Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Tool Replacement: Sad But Necessary

Happy Tuesday, can you believe we are halfway through September already? Me neither, and my next two weeks are crazy busy, both in the shop and in my personal life. At the shop we have our Kickoff for Bag Club this week, Saturday is National Sew A Jelly Roll Day, next week is Shop Hop which always seems to be a big start to everyone's sewing season.
At my house we had a dentist appointment for one of my boys yesterday, thankfully he got the all clear and doesn't need to go back for a good 6 months, although to be honest I don't think he has any teeth left to get a cavity in we got so many fixed last year. This morning was vaccination day for my youngest, but aside from a few tears and an angry glare given to the nurse he was totally fine. My husband happened to book the their company retreat for the same weekend as Shop Hop and I am supposed to go with him so I will be missing out on most of Shop Hop.
I am sure that some of you go through and make lists of things you need to look for while visiting all the shops next week and although these are not always the most fun items to buy I am going to suggest a few things.
Rulers, although we often think we buy one and we are set this is unfortunately untrue, rulers wear out and if they are not replaced they can make your blades wear out, as well as give you uneven cuts. If you run your finger up the sides of your ruler and feel any sort of bumps or nicks it is time to replace your ruler. Now this may surprise you but I do not recommend and never even use a 24" long ruler in my own quilting. I like a 12" or 18" much better and just fold my fabric in half, I can get a smoother cut this way, as long as the fold matches up with the selvage I know I will not get any waves in my cut strips. I also highly recommend a smaller ruler that fits nicely in your hand for any trimming, it will be a lot easier to maneuver. One other ruler I suggest is a square up ruler, in the size of block you make the most, be it 6", 9", 12" or even 18", these square rulers are excellent to ensure you are getting a nice square block with the center of the block actually in the center. I am sure you can guess this but my favorite ruler brand is Creative Grids, they have a non-slip grip on the back that allows you to slide the ruler over fabric, but as soon as pressure is applied will stay in place. The markings are very clear and easy to see, and the ruler itself is a great clear plastic.
Wool Mats, if you do not own a wool mat I suggest you put it on your list of items to look into. The mats hold heat, so when you go to press that seam, you are essentially pressing it from both sides, the result, a nice crisp seam every time! I will not press without one anymore. They come in a variety of sizes from smaller squares to large enough to cover your entire ironing board!
 Cutting Mats, we don't usually think about getting a new mat, after all they are self healing. However a cutting mat can only last so long. An old mat can damage your cutting blades and wear them out all too soon. At Chicken Feed we love our cutting mats from the Accuquilt company, these mats have proven to be great quality, are nice and thick and are double sided so you can use them twice as long, and they are a great price. We have them in the 18x24 and 24x36 sizes.
Rotary Blades and needles are the obvious tools needed to replace, both are supposed to be switched out each time you start a new project, but I know we all push it longer than that. I replace my needle every time I change my bobbin. I generally change my blade every week or two.
One last item is thread, good quality thread is essential, it is what holds your entire project together. A good quality thread will result in fewer thread breaks and less lint build up.
When is the last time you got yourself a brand new ruler or cutting mat? Or a new rotary cutter in a fun color with a brand spankin' new blade in it/

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