Tag Archives | tools

New Supplies in the Shop.

I have some new supplies in the shop, and I thought I’d pop in to share a bit more about them.

CF Handy Guide . carolyn friedlander

CF Handy Guide

First up is a brand-new little tool I’ve been working on. I’m calling it the CF Handy Guide, because it’s just that–handy. It’s my take on the classic seam gauge, but with the quilter specifically in mind.

CF Handy Guide . carolyn friedlander

There’s something nice about a measuring tool that can fit in the palm of your hand, and this one is kept compact for that reason. Use it when checking in on the 1/4″ basting step in my appliqué patterns or to measure anything starting at 1/8″ and up.

The angled side at the bottom features a 120 degree angle–or that of a hexagon. If you’re piecing hexagons (or my hexagon project Arlo) and want to mark your points, it’s there at 1/4″ and 3/8″. The Arlo templates have these references as well, but here’s just another way to use it. You could use those reference lines to mark out a seamline too.

There are holes for marking corners 1/8″ to 1″. The little tabs that go out from the sides are great for marking seam allowances, etc, and the running measurement at the top is good for longer dimensions too.

It’s made of a rigid, clear plastic with a hang hole that you can thread a ribbon through or hang on its own. I’ve been meaning to thread one through a necklace to wear when sewing away, plus I think it’d be cute. Anyway, it’s handy! Let me know what you think. You can find it in the shop here.

Other New Supplies in the Shop

These other supplies are my go-tos. I don’t know about you, but with the reshuffle in the world over the last 6 months some things have been a bit harder to come by. Plus, I know that it’s often the small stuff like random needles, thread and other notions that can be a) hard to source, and b) hard to source all in one place. Here I wanted to make available my favorite things so you can get what you may need without any trouble.

That said, I recently updated my Needle Turn Appliqué tools list, which you can check out here.

Pins, Needles and Clips

My favorite Clover appliqué pins are now in the shop. They are insanely handy.

Clover Appliqué Pins

The needles (also by Clover) that I love are now in the shop. These are my go-tos for appliqué, sewing binding and any other general hand sewing.

Clover Gold Eye Appliqué Needles

My favorite thimbles for hand appliqué and hand sewing (not hand quilting) are in the shop here. They are adhesive leather pads that can be reused again and again and again. I keep one stuck on a tin of thread gloss or my scissor case so it’s there when I need it. One pad lasts a surprisingly long time. If you are someone who feels like thimbles are clumsy or cumbersome, this one is easy to forget you are wearing. I have walked away from projects still wearing it many times.

Colonial Thimble Pad

I’ve added the small Clover clips that I use when cutting out any appliqués that require folding. The small size and strong grip allow for the perfect mix of doing the job while not getting in the way.

Clover Mini Wonder Clips

Marking Tools

In stock are my three favorites in this category as well; Frixion Red, Navy and the Gelly Roll in White. Big disclaimer on this and on all marking tools–always test your marking tools. That said, I use these to mark shapes that will be a) cut out and b) usually marked on the wrong side of the fabric. I am much less concerned about the removability and whether or not the marks will come back in these scenarios. The white pen is not removable, but given the situation I described above, that doesn’t matter to me. What is more important is how easily it marks on fabric and how clearly it shows up on the dark fabrics.

Also, the Frixion pens are the clicker style. That is totally my preference. If I’m going to pick something to offer to you, it’s going to be exactly the thing I want to use. Caps can be annoying, right?

Pilot Frixion Clicker Navy

Hand Quilting

The right tools make a big difference–especially when it comes to handwork. This is why I’m forever trying new things, plus I’m a total nerd on this kind of stuff. New needles that I have been LOVING lately are the Olympus Sashiko needles, which are available in a 2 pack or 4 pack. I started with the 2 pack, and I most often use the shorter needle, but the longer one is great too. (These are the needles I’ve been hand quilting my Hunt QAL project as well as Clay.)

Olympus Sashiko Needle 2 pack

I still love the Colonial Big Stitch Needle pack, and so it’s available here. It’s just a good mix of sizes with a big eye to accommodate the larger threads.

