Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Top 10 Tools at my Sewing Desk

I sew both at home and away from home and nothing is more frustrating than when I realize I've left an important tool behind and have to make do without it. Here's my top 10 (in no particular order):
Sewing maching - Janome 8900
  1. My sewing machine tops the list. I bought this one earlier this year and out of all the things I love about it, the one I miss the most when I'm away from home and using a different machine is the automatic thread cutter! It also has needle up/needle down, a super big throat (that space to the right of the needle), a variety of stitches and a great even-feed system for quilting. Janome 8900. Whatever model you have, learn to use every feature on it and keep it maintained. Clean out the lint, oil if required and send it in for service every so often.
  2. Thread snips are a must in my sewing kit. I use them for snipping the ends of threads and sometimes even for cutting a bit of fabric. They are always nearby when machine or hand sewing.
  3.  A stitch ripper is number three on my list. I don't like to take out seams and will do my best to work around my sewing mistakes, but there are some times when that just isn't going to work. A little frogging (rip-it, rip-it) and I can put the pieces of my quilt exactly where they belong.
  4. Fabric! I am slowly adding to my stash of fabric and trying not to let it get away to hoarder status! A variety of colors, prints and solids and I can find something to sew any day of the week without having to run into the local quilt shop. (This is not my fabric, but part of the stash of Carla from "My 1/2 Dozen Daily" 
  5. Quilter's rulers - there are many of these available, from the plain and simple 6"x24" to specialty rulers for special techniques. I have a few that I use daily: the 6"x12", 12.5"x12.5" and the 6.5" square. I have found myself reaching more and more for the 15" square ruler and probably will be sure to have it in my carry bag when I go quilt away from home.
  6. Inevitably, because I rarely follow a pattern, I will need to do some math to get my quilt pieces to fit together. And along with scraps of paper, I always have a pencil nearby to do my figuring. 
    My fav quilting tools!
  7. Another handy tool in my sewing kit is a seam gauge. I don't use it a lot for actual quilt piecing, but I use it a lot in the crafty sewing that gets done along the quilting. If you haven't used yours, maybe it's time to take it out of the sewing box and play with it. I used it to make my tissue covers and credit card cases (over in tutorials).
  8. Thread - in particular a light-medium gray thread. It blends with almost everything and saves having to change colors every time I start a new project.
  9. Sketchbook - this is a relatively recent addition to my sewing arsenal, but with all the inspiration around me, this book comes with me whenever I'm away from home for more than a day. For some reason, my aging brain doesn't hold on to things as well as it used to and it's great to have somewhere to quickly sketch an idea so I can refer back to it at a later date.
  10. And finally, my favorite tool in my sewing room (and I haven't quite got a portable one figured out yet!) is my design wall. It's nothing fancy, just 2 lengths of white flannel sewn together to cover most of one wall in my sewing room and thumb-tacked close to the ceiling so it hangs flat against the wall.
How about you? Do you have a tool or tools you can't live without? 
--Ann

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