Monday, February 20, 2012

My Favorite Tools

I said I would show you some of my favorite tools and find them to be worthy of my recommendation(s).  But, first, I feel that I must put in the disclaimer that I am **not** affiliated with any of these products. I did not receive any free products, nor promotions from any of the companies I am going to list.  With the exception of one ruler, I purchased each of these products myself. 

As I made a block today, I took the time to take a photo of each tool I reached for.  There's one that I did not use today, but that I do use with applique', but we're putting the cart before the horse.  Without further ado, here are the tools I use to complete my Lancaster Diamond Sampler Quilt blocks. 

Mary Ellen's Ironing Products

As I begin pressing and cutting, this is my best friend: Mary Ellen's Best Press Non-Starch.  I have chosen the unscented because the scents of the others are overpowering to my nose.  (You may like them; however, I find that the 'scent' of the 'unscented' works well for me.)  It also comes in larger sizes.  This is convenient for

This is my trusted cutter.  I use the Martelli left-handed rotary cutter.  And, I only use Martelli blades because I have found that these blades last several times longer than any other blade I tried. Yes, I pay a bit more for them; however, since they last longer, I definitely get my money's worth from them. 

And, what do I use to help cut?  Well, that depends on the size of the piece.  Here are a few of my favorite rulers. 

This is my Olfa Frosted 6 1/2-inch square ruler. 

I have other Olfa frosted rulers in the 12 1/2-inch square and the 1 1/2 x 12 1/2-inch ruler. I like using these the most because I can see the lines on both light and dark fabric.

Okay. Here it is. The one ruler that I did not purchase.  

It is a Creative Grids 2 1/2 x 6 1/2-inch ruler.

I received this ruler 'free with a qualifying purchase' during the Susquehanna Stash Dash (Shop Hop). What does that mean? It means I spent enough money that the business felt that they could offset any profit-loss by giving me this ruler for free. Want a chuckle?  I didn't know that there was a dollar-amount that would have earned me a free ruler. I was just lucky.  Now, there are some 'issues' with this -- such as non-continuous marking lines in the center where the store details are.  However; I find that I cut enough 2 1/2-inch segments that this is a useful tool. In fact, I liked it so much, that during another Susquehanna Stash Dash, I purchased this ruler from another of the shops to put in my travel-kit.

While I'm here, I will mention that the shop featured on this ruler (Our Gathering Place) happens to have a large selection of reproduction fabrics.  They seem to carry some that other stores do not.  I can find bright yellows, and cheddar here that none of the shops in my area stock. This is the store where I purchased my Pepto-Bismol (tm) pink sashing material, and my poison-green setting diamond fabrics. [And, when I found them, after a long and arduous search, I bought what remained on the respective bolts! I would rather have a extra in case of errors, than have to try to match the fabrics later. In fact, while studying the quilt, I have noted that I needed some of each of these fabrics in a few of the blocks.]

Add-an-Eighth Ruler
Because of the many small pieces, some of which are only 1/4-inch wide, I like to trim my seams to 1/8-inch.  This ruler makes it easy!

This is the Add-an-Eighth Ruler. It is 1 inch wide and 6 inches long. It might be a little hard to see in the photograph, but there is a 'lip' where you catch your seam allowance.  When you snug the thread up in the lip, you can then trim to 1/8-inch. (Again, I own two of these, one for home, and one for travel.)

Here is a ruler that comes in quite handy while making the various half-square triangle units in this quilt. 

It is called a Quilters Magic Wand, and is 1/2 by 12-inches.  Mine is yellow; however, they come in 8 colors: Yellow, Green, Orange, Blue, Hot Pink, Light Pink, Smoke, and Champagne.

There is an etched line in the center (1/4 inch from each edge), that allows you to quickly draw your sewing lines. 

Quilter's Rule Magic Wand

Here is a close-up of the ruler. See the etched center line?  You put that on the points and draw your sewing line on either side of the "wand". 

And, while drawing lines, what do I use?  I use the Sewline Trio.  It has black and white ceramic lead, and a 'blanc' for making indents in the fabric.

The majority of my trimming and pressing take place on this.  The Miniature Fold-Away by OmniGrid.  Each side is 7 by 7-inches.  The left, an unmarked green cutting mat, the right, a mini-ironing board. 

I typically use this while it is in my lap. 

Textile Tool Kit

A miniature ironing surface needs a miniature iron, correct?  

This textile tool comes with six different heads, which, if you're using something like velvet, you can use to put texture on to your fabric.  I just want to smash the seams flat, and dry the Best Press.

I didn't use this yet today; however, this is what I use to help with my applique'.  It is Scotch-brand Repositionable Craft Stick.  This gives just enough stick to hold the paper templates in place while I prepare them.  Once prepared, I tap the fabric with the stick again, and use it to hold the pieces in place before I get them sewed down.

Lynette Anderson Un-Pic
Whoops!  Made a mistake and need to un-stitch?  I want it to be fun!  I love this little Matroyshka Un-Pic from Lynette Anderson. 

Lancaster Diamond Template

So, now, I'm done with the block, and it's time to trim to size.  Here is the Lancaster Diamond Acrylic Template from Ann Holte.  

It has markings for left and right sashings, the setting diamond and the diamond template.  Quarter-inch seam allowances are included for each.

Sfarsit!  El fin! Die Ende! Fin! Ha sikum! Fine! Rampung! Fim! Selesai! 

You deserve a treat! :) 

Have your choice of chocolate, or a cuppa, or whatever your pleasure. 

But, don't forget to post your progress! 

Yes, even when I travel, I carry a bag of some kind of chocolate -- usually Dove Milk Chocolate -- in my tote, along with a couple dollars in change, should there be a vending machine near by for a much needed drink -- with a screw-top lid. Why a screw-top lid? Simple! You don't want to have an accident and spill your drink on all of your hard work, not to mention your tools!

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