The Splendid Sampler™ II – Favourite tools and Giveaway

This week we are taking a break from posting a free pattern and instead I will be talking about some of our favourite tools we use for making the blocks.

One of my favourite notions for creating the perfect block is Aurifil Thread. Our friends at Aurifil are giving away a beautiful collection of threads (as pictured above), in various weights for piecing, embroidery, applique and quilting.

To enter take a photo of your favourite tool/notion and upload to this page, click the blue ‘Add your link’ button at the bottom of this post.

This is my collection of well-used notions that I commonly use making Splendid blocks. They all fit in a small tote, which I can carry with me and sew on the go.

  1. A small pressing board (with cutting board on the other side) and a mini iron: Having these tools next to me while I piece saves getting up and down to the ironing board, although the exercise would do me well. Pressing and starching small pieces helps tame the fabric and makes it a little easier to manage while piecing.
  2. Small, rotating cutting board: Rotating a piece of fabric while cutting out shapes saves the need for lifting and moving the fabric. I use this board for cutting around EPP shapes.
  3.  Milliner Straw needles, size 10: I like the length of these needles for hand stitching.  They are easier to hold between the thumb and first finger. The sharpness and the fine body of the needle assist in giving a beautiful applique stitch. 
  4. Sewline fabric pencil with ceramic leads: I like this pencil to mark fabric as it has a fine tip, smooth application and easy to remove. There are many products available for marking fabric. Always read the instructions and more importantly, read reviews and comments online regarding the pros and cons of each marker.
  5. Kay Buckley scissors: The 7.5″ applique scissors, are extremely sharp and can cut through layers of fabric. I use them for applique and to snip the ‘rabbit ears’ off blocks. I also have the smaller 4″ version (No 8). which are great for snipping threads while I am chain piecing.
  6. Fabric Glue Stick: I use this purposely built glue for English Paper Piecing, applique and foundation paper piecing. Very light and can be removed with water.
  7. The seam ripper: The most used notion in my sewing box would be my seam ripper or affectionally known as the ‘reversinator’ or the ‘unpicker’. I love my clover seam ripper as it has a thick handle and effortlessly rips through threads.
  8.  4″ Kay Buckley scissors: (see 5.)
  9. Pressing stick: This was a gift. A very handy tool for pressing seams if an iron is not available. 
  10. Creative Grids 6.5″ square ruler: Perfect for squaring up the Splendid blocks. It has easy to read markings and grips to hold it in place while cutting.
  11. Stiletto: A sharp, pointy stick is essential for holding pieces and seams down when sewing on the machine and your fingers are too big to grab the delicate pieces.
  12. Thimble: My trusty silver thimble protects my finger while doing handwork. I have had this thimble for years and it has moulded to the shape of my middle finger. There are many types of thimbles on the market from plastic to leather. Try a few before you decide on the right one.
  13. House pins: These pins are very fine but durable and with a very sharp tip. The heads are glass and heat resistant. Pinning is important for working with small pieces. It helps achieve accuracy, especially when matching seams and points.
  14. Add a 1/4″ ruler: Makes adding a 1/4″ easy when doing foundation paper piecing or EPP (English Paper Piecing). They come in 2 different sizes and now there is an Add 1/8″ rulers as well.
  15. Rotary cutters: I use the 45mm for cutting most fabric pieces but the 28mm is good for cutting around smaller templates. Used together with the rotating cutting mat, creating small pieces is a breeze. Some hints: Regularly, change your blades (or sharpen them), keep the cutting board clean, don’t press too hard when cutting and don’t use for another medium other than fabric.
  16. Apliquick tools: Lynette Anderson introduced me to these fascinating tools for needle turned applique. I like to use the iron on wash away product for applique and these tools are used to assist in glue basting and turning the fabric over the shape.

What are your favourite tools / notions?

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