Our Authors' Must-Have Tools!

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We asked a whole bunch of our authors: What is the one tool or notion you can’t live without? Here are their answers!

Trish Preston (author of Because I Love You Sew): Rotary cutter. Every time I teach a class, I recommend a cutting mat and rotary cutter because they make cutting out any project so much easier. My second pick would be spring-loaded scissors—also a hand saver. My daughter who makes 4-H sewing projects swears by her spring-loaded scissors!

Shelly Pagliai (author of A Simple Life): I'm a longarm quilter, and I panic a little bit if I have less than two white Chaco-Liners in my possession. I'm too afraid to mark on a customer quilt with anything besides the chalk, so I don't want to run out!

John Kubiniec (author of A New Spin on Drunkard's Path): Well—I am not sure if this really qualifies as a tool or notion—but coffee! After that I think I would have to say my rotary cutter.

Donna Di Natale (author of Anna's Quilt): My Add-A-Quarter ruler by CM Designs! I do a lot of paper piecing so my Add-A-Quarter ruler gets a real workout. I have two of the 6” and two of the 12” rulers -- one for my studio at home and one in the bag that I always take to workshops or sew days. Of course I probably wouldn’t be quilting or designing if it weren’t for the invention of the rotary cutter.

Wen Redmond (author of Wen Redmond's Digital Fiber Art): My printer!

Susan Marth (author of Dresden Quilt Workshop): Mary Ellen's Best Press and Roxanne Glue-Baste-It. I know that's two (and it was hard narrowing it down to just two) but together they help to make my little Dresdens very precise. Tools can make all the difference. When you invest in the right tools, they help make your quilting process go smoothly and your finished quilts beautiful.

Tamsin Harvey (author of Iznik Garden Quilt): Not so much a tool or notion, but it is a thread. I LOVE Superior Threads—100wt Kimono Silk. I used this on all my machine appliqué designs. It is really light and is almost invisible when you stitch with it for the appliqué. If they don’t have the exact color to match your appliqué, go for a slightly darker color, and it tends to blend really well with the fabric. I also use it for my machine quilting, and it gives me detail when quilting heavily on the quilt. 

Elizabeth Barton (author of Inspired to Design): Rotary cutter—now that my hands are so arthritic, the rotary cutter is amazing ... scissors are extremely painful to use, though I do like the new spring-loaded ones.

It seems rotary cutter is the winner, but there are a lot of other good suggestions in there too! Thank you to all of our authors for sharing their must-have tools.

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  • Trish Preston
  • Shelly Pagliai
  • John Kubiniec
  • Donna di Natale
  • Wen Redmond
  • Susan Marth
  • Tamsin Harvey
  • Elizabeth Barton
  • A Simple Life
  • A New Spin on Drunkard's Path
  • Wen Redmond's Digital Fiber Art
  • Iznik Garden Quilt
  • Inspired to Design
  • Because I Love to Sew
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