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Terrific Tools

I have often mentioned in this blog the importance of having just the right tool whether you are cooking, scrapbooking, knitting, or crocheting. A few weeks ago my husband learned that lesson as he successfully installed a new ceiling fan in our living room. The same holds true when I am working on projects in my sewing room and I have recently discovered some very handy tools that have made a real difference.

The first tool that I have been using is the Blade Saver thread cutter. Mine looks like a flower and happens to be purple but it comes in other fun colors as well. This handy little gadget is a real time saver when you are chain-piecing. Just add an old rotary cutter blade and you are ready to go - a great way to repurpose those dull blades. They might not cut fabric very well any more but they sure can cut a single thread just fine. A word of warning - be sure that you buy a thread cutter to fit the size of blades in your rotary cutter. Ask me why I know that is important. You’re right! I bought one for a 60” blade even though my rotary cutter uses a 45” blade. So my Blade Saver is extra sharp because it has a brand new blade in it. Oops! This is a tool that I’ve known about for quite awhile but didn’t think that I needed. I sure wish I would have tried it out a long time ago.

Another tool that I didn’t think I needed is a set of heart-head pins - or flowers or whatever design the manufacturer decides to use. A pin is a pin! Right? Wrong! These pins are easier to grasp, easier to insert into the fabric, and easier to remove as you are stitching. Yet another tool that I wish I would have started using long ago.

And one more tool that I didn’t think I needed were Bobbin Thread Holders. I thought I had a perfectly good system of keeping track of my thread and bobbins but apparently I have been missing out. I won a package of these handy tools in a drawing from my quilt guild and recently found the perfect use for them. I was working on a customer quilt that involved a panel that required nine different threads. I had the cones and the matching bobbins lined up in a plastic tray but the bobbins became all mixed up when I attempted to move the tray. Aha! Here was a chance to use the Bobbin Thread Holders. Now I also use them when I am organizing threads for the upcoming month’s customer quilts. No more chasing bobbins along the floor!!

The jury is still out on the Dritz Snag Nab It needle. This is a tool that can be useful to get rid of stray dark threads under light fabric. It doesn’t matter how careful I am in removing those threads before I load a quilt on my long arm machine they seem to appear anyway. The Snag Nab It needle removed some of those pesky threads but I really had to work at it. Not exactly a time-saving tool and maybe I just need more practice with it. I’ll keep you posted.

When I first got my long arm quilting machine I discovered that I had great difficulty controlling the tension in the summertime. After doing some research I learned that humidity makes the thread expand and that causes big problems as it goes through the machine. In order to combat that issue we purchased a dehumidifier for my sewing room. Problem solved! And that makes me a much happier quilter in June, July, and August! Just be sure to get one that matches the size of your space.

Another handy tool that I keep in my sewing room at all times is a lint roller. It works great to clean up the stray threads on the quilt tops that I load on my machine. I also use it occasionally to do the same thing on my ironing board. I’ve also found the roller useful to clean threads and batting lint off of my clothes as I seem to be a magnet for those things when I spend any amount of time in my sewing room.

What new tools have you discovered lately that have been helpful in making your sewing life easier? Feel free to share! And stay tuned as I’m sure there are more fun tools out there just waiting for me to find them!

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