Most Used Quilting Tools of 2019

Tools are the topic of the day!  Fabric (deservedly!) gets most of the attention, but good quality tools can help make it even more fun to sew! Here, in no particular order, are some of the go-to tools that help my quilts come together.

  1. Straight Stitcher longarm quilting ruler:  The groove down the center of the ruler gives you even more control while stitching, but my favorite part of this ruler is having measurements on both sides of the machine foot as you stitch.
  2. 50wt Aurifil: My go-to thread for the majority of my quilting and piecing!
  3. 12wt Aurifil: Great for hand stitching and machine quilting that you really want to pop!
  4. Spiral Eye Needle:  These are the best needles I have found for quickly burying thread tails
  5. Duo marking pens: The marking pen gives an easy to see brown line, and the eraser pen takes out the mark easily and instantly.
  6. Wool pressing bar: This is fabulous when you want to press a seam open or if you would like you seam lifted off the main pressing surface a bit.  Its a great companion to a wool pressing mat which is another favorite of mine!
  7. Clover Clips:  I love these for binding and bag making!
  8. Stiletto:  The perfect tool to guide fussy piecing or thick layers found in bag making
  9. Scissors: Spring loaded Gingher Shears are great to reduce hand fatigue when you are cutting a lot of fabric.  These small snips are very inexpensive (about $3), sharp, and lightweight.  I keep a pair with every machine and one in my purse.
  10. Rotary cutters: A Gingher rotary cutter and an Olfa
  11. Seam ripper: This one is sharp and has a fine blade.  I try to replace my seam ripper every year.
  12. Add a Quarter Plus and Add an Eighth Plus rulers: These are amazing for foundation paper piecing.  I used to do without, but now I consider them must-haves!
  13. Quilter’s Select ruler:  This brand of ruler has thin black lines that are easy to see and a coating on the back that makes them non-slip.  My cutting, which was always pretty accurate, became much more accurate when I switched to this type of ruler.  I have been gradually replacing my old rulers with these, and I currently have the 6″x24″, 3″x12″, 8.5″x8.5″, and 12.5″x12.5″.

What are your favorite tools?  Did you discover any new notions this year that you wouldn’t want to be without?

I am excited to be participating in this year’s 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge hosted by Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com, and I hope you will have the chance to check out some of the other awesome blogs that are participating this month.

Sewing Space Tour

This month I am participating in the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge hosted by Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com, and each day has a prompt to get us started.  Some days, like today, I will use the prompts, and other days I will be using other topics.  Today’s theme is our sewing space, so I thought I would give you a quick tour.

This is my main sewing area where I use my domestic machine.  I sit facing the center of the room with my design wall behind me.  (The photo above is from a few months ago, so the projects on the wall are further along now!)

My main sewing space is a large IKEA table with a set of drawers on either end.  One set faces the side I sit to sew. The other faces the center of the room and holds all of my 50wt Aurifil and longarm supplies.

Most of my go-to sewing supplies are in the top two drawers of the first drawer unit.  The top drawer has sewing machine feet, some bobbins, machine tools, marking tools, etc.

The second drawer has mostly 12wt, 28wt, and 40wt Aurifil and the coordinating bobbins.  It also has some specialty threads that I use on rare occasions.

My sewing machine is a Bernina 1008.  I bought it about six years ago, and it is an absolute workhorse.  It does everything I ask it to do.  I love a mechanical machine!

The longarm in the center of the room is an A1.  We upgraded the computer system a couple years ago so now it has an android tablet screen, and DIGITAL channel locks.  This is seriously the best feature! We can lock in any angle!

My fabric stash is right next to my sewing machine and design wall. Unless I am working on a pattern I am designing, I tend to pull fabric for a project as I go along, so easy access is a must.

The ironing and cutting tables are old library tables, and I have an industrial gravity fed iron.  If you have a place to permanently set up your iron, I can’t recommend an industrial iron highly enough.

Thank you so much for taking a brief studio tour with me today!

Polar Bear Block Pattern

In last year’s block of the month quilt I designed for Dabble and Stitch, I created a foundation paper pieced polar bear block to represent the Columbus Zoo.  I liked the block so much that I made a cushion with it, and many people who came into the shop loved the design.  This design is now available as a stand alone block pattern!

