Tag Archives: Cool Tool Monday

Cool Tool Monday

Cool Tool Monday hasn’t happened in awhile, but today I have something to show you. In one of my last posts, I showed a picture of a stiletto, and many of you wondered what that was. So today, we’re going to talk all things stiletto (not the shoes, sorry!).

What is a stiletto? Google’s second definition (the first is the shoe definition) is “a short dagger with a tapering blade”. In essence I suppose that is what a sewing stiletto is, without all the dangerous and ominous wording. However, I wouldn’t try taking your favorite sewing stiletto on a plane.

In my earlier post, I showed a picture of these two stilettos, recently gifted to me by quilty friend. In that picture, I had the sheaths on both stilettos. Here’s a picture with one sheathed and the other uncovered.

Cool Tool Monday - Sewing Stiletto - piecefulthoughts.com

When you see the points, you can understand why most of them come with a sheath.

Here’s the stiletto I was given by my mom. It has always been special to me, because when she gifted it to me I felt like she was telling me I had earned the status of quilter. Funny how little things  affect us like that, isn’t it?

Cool Tool Monday - My sewing stiletto - piecefulthoughts.com

So why is a sewing stiletto so handy?

One of the reasons I use my stiletto so often is to help guide the fabric as I sew.

Cool Tool Monday - Sewing Stiletto uses - piecefulthoughts.com

I’m chuckling as I look at this picture. I noticed in earlier pictures that my sewing foot was all fuzzy, so I cleaned it off (which led to cleaning out the bobbin, etc.) only to find that I missed the fuzz up and around the screw, not to mention the random threads in the photo. So just ignore that . . .

Anyway, the little point is handy for guiding the fabric through the foot.

Have you even had this happen?

Cool Tool Monday - How to use a sewing stiletto - piecefulthoughts.com

Using a stiletto as you are coming up to those seams helps to avoid seams flipping over. You can easily lift your sewing foot and use the stiletto to tuck that seam under, and get back to sewing.

Cool Tool Monday - Guiding the fabric through with a sewing stiletto - piecefulthoughts.com

Another use for the stiletto in my sewing is to rip seams. Rather than separating the seam with my hand and picking out the thread, I use it this way. It takes a little longer, but I find this method works well for me, especially with bias seams. I feel like I can keep the bias from distorting as I rip while slipping the point carefully under the stitch and gently pulling it out.

Cool Tool Monday - using a sewing stiletto as a seam ripper - piecefulthoughts.com

One other handy use for the stiletto is for lifting those little paper piece foundation papers out of those small spots where fingers can’t get to them. Although I prefer to use a tweezers, this works pretty well.

Cool Tool Monday - stiletto and paper piecing - piecefulthoughts.com

So, what if you don’t have a stiletto? Here are a few substitutes.

Cool Tool Monday - sewing stiletto substitutes - piecefulthoughts.com

Toothpick

I would only use this for guiding the fabric and picking out paper foundation pieces. It may not be strong enough for seam ripping.

Small Scissors

Again, I would only use this to guide the fabric, and then only very carefully. The scissors blades are too thick and make it a bit clumsy to use, but it will work in a pinch.

Seam Ripper

You can use the pointed side of the seam ripper to do the work of a stiletto. However, I think the single shaft of a stiletto works better and is easier to use when you need to feed that fabric well into the sewing foot area.

Some also use a chopstick or a wooden skewer that has a decent point. I don’t use my chopstick, since it has a thick point and is used mainly for turning corners and stuffing.

Until I received my stilettos from Rose, I didn’t know you could make them. (Who knew they can be made from turkey lacers?) They would be a fun, fast gift idea for a sewist, wouldn’t they? Bonnie Hunter shows how to make them. You can read all about it here.

Do you use a stiletto? If so, what is your favorite use for them?

Happy stitching friends!

Wendy

Cool Tool Monday

Boy, July flew by didn’t it? I cannot believe it’s already time for Cool Tool Monday once again.

Recently I’ve been doing a bit of cutting prep for a few quilt projects. While I don’t mind cutting pieces, I do like to use tools that make it less tedious. A sharp rotary blade is a big help, but a good ruler can make the work of cutting so much more efficient.

I recently acquired a couple of new rulers, and I use each of them often. However, the one I’m highlighting today sat hidden for awhile before I started using it. Long enough, actually, that I had forgotten I had it.

When I was at the Minnesota Quilt Show earlier this year, I pondered over a 2.5″ x 8″ ruler at one of the booths. I was so close to buying it, but at the last moment decided against it. A few days later when I was home and regretting that I hadn’t purchased it, I realized I already had one! I had forgotten all about it. I can’t recall what jogged my memory or when I bought it, but I’m sure I snagged it when I ordered something else from Missouri Star, since it’s their version of the ruler. There are a few out there.

Anyway, for one quilt I needed to cut strips 2″ x 3.5″. I don’t have a die cutter or a strip ruler. This little ruler really made the job so much easier. The color of this particular ruler makes it easy to see on most fabrics. It has fewer markings than most rulers. What I really like about the ruler is that it is 2.5″ wide. That half-inch mark makes all the difference for me.

