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Showing posts with label Tools. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tools. Show all posts

Monday, May 20, 2019

Using the Tools





I started this post on using Quilters Select Rulers because I had an opportunity to show them off in February. Once I figure out what to say, I think about supporting pictures and that leads to more things to say, and then more pictures, which makes for more post parts. So I will break it up into smaller chunks.

My Style
I really like simple and straight forward, and I hope you do too. I want to share the (my) creative process with you as well as the products “I” use so you can feel comfortable with the products available at I Have A Notion™ .....

Want to read more? Go to the new blog at www.ihaveanotion.com/blog

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Bit About Fusible Products


20180121_123636Before I hurt my hand I was working on this bright little quilt.

Each of the little stacks of hearts illustrate a brand/type of fusible and how well they stack up, stick and feel. This is designed for touching, to feel the layers and the suppleness or the stiffness of the layers of each of the stacks of fused hearts.

(I think the pictures will enlarge if you click on them)




hearts-close

Another thing that nice to know is how the edges hold up after fusing and stitching. Some fusible products are much better at holding the fabric edges down than others. Here I used an open narrow zigzag stitch to finish the edges of each heart.





Over the years I have used many different fusible products... about 200 yards so far. I like having a selection on hand to use, depending on the project. Sometimes I need to have some real stick and others need a light stick just to keep in place until I stitch it down. Sometimes you do not want to trace a thousand leaves... and would be happy if you could just print out a paper backed fusible with all your leaves traced and ready to be fused to the fabric.

Some fusible products stick… so well that the glue becomes part of both fabrics and taking them apart…. will never happen, while some others depending of the fabric treatments, you may be able to peel a fused piece off and reposition. Still others allow you to create your design pieces and they will have a ‘temporary’ sticky feature that allows you to play with placement before making it permanent with heat. Another downside to some fusible products is that the glue may maybe so heat sensitive that too much ruins the stick or there is so much glue that the layers of fabrics become stiff that they are nearly impossible to stitch through by machine or they will transfer the glue to the needle causing additional problems.Fused-Hearts

The hearts hanging on the side are to show how a fusible product looks on the back of the fabric, minus a backing so you can see how each the fusible feels and looks after fusing to the first fabric.

After sharing this with a guild I have been asked to expand this into a talk on various fusible products and characteristics.

Do you use fusible products in your creative process? Which one is you favorite? Do have one that has disappointed you?


More Later- Beth

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tuesday Tool

Before I get into the next tool, I want to say that I am pretty straight forward and of course my opinions are my own. I am not paid or endorsed by any company (and if I was it would start with that information right up front). So, when I share, I am sharing from my perspective... and what I found to be true or not. I also think that you do not need the latest and greatest of everything to be creative or create. We do need to eat, right? But sometimes we need to consider changing our tools especially if it makes creating and playing easier or more comfortable or in some cases, even possible! So with that said, on with the show.

I have recently discovered (for myself) some new scissors!!! I have been a dyed in the wool Ginger and Fiskars user. Why? Well I have several pairs of Ginger scissors in 3 different sizes that I bought way back when, (in the latter half of the 80's) and I rarely every use them. I have a pair of 8 inch dressmaking shears, a pair of 5 inch scissors and a pair of embroidery scissors.  I let a local sharpener sharpen them. Big MISTAKE!!! They are sharp, but the points are now too pointy so they catch on everything. I haven’t really missed any them... except on the 2 or 3 occasions I needed to actually cut out a pattern.

I also have a bevy of Fiskars and Fiskar-like (colored handle) scissors. Many I inherited and several I purchased. I use them about as often as I use the Gingers these days. I have discovered some new ones.

In April while at the Spring Paducah Show I picked up 2 new, to me, scissors.

The first one is for cutting batting. I find them very useful when cutting batting from a roll at the longarm. But don't let that fool you, they are great for cutting batting to size for smaller projects as well as regular fabric cutting scissors. So what is the advantage of these over say a pair of Fiskars (what I was using before). The Batting scissor has a blunted end so it does not grab or catch the batting as you advance you scissors to the next cut. And the blades are much longer so you are not advancing as often and that helps create a much smoother cut.

The other pair I picked up are for hand cutting. I often find myself cutting many motifs and bits from fabric for applique and most times I find the traditional shaped scissors bother my hands when I am making lots of careful repetitious cuts. In many of my older model scissors the small openings for my fingers and/or thumb tend to cause discomfort and depressions in the skin from holding and cutting carefully. I found these large handle scissors that are not particular about which side is fingers or thumb and are very comfortable to use for hours at a time. The serrated blade really helps hold and cut at the fabric at the same time is a great help. I think it is a huge asset to be comfortable while creating!!!

I was talked into one other cutting implement. A scalpel for the longarm. Long thin tool at the top in the next photograph. WOW! It really makes unstitching a breeze. Of course it is very sharp... and could cause some additional problems if you are not paying close attention. The longarm I have allows me to lift the roller the top is attached to, to get under the top above the batting. So I can do what is being called "skin the quilt", by breaking the stitches between the batting and the top. Goes really fast!

At the 'new' Fall Paducah Show in September, I decided to check out one more cutting item. I have seen them used by many Machine Embroiderers and since I do so much thread... stuff I thought they might be handy for me too. And guess what, they are! Prior to these I was using a very sharp pointed pair of small Fiskars, (bottom left in the photograph above) and once or twice cut something unintentionally (not a good thing!). With these very sharp, but curved blades and again no holes to stick my fingers in, snipping my project free of the machine is a quick snip away. I also found them very useful at the longarm, when snipping threads, again the curved blade helps to keep from cutting the fabric, when snipping the threads. In addition they are extremely lightweight.


