Monday, December 9, 2013

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Well, it's December 9th and if you're like me, you're out straight getting ready for Christmas.  But while you're in the midst of shopping, baking, wrapping, more shopping, cleaning, addressing cards, decorating, and yes, more shopping, don't forget to take a moment for yourself.  And just in case you are still looking for ideas for your Christmas list, here are my top 10 favorite quilting tools.  I use them almost every day.  I couldn't live without them.  Well I could, but I just don't want to.  And away we go...

My Top 10 Favorite Quilting Tools

1.  Olfa 28mm rotary cutter

Although I have a bigger 45mm rotary cutter, I prefer this smaller version.  I originally bought it for scrapbooking in the dark days before I was a quilter, but I love it for cutting fabric.  The smaller size gives me better control, it still cuts through 4 layers of fabric, and, best of all, the replacement blades are cheaper!!

2.  Olfa frosted 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" ruler

I have other rulers, but this is the one I grab the most.  The width allows me to press down comfortably with my non-cutting hand and the frosted coating really keeps it from wiggling around.

3.  Fons and Porter 6 1/2" needlecraft scissors

These are my go to scissors.  They aren't very expensive, but they are a comfortable size, nice and sharp, and cut well all the way to the tip.  They are especially great for cutting out wool appliqué shapes.

4.  Satin Pins

Don't get me wrong, I love the regular quilter's pins -- you know, the ones with the yellow plastic heads.  But I really love to use satin pins for piecing.  They glide smoothly into fabric without leaving big holes and you can usually sew over them.  I know, I know, sewing over pins is taboo.  Just keeping it real.

5.  Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion

I've had this pin cushion for years and I love it.  At least I did until I broke it by dropping it on the floor.  I tried to fix it with super glue, but apparently I re-installed the magnet incorrectly and now, instead of lying flat and tidy, all of my pins point up and out.  My Grabbit looks like a porcupine and every time I reach for a pin I stab myself.  Needless to say, I'm putting a new Grabbit on my Christmas list.

6.  John James Gold'n Glide appliqué needles - size 11

While we are on the subject of pins and needles, I discovered these amazing appliqué needles this past summer.  They are super thin, the perfect length for appliqué, and as the name suggests, they glide beautifully.  I like them so much that I've even used them for sewing down binding.

7.  YLI quilting thread

My all time favorite thread for hand quilting is YLI quilting thread.  I love the weight of it, it rarely breaks, and the colors are beautiful -- my current favorite is light brown.  I also love using a single strand of it for sewing down binding.  If your local quilt store doesn't carry it, you can buy the thread directly from YLI at

8.  Floss-A-Way embroidery floss/fiber organizer

The photo isn't great, but what you are looking at is 100 mini ziploc bags on a 3 inch metal ring.  I love this organizer because you can keep varying lengths of the same color floss all in one place without it getting tangled.  There is also a white spot on each bag where you can write the color of the floss.  Lovely.

9.  Dritz fine point disappearing ink pen

This is my favorite marking tool for quilting and embroidery.  I used to use chalk pencils, but I love the fine point of this pen, and it doesn't require washing out.  Just make sure you only mark what you can quilt or embroider in one sitting, because otherwise the marking will vanish.  Go figure!

10.  Spray n Bond basting adhesive

This is one of my new favorite tools!  So far, I've only used it on small projects where I would normally thread or pin baste, but I love it because it's fast and easy to use, it's repositionable, and it keeps my quilt sandwich layers from shifting while I'm machine quilting.

So there you have it!  Ten great quilting tools!  Add a few to your Christmas list or simply treat yourself.  Go on, you deserve it!  I'm sure you've been very good this year.

Happy quilting!