Thursday, 17 March 2016

An Ode to Notions That Only a Quilter Would Understand

Zoë MacDonald is E-Commerce and Social Media Manager at Canada’s largest manufacturer and wholesale distributor of quality sewing, quilting, and knitting supplies. Crafty lady and recent quilting convert, she is keen to share her love for the latest in notions.

Finished Quilt 1 (Ode To Notions on CQA)

Before I started quilting I was overwhelmed by, if not dismissive of, all of the special tools created for this purpose, even those I now consider to be part of an essentials-only quilting kit.

Do you really need a pizza rotary cutter when you have tailor shears? And does this ruler need to be so big that it requires its own special carrying bag when you’re carting it to class? About a minute into slicing squares and strips for my first scrappy quilt, I conceded: Necessary. But surely you don’t need three different kinds of marking pens? (Guess again.) The extra long and extra sharp flat head pins? (Oh yes, you do.) Clamps? Numbered pins? Grippy gloves? Yes, yes, and yes.

I should clarify that technically you don’t “need” any of these things any more than you need more than one pair of shoes (or piece of pizza, if you prefer) but they can really improve the creative process and the quality of your finished work: They are an investment in the quality of your quilting time and a tiny insurance policy on the success of your finished work.

My most favourite notions are the ones I didn't know I needed because they solved a problem I didn't know I had. In that respect, I have to hand it to Clover. They think of everything.

You know when you are holding fabric in place with your finger and you need to press that exact piece and you end up burning your finger because it is impossible to move your finger away at the precise right moment without losing the spot? They made a tool for that! You know when you are turning something right-side-out and end up tediously pinching the seams flat with your fingers? They made a tool for that too!

Having relatively recently had these revelations, I wondered what else I could be doing more efficiently and so I perused Clover’s offerings before diving into the final stages of the quilt I’m working on.

Air Erasable Marker (With Eraser)

Clover Air Erasable Marker on Quilt (Ode to Notions on CQA)
Clover Eraser works! (Ode to Notions on CQA)
I use an air-erasable marker for quilting stitches because I alternate marking and stitching in small batches. I treat the sewing part like my reward for the (in my opinion) tedious marking part.

By the time I was ready to bind all my markings were gone but when I brought an iron to smooth a small crumpled-looking section, they suddenly reappeared – with a vengeance. That’s when I learned the Clover version is backed by a very effective eraser (phew!). 

Fabric Adhesive Stick

Clover Fabric Adhesive Stick Holding Quilt Label in Place (Ode to Notions on CQA)
The Fabric Fun Marker is an old favourite. Duo-tipped and colour fast, it’s a quick and easy way to make a permanent mark on your sewing and craft projects without worrying about running.

To hold my quilt label in place before boxing it in with binding, I used the Fabric Adhesive Stick – which is exactly what it sounds like. Side note: Using this was nostalgic and satisfying in equal measure; I have a feeling this will be a fast favourite.

Clover Clips

Clover Clips and Wrist Cushion Accessory (Ode to Notions on CQA)

Clips of some variety have been around for a while and are, according to me, absolutely essential for both quilting and sewing. Each clip is like a tiny spare hand in your sewing room holding your project in place. I usually use the purple Heirloom version but found that Clover’s worked awesomely well too – and come in a variety of colours, with accessories.

The neon green ones are my favourite.

Neon Clover Clips for Quilt Binding 1 (Ode to Notions on CQA)

Neon Clips for Quilt Binding 2 (Ode to Notions on CQA)
I never imagined I’d chose to make my own binding. I thought, “don’t they know about the premade stuff in pack?” This time, I went "full quilter", and auditioned fabrics when the top was done.

Fusible Bias Tape Maker & Ironing Tools

Clover Bias Tape Maker (Ode to Notions on CQA)

I can’t believe how easy this little contraption was to use. You pull a strip of fabric through the channel of the bias tape maker (initially you might need a tailor’s awl to guide it along), and it comes out in folded tape form. For the fusible bit, simply slide the tape over the top as you go.

To secure, Clover makes a Mini Iron for precision, but you could also use the Hold it Precision Stiletto that I mentioned earlier to hold the tape in place while you use your regular iron to secure.

At long last, she’s done!

Finished Quilt 2 (Ode to Notions CQA)

... And more painlessly than usual. Did I miss anything? Let me know below if you have any favourite notions that make the finishing touches more fun.
­­­­­­­­­­­­Look for Clover quilting notions at your local Canadian quilt retailer. For more inspiration and product education, follow H.A. Kidd and Company Limited on Facebook.

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