Are there things in your studio that you use all the time? Books you'd never purge from your library? Tools you can't live without? Well, here are five of my all-time favorites:
#1: Piecing: Expanding the Basics by Ruth B. McDowell.
I've ALWAYS wanted to take a class from this woman and still do, even though I am comfortable using her technique for complicated pieced quilts. That being said, I still think there is loads to learn from her in a personal workshop.
This book is one I consider to be a classic. Her instructions are easy to follow and very detailed...a big help for this kind of project.
My agapanthus quilt is constructed using this technique.
#2: The Quilted Garden by Jane A. Sassaman.
Jane's book is another must-have for my library and another teacher I would love to take a class from in the future. The tag line for her class is "for the drawing impaired and the tragically literal." Although I feel less drawing impaired with a drawing class or two under my belt, I'm always fighting against my nature to be "tragically literal" (in my work, anyway).
Her machine appliqué technique results in nicely turned-under seam allowances - a look of which I am particularly fond.
#3: Clover Patchwork Pins
In a word - fabulous! These pins are super-fine, extra sharp, and have durable glass heads that won't melt under the iron. They truly have no equal (at least in my opinion).
#4: Fiskars Softouch Microtip Scissors
I think I first saw these scissors mentioned on Melanie Testa's blog, but I can't be sure. Anyway, since I had recently purchased a nice pair of Gingher embroidery scissors, I couldn't justify another pair of scissors, so I put them on my Amazon wish list. Low and behold, my mom sent them to me recently "just because." They are now my everyday scissors. They are coming in especially handy for snipping curved seams and extra threads as I stitch the agapanthus. (Are you tired of me talking about this quilt yet? Well, it's occupying every available minute of my spare time, so hang in there!)
#5: Aurifil Thread
My friend, Rose Momsen, first turned my on to this thread and my friend Keri continued the push. It is GREAT for piecing - almost zero lint - and the thread is so fine (yet strong) that bobbins seem to last forever. I haven't had an opportunity to quilt with it yet. I usually prefer thicker thread for quilting, so this will probably stay as the everyday piecing thread.
Those are my top five right now. I wonder what they will be next year?