My airplane reading this week included the latest issue of the excellent “Love Patchwork & Quilting” UK magazine. The closing column is entitled “A Quilter’s Top Ten,” and I had fun agreeing with some items (eg, good quality cutting mat) and less so with others (I’ve never used spray starch as far as I can recall!) As my travel delays mounted, I couldn’t resist listing my own must-have top ten.
1. MistyFuse Without the magic of our favorite fusible, my pet portraits and landscapes wouldn’t even have a start! While I sketch my ideas and work from altered photos, sometimes I simply compose with my rotary cutter and a stack of pre-fused fabric (which is really the most fun ;)).
2. A really big pressing sheet! The Goddess sheet made by the genius behind MistyFuse is my fave.
3. Almost-solid hand-dyed fabrics in a rainbow of shades. I am crazy for bright colors, but my stash also includes some awesome subtle shades (many custom-dyed by my uber-talented friend Carol Eaton) for interpreting fur colors. Some artists dye a very tight-weave batik which is perfect for cutting out small details without fray…or, Cherrywood has their very own process with a softer hand and a completely different feel. I love them both!
4. Fabric collections by folks whose design sense I just love. Looking at you, Modern Quilt Studio, Uppercase, Basic Grey! And of course I keep discovering more…I am completely hooked on Alison Glass’ palette for her batiks and cannot wait for the next collection this fall.
5. Tsukineko fabric inks, discovered during my first visit to Festival. I love the pens in all colors but simply must have a bottle of their white ink for dabbing in highlights in my subjects’ eyes.
6. Aurifil thread, of course! The colors are incredible and the choice of different weights is so helpful…I adore the 12wt for stitching in whiskers :).
7. Superior Thread too…high-shine trilobal polyester that plays beautifully in my long arm, and monofilament which is my bobbin thread of choice for nearly all of my small art quilts (because I change the color on top so frequently)…
8. …and their needles, which are the best. I buy them in bunches, 90 and 100wt Topstitch are all I use. While we’re talking about needles, make sure you change yours frequently enough! I’ll switch to a new one after an afternoon of stitching if I’ve been thread painting (don’t wait until you hear that thumping sound which is your machine saying pleeeeeze feed me a new needle ;).)
9. Disposable lab gloves 🧤 to keep a firm grip on my piece while I free-motion quilt…so helpful!
10. High-quality small scissors for cutting small details on appliqué pieces (such as perfect kitty outlines 🐾🐾😉).
What are YOUR must-haves?
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