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Friday, March 7, 2014

A Few of my Favorite Things

I'm a big believer that our quilting experience is made better by the little tips, hints and tricks passed along by our fellow quilters.  There's a whole lot of talented and creative people out there quilting right along with you thinking up all this terrific stuff.  To tell the truth, I'm not very big into notions until and unless they prove their worth to me, and every now and then, you come across a few that are worth their weight in gold!  

Here are a few of my favorite things that aid me when I'm preparing fabric, piecing, and hand sewing.  I thought I would share them with you.  Please look for these items at your local quilt shop.  If your LQS doesn't carry them, they are available on my website.  If they are out-of-stock, I will restock them soon, so check back.

Clip-On Magnifying Glasses including four different magnification power lenses
Much as I hate to admit it, I'm not a spring chicken here ~ groan.  I wear glasses for reading and when I'm hand piecing, sewing binding or cross stitching (and pretty much all day.  I have no-line bifocals).  These clip on magnifiers are wonderful!  They are light weight and comfy as you stitch away in perfect clarity.  You can easily see over the top of them (to see the TV), flip them up out of the way, or change the power of the magnification.  There are four different lenses included in the package: 1.75, 2.0, 2.50 and 3.0.  They also fold flat so you can tuck them into your sewing bag or purse.  Click here to read more about them.  Don't be surprised if your hubby wants to borrow them....ask me how I know!

Perfect Scissors:  6 inch on the left and 7.5 inch on the right
These scissors are quite frankly the best I've ever owned!  Friends and family seem to think that scissors are something I need a lot of, so I have a wide variety.  There are several things that make these scissors the best of the best.  

First, they are light weight, and as you know, heavy scissors become a problem in short order. 

Secondly, the handles are a soft rubber and have wide oval openings that don't rub against your hand making them very, very comfortable.  I can't express this enough...they really are oh-so-comfy!  (My mom's hand are twisted and full of arthritis, and she sings their praises.)

Lastly, the blades are very sharp, of course, and they have teeny, tiny serrated edges.  Those serrated edges do several things for you:  they put tiny pinked edges in your fabric...so small you really can't see it, which keeps your fabric from becoming stringy and helps prevent unraveling.

The other thing those serrated blades do is stop the scissors from "traveling" away from you.  You know how when you're cutting - say a leaf shape - and the scissors can start to take off  away from the shape you're cutting like they have a mind of their own?  Well, the serrated edge keeps those scissors going where you want them to go!  Now, this is not only important when cutting applique shapes, or hexagons, but for straight cuts, too.  Who doesn't want to cut straight?  Case in point....I hand cut the strips in the photo above with those scissors and had complete control which was so very important in order to get the design centered for my Ada's Prairie Stitches quilt.  Worked like a charm!  The size of the scissors is a personal preference.

Click here to read more about them.

Fine Patchwork Pins
Last but not least....the lowly pin.  Looks so innocent, but may be messing with your accurate 1/4 inch seams!  How, you ask?

As I tell quilters attending my workshops, some of you are using pins so thick you could build a house with them!  Thick pins (NOT just flower head pins!!) are your enemy.  They can distort the fabric as you sew causing numerous problems (see the bumps and curves around each pin.)  

Fine Patchwork Pins

These fine patchwork pins were engineered precisely for piecing patchwork.  They are very thin and go through fabric "like butter".  Because they're so fine, they will not distort your seams.  If your sewing machine needle hits one, the pins bend but the machine needle does not break, and the heads are glass so you can iron over them if need be.  There's also a quilting pin version, with the same colored head with a thicker, longer shaft.  Not meant for piecing patchwork though.

I'm a big believer in pinning patchwork, and these fine patchwork pins have made a huge difference for me.  Unfortunately, they can be hard to find, so that's why I put them on my website.  

Click here for more info on the pins.

I'll have a few more of my favorite things soon.  Have any recommendations for good notions or tips to share?  I'd love to read them and I'll bet everyone else would too!  Please leave a comment so everyone can benefit.....I learn so many good things from all the quilters who take my workshops!  


  1. Have you ever tried the Clover Wonder Clips? The small ones of course. They are perfect for binding, but recently I have been using them to hold my fabrics instead of pins, when I piece, it works like a charm! You should give it a try.


  2. I love reading about "must haves". I think I must have some scissors like you've shown. They sound really fantastic and so practical!

  3. Something to go along with your magnification lenses, Pam - the Beam N Read. It is by far the best small lighting tool for handwork I've ever had and believe me, I've tried nearly every single one!

  4. I do like those pins. I'll have to check out the scissors!

  5. I already own Kay's scissors in three sizes, Love 'em those pins you show are the best right along side the little white headed ones for applique, Pryms? I do think I might be able to utilize those glasses. I try to put thought into purchasing notions but do appreciate your input and suggestions!

  6. Praise you over and over... I loved the information on the scissors and PINS! I preach GOOD PINS all of the time in my classes... and HOW TO PIN PROPERLY! Students are so happy to hear this information. I always take a box of GOOD pins and give each student one... then they are off to the shop to buy their own after using it! LOVE those scissors too... and I MUST have those glasses. I saw one of my students wearing them and they told me they got them from you! YIPPEE!!!

  7. Is there a brand name/company associated with the pins?

  8. Thanks for the tips on the notions! Always so useful to know. I will be looking into the glasses lol!
    I have the scissors and they are great.

  9. I love to read tips like this. I wonder tho, if I can find them in England? My favourite product at the moment is Sewline glue pens.

  10. I was at the FL retreat in 2013. I bought the glasses and they are wonderful. Also I bought the pins. They are the best I only use these now!

  11. Oh Pam, I could agree more. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Perfect Scissors and have all four sizes.
    And PINS.... YES, YES, YES. SIZE DOES MATTER. I cringe when I see some of the pins people use. Your photo was a perfect to show why we use the beautiful fine pins.