Happy New Year Everyone !
When the hustle and bustle is over, the cleanup begins. When you are putting away the holiday decorations, take a look at your studio or workarea and make a list of those items that have been very useful this year, but are wearing out and need to be replaced.
It is important to keep your favorite tools in good working shape. Anything sharp deserves your consideration ! If you can sharpen it, great, but in many cases it is faster and easier to replace it. This goes for the pins, needles, seam rippers, rotary cutters, rotary cutter blades, cutting mats and scissors.
Shop owners might consider a special “Start Sharp!” sale for the New Year, and look for really clever new products (in this otherwise stable notions category). Life is too short for dull pins, needles, scissors and blades!
Here is what I will be buying to replace old, worn out gadgets:
Todd’s Catch-n-Cut Scissors – These are relatively new, and a real help to longarm quilters. They are snips, and the two sides are different lengths. The longer side has a hooked end that can pull up the bobbin thread without moving the quilting machine. The shorter side has a rounded end so it is safer to use when trimming threads close to the quilt top. I prefer these over my old ones because I can use them 1 handed more easily – I don’t have to get my thumb and finger into the finger holes. These work really well with my embroider unit too – the hooked side is thin enough to slide under the embroidery foot, to pull up the bobbin thread.
Checker Item #NOT048, List $21.95.
Checker Item #NOT048
Retractable Holder – I always like to have my scissors close at hand, and why not get a holder that is pretty ! Checker Item # 1415-GC List $5.75
Checker Item # 1415-GC
Pins for the Longarm – There are several methods for attaching a quilt to a quilting machine, and using pins is very common. These pins from HandiQuilter are like corsage pins – they are long, sturdy, sharp and have a pearl end that makes it easy to push them through multiple layers of fabric and/or canvas. Far too often quilters tolerate old, dull T-pins which make it much harder to load a quilt. Checker Item #HG00370, List $9.00
Checker Item #HG00370
Pins for the quilt top – Pins with burrs can snag your quilt top fabric, so get rid of the old ones, and get some new ones! I rarely put any pins in/on the surface of the quilt top because of the potential for running over it with the longarm. These are the only exception because they are very thin. More than once I have stitched right over one of these pins without a problem. (That doesn’t mean you should stitch over them – it just isn’t as dangerous as hitting a T-pin).
Checker Item #115C, List $5.69
Checker Item #115C
Seam Rippers – are one of the fundamental tools for a quilter, and they need to be safe and sharp. I like the seam rippers with a razor blade point, but it does get dull. There is a new model now available from Gingher that has a retractable blade – How smart is that! Especially since I often place the seam ripper on the quilt top when burying threads. Checker Item # G3779, List $28.00.
Checker Item #G3779
Don’t forget the replacement blades! Checker Item # 01-005706. List $13.00
Checker Item # 01005706
What about a new Cutting Mat! This one from Grace is actually 2 sided, and has a grid, measurements and registration lines for common angles. I prefer the 24”x36” (or larger) size because I often cut strips of fabric off the bolt, but they come in many sizes.
Checker Item #170171 List $59.95
Checker Item #170171
New Rotary Cutting tools are always a good idea, and Clover has a ‘Soft Grip’ feature which is really nice. Why not make it easier to hold and use the cutter? Available in 18mm, 28mm, 45mm and 60mm.
Checker Item # 7500CV (45mm) List $16.50
Checker Item #7500CV
Don’t forget the replacement blades! Get the 5-pack for added economy. Clover packages their replacement blades in a plastic case which makes it much safer to store blades, and safer to dispose of them. Checker Item #7509 List $26.00.
Checker Item #7509
There are lots of products that get worn out over time and need to be replaced – these are just a few. Having good tools makes it easier to deliver a good quilted product. As for New Years resolutions, how about encouraging yourself (or your customers) to try a new quilting technique this year. I will cover some products to help inspire you in the near future.
Always “checking” for a better way to quilt!