Monday, December 24, 2007

Ten Important Notions

It's Christmas Eve, but I am keeping up with my lists!
Here are 10 Important Notions, and I mean for a quilter's use, of course. I'm pretty sure at this point nobody has 10 ideas left!

1. Big eye needles: Yes, at some time we must do a few stitches by hand. Make life easier with a package of Big Eye needles. There are several brands, like John James Golden Eye ones. Don't confuse these with the beading big-eye needles that have a long split opening...I am not sure those have a point for sewing!

2. Metallica needles: Both Sullivan's and Schmetz make these for your sewing machine. They have a highly polished eye that helps avoid the thread breaking problem when you use any decorative thread (not just metallic ones).

3. Sharp & thin seam ripper: If you have only ever used the 59 cent bargain bin ripper, this will change your life. It's the best 3 bucks you'll spend. I like to give them for gifts...look for one that has a plastic cap. That thin "finger" is dangerous! But it gets in those machine stitches and rips like crazy. I have seen some new rippers with ergomatic handles!
Sometime I may tell you about my fast way to rip.

4. Cheap scissors: Lots and lots of them! Then you can cut anything you want and when they get a nick or go dull, they can go in the kitchen junk drawer for the family to use.
I finally found out where my scissors are. They are on the other side of the room. No matter where I am, that's where they are! (another reason to have lots!)

5. Rotary cutter: The best invention ever from Japan! The item that saved quilting from becoming a dead art! These things are getting fancier all the time. I like the Olfa ergomatic one, but there are many...always take an opportunity to try a new one (before you buy!).
And a new blade is wonderful, too.

6. Acrylic rulers for rotary cutting: There are too many specialty rulers to count, and some of them are really good for doing particular types of quilts. But if I could only have two, it would be my 8" x 12" and a 6.5" square. Maybe the 8" is really 8.5...but at any rate, you can do almost anything with those. These tend to wander off with the scissors, so having several is a good idea.

7. Rotary cutting mat: I love the new colors! My very good friend Cherry-cherry gave me one that is pink & light purple, so now I can see all my blue or green fabrics as I cut.
A "self-healing" mat is much better than a hard plastic one.

8.Thin pins: They used to be called "Flower head pins" but now somebody is making some flower head ones that are NOT thin! Watch what you're buying, and then enjoy them!
Yes, you can sew through the flat head. An interesting problem to solve, depending on where it was...but it will break and come out. Really!

9. Chalk marker: Clover has two is like a lipstick, one is thinner. Fabulous! They mark inside stencils. The chalk disappears as you quilt (so don't mark too much at one time!). I do not trust the yellow chalk, but all other colrs are fine.

10. Freezer paper: I've got to have it all the time. It is great for any pattern making and will also work well to protect your ironing board or any other work surface. Look for parchment paper while you're in that section of the won't stick to anything, so it's great for working with fusibles.

These are my opinions. I'm sure you feel strongly about the notions you use. That's why it's good there lots to choose from!
I have tools in my studio and also in a box for traveling when I teach. That way I have what I need where I need it...usually!

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