Cool Tool Monday - piecefulthoughts.com

Sometimes I get lost in thought while I’m doing repetitive cutting. (I’ve been known to do this while cutting food for cooking too, with some bloody results, but that’s another story.) When I do lose my focus, I have made cutting mistakes when I get the wrong measurement because I’m either grooving to music or thinking about something else. This ruler makes it a bit easier for me to keep groovin’ when cutting .5″ measurements.

You can see in the photo above that I have the ruler set at 3.5″ The lines are clear and easy to see. Once I make this cut, then I just flip the ruler so the inch mark is now on the right, as you’ll see in the next picture.

Cool Tool Monday - piecefulthoughts.com

This makes the tedious work of cutting strips go a bit faster, and if I get lost in thought, I can easily refocus and still get the correct cut.

I also like that the ruler is only 8″ long, so it’s easier to use with those smaller pieces of fabric when cutting. There are no big bulky rulers to have to work around and there is better control with the smaller ruler.

This little ruler doesn’t stray too far from my cutting table these days. It’s my cool tool for today!

Linking up today with Beth and Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts!

Wendy

Cool Tool Monday

Cool Tool Monday is a week late, but I promised you, so here it is! Today I want to share a couple cool little tools I found while I was at the Minnesota Quilt Show.

I recently decided to try English Paper Piecing. I have a sampler pack from my local quilt store. It’s a great way to decide if I like EPP without committing to a whole project. So I’ve been doing some reading, watching videos, etc. as I learn.

At the Minnesota Quilt Show, one of the vendors was Traditional Primitives. Missie’s quilts were beautiful, a blend of EPP and traditional piecing. Two little tools in her booth caught my eye.

Cool Tool Monday - EPP tools - piecefulthoughts.com
Finger Stiletto, upper right; starch brush, upper left.

The first is the little finger stiletto. You’ll find other finger stilettos if you search for them, but I like this one. It’s adjustable to my finger, and it’s shorter and easier to control. Take a look at this video by Missie; she’ll show you how to use this cool tool.

I’m pretty sure I’ll find this stiletto useful for other quilt projects as well. For example, I can place it on my finger and use it like a regular stiletto to feed my fabric under the foot of the sewing machine as I sew.

I think it will also be handy when I want to open my seams up to press them; sometimes I can’t get those two little seams apart with my fingers. I think the stiletto will help as well as protect my finger from getting burned while I press.

The other cool tool is the starch brush. I haven’t used it yet, but I do like the starch method idea for EPP as well as needle turn appliqué. Watch Missie’s video showing how she uses the brush and her starch method.

She doesn’t show you how to load the brush on the video. After separating the brush so that you have the wand to load with starch, you simply point the nozzle of the spray starch into the wand and gently spray in the starch. It will foam a bit but it will settle down to liquid. Put the brush end back on and you are ready to use the brush.

So that’s the two Cool Tools for this Monday. What other tools would you like me to review? I’d love to hear!

I’m linking up today to Main Crush Monday with Beth at Cooking Up Quilts.

(By the way, I’m not affiliated with Missie or Traditional Primitives.)

Wendy

Lighting – It’s Cool Tool Monday!

Cool Tool Monday – lighting! Today I want to share a little about lighting in my quilt cave. More on that in just a bit.

One of the highlights of last week was meeting Vicky of Vicky’s Crafts and Quilting. We’ve gotten to know one another online through our blogs, and found out we only live an hour apart. We enjoyed a day of shopping and chatting. It was a delightful day. Thanks to Vicky, I have something to share with you for Cool Tool Monday.

I don’t get to IKEA much, so it was fun to stroll through on a quiet Tuesday afternoon. Vicky pointed out this neat little lamp and, for ten bucks, I decided to give it a try. It’s my Cool Tool Monday item.

There is a reason I call my quilt room the quilt cave. The lighting isn’t too bad during a bright sunny day, but on rainy days like we’ve been having, it can be difficult to see. I hadn’t planned on buying any lighting, but this looked like something that would really be helpful.

This little lamp is easy to assemble. The base is nice and hefty, with a nice grip so it doesn’t slide around. The neck on the lamp is a nice length, so it doesn’t get in the way of my sewing projects. The cord is a great length as well, a little over 6 feet.

The beam of the light is nice and bright. It really works well for close-up work, such as ripping out stitches. I can also get it right down by my sewing foot if I need to, for extra light. The neck is long enough that I can get it close to my sewing foot, but it doesn’t get in the way. It also has a handy little on/off switch on the cord.

Here’s a picture of my sewing with the light off.

Cool Tool Monday - lighting

And here’s one with. I purposely took them at night to show the brightness of the lamp.

Cool Tool Monday - lighting

It’s my Cool Tool of the week.

I’m linking up today with Beth from Cooking Up Quilts. Have a great week, everyone!

Wendy