Category Archives: Top Ten

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Top Ten Notions

Without notions, quilting would be a laborious task (well, more than it already is…) These useful objects are the tools that make your sewing more efficient, more accurate and ultimately more fun! As a quilt shop, we do our best to carry all the top notions — both the essentials and the unique ones that help you with some of the more advanced techniques. Our girls have tried it all, and through years of trial and error we’ve found the best of the best.

So here’s our list of the top ten essential notions. You aren’t livin’ life to the fullest if you don’t have one of each of these. Trust us — they will make a difference!

THE ESSENTIALS
Havel’s Snip-EzeSnipEze
These snips are lightweight, have a curved blade and are super easy to use. Unlike most snips, you don’t have to search for the finger-holes. Just pick ’em up and squeeze!

OLFA Ergonomic Rotary Cutter
These comfy cutters come in 45mm or 60mm sizes and have fantastic safety features. When not in the “locked” position, these cutters only expose the blade when you squeeze the trigger to cut. The advantage of an extra sharp blade? Quick, clean cut edges.

O’Lipfa Lip-Edge Ruler
I won’t cut fabric with anything but this ruler. The lip-edge latches on to your  cutting mat or table to help stabilize each cut. No more slippy-slidey rulers!

Sewline Fabric Pencil
These mechanical-style fabric pencils come in a variety of color choices and use refillable erasers and lead. They are manufactured well and will last you forever.  The best part? Unlike traditional pencils that need sharpening, your lead will always be sharp and make an incredibly accurate line.

Collins Crystal Glass Head Pins
Throw away all your dull-pointed pins and buy these babies! The fine tips are  sharp and glide through fabric like a knife through butter. Unlike plastic-headed pins, the glass-heads won’t melt when you iron over them! They heads also don’t break or fall off like other, cheaper pins and the ⅜” lengths are pretty  sturdy. They can still bend like all pins can, but you can’t beat all the other great   features. Tip: don’t get the ⅞” length if you can help it. Although the tips are still  sharp and the heads will stay put, the longer length has a greater tendency to bend with normal use.

Magnetic Pincushion
Ok, I know quilters just love making pincushions, but ladies, you have to up your game. These magnetic pincushions will save you time and energy. Rather than  stick each pin into your cushion, you can just toss your pins in the general direction of the magnet and they’ll zip right on there. We have larger magnets for beside your sewing machine, or you can jump on the new trend and get one that clips onto your shirt for a mobile option. (Seriously, these things are a hot item.   We sold twenty-two last Saturday. Twenty-two! They come in a million colors and make great gifts!) Beware! After getting spoiled by the magnet, you’ll start  throwing pins at any pincushion, and they’ll just bounce right off the traditional kind. I do this all the time. It’s embarrassing.

Schmetz Sewing Needle
Simple. Easy. Reliable. We use these and you should too. When was the last time you changed your needle? Can’t remember. It’s probably time to change ’em out. Just do it!
Binding & Hem Clips
Just like hair clips, these handy notions make hand-sewing binding a bit easier. Just press your binding fabric onto your quilt top and attach some of these throughout, especially at the corners. The best part? You’ll never get stabbed by a million pins if you carry your quilt around. No one likes to bleed on their projects, ladies…

Quilters Glue
Whether you’re doing some applique or need to finish up that binding real quick, quilter’s glue is the answer — it keeps your materials together and washes out when you’re done. There’s a million different uses for this stuff and Quilter’s Choice is our favorite variety.

Triangle Square Up Ruler
These rulers make all kinds of triangles so easy. Half-square, quarter-square…you name it they make it. Don’t fuss anymore – you will honestly make PERFECT triangles every single time.  They come in 6-1/2” and 9-1/2” sizes and have easy to understand instructions included. And unlike thangles, you’ll never “run out” when you’re feverishly finishing up a project at 3 in the morning. All you need is one ruler for the rest of your life — just don’t lose it!

Already have all these? Check our our bonus list of the top five notions that tackle new techniques.

BEYOND THE BASICS
Washable Marker
These are Karen’s favorite. She uses them “liberally” (meaning by the dozen.)  They have many uses but they’re perfect for custom, free motion long arm quilting. Karen can draw on a pattern or trace a stencil/ruler to get a guide for her quilting. Check out her full post on using the washable marker with a Sue Pelland Leaves Galore Large Ruler here.

Angler
This is Della’s favorite sewing machine tool — it makes piecing 45 degree angles easier and more accurate (as the name suggests.) The lines on the clear plastic tool act as a guide when sewing half-square triangles, mitered corners, Flