Sewing and Sewing toys

 Blessed are those who can laugh at ourselves for we shall never cease to be amused. – unknown

 Let’s be honest here. There are quilters who are notion junkies, and there are quilters who are NOT. I fall into the the JUNKIE category. I should not say fall, actually I was kind of pushed. I travel and teach a lot…a whole bunch...ALL THE TIME. When I’m out teaching I get asked all the time about notions. I feel like it is my job to answer questions with the sound knowledge that I have tried the different items that are on the market and that I speak with knowledge and trial experience. The most frequently ask question is “What is your favorite notion?”. “What notion do you think you cannot live without?.” Lets open the door, or shall we say open the toy box and talk about my favorite tools.

By far, hands down, game over I love anything from Studio 180 Designs (Deb Tucker). She has what I like to call “everyday tools”. I think she refers to them as fundamental tools. Why do I like these tools??? The first and best reason is that Deb operates under the principle of slightly over sizing units and using a tool to bring them to the perfect and exact unfinished measurements of the units. This concept eliminates any factors that may cause you to not have a perfect unit. You may be having a bad day at the sewing machine and your 1/4″ seam may be “off”, thread, fabric and other things are all factors in making a perfect  unit. Deb has eliminated all the “variables” that can cause units to be “off”!!! Sew the units and then “square them up” or as Deb says “trim them” to the PERFECT SIZE. BAM ZING WHOOPPIE...perfect every single time. Another point to be made here is that the instruction that comes along with each and every tool is incredible!! Here is a brief run down of the basic/fundamental tools.

The Tucker Trimmer for making half square triangles and quarter square triangles. Can you make and square up half square triangles with a regular ruler. YES but you can’t do the quarter square units (hour glass) without this tool. All the tools are cleaned up and don’t have a lot of lines and markings. Only what you need to get the job done.

Tucker Trimmer

Wing Clipper for making flying geese units. Have you even done the “fast flying geese” method? Do you frequently have one goose in the flock that is flying the wrong way and not cooperating. This tool eliminates that factor because everything is slightly oversize. So when you are done you have 4 perfect geese, flying in formation.

Wing clipper

Square2 for making square in a square units. The best way to make a square in a square is by adding 4 corner triangle units and trimming the “waste triangle” way. This method is precisely said, “wasteful!”. Deb fixed that for us with this tool. Yes she did.

Square 2

The V Block for making those Peaky and Spike blocks (the late Doreen Speckman coined that name for us, and it stuck).Previously, I used the Tri Recs Ruler. Two rulers in one “set”. Deb has it all in one tool and oversized the units as said above.

V block

The Diamond Recs for making the diamond in a rectangle and the Split recs for making a diagonal split rectangle unit.Ditto to the oversized comments.

Diamond Recs

Deb and her team also have “specialty tools” for those blocks that use Y seams and are fabulous but can be difficult. She has given us the Rapid Fire Hunters Star tool, Leymone Star tool. If you have ever fallen in love with these quilt patterns and did not want to attempt them, here you go! No Y seams and the blocks come out perfect every time. EVERY EVERY TIME. You cannot screw this up. I promise. Cross my heart. 

As if that isn’t enough Deb has a killer web site http://www.studio180design.net/ with videos of each tool. She is not going to leave you in the sewing room at midnight wondering what in the heck to do with the tool and saying to your self..”Why did I buy this thing in the first place?” She will take care of you don’t worry.Included with each tool are her written directions with instructions for lefties. Can you tell that my respect for what she has created knows NO BOUNDS.

Please note: I am not paid/compensated in any way for telling you about these products. The best gift is that Deb and Jeff and Sue (the Tuckers) have given me the gift of their friendship. Nuff said. Also, I can put a photo tutorial on my website for each tool. If I get enough interest to do this I will do that for you..but you are going to have to leave me some comments.  (tricky aren’t I?)