Colonial Big Stitch Quilting Needle Pack

Unfortunately I’m already out of the bright yellow thread that I used in Clay, but I plan to get more in later this month. I’ll keep you posted on that.

I hope these new shop additions make sewing a little easier and more comfortable for you. Feel free to reach out and let me know what you think!

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Kai Scissors in the Shop and a Look at My Favorite Scissors.

Kai 7230 Scissors

In all of my appliqué classes, we start with a little tool talk. I’m generally cautious to push too many tools, but in cases where it’s important, I do. With handwork, this is especially true, because you can literally feel the impact of everything that you are using.

Kai 7000 series scissors

While scissors are essential when sewing, they are especially critical with appliqué–or at least in how I do a lot of my appliqué since it often involves cutting multiple layers of intricate shapes at once. It’s in cases like this where you really notice which tools are working and which ones aren’t.

It wasn’t until I was demo-ing at an event when my previous scissors failed in front of a class. That was embarrassing! At home, it can be easy to write things off as not a huge deal, but when you’re showing someone else how to do something, it’s suddenly very clear when something isn’t working. My scissors weren’t cutting to the tip, and I was very annoyed.

After that, I was on a mission to find something that would work better, and not to bore you with the details, I ended up finding exactly what I needed in Kai. The brand is incredible, their products are of the best quality, and most importantly, they stand by their product. If anything gets dull or worn down, you can send it in, and they’ll sharpen it for you at a reasonable cost. Since my previous pair of scissors could not be sharpened, I was especially enticed by something that I wouldn’t need to buy again.

At the risk of this post coming across as an infomercial, I still wanted to share it all with you, because I get asked this stuff all of the time, and it is important. Tools matter. Since these have made such a difference for me, I decided to start carrying my favorites in the shop. With them being a super new addition, I thought I’d go over what we have.

Yay, for Kai!

Kai 7230 Scissors

First up is my first pair. After trying everything on their demo table, I arrived at the 9″ tailoring shears, and I’m happy to report that years later they are still my favorite–and they actually haven’t needed sharpening yet. Bonus.

Kai 7230 Scissors

It’s the right size for cutting my appliqué projects, the blades are super sharp and the cut is incredibly smooth. If you have plans to start a Kai arsenal, this is definitely my recommended first purchase.

Kai 7230 Scissors

We can continue chronologically, because somehow my own arsenal has grown parallel to how I’d prioritize them. Of course, your needs might be different, but hopefully this will give you an idea!

My next couple of pairs were their basic 4″ scissors. I grabbed up both their regular and serrated options. After getting just 1 of each, I realized I needed a pair for every handwork spot in my house and every travel bag. They’re lightweight, sharp and perfectly handy for thread clipping and fabric snipping.

Kai 5100 Scissor

Serrated vs non-serrated is a question of preference that I’m not sure I’ve ever decided on. I guess I don’t need to draw any conclusions, because I have and use both, all the time. A serrated blade grips the fabric as it cuts, and a smooth blade glides as it cuts.

Kai 5100 Scissor

A couple of years ago, Kai added a couple of smaller sizes to their 7000 series–my favorite series–which in my opinion, was exactly the right move. I quickly grabbed up all sizes to try.

These first two (7170 and 7150) are really great. They fill the need for a 7230-like scissor, but smaller, for those more intricate cuts. For projects like Alturas, these are my preference.

The 7170 has a 6 2/3″ blade and is a little bit longer.

Kai 7170 Scissor

The added length of this pair might make me like them slightly more than the 7150, but they are both really great.

Kai 7170 Scissor

By the way, both the 7170 and 7150 are great for clipping fabrics when garment sewing. Garment fabrics range from anything thick to thin, stretchy to super stable, and so I always have one of these nearby when I’m cutting out a garment. (Side note if you’re curious, I usually cut out garments with a rotary cutter, flat on my cutting table. I use scissors like these for snipping match points, grading seams, etc.)

Kai 7000 series scissors

The 7150 has a 6″ blade, which is just slightly shorter.

