There are just a few things I use every single time I quilt, and I would be lost without them! It struck me this week how much use I get out of only a few simple items, and I thought I would share what they are. If I made up a kit of must haves for quilters, it would include these things!
My favorite scissors
Thread snips are one thing, but a nice little pair of good quality scissors is the best for all kinds of quilting needs. I have these little Gingher scissors within reach at all times, and I pack them from place to place as I am working at the machine or ironing board or longarm… I couldn't be without them…. Plus, they are pretty cute if you buy the ones with fun patterned handles.
I use the bigger ones (5” scissors) for clipping everything from curves and “dog ears” to cutting through several layers of fabric and batting. They are sturdy enough for thicker cuts, but not clunky like dressmaker shears.
I use the smaller ones (4”) for snipping thread and quick clips here and there. These are the ones I use at my longarm most often.
My favorite rotary cutter
I love, love, love the Olfa Quick Change Rotary Cutter! I know there are many rotary cutters out there, and I’m sure many of them are great, but I’m not crazy about a heavy rotary cutter (I just can’t get used to the weight). This cutter is average weight and feels good in my hand. I change my blade often, and it has the easiest quick change slide feature on the back. It takes literally seconds to change the blade and I’m back in business!
My favorite seam ripper
Don’t laugh! It’s so simple and not one of these wiz bang contraptions that slices and dices ;) I’ve used this seam ripper for years and years, I have several others, but I keep coming back to this one. I like to pull the thread out of the seam, instead of ripping through the stitches (that might come from my years of garment sewing). This seam ripper has a sturdy enough head on it to take the stress. It also feels good in my hand, so that’s a bonus.
My favorite stiletto
I know I’ve shared my love of using a stiletto so many times, but man, I couldn’t do much without it! I use this pottery tool as my stiletto while piecing. It feels like a pencil in my hand, but it’s weighty enough to really hang onto, and it has a wicked sharp point so my pieces aren’t going anywhere.
My felted wool pressing mat
I have this in three sizes, and I am so glad I made the investment! I have this big one (22” x 60”) on a table top, and I use it the most to press strip sets and big pieces of fabric. The table top is coated in some indestructible stuff, so I haven’t had a problem with steam coming through the mat and ruining the surface. The nice thing about wool pressing mats is that you get a press from both sides. The heat penetrates the wool and gives a nice even heat from the backside of the block too. I use steam and haven’t had any trouble with it on these wool mats (it does smell a little though, haha).
I put one of my smaller wool pressing mats on a wooden cutting board so I could set it up anywhere and use it on surfaces that might otherwise be damaged.
My Stella light
Sometimes, you just need extra light and I love a good bright task lamp. I have several different true color lamps in places I need them, but this one is my favorite. It has three different color temperatures and a sliding scale for brightness. I took these pics in a dark room where this is the only light and you can see how bright it is.
The best part is the ability to manipulate the gooseneck. I can twist it towards the wall to get an indirect glow over my working surface, or bend it up or down to have the light focus exactly where I need to see.
I think the next one I buy will be this version that clamps onto the edge of a desk. I like the versatility of the desktop version, but I like that this clamp style wouldn't take up any countertop space.
Okay, well, there's my list :) I’m not really a gadget girl, so I tend to find something I like and stick with it. I’d love to know if you use any of these items yourself or if you have found something that you love and can’t quilt without. I’m always curious about new ideas!
Happy Sunday everyone,
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