Favorite Tools?

23 05 2010
The Milwaukee-Madison Modern Quilt Guild has a website to which one of our members thoughtfully posts a weekly question in order for us to get to know each other a little better.  This week’s question was “What is your favorite quilting/sewing tool?”

Quickly realizing that I don’t have a single favorite, but that I have several tools that I rely on, on a nearly constant basis…  Well, I figured I ought to share here as well.  So, if you’re reading this twice, too bad. 🙂

I have several favorites, but my sewing machines (Brother PC-210 and Janome 1600P) and my Little Gracey II Frame win, hands down.  I’ll sit down and trace out templates onto fabric and cut them out with scissors if I have to, but I’d just die without my sewing machines.  As soothing and portable as hand-sewing was, it took ages to complete a quilt.

My favorite marking tool, though, is the Sewline Mechanical Pencil.  I highly recommend this tool, and the other tools made by Sewline.  I’ve never had a problem marking any fabric with the mechanical pencil, no matter the color.  It’s just a matter of changing lead to an appropriately contrasting color: white, black, pink, green, or yellow. And, because I have a bias against stupidly small erasers, the accompanying Sewline Fabric Eraser is also mine, mine, mine.

I’m also in love with the 3-in-1 Color Tool by Joen Wolfrom.  It’s an amazingly useful tool for anyone who thinks they have issues with color/fabric selection, though it works best if you something of a grasp on color theory.  To that end, I recommend taking a look at Joen Wolfrom’s books.

I iron everything, since I’m a seams open kind of gal, so my Rowenta iron is always plugged in and nearby.  In order to aid and abet my ironing frenzy, the Omnigrid Foldaway Mid-Size is my constant companion.  It’s great because I have a small ironing surface and cutting mat in one notebook sized tool.  I can iron and trim without switching workstations.  (It’s not laziness, it’s efficiency!)

I also have the Omnigrid Quilter’s Travel Case.  It’s perfect for blocks up to 12″ X 12″, and allows me to keep all of my tools in one handy place when taking my work elsewhere, which I’ve been doing at least twice a month lately.  It’s got a removable insert that serves as a flat sleeve, and straps for securing everything, which is great, because I’ve finally learned to precut my pieces for workdays! 

As far as rulers go, I’m now a devotee of the Creative Grids.  I’m so replacing all of my rulers with this brand when I have some extra money.  All the measurement markings I could want and built in gripper dots!  No more stick-on emery dots for me!  Although, I will share a secret with all of you: double-sided tape and rubber cement make for great, temporary, no-slip aids when in a pinch.  Rubber cement peels right off when it gets a little too dirty, and the tape requires a little bit of Goo-Gone and a run through warm soap and water thanks to the Goo-Gone, so I try to stick with rubber cement if I can help it.

And, yes, I could (and have) quilt without all of these things.  But, quilting is so much easier with them, and I actually finish quilts now.



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