Kai 7150 Scissor

A lot of this just comes down to your own preference when cutting. A shorter blade gives you more control on smaller, more intricate shapes, whereas a longer blade allows you to cut further more smoothly.

Kai 7150 Scissor

Last up is the 7100, which is a 4 1/4″ blade. These are like the luxurious version of the 5100. They’re a bit beefier, the handles are much more comfortable and the blades are of the same high-quality as the other 7000 series scissors.

Kai 7100 Scissor

They are snips that pack a punch.

Kai 7100 Scissor

There we go. That’s the scissor tour (and PSA). If you have any questions, leave a comment or shoot me an email. Kai stands by all of their scissors, and you can send them back to Kai for sharpening at a reasonable price. Personally, I’m over buying disposable goods and into investing in things that I can use for a long time.

Kai Scissors

Kai 7000 series scissors

Happy cutting!

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Aurifil Thread Sets in the Shop.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 50wt Thread Favorites

Thread makes such a difference in a project. I’ve known this to be true as soon as I made the switch from using whatever random thread that I had on hand to making a deliberate effort to use what wouldn’t cause me problems. I know, that sounds super obvious, but as I think we’ve all experienced, you don’t really know this until you’ve experienced it first hand.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 50wt Thread Favorites

After trying many types and brands of thread, I landed on using Aurifil for most everything. I discovered that I had fewer problems with tension, thread breaking and overall consistency.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 50wt Thread Favorites

When the opportunity to put together some sets came up, it was an easy decision, because it was already what I was using. My first sets came out a few years ago, and more recently, I’ve been able to put together some new ones, which I’ve finally added to my shop.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 50wt Thread Favorites

The 50wt cotton is my go-to for

+ basting (in appliqué)

+ any piecing (by machine or sometimes hand–although I’ll hand piece with 80wt also)

+ machine quilting

It’s reliably consistent, strong and the colors are beautiful. With the sets, I also try to cover a useful range that can work with many different projects, coordinate with my fabrics and just be pretty to look at.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 50wt Thread Favorites

There’s a larger set with 12 big spools, as well as a smaller set with 10 small spools.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 50wt Thread Favorites

I basically live off of the larger spools, and the smaller spools I find to be handy for travel–or if you’re just wanting a taste of a certain color.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 50wt Thread Favorites

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 50wt Thread Favorites

For appliqué, I’m a MASSIVE fan of the 80wt cotton. I do a lot of appliqué, and it is always what I use. Always.

In fact, I was able to test their 80wt thread while it was under development, and I was so hooked that I basically refused to use anything else even if the color didn’t work. At the time, I only had 1 color–which was similar to the cream (top, right) in the pic below, and in using it, I realized that the fineness meant fewer colors could serve a wider range of needs.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 80wt Thread Appliqué

It’s great, because you get the benefits of it being all cotton, but a thinness that totally disappears into your project.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 80wt Thread AppliquéUsing a thinner thread makes you appear more skillful, because your stitches disappear more easily while still being quite strong.

I thought really hard about this set, because I wanted the most essential range of colors that would be ready for most any project you were working on. With handwork being so portable, the smaller spool is great, and having the right mix of colors is even better.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 80wt Thread Appliqué

And by the way, I recently discovered that the smaller petal pouch (by Noodlehead) fits these spools perfectly!

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 80wt Thread Appliqué

This last set is a really fun one–it’s a combination of 12wt cotton and aurifloss.

Aurifil 12wt Aurifloss Set . Carolyn Friedlander

The 12wt cotton is great for big stitch quilting. I love the look and feel of textured, colorful big stitches, and this thread just glides through a project.

Aurifil 12wt Aurifloss Set . Carolyn Friedlander

The Aurifloss is great for embroidery or other embellishments, like what I did here on some Crew pincushions.

Aurifil 12wt Aurifloss Set . Carolyn Friedlander

Aurifil 12wt Aurifloss Set . Carolyn Friedlander

All of these sets can be found in the shop, and all of them come with free domestic and discounted international shipping.

Happy sewing!

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