Monday, April 16, 2012

Toys for Monday

More Toys Tools

Fabric isn't the only thing that sings a siren song.  Gadgets are so much fun, and my husband actually understands the lure.  (Note:  most quilting gadgets are waay cheaper than a miter box or band saw!)

In the Pink

I always pre-wash yardage and fat quarters, which means bird's nests of raveled threads and a fair amount of lost fabric.  I've tried using my [40+ years-old] pinking shears on the edges before washing, and I thought my thumbs would fall off.

Enter the pinking blade for the rotary cutter. I may never use pinking shears again!

This 2-yard length of fabric was pinked in about one minute with the rotary.  It went through the wash with a regular load and came out smiling.  This is just how it came out of the dryer.  Sweet!

 And just how much fun it is this?!  Instead of those little dots of color in the selvage, they used little acorns!  You don't have to be a quilter to love little things like this.


Strip Show!

It seems no matter what I do, I have to re-align the cut edge of my fabric after cutting several strips.  That's OK if you're just cutting a bit for a Block-of-the-Month project, but if you have a lot of yardage to plow through, not much fun.  Last week I read a blog about some of the less-common but very cool quilters' tools.  That's where I found this June Tailor® Shape Cut™ ruler, including a video on how to use it to cut strips, squares, triangles, diamonds...

This ruler has slits every 1/2" (there's a larger size that has slits every 1/4").  Once you have it positioned and secure, you just slide your rotary cutter along the correct slits to get your strips.  You don't have to move the ruler at all, at least until you've reached the limit of the ruler's width.

Here is a close-up of one corner.  The teardrop opening lets you easily insert your cutter, but the slits are so narrow that the cut will be accurate.

I'm not sure when I'll get to put this puppy through its paces, since my current active projects are machine-quilting one quilt, making blocks for the Farmer's Wife quilt and a new sampler class.  This tool would have been a godsend when I was cutting the Otsego quilts!

Frog Sewing

I've had to do a lot of "frog sewing" lately as I am back at a challenging project.  "Frog sewing" is what Jenny Doan at the Missouri Star Quilt Co. calls it:  Rip-it, rip-it, rip-it!  This unpleasant job is a bit easier with this nifty ripper/tweezers that I first heard about on the Quiltville blog.  None of my area stores carried it, but there are lots of websites.  The price is around $9.  The tweezers really help to yank all those little threads that are left after you've ripped.
Slide to the left, it's a standard seam ripper.

Slide to the right, it's a broad-ended (~ 1/16") tweezers.

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