My New Favorite Tools

Christmas was good to me this year. I received two gifts that have quickly become my favorite tools. The first is a pair of tweezers that a dear friend sent to me. They have a fine tip and are wonderful for pulling threads taut to be able to clip closely to the fabric and also for frogging. They are a permanent fixture in my sewing apron pocket now. You can find the Famore Micro Fine Tweezers at IHaveANotion.com

The second gift was from my sister who sent these scissors by Joyce Chen. Not only do they work right or left handed, but the grip is large and open and very comfortable. And the scissors cut everything like butter–they are so smooth and sharp. When I looked them up, the descriptions are that they are kitchen scissors–but believe me, they cut fabric like no other. They are attached to my sewing apron and nest in the pocket.

Famore Micro Fine Tweezers and Joyce Chen scissors
Famore Micro Fine Tweezers and Joyce Chen scissors

Information Overload — OR NOT–Tools that Help

It seems the quilting world has boomed with information and keeping it all sorted out is quite a challenge. Things that are hardest for me are wading through email and my blog reader. Thus far, I have used many different tools for doing this including sorting by search and sorting by mailbox and blog readers, but am still overwhelmed by all the information. However, there are three tools that have become very helpful to me and I’d like to share them with you: Google documents, Evernote, and Pinterest.

Gmail and Google documents work together quite well now. What I have found is that at the top of the gmail window in the icon bar, there’s a “More” button. In the dropdown box there’s a command “Create a document” and that allows me to create a Google document from the email. I have been using this to save important information including travel itineraries, software receipts, and serial numbers. I can create my own set of directories and labels and can rename the email/document so that the name tells me immediately the content of the document. Once it’s in Google documents, the original email can be deleted. And the information is accessible from any computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Evernote is the nicest tool for storing ideas, but even greater is it’s ability to keep track of tips and tutorials and all sorts of reference information. I have been using it for a couple of years now and recently upgraded to the Premium membership. It works on the concept of tags and allows the creation of new tags as part of the clipping process. It is not social media per se, but a personal notebook system. There are multiple screen views , but the one I use has tags as an index on the left column, a list of clips in the next column, and a preview of the selected clip on the right. Thus, one can visually search by tag or just by going through clips and looking for a photo. The clipper tool allows one to clip a URL, a selection, a complete page, or the article on the page. One of the nice things about this is the ability clip only the relevant information without extraneous and unnecessary information such as ads. The information one stores in Evernote can be accessed from any computer, tablet,  or smart phone. The only hard part was that I use multiple browsers and have multiple computers, so had to setup the clipper on each.

And now we have Pinterest. I have only had it for a week or two, but am finding that it’s a great place to store ideas. Back in the days when most information was in magazines, I used to clip photos and ideas from magazines and newspapers and taped them into an idea journal. This is a wonderful way to create an idea journal via browser–and the bonus is that your friends share their journals with you.

Trying something new

Don’t forget – LAST DAY FOR TURTLE GIVEAWAY – leave a comment here and LIKE the Accuquilt Facebook Page for a chance to win.

 

Today’s post is about trying new things. The challenge of finding the best technique is never-ending. Judy Danz mentioned to me that she has been using glue sticks instead of fusible for machine embroidery applique. I also have used glue stick on some things – like door hangers, but never on more delicate applique. So, I decided to give it a try. With Judy’s technique, she starches the fabric before cutting the applique, then uses glue stick around the edge of the wrong side of the applique. I used glue stick on the background just inside the die line. My method was a bit messier, but my fabric had not been starched, and I was afraid I would stretch it. But I wanted to show you the results. I love this method–it leaves the applique so much softer. Because of the number of stitches and the length of the stitch into the fabric, I do not believe the fabric will fray. I already washed the flower that is shown below, and it looks as good as new. What do you think?

Applique applied with glue stick

 

One important thing is that I really did manipulate the fabric to make sure that it came all the way out to the stitched die line. Because it is softer without fusible on the back, that was easier to do. I also used my mini iron to press the glued applique piece onto the background so that it would quickly dry.

Remember, these craft glue sticks are just starch, so they wash out very easily, leaving your work soft and beautiful.

Another turtle – and last day to Vote for the Barn Quilt Block

I’m having a lot of fun reading everyone’s comments and have started sending out embroidery files. I extended the giveaway through Friday and will send files out for comments posted through Friday, April 22. In the meantime, I made a couple more turtles – just for a little variety – here is a photo of one.

Star turtle