A blog about my interests, which include fabric landscapes and various and assorted other artsy pursuits and sometimes known to contain mumblings of a random nature.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Tools of the trade

Today I thought I'd do a bit of mumbling about some of the tools I find invaluable for my crazy quilting.  First of all, here's a picture...

Of course we all need a pair of good sharp scissors and these are my, small and they also have a small point which I have to admit I often use in place of a 'real' stitch ripper ( this an example as do as I say and not as I do??). 

Next is a pair of small pliers.  Sometimes, when I'm stitching through something that's thick those pliers come in handy to pull the needle through (particularly with my arthritic fingers sometimes).  I also have a small pair of cutters (which I forgot to photograph) for clipping the backs from buttons or taking jewelry pieces apart.

The little blue box is a product called 'Thread Heaven'  which is a thread conditioner and protectant.  I use it every time I am stitching with metallic thread because it cuts down in fraying.  It's also wonderful with the rayon or nylon threads.  The product is almost like a really thick gell (perhaps the texture of a lip balm that comes in the tube). 

I have varying colours of spools of beading thread which is perfect for stitching down beads and various jewelry pieces.  It's quite strong and, although coloured, is quite clear so it doesn't stand out in your stitching.

A roll of 1/4" green painter's tape.  Why would I use that?  Well, I use it to mark my seams so that they are even.  It's low-tack so it doesn't leave a residue on your fabric.  I wouldn't recommend leaving it in place for a long time, but for the duration of stitching a seam it is perfect.  Do NOT attempt to use regular masking tape because it does leave a sticky residue which attracts dirt. 

Waste Canvas, 14 count,  is one of my favourite products.  It is wonderful for keeping your stitching even.  I simply cut a piece that is long enough to cover my seam area and baste it in place.  I then stitch my pattern (being careful not to pierce the canvas threads as I stitch), remove the basting threads and then use a pair of tweezers to pull the shorter side of the canvas threads out.  Then you just grasp the remaining (longer) threads and give them a gentle pull to remove them.  Do not wet the canvas (despite that being the usual way to remove them).  I find you end up with a gooey mess if you do. 

Graph paper - pretty obvious I guess.  I draw up my pattern ideas before I stitch so I know what I'm doing.  Of course that's not to say that I don't sometimes change my mind when I do the actual stitching!

Now, it's over to you..
what tools do you find invaluable 
in your stitching?
Please share!!


  1. To most of these, add a tack hammer and a roofing nail for me! stitching through handmade paper on pieces I made for last year's show involved piercing the design so that I could get my needle through it to couch threads in place. Noisiest piece of embroidery ever!

    And then there are crochet hooks for now and then fishing thread through the back of a stitch.

  2. My glass of wine or the G& cant do ones best work without one to
    I really must get some of that Thread Heaven..........!

  3. Chocolate! LOL!!! And gel pens. Gel pens will mark almost any fabric and the stitching covers up the marks. And they come in so many colors there's always one that will show up. I bought a huge set of them at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon so I got mine for $6.00.

    And did I mention Chocolate?


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