful tutorials on their YouTube channel (under the channel The Featherweight Shop).  A bonus to shopping on this site is the free shipping that is always offered!
  21. I have recently purchased some small sewing scissors and notions for myself from Tooltron Industries.  I was impressed with their pricing, product offerings and fast shipping.  They have an online store at www.tooltron.com.  Once you sign up for their newsletter you will be notified of all sales and specials.
  22. As a fairly new quilter, I am always looking to You Tube to further my knowledge.  The following channels offer great tutorials:
    • You Tube Channel – Man Sewing
    • You Tube Channel – SewVeryEasy
    • You Tube Channel – GourmetQuilter