So WHAT are these great scissors? Famore Brand- said Fa-mor-ray. You can find them at Famore.com. I Have A Notion™ Shop has one or two pair and I hope someday to carry the 4 pieces I have mentioned above, especially if there is interest. But if you think you might prefer ... another brand, say for instance Karen K Buckley... I have a couple of those in the shop too. I haven’t used them myself so I can’t tell you which is better.

I hope you day is full of treats, no tricks...and as always More Later! Beth


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tuesday Tool- Machine Needles

I think we should talk about tools. Not the workbench kind, but the type that help us ‘craft’ better. I have often taken something I heard to heart and continue along my merry way, only to discover that it is or was an old wives tale, the information was based on a completely false interpretation of information or that technology has improved so much the past information or beliefs have been made obsolete.

Let’s take needles for instance, technology has made so many changes and advancements that they are almost new again.

There was a time…. When Singer was the ‘standard to meet or beat’ when it came to sewing machines, and then in the 70’s Bernina came to the fore… and depending on your favorite machine, may still be for you. But it doesn’t matter which machine you choose to use, if you are not using a -pick one- “good”  “correct” “right” “sharp” needle for your project; your machine stitches will not be great!

Depending on what you are sewing you may need a specialty needle and there are plenty of those out there, but I think we need to start at the beginning with what I call my “daily driver”… the needle most often found in my machine. But before we get specific, maybe a little needle anatomy should come first.
Needle Anatomy courtesy of Sew Essentials.co.uk

There are 4 major parts to a needle… that we as stitchers need to consider. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

The Shank –the part that fits up into your machine, if you are using a domestic sewing machine it will have a flat side, that most often placed in the machine with the flat side at the back to make fitting and centering the needle fool-proof. If you are using a longarm or industrial sewing machine the shank is round and you have to center the eye of the needle visually. In all machines the needle should be inserted all the way in/up and well tightened, (but not ‘man’ tight).

The Shaft of the needle, which is between the Shank and ‘eye’ and has the Groove, that runs up and down on the front of the needle. The groove helps guide the thread from the machine to the eye of the needle to make a stitch. Sometimes specialty threads need a larger groove to flow freely and without difficulty. This is also the area that determines the size of the hole the needle leaves behind. The size of a needle is also important, as it makes the hole and carries the thread through the fabric. A rule of thumb for needle size, the bigger the number the bigger the needle 100/16 is a big needle and will make a big hole, the 70/10 is much finer. A note about the numbers the smaller number is the US needle size and the larger number is the European size, which number is listed first is not important.

The next part is the ‘Eye’ of the needle and as you may have guessed by now if
Picture courtesy Schmetz Needle
I am pointing it out, also plays a huge role in thread progression from spool to stitch. Too small and it will shred or break the thread, causing headaches and frustration especially with some of the specialty threads. There are several needles that are the same circumference as any other, but the “eye” is where the difference is.  The Topstitch needle eye is larger to accommodate larger threads, an Embroidery needle has an extra-large eye to help keep thread from shredding and a Metallic needle often has a Teflon coating to help the metallic threads move through the eye. Basically if the eye is too small the thread will have a difficult time moving through the eye smoothly, causing all kinds of problems.

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia
Lastly the point of the needle, it is the part that pierces the fabric and carries the needle all the way through so that the needle can make a stitch. Too big and it may leave a large hole, too flat as in a ballpoint it may pull threads in the fabric… or a dull needle can also cause very similar difficulties. For a long while the Universal Needle was recommended, since the point was sharp for woven fabrics but not too pointy for knits or stretchy type fabrics and is generally a considered an all-purpose needle. These days for most of the thread use in the quilt making process a Sharp is most often recommended, it pierces the fabric layers easily and carries the thread through a well-made hole.

Another aspect that has changed the needle is technology. We used to only be able to get a hardened steel needle coated in chrome. When they come out of the package they are bright shiny and sharp, but after about 8 hours of stitching the point starts to dull and is recommended to be changed. But now we have Titanium coated needles, (which does make them a bit stronger), but more importantly it helps protect the point and does a much better job of dissipating the heat we may generate when stitching fast.  The strength it gives the point allows you to sew with the same needle up to t3 to 5 times longer than a chrome plated needle, it is smoother and is cooler to the touch after sewing. Which when you compare the cost is a much better value!

So what needle can you find in my machine most days? The Titanium Topstitch 80/12 or 90/14 for general sewing. I have found that the longer life of Titanium needle make them my go to needle for all sewing, whether Free Motion Quilting, Free Motion Embroidery, Decorative Stitches or general piecing or seaming, especially when combined with many of the newer specialty threads.
The correct needle, with the right point and eye will help your machine make the most beautiful stitches and the best needle will carry your threads with ease. For convenience, Titanium Needles in a 10 needle pack can now be found at IHAN and if you really prefer the ‘chrome plated steel’ needles you can find those as well at IHAN, also in a 10 needle pack. (EDIT- Chrome needles are in stock as of 10/20/17!!!edit.... chrome is not yet available, but will be soon!)

What is your favorite needle and why?

As Always More Later!  Beth



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