This month we shared our favorite notions for cutting, sewing and quilting. Plus, two ChattMQG members traveled to QuiltCon in Pasadena, and we learned about two upcoming regional quilt shows.
Go-To Gadgets & Tools
"I can't believe you brought drug paraphernalia to our guild meeting!" someone exclaimed in jest. To say our meeting on our favorite quilting gadgets took an unexpected turn is an understatement. And no, we don't condone illicit activities, but a couple of unconventional tools gave us a good chuckle.
For Hand Quilting
Better known as a surgical tool, a hemostat can be a hand quilter's best friend. It pivots like scissors but does not cut. Instead, a set of interlocking teeth below the handles lets you control the gripping force of the tip.
Catherine Price recommends clamping it onto your needle to pull it through thick quilt layers with ease. Following her informative show-and-tell, another quilter, who shall remain anonymous to protect her identity, proclaimed, "That's a roach clip!" To each her own.
Other tools recommend for hand quilters include:
- Colonial Leather ThimblePads, used to stabilize a thimble (or worn in place of a thimble)
- Clover Embroidery Threader, used to easily thread needles with purl cotton
- Self-threading needles
At Your Machine
Rhonda Fulghum shared a very handy tip: convert your favorite paperback quilting books to spiral-bound! This makes it easier to open them to specific pages while you’re learning a new technique.
Rhonda also praised the handmade stiletto she received from Jean Larson, who used a large darning needle and Fimo Polymer Clay to make it.
Other handy tools to keep by your machine include:
- Zirkel Magnetic Pincushion
- That Purple Thang
- Clover Roll & Press (great for paper-piecing)
- A telescoping back scratcher, for the days when there is no one around to help you reach that one spot.
For Cutting and Trimming
A somewhat unconventional idea came from Sherry Leary: use a Quick-Grip clamp from the hardware store to lock your fabric into place when cutting long strips. Sherry stacks her cutting mat, fabric, and ruler along the edge of a table and clamps all three into place to prevent any shifting.
Other useful cutting tools include:
- Titanium rotary blades
- Karen Kay Buckley adjustable rulers (perfect for traveling to quilt retreats!)
- Creative Grids Stripology Squared Ruler (great for cutting binding strips)
- Quarter inch seam marker
To Make Free-Motion Quilting Easier
If you tend to shy away from quilting without a walking foot, several items can make free-motion more fun and less stressful. Denise Ohlman uses a Quilt Halo for support and control when she does FMQ; Catherine recommends a similar tool called Martelli Gripper Rings. Batt Scooters by Paula Reid can also help you keep a good grip on your quilt sandwich while it's under the needle.
- Directional/numbered pins, to organize your cutting/piecing piles
- Kwik Klip, to save your fingers during basting
- Clover Hera Marker, to mark your quilt top without the use of ink or chalk
- Quilter's Assistant Proportional Scale, to easily resize blocks
Blue Ribbon Winner
Congratulations to Mary Keasler, who won two first-place ribbons at this year's QuiltCon in Pasadena, California. She took the top prize in the American Patchwork & Quilting Flying Geese category for her quilt titled "Free Motion", and her "Mountain Town" quilt won the Small Quilts category. Click here to see all of this year's winning quilts.
Kelly Spell also had a quilt juried into the show. Her "Humuhumunukunukuapua'a" quilt was exhibited in the Small Quilts category.
Upcoming Quilt Shows
Speaking of quilt shows, there are two shows scheduled in the coming weeks that are an easy drive from the Chattanooga area.
Fiber Arts & Art Quilts at Cleveland Workspace: Friday, March 9 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cleveland Workspace is located at 445 Church Street in Cleveland, TN. Contact Karen Downer for more information. This exhibition coincides with "Stitches in Time" at the Museum Center at Five Points.
Original Sewing & Quilt Expo: Thursday, March 8 through Saturday, March 10 at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth, GA. Exhibit hall hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Recognition for Charity Work
We want to take a moment to recognize the work of Sara Bradshaw, a retired police officer and guild member who is working on quilts for Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.). The organization rescues victims of sex trafficking, and Sara committed to send 10 quilts to O.U.R. this year. The first group recently arrived at O.U.R. and the organization wrote a blog post about the donation. Sara's enthusiasm for the cause encouraged several guild mates to join her effort, and comments on the O.U.R. blog post indicate interest among quilters around the country. Bravo!
Habitat for Humanity
In addition, Sara sits on our newly formed Community Service Project Committee. She, Beverly Herron and Camille Miller will oversee the guild's work with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga Area this year. Last month, Sara completed a quilt top using brick blocks made by members for several 2017 Habitat quilts. It is in the queue to be quilted and will be donated to a homeowner later this year.
And Beverly volunteered to quilt a top she made; it was bound and labeled by Denise, who presented it to a homeowner during Habitat's first dedication ceremony of 2018. Stay tuned for more pictures!