Polar Bear Block

I made a few adjustments to change the block from a rectangle to an 18″ square block, and I made it up in a new color way that is available as a kit with Painters Palette Solids by Paintbrush Studios. (shown above) For this version I used Aurifil Monofilament so the thread would blend with the fabric color.  The straight line quilting was done with a walking foot on my domestic machine.

First version of the polar bear pillow

It was good timing to release this pattern last month, because the Columbus Zoo welcomed a new polar bear cub on Thanksgiving, and this design was based on a photo I took of another cub at the zoo.  You can read more about the development of the original block in the original post.

Original Block of the Month Polar Bear Block

The pattern is available online or in store at Dabble and Stitch in Columbus, Ohio.  You can choose between the print pattern, a PDF, and a kit with a print pattern included.

Print Polar Bear Pattern

Print Polar Bear Pattern with kit

PDF Polar Bear

Polar Bear Block made into a pillow

I am excited to be participating in this year’s 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge hosted by Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com, so I will be blogging a lot more this month!

The Value of Coral: A Work in Progress

Coral is just about the perfect color as far as I’m concerned.  It sits so nicely between pink and orange which is one of my favorite color combinations.  So when Pantone announced the color of the year for 2019, I was ecstatic!  So far this is my second project to incorporate Living Coral, and I have another in the works that has lots of coral pieces included in a wider color scheme.

I think a lot about value when I design a quilt, and success of this particular design depends on it.  A monotone interpretation of the color Coral helps create the illusion of dimension.  Living Coral has a value that sits near the middle of the value scale, so I selected two lighter fabrics and one darker fabric for the design.  Since coral doesn’t easily go to a really dark value without drastically muting the color, I selected a dark violet for the receding squares. The dark, cool color ended up setting off the coral nicely.

I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring a mostly monotone quilt with more traditional piecing techniques, and I can’t wait to finish it up!

Quilt (top) Stats

Title:  The Value of Coral

Size: 42″ x 56″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing

Fabric:  Solids

Thread: Pieced with 50wt Aurifil

This quilt top is my entry in the 2019 Pantone Quilt Challenge hosted by No Hats in the House and Bryan House Quilts.  I hope you will check out all of the exciting entries!

I am a resident of the United States

 

Forward and Back

This Spring one of the quilt groups I’m in issued a challenge to try out a technique called interleaving, and this mini quilt is the result.  The idea behind interleaving is to take two relatively simple quilt blocks, cut them into strips, and alternate the strips to create a single block.

Starting out, I had to keep reminding myself to keep things simple.  I have a tendency to add extra piecing to create interest, but this was not the place to add too many seams!  I wanted the color palette to evoke a feeling of a sunset over the ocean, so I decided to make one block with warm colors and the other with cool colors.  The first block is a machine pieced circle with the Pantone color of the year, Living Coral, as the center.  (I love this year’s color so much that it is appearing in a few more projects, too!)

The second block is three wedge shaped segments in cool colors.  Most of this quilt is made of quilting cotton, but I decided to incorporate a piece of Art Gallery denim into this block to add a slightly different texture.

Maintaining the overall circle shape was important to what I wanted to achieve in this design, so I knew I had to cut the blocks into 1″ strips. This width of strip means the finished area is equal to the seam allowance- 1/2″ exposed and 1/2″ of seam allowance.  When the strips of the two blocks are alternated, the circle shape is maintained.

The piecing is really the star in this design, so I decided to do simple stitch in the ditch quilting using Aurifil monofilament.

The faced edges of the quilt allow the linear design to visually continue to the edge of the quilt.

Quilt Stats

Title:  Forward and Back

Size: 19″ x 19″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing, Interleaving

Quilting:  Stitched in the ditch with a walking foot quilting on a Bernina 1008

Fabric:  Cotton solids and lightweight quilters denim

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool

Thread: Quilted with Aurifil monofilament

Binding:  Faced with the solid to match the backing

This mini quilt is my entry in the 2019 Pantone Quilt Challenge hosted by No Hats in the House and Bryan House Quilts.  I hope you will check out all of the exciting entries!

I am a resident of the United States