Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Favorite Things

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?


Melly n David said...

you make me want to purchase those pins. I have a pin and needle fetish.

annette said...

This is why I love your blog - you share your knowledge and experience as well as works in progress.

Suzanne in CA said...

I assumed you'd taken a class with Ruth. I'm really impressed that you've mastered her techniques so thoroughly using just her book.

She has a new book out: Piecing Workshop, which shares her most recent updates in freezer paper pattern making, etc.

If you ever have the chance to take a class from her, you will LOVE it!!! She is an amazing teacher, and a piecing genius.

LOVE the agapanthus!!

janice said...

Hi Dianna - I've been reading your blog for a while and I love your quilts. I have the same two books high in my list of favourites as well and I'm very lucky to have taken classes with both those great quilters and lovely ladies. Their styles are very different though! I have unfinished quilts from both classes and I'm hoping to get some time later (looks like much later unfortunately) in the year to finish them.

I'm going to search out some Clover patchwork pins and aurifil thread now seeing as you like them so much. Thanks for sharing your favourites!

PaMdora said...

I love Jane's book, it was instrumental to me starting my art quilt journey. So was an earlier book by Ruth McDowell. I guess we both love the graphic ones!

Cynthia said...

oohhh, I'm going to look for those books. They look like keepers. I have a small pair of Gingher scissors that are my favorite. Every so often I misplace them and then I'm lost.