Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Sewing Room Finds at Dollar Tree

Do you find yourself wandering around Dollar Tree and Target, finding things you never knew you needed. Or is that just me? Today, I thought I'd share some of my favorite sewing room items that can be found for the low, low price of $1. (Affiliate links present, so if you make a purchase, I earn a small commission that doesn't affect what you pay.)

I like these Jot Stencil Brushes for the fuzzies I find when I pop off my stitch plate.

These small caddies are a nice size for keeping a seam ripper, stiletto, screwdriver, tweezers, etc. within arm's reach of the sewing machine. The larger size is good for project components and bigger notions.

These organizers are good for small notions, spools of thread, and bobbins.

Hang a quilt by attaching safety pins to the back and hooking them to adhesive hooks. Alternatively, tie a ribbon loop through the hole in your rotary cutter and use these to keep your cutting tools away from curious hands.

These metal hangers can be screwed into a wall or a bookshelf, and have skinny enough hooks so there isn't the need to add an additional loop to cutting tools.

Rather than attaching into the door or wall, you can also choose an over the door hooks.

There's a screw loose somewhere. Welp, maybe not. Use a small screwdriver set to change up preset feet or to assist in creating glue stick, needle turn appliqué.

I found these Jersey Gloves to be a good fit, though I'm partial to my Machingers for getting a better grip during free-motion.

Parchment paper can be used as a protective layer between fusible and your iron, and between fusible and the ironing board cover.

Large plastic bags are great for keeping projects in progress together between sewing sessions.

It's rarely a day when I'm not wearing new threads. Literally threads...
Lint rollers help.

Both starch and a mist of water are useful for pressing. Dollar Tree can hook you up with spray bottles for each.

So tell me, what did I miss? How do you repurpose budget items for quilting?

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Monday, November 18, 2019

Quilt Market: Benartex & Giveaway

I first met Christa Watson of Christa Quilt's through her blog. Later I met the inspiring industry supporter in person at Quilt Market. She never fails to express genuine interest in helping connect and supporting those new to the business. This year she was one of the Threads of Success presenters, and I can see how she would be a great fit for the new convention. Christa's new fabrics, GeoPop and Gridwork were on full display within her patterns.

First up is String of Pearls.

The Infrastructure Quilt has its own Quilt Along on Christa's blog. Here it is made up in two different fabric styles.

The projects for Christa's vibrant fabrics continued.

Behold the color-changing quilt! Ok, it might actually be two Terrace Tiles quilts.


Lynn and Pam of The Stitch TV, created Dapper using Bowtie blocks and Gridwork fabrics combined with solids.

This one is adorable, but I'm uncertain about the pattern information. Turns out "bee" is a problematic search term among quilting websites (quilting bee, queen bee, quilt bee blocks, etc.).

The Bling Quilt is a fun scrappy design.

Let's take an intermission before I show you around the Benartex Quilt Market booth and have a little giveaway, shall we. I'm offering an Infrastructure pattern, a Sample Pack of Benartex Fall 2019 Fabrics, a fat quarter of Geo Pop, some itty bitty 2" squares of Gridwork, and some mini charms of Geo Pop. Enter using the widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It's no shocker that Christa's corner of the Benartex booth was lovely.

Ah ha! An Infrastructure Quilt sighting!

Amanda Murphey shared her First Frost holiday collection, bringing black into the family of holiday hues as a neutral.

Speaking of the holidays, there was Joy contrasting with summery Choose to Shine by Cherry Guidry.

Mabon by Shelley Cavanna of Cora's Quilts is luscious and deep. The pattern on the left, Apple Blossoms, is completely gorgeous.

What caught your eye in the Benartex booth?

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Sunday, November 17, 2019

Holiday Gift Guide for Quilters

Now is about the time I start figuring out holiday presents for family and friends, and pulling together my wish list. If you or someone you love is a quilter, I have some ideas (affiliate links included)....

Without thread, nothing is getting sewn together. That makes it a list topper here. I have a whole lot of Aurilove, so I'm recommending the Necessities Large Aurifil House Collection Thread Box for piecing. You really can't go wrong with Aurifil in any color of 50 wt.

Pressing is a major determiner in block flatness, so having a really nice iron makes all the difference. I treated myself to an Oliso a few years ago, and haven't looked back. I love that it pops up so there's no need to prop it up on its hindquarters between each and every block unit. No more scorched ironing board covers! Now there's an Oliso mini iron that even includes steam. The cord wraps neatly around  its attachable trivet, and it can hang up when not in use. It's prefect for compact sewing areas and workshops. I did need to prime the pump for the steam feature, so on the first use, compress the steam buttons several times to get the water through the system.

OLFA tools are Fat Quarter Shop's notions of the month and are priced 30% off in November. Hurry, because supplies are being depleted quickly with this sweet of a deal. I recommend the new navy mats (the bigger, the better) and a Splash 45 mm. For bonus points, throw in an Endurance Blade replacement.

Speaking of tools, you can even outfit your quilter while feeling quite handy. Harbor Freight gives you some great excuses to make cross-applications. Pick up a 4" Magnetic Parts Holder, and call it a pin dish.

Refer to the 20" Rolling Tool Bag as a sewing machine travel case.

Speaking of travel, I always take the Omnigrid Quilter's Travel Case. One of these outfitted with the essentials would make you a jolly right elf. Add the Ultimate Sewing Notions Kit along with a rotary cutter and some snips.

To up a quilter's Half Square Triangle game, the 6.5" Bloc_Loc and a rotating mat are key. They are a nice addition that makes life oh so much easier.


All quilts need batting. I'm a fan of The Warm Co. and their moderatly priced, quality products.

This one is a bit of a giveaway, but a nice machine is a real game-changer. When I started quilting, I thought more stitches must mean a better machine. Later on in my quilt life, I realized that what matters more is a beautiful straight-stitch, speed, an easy to acquire 1/4", and throat space to get a bigger quilt through. A knee lift, an automatic thread cutter, an automatic needle threader, and a large extension table are gravy. The Juki TL 2010Q is a favorite straight-forward quilting machine price under $1,000.

Janome makes a very reliable machine too.

Personally, I'm a Bernina girl. The 530 is a nice pick.

For those who want to edge into long-arm territory, Sewing Machines Plus has a November special (currently over 50% off) on the HQ Sweet 16 that includes the table overlay and Truestitch Regulator. They also carry full-fledged long-arm models.

If your quilter is all set with a great machine, the next step is furniture. Arrow makes a nice selection of choices including the Aussie II, which extends to 31.5 square feet of sewing space or can pack down into an inconspicuous cabinet.

As an educator, I'm all about the gift of learning. Consider wrapping up a year's membership to a local guild, or a subscription to a learning platform such as Creativebug or Bluprint.
Quilt shops tend to have awesome sells at the onset of the new year, so a quilter can stock up their stash if they are at the ready with a giftcard to their favorite quilt shop. Set them up for success in 2020, while letting them pick up whatever specific materials and notions they've been longing for. I'm on the look-out for a Fat Quarter Shop special on gift cards just before Christmas hits.

For the aspiring quilt designer, or really anyone who like to reverse-engineer or customize quilts, EQ8 is the go-to software. You can scan in fabric, draw up designs, calculate fabric requirements, print templates, and a multitude of other amazing functions. All my designs go to EQ8, where I make images I can pull apart in Inkscape to write my patterns. I really couldn't do what I do without EQ.

Those are my big ideas for now, but I'll update if I hear of more specials or come up with other great ideas.

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