Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tool Time!

Several of my favorite blogs have been talking about tools this week, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and share a few of mine with you.

First up is my favorite pair of scissors: my Fiskars Softouch Micro-Tip Scissors.

(available at Joann's)

When we moved into our current house last summer, I was about five months pregnant.  While I was able to help a little bit with our packing, my dear sweet hubby did the majority of the work.  In the process my favorite small pair of scissors got misplaced, and when I couldn't find the same pair in the stores, I bought these as what I thought would be a sub-par replacement.  HOWEVER, I've grown to love these things.  The handles are more comfortable and ergonomically correct, which makes cutting apart hundreds of chain-pieced blocks a much easier task.  The blades are so sharp that they can easily and neatly cut through fabric, which means that sometimes I can use them instead of moving over to the rotary cutter.  Also, the tips are so fine and sharp that I can use these as a seam ripper too.  I had know idea when I bought them that they'd be so versatile.

As far as rotary rulers go, I have several specialty rulers that I love, but if I could only keep three, I would keep my ....

#1 - Fiskars 6" x 24" ruler:
(available at Joann's)

This was the first rotary ruler I bought when I started quilting in 2008 and I use it with every single quilt I make.  I like that it is just tall enough to cut lengths of fabric from the bolt (while the fabric is still folded in half) with just an inch at the bottom and the top to keep things square.  I also love that it has the 30, 45, and 60 degree angles marked on it, and marked on both sides.  Very useful!

#2 - Wright's EZ Square Jr 6.5" x 6.5" square:
(available at Joann's)

I know that many people prefer to use a 12" x 12" square, but this little guy is my favorite.  I think it's the perfect size for cutting smaller blocks, and the 45 degree angles make trimming half-square triangles and square blocks a sinch!! By the way, if I could pick four rulers, #4 would be Wright's EZ 6.5" Angle...

#3 - June Taylor's 12" x 12" Shape Cut:

(available at Walmart)

I love, love, love this ruler!  It makes cutting multiple strips and hundreds of squares just fly by!  Plus, I find that my squares end up so much more accurate when I use this ruler.  I'm just starting off on a new Full-Sized Double Irish Chain quilt that uses 2.5" squares, so this tool is going to save me HOURS!!

Speaking of cutting, I have not one, but two favorite rotary cutting mats, as well.  My first is my ...

OLFA 24" x 70" Rotary Mat
I got mine at Joann's several years ago for Christmas, but I'm not finding it right now.  The mat almost covers my sewing table, so that no matter where I'm working, I have a rotary mat underneath me - so handy!!

My other favorite mat is my ...

OLFA 17" Spinning Rotary Mat:
(available at Joann's)

I held off on purchasing this one for quite awhile, as I wasn't sure how much I'd actually use it.  And while I don't use it too often, when I have projects that require trimming multiple blocks or squaring squares, etc., this mat is invaluable!  It is so much easier to lay a block out once, trim two sides and then rotate the cutting mat to trim the other sides, rather than re-positioning each block with each cut.  This saves hours too!!

I haven't really purchased many quilty gadgets lately, though, and would love to know, what are your favorite tools?

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