10 May 2013

Scrap Quilting By Hand: Part 4, Supplies

Dear Lissy,
You and the brothers are sacked out watching old "Bonanza" episodes with Daddy, so I'm going to squeak in a quick letter on the supplies you'll need to begin hand piecing.  You've already picked a block, a style, and we've discussed fabrics, too.  Now you'll need a few supplies before we start the actual process.

A sewing caddy keeps notions tidy and accessible. 

 Absolute Essentials
Thread: I prefer 100% cotton Mettler thread in 40 weight because I can get it locally.  It has the word "quilting" right on the spool.  I use it for both piecing and quilting.  Because I quilt in a wide variety of colors, I use primarily gray or tan thread.  I also keep white, black, red, and navy on hand. 

Needles:  I use a #10 between for both quilting and piecing.  I prefer English needles like John James or Richard Hemming.

Scissors:  You will need a pair of sharp fabric scissors as well as precision craft scissors for template material.  A pair of thread snips is also handy, but not necessary to start.

Template Material & Pen:  Shrinky dink plastic is my hands-down favorite template material.  I place the rough side against the fabric and draw the template on the smooth side.  A fine point permanent marker is necessary to mark on the plastic.

Pencils:  A very sharp #2 or an 0.5 mechanical pencil works well for most fabrics.  A crayola colored pencil in silver, yellow, or white works well for darker fabric.

Pins:  Just a handful.  I prefer silk pins, which are very fine.

Thimble:  My hand piecing method requires a thimble.  I like the clover ring thimbles made of plastic with a a perforated leather band around the exterior.

Seam Ripper:  Sadly, you'll still need this. Sigh.

Sand and felt board:  This is a piece of equipment unique to hand piecing.  A 13" square lighweight board with a piece of sandpaper firmly adhered will hold fabric steady while marking with templates.  A felt overlay allows it to be used to stage blocks in order until they're pieced.  I purchased mine, but they can be made quite inexpensively, too.

Advantageous Extras
Rotary cutting supplies: Even for hand piecing, most blocks can be rotary cut saving a great deal of time.  

Tailor's chalk/chalk wheels:  Tailor's chalk makes marking around templates a breeze.

1/16" hole punch or Perfect Piecer:  I use the dot method, so I like the ability to punch a fine hole.  The perfect piecer from Jinny Beyer is a little faster and works well with rotary cut blocks.

Needle threader:  Yup, my eyes are aging.  I prefer the clover threaders, either the double-sided or the pack of three little square threaders with a thread cutting knife included.

Thread Heaven:   Run the thread through the cobalt cube, and then run your fingers over the thread to remove static and prevent loop knots.

Project bag:  A clear plastic bag with a zipper top allows you to take a few blocks with you.  I usually sew in my lap while on the road, so I bring thread snips on a ribbon I can wear around my neck, a finger pincushion with a couple of needles and pins, a spool of thread (make sure it's locked!), and pre-cut pieces. If you plan to sew on the go often, wind a bobbin of thread on the machine, holding it against a block of Thread Heaven while it winds so it's "pre-treated".

Notions have always been a favorite of mine.  I'll try to update these choices again someday.

Linked up at Homestead Barn Hop #111

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