Friday, June 13, 2014

Quilting Tools and a Tip!

Have car and sewing machine, will quilt anywhere! I quilt weekly on Thursday nights and monthly on Sundays, so I keep my car packed with my quilting stuff, so I am always at the ready. My travel machine is a Janome Gem Platinum. It is lightweight and works like a champ. I have a duplicate set of my most used quilting tools (rotary cutter, scissors, marking pens, needles, thread, etc.) that is kept in my traveling tool bag, which lives in my car. I even keep a specific quilt project in the car along with a back-up in case I get bored. Right now my "car project" is my Bargello Scrap Wave. You can see my first complete panel here.

In addition to the "normal stuff," here are some non traditional items that I use frequently in my quilting endeavors. First, I keep all my quilting supplies in a laundry basket in my trunk. The laundry basket keeps everything together and it has handles so it is easy to transport.
Got power? Here is one of my favorite things, my electrical cord reel. I love this baby. The cord retracts and it's got six plugs. What more could a girl ask for?

Lose something? I also love my plastic box with dividers. This one came from the Container Store. I keep it with my sewing machine. It holds all of the machine accessories and tools so I always know where they are. Note that I've used an address label to mark it.

Does your back hurt? Bed risers will make your table the perfect height for cutting or layering.
Some other favorite non traditional quilting tools include:
  • Post it notes (use for marking rows or remembering your place in a pattern)
  • clear plastic tape (somehow I use this constantly)
  • a calculator (because I can't do math)
  • blue painters tape (use for layering a quilt or marking for straight line quilting)
  • giant binder clips or clamps (use for layering a quilt)
  • a pencil sharpener
  • address labels (use for entering raffle quilt drawings or adding your name to a quilt shop mailing list as well as labeling everything you own)
  • label maker (when address labels just don't cut it, I make name labels for all of my rulers, plus I use this to label the contents of my quilt project boxes)
  • a cushion (because I'm usually too short for the table)
Here is a tip to keep you safe from harm. When you replace your rotary cutter blade, store it in the plastic case that the new one came in. Write "old blades" on it, so you don't use them the next time that you need one. I can fit several old blades in the package before it is full. You should never just throw your rotary blades in the trash, they are very sharp! I will tape the case shut before I throw it out.
I also used a Sharpie marker to write the date that I changed the blade, right on the blade. I do this on my refrigerator filter too. It's a great reminder!
I'm working on a couple of projects that I can't show you right now, so I hope that you enjoyed my quilting tool recommendations. Let me know what some of your favorite tools are.

Linking up on Friday to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Richard and Tanya Quilts, and Crazy Mom Quilts. Linking up on Sunday to Sew Darn Crafty. Thanks for visiting! A special welcome to my new followers!

Happy Friday!

Pugs and kisses,


  1. I love the idea of dating the rotary blades! I am for sure going to start doing that. One other non-traditional tool I can't live without is the one of my hubby's metal construction measuring tapes. It is so much easier to use for measuring quilts instead of a flimsy dressmaker's measuring tape!

  2. Great tips!! I love the bed riser thing! I've been using a 5' banquet table for my cutting and I have to lean over really far when cutting. Heading to the store tonight and picking up a set :-)

    ~ Jess ~
    Everything Is Coming Up Rosie

  3. This is a great list!! I love that cord reel!

  4. Sorry if you get multiple e-mails with this comment. Blogger ate my original one. I use the rotary cutter blade container hint, that way I don't accidentally grab and old one. Love painters tape it is the best. I don't go sew anywhere "yet" but the cord reel is a great idea too.

  5. Good tips, I do a similar thing with blades, But I store them in a 5 pack and sharpen them for some uses. Best $15 dollars I ever spent. It does make for lots of writing on the blades.

  6. I would like your car very much!! Love the idea of dating the blades!

  7. Hi, first-time visitor by way of Tanya and Richard's Link up. I bought a rotary blade sharpener and my husband does it as HE watches tv in the evenings for me. Your cord reel is a superb idea and one that shall be implemented immediately; thanks.

  8. Great List!! The cord reel is such a good idea. Hmm, wonder if I can "borrow" one from my hubby's stash. I do the same thing with my rotary blades, but I think my husband recycles them. Hope to see your secret projects soon!!

  9. Like you, I have been leaving my machine and projects in my car which is at night in a garage that is not attached to the house. I have been doing this since last fall and have noticed no problems with the sewing machine but my friends are appalled that I am not bringing the machine into the house. What do you think?

    1. Hi Ruth
      First, I guess it depends on where you live (climate-wise). My garage is also a separate building from my house. To clarify, I don't keep my machine in the car. It lives in the garage right next to the car EXCEPT in the winter, when I schlep it upstairs and keep it in my studio which I try to keep at least 50 degrees in the winter when I'm not using it. I had a disastrous experience many, many years ago, when I put my machine in the car for a machine applique class after work and parked my car (with machine) at the train station for the day. It was winter in New England and below freezing. My machine froze up and had to be repaired. So if I'm sewing during the winter and put my machine in the car to take to sew later at night, I bring the machine into my office so it doesn't get cold. I also don't keep my rotary mat in the car. I do have one that is half mat and half pressing station which folds in half. That is the one I bring with me in the summer months, because it folds, so it stays flat. Hope this helps. You are a no reply blogger, so hopefully, you'll check back here for your answer.

  10. This was very helpful. I do a similar thing with old needles. I put old needles in an empty case and put an X on it. Helps me keep track and dispose of them safely.

  11. I tried to buy one of the cable reels recently, but they didn't have one in my local shop. I can't keep things like your laundrey basket in my boot (trunk) as I drive a Mini! When I go to quilt guild meetings, I can get my machine in the boot, but that's all, everything else has to go on the back seat!