Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tool Time with Kerry from verykerryberry and her seam pressers..( love these)

A big thankyou to the wonderful Madame Samm for inviting me to share a post with you on tools.  I don't know how she fits everything into her life but she does and does it so well!  

I am Kerry from verykerryberry.   Vintage inspires me and I love to sew and design paper piecing patterns.  I do like a gadget, especially a low cost little tool that makes my sewing life easier.  I have been working on a basket quilt block- a traditional pattern that you can find in the Farmer's Wife Sampler book or many other quilt block books and these are some of the tools that helped me along the way.   I'll start with a pen.  I have jars full of mark making pens and pencils and thanks to Florence, Pilot Frixion pens are something I use a lot.
They easily draw on to fabric and the ink disappears instantly under the heat of an iron.
You can rewrite in the same place and make it disappear as many times as you like.  In reality, the 'ink' is still there, if you put the fabric in the freezer, the line magically returns, so I tend to use these pens for places that will finally be covered rather than for designs on a quilt, but useful and cheap nevertheless.  
Clover produce some helpful, simple plastic tools that are very helpful in mark making.  The Hera marking tool will produce a beautiful sharp crease that you can use for folds or marking the fabric.  The folds wash out so no mark is left.  
For the bias strip of the basket handle, the Hera was ideal for creating the 1/4" fold lines.  I find it an invaluable tool, the sharper curved end is useful for turning out curved edges too.
I make a lot of small projects and I do not know how I have managed without a finger press.  I only bought this Clover version a few weeks ago and now I wonder what I was waiting for. There are many times when an iron is a too big and I don't want to burn my finger tips, or I just need to flatten a tiny seam quickly and this is where the finger press comes in.  I used it along the fold lines created by the Hera to turn the edges of the binding in.
On the Clover finger press, there is a dimple for your first finger to slide into and push along the seam.  For a bias strip, it was ideal as an iron can easily distort the grain.
And now for the unsung heroes; needles and pins.  I am a big fan of Japanese sewing and crafting and there is a Japanese festival, Hari-kuyo, which celebrates the needle and reflects on the job they do.  Old needles are placed in a block of tofu along with secrets and things to painful to say.  It is such a beautiful idea and it also makes you consider that pins and needles do wear out, they break, their sharpness fades, you might move your best pins to a lesser purpose where their bluntness will not bother you.   My pincushions hold a hole range of pins.  My favourite Clover patchwork pins are especially sharp, strong and thin at  0.5mm wide, and 36mm long. 
The heads are iron proof glass.  The points pierce easily without disturbing the fabric threads.  
They can hold tiny seams of fabric without shifting.    I keep these pins well away from paper piecing where the paper blunts them just as it does with scissors.
And finally the humble needle.  I recently tried Clover Black Gold eye needles.  There is no going back now, they are the business! 
They glide through layers, no strain, no effort.  Much easier on your hands and fingers.
Tiny stitches can disappear into the fabric, there is some flexibility built into the needle which is great for needle turn work and hand sewing binding to a quilt. I bought an applique/sharps mixed pack.    They are a total pleasure to sew with, mine have their own felt page in my needle book!
I should mention here that I have no connection with Clover, I have just found many of their products to be the best.  All the tools I have mentioned are low cost and easily available online- I have bought all of these from ebay and Amazon.  We all spend so much on fabric but, don't forget the other essentials, they are often overlooked and are worth a little investment for the help they give us, you won't regret it.

29 comments:

  1. I have a couple of these and now I know what to do,with them. thanks for a great share.

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  2. I am going to have to try the fingerpress. Thanks for sharing the great information! Off to checout your blog now :)

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  3. Some wonderful ideas here! It was also nice to visit your blog. I loved your drunkard's path tutorial...hope to make this someday. Thanks for sharing your great ideas!

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  4. Thank you Kerry, what great items to have. I've been wanting a Hera for awhile now.

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  5. Thanks for the info. I am always interested in different tools.

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  6. Thanks Kerry, will have to look for some black gold to try for my applique!

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  7. I love learning about the tools of the trade....I'm new at quilting and all this tool talk has helped alot.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Great information Kerry! Thank you! (Love your basket block btw too!)

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  9. What a great post! I too have found Clover tools to be a great quality - I love their seam ripper especially. :) blessings, marlene

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  10. Will need to check into the finger press sounds like a great idea. As for the pens I myself haven't had any problems with them but a friend of mine uses a red one to mark her quilting lines and the markings did not come out.

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  11. Thanks for your insights into these simple but necessary tools! I love my Hera!

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  12. Thanks! I love the pens too but haven't tried most of the others!

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  13. Great information! I think I actually have a couple of the items but haven't used them enough!! You know, they were on sale, then forgot I had them!? Have to stop that!! USE the tools!! thanks for the reminder!!

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  14. I adore your block! Too cute! I have a Hera marker and I *love* it!!!!!

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  15. Good Morning Kerry...really that is what those things are for...I bet I have one or two here....and your block..full of basket love it is...thanks for being here and sharing sew much part of YOU...the creative parts x

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  16. Lovely post Kerry, I loved the bit about tofu ;) I do tend to forget about the little things that can make sewing a lot easier, it's fabric fabric fabric and oh yes I may need some needles too. Thanks for the reminder!

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  17. I think I have to get me some of those needles. They sound marvelous! Thank you for the "heads up" on so many of these neat products!

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  18. Thanks, Kerry, for a great post. I'm going to go lurk on ebay now and get one of those finger press tools - where has it been all my quilting life? LOL That's what happens when you live way out in the wilds and have no LQS! :)

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  19. Clover patchwork pins are soem of my absolute favorites...and now the flower head one's are too.

    Great post...thanks for the great tips...your work is lovely.

    Smiles,
    Kelly

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  20. I hadn't thought of a Clover seam ripper Marlene- that sounds like a good plan! Thankyou girls and esepcially Mdm Samm- sharing good finds is what it is all about!

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  21. Great post Kerry, I have some of these tools, but I need to try the pins, they look great. Thanks for sharing and love your block!

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  22. Thanks Kerry - the finger presser sounds like a top 'investment!

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  23. I use all the tools you mention (except the needles)- and yes, they are all great. I have found Clover products to be very reliable. Will have a look for the needles next time I'm out and about. Thanks for your tips.

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  24. What a lovely basket block, Kerry! Thanks for a great post and sharing your tool tips - the right ones really do make such a difference :)

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  25. I'm always looking for advice on tools. Thanks for taking the time!

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  26. Love the finger pressy thingy - I'll be getting one of those! I have some of the Clover black needles and totally agree that they are just amazing!

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  27. Amazing.This picture look really great.I really inspire from this picture and how to make it.I want to try it.

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  28. From a gal with way too many burned fingertips, my phalanges thank you! LOL...BIG word for fingers. I love Clover products as well. I really like the ChocoRollers with the different color chalk for marking on quilts. I never have much luck with any of the marking pens so the Clover chalk markers and a good soft pencil Tip...look in the ART Dept. of Hobby Lobby, Michael's, for some GREAT pencils. My favorite is a Green #4 Kimberly pencil.
    Blessings
    Gmama Jane

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  29. I have also found Clover notions to be top notch quality. My stash of Clover items seems to continually be growing. Also, add my name to the list of those who love the Clover Black Gold Needles. They truly are INCREDIBLE! I originally bought some almost two years, and at first I didn't like them. The packages just sat in a little plastic bag on my desk. Then, this past November, I saw a blog post where someone mentioned them, and it prompted to me try to them again. Well, what a wonderful thing! I am so glad that I gave those needles a second try. As others have said, the really do glide through the fabric like a hot knife through butter. I made sure to order a bunch more packages so that I don't run out. Also, I have noticed that they last much longer than most other needles. What I mean to say is that I haven't found the needle starting to develop a drag. Some other needles always seemed to "drag" after only a few hours of use. But not the Black Gold, I have been using the same needle for much longer than ever before. Well, that's my two cents. Happy Stitching! Jay

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