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Home > Liz's Stuff!

Liz's Stuff!

I can't believe I've never posted anything on my quilting tools! I'm sorry about that, probably could have saved someone some money or headaches. It wasn't until 16 people emailed me that they'd purchased the design wall and loved it that I thought HEY! Perhaps I should discuss my other stuff!

As you may know, like many, I got started in the quilting industry on eBay all the way back in 1999. In 2008-9, we opened our current online store, and I hung up my rotary cutter (at least, for cutting jelly rolls) for good!  But on eBay, boy did I go through cutting tools! If you are a new quilter, DO NOT go for the less expensive versions of the following. You will likely end up buying replacements/parts that will negate any savings on your initial purchase.

This is the single most important "brand" item - other brands simply do not compare to this cutter. I've been using the same Olfa cutter since 2006! Before that - had a slew of other brands and inferior quality caused blades to wear out much faster, not to mention issues with cutting after replacing blades, etc. 

The difference in price between this cutter and cheaper cutters is a matter of a few dollars. Don't skimp here!

I use this exact cutter (purchased from Amazon):

I love these mats! I go through a one or two a year now, but of course back when I was cutting lots by hand, it was a monthly purchase. This mat is double-sided, and for me that meant having to buy a new one about 1/3 less often. BONUS: THEY DON'T SMELL!

I use the 18"x 24" size - the bigger one's a bit too big - and the others are just way too small (for me).

This is the exact one I use (purchased it on Amazon):

3. Gingher scissors

As you can imagine, there is a LOT of cutting off the bolt that happens in our business! I resisted buying good scissors for a long time, and I sure wish I hadn't. We'd go through pair after pair of lower end scissors and my rationale was - why buy good scissors if we're just going to have to get new ones in a month? Turns out, like everything else, you get what you pay for! Not only do these scissors last longer (and they sharpen better!), they cut like BUTTER! Truly a joy cutting with them. 
Note: these are the perfect gift for a quilting enthusiast - and if it's something you wouldn't buy for yourself - a perfect gift for your kids or spouse to get your for your birthday! They always need a gift idea, right?

We use several different types (purchased 'em all on Amazon):

8-inch knife-edge dressmaker's shears - Good for smaller hands and my personal favorite pair of scissors, ever! (left-handed version is here!)

10-inch knife-edge bent trimmers (good for larger hands/guy quilters - my husband uses these!)

And if you've got wrist/hand problems, you're going to love how light these are:
8-inch Featherweight dressmaker's shears - I use these as all-purpose scissors (sewing only, of course! No paper!!) - they're wonderful. If you have any arthritis these will be great scissors for you!

And an honorable mention for Fiskars' Tailor Shears - I love these - they are very lightweight and give the 10-inch Ginghers a run for their money! I use these when cutting tougher fabrics since the extra effort plus the heavier scissors can leave me with a sore wrist.

Can't tell you how many problem irons I have been through over the years - probably dozens. So glad when I finally broke down and spent $49 on a Rowenta! So worth it. We get a lot of mileage out of our Rowentas - we have anywhere from 5-10 going at any given time! - I'd imagine one could last even an avid quilter for years. Our irons are going all day, every day and still last for many months!

We use the lowest-end model (this is the exact one we use, purchased from Amazon): 

By the way, at the time I'm writing this, that iron is at an unusually low price. Prices on Amazon fluctuate and sometimes you get a really incredible deal just being at the right place at the right time!

I've been using this machine forever to piece blocks (and hem pants!)  I can't speak to how well it machine quilts, since I don't do much quilt finishing (I'm a piecing girl!) - but for straight stitching, it's a great little machine. Don't spend more if you're just starting out! I've resisted the urge to buy a more expensive machine, even though sometimes I feel like "hey! I deserve it! I write tutorials all the time!" But the truth is I just don't need one. This machine is perfect for piecing quilt blocks.

This is the exact one I use (purchased on Amazon): 

I find that 3-4" wide by somewhere around a foot (12") is the perfect size ruler for piecing quilts. Anything narrower and you risk getting a little finger slice (been there!); anything wider/longer just becomes a little too much to whip around.

My exact ruler (purchased on Amazon)

You may have noticed that EVERYTHING was bought on Amazon. I can't tell you how much time & money buying things on Amazon has saved me since I first got a Prime membership (this gives you free 2-day shipping on tons of things). We get so many deliveries from FedEx - that we've gotten to know our FedEx driver so well in the 10 months since we moved to Indiana, that he invited us to his wedding! LOL!

I buy bulk soup - depending on what kind you buy, this is often cheaper than shopping at Walmart - my favorite basmati rice (oh, so good!) - they just can't keep it in stock at our local grocery for how fast we eat it, so it's great to be able to buy it in bulk! (Try that rice with a little butter and some sauteed onions and garlic - you will be in heaven - it is the most flavorful rice I've ever had! I could eat it plain!) 

Amazon also has every obscure spice or cooking ingredient you can think of which is great if you're going gluten-free or anything else that requires substituting in things like xanthan gum or erythritol! :D

I spend less than an hour a month out shopping at places like grocery stores, Target, Walmart etc. And I do NOT MISS IT! Prime membership at Amazon is $8.25/month (you have to sign up for a year at $99/year - if you're a student or teacher you can get it for free for 6 months with an email address and then for 50% off after that!). It's a great deal if you're ordering even a few things a month and you can try it out for free for a month without committing, too. Can't say enough about it! I save more than $8.25 easily on gas for shopping trips I don't have to take, not to mention the time saved!

Prime also gives you access to Amazon's version of Netflix - streaming movies and tv. (Many of the same tv shows and movies are available on both.) It's a pretty useful thing to have!

Anyway - I certainly hope you've found something of value in this increasingly long post! :D

Liz K.

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