It's probably been done to death - a list of favorite quilting tools on a blog. But I personally haven't done it, seeing that my blog is only a few days old, so there. And with the recent admission by several friends of a childhood crush on Captain von Trapp, "My Favorite Things" just keeps dancing in my head and will not let go until I list my own favorites. (For the record, while CvT is quite dreamy, I was more of a Rolf girl, myself - who wouldn't love dancing in a gazebo in the rain with the love of their life? Until he declares loyalty to Hitler, anyway. Then the fantasy abruptly ends.)
Anyway, sure all quilters and designers have their own favorite gadgets, notions, tools, etc. Being a low tech sort of chick myself, my tools might not be as upscale (read, expensive) as some, but I hope you might try one or two! So now, in no particular order, my favorite quilting things:
1. My cutting table. It was designed and built by my darling husband in one weekend about 10 years ago, after I had had a particularly horrible series of events happen to me almost all at once and he just wanted to make me happy. The memory of his wanting to do such a lovely thing for me is only part of the reason I love it. The other part is that it is huge. An army of small children could play hide and seek among all the sterilite containers of fabric on its lower shelf, and the top is big enough for one of those enormous cutting mats plus an ironing area, plus plenty of room for several UFOs and my current projects. It isn't fancy, but it is awesome.
2. Alene's Jewel It. Anyone who knows me as a quilter IRL knows that I am fairly obnoxious about my love for this stuff. One might think I get kickbacks from the company the way I can go on and on about it for 15 minutes at a time, complete with demos if the conversation even remotely warrants. One would be wrong. My love is pure and unadulterated by payback. And yours will be too if you try it. For embellishment of beads, buttons, bows, baubles, and even things that don't start with B, you cannot find a better glue. It dries completely clear, holds just about anything, and is, as I like to say ad nauseum, like hot glue only cold. Making it ideal for kid projects that require more than Elmer's as well.
3. The Shape Cut ruler. It's not new. But it's awesome. I will admit I haven't tried the Accu-quilt Go! system, but loving my shape cut doesn't make me feel like am missing out. It's great for cutting any basic quilting shape (and comes with instructions on how to do so) and especially great for making strips of random sizes without having to think. Most people don't do that often, but I do in a couple of my favorite designs, Pick Me! and Syncopated Ribbons. So to me it is invaluable.
4. Pandora.com. My husband and I got turned onto this website recently and do believe it is brilliant. You plug in any musical artist or genre, and pandora creates a never-ending playlist around that theme especially for you. While Joe prefers Hank Williams or Conway Twitty while he works, I personally would rather poke holes in my eardrums with my pins. So I comandeer the computer and problem solved - soon I am slicing fabric and gluing on crystals to the dulcet sounds of the kids from Glee or Daughtry instead. Awesomeness.
5. My sewing machine's needle threader. Truly, I do not know how I survived before I had a machine with this completely invaluable device. Answer - I was younger then, and could see. Now I am on the downside of 40 (although not by a lot, mind you) and without the needle threader I am certain I would spend more time finding the itty bitty teeny weeny hole in the needle than actually getting any sewing done. Sometimes I break a thread just for the joy of rethreading it.
6. Monday mornings. Before you go throwing rotten tomatoes at me, try to see where I am coming from. All weekend long I am chasing children, answering random questions such as "Mom, can we go for a bike ride then hike a mountain then do a craft then plan my birthday party then stay up all night?" and "Can you please drop everything to study the calendar intently with me for the next 3 hours?," and am generally crazed without even a moment to quilt, contemplate quilting, or think straight. Now, I absolutely adore my family and 99% of the time (well, to be totally truthful, probably 85-90% of the time) they are nothing but joyous to be with. But by Monday morning, I need peace. I need quiet. I need desperately to piece in quiet. And I get to do that at 8:37 every Monday morning. I heart Mondays.
7. Wonderfil verigated thread. I've tried others, I love this one the most. It just seems to like me too - it doesn't break on me, and it comes in a huge array of colors.
8. My guild membership card. I joined Squanicook Colonial Quilt Guild (more affectionately known as The Squanicookies) in 1999. I was practically a baby then, as was the guild, which was about 70 or so members strong. We've grown to about 200 now, and it's still a place where I can feel free to be creative, be myself, and quilt my face off. The array of talent in this group is incredible and I have learned so much just by being with them.
So there you have it - my favorite things about and for quilting. So what would you add? Sound off below!