A few years ago the only present I requested for under the tree was a full set of queen sized sheets that matched (including 4 pillow cases). To help with quality and fitting in the room I gave the following specifications: Percale, White, at least 300 count, though 600 would be nice. My husband very thoughtfully spent several hundred dollars on sheets. They were 900 count, burgundy Sateen. I returned them. I have since purchased 3 sets of sheets, a shark handvac with 2 extra filters and a cordless warming plate. I still have some credit left from the return.
My husband has often said that he knows I would like “sewing things” for fiber arts, but that he doesn’t buy me any because I have specifications. He can handle the idea of sewing scissors vs. paper and can easily see that embroidery scissors are smaller, mention pinking and his eyes start to gloss over let alone Hardanger scissors or any of the other specialty scissors. At least he is familiar with scissors. Tools, notions and fabric come in so many varieties and with so many neat little advantages that once you have your basics you really are looking for specifics. Sourcing sewing and quilting supplies can be tricky once you leave the big boxes behind and most of the best tools and materials aren’t sold at your local big box.
On the off chance that you too have someone in your life who is willing to support your addiction, but lacks the understanding of nuance or the interest in persevering to get you what you specifically want I am attempting to come up with an all occasions list of small gifts for the quilter. These lists abound this time of year, but my goal is to provide a list that primarily offers options that are reuseable: Got it last year and again this year, hope to get it next year too. In fact, your sponsor could just buy in bulk and save a trip each year.
Please note that unless I am aware of sale or something that makes a particular vendor or brand special the links lead to the first place I found the item (usually Amazon, well it was until all of my Amazon links disappear upon saving, um??), not a recommended shopping source or best price-nap time is only so long.
A. Cutting It Apart:
Scissors: This is a one time buy
Price: Usually about $30, currently on sale from Green Fairy Quilts for $19.50 (with free shipping)
I got these a few months ago because they were recommended for a pattern I really wanted to do. They are awesome. Super sharp and far more accurate than other scissors. These are like Hardanger or Scherenschnitten scissors for Quilters. I have trouble not reaching for them first when I am sewing. Okay, maybe two pair would be good or even three if you have a travel sewing kit.
Option 2: Rotary Cutter Blades
We always need blades. Slightly harder as they are brand and size specific, but sharp tools are man friendly. I haven’t tried it, but I have read that you can also substitute carpet cutting blades for a couple of dollars a box for the Olfa or Fiskars or whatever brand you use. If you have tried this I’d be happy to hear how it went. Bonus: if it works shopping at the hardware store becomes a possibility.
B. Keeping It Together:
Yes, I am a non-pinner, but that has led to the search for the best lazy pinner pins for each job. You can always use more pins. Pins get bent, broken, lost or occupied in holding various projects together (or possibly in holding slips of paper to the corkboard). Maybe you don’t need all of these each year, but I’d bet some would be nice most years.
Price: varies based on brand and number
option 1: Glass Head Pins
I iron over these and they don’t melt.
option 2: Flat Head Pins, most commonly seen as Flower Head Pins
These pull out quick and easy when you sew and are easy to extract from your pin cushion.
option 3: Numbered Pins-These are Marilee’s Numbered Q-Pins, but you could probably buy Flat Head Pins and use a sharpie to number them yourself.
Oh my, organization. My quilt blocks don’t get mixed up these days. I just number them after layout and keep on sewing. These can also be used to number pattern pieces when sewing apparel or accessories.
option 4: Clover Wonder Clips
The joy of binding or of holding the edges of my quilt sandwich or of keeping edges and corners matched when I’m upcycling sweaters into baby dresses. If you have thick (particularly stretchy) layers this is a great way to go.
option 5: Basic pins, silk pins.
Nothing flashy. Just the basics.
option 6: Novelty pins, with flower heads or beads.
These can just brighten up your pin cushion or your whole day. You can also use them as a decorative way to attach name or gift tags.
C. It-That wonderful stuff we like to run our fingers over, to cut apart and put back together-Fabric
option 1: Scrap Packs such as those available from the vendors below, but first a few words on why.
Pre-cuts are great, but how many do you need for your project? Are they colors/patterns you like? Scrap Packs can be a less intimidating stash building option as they are sold by color or color combo and your sponsor is more likely to know if you are looking to make something for a girl, or boy or if your favorite colors are blue and green or if you’d prefer purple.
These packs each consist of scraps of designer fabrics equivalent to about 2 yards by weight 12 oz. Available in Cool, Warm or Fresh . Of those I have purchased none of the cuts have been smaller than an eighth of a yard. A couple are pretty close to a half yard. These can include knits as well as quilting cottons. I just received two packs (see photo above), I received only 1 scrap of knit.
Keepsake Quilting has scrap packs by color combo with 12 1/4 yd cuts of quilting fabrics (equivalent to 3 yds) per pack with each pack you get one of two PDF patterns free. They also offer batik and flannel scrap packs.
Fabricworm has some great scrap packs including Japanese prints and organic cottons and knits. Unfortunately, they don’t currently have any in stock.
Scrap Packs can also be found on ebay or etsy, but quality control is harder.
option 2: Precuts
Starch and Sizing-Ellen’s Best Press, Magic Sizing whatever your favorite(s) is/are.
Iron Cleaner-I’m not familiar with many brands, but I use Drizt Iron-Off Hot Iron Cleaner. It means I don’t have to wait for the iron to cool before I can clean it and move on. I cleaned some very big oopses off my old iron. Once during a felt applique project I was ironing some interfacing onto my
wool felt. A razorblade scraped off the bulk and the Iron-Off actually gave me back a shiny black gunk free iron again.
E. Sticky Things
Spray Baste, Painters Tape
F. Putting It Together
Thread-jewel tones, or pastels or blues might be your thing, but I’ll bet you use white, grey, black and some version of brown/tan. So a spool of thread or maybe several or maybe even a box of Aurifil Neutrals (Also currently on sale with free shipping at GreenFairyQuilts.)
Maybe Some pre-wound Bobbins. Superior Threads has sets of both light neutrals and dark neutrals among their pre-wound selection. Bobbins can be trickier since you do need the correct type for your machine. but pre-wound bobbins can save you a lot of time.
What do you think? Would you like to find any of these in your stocking? Do you have any give and give again gifting ideas? All of these ideas are my own. I have no sponsors. (If you want to change that feel free to contact me). Please, feel free to share this with your sewing/quilting addiction sponsor. I’d be happy to try to answer questions and help them find things online if it means you will get to ooh and aah over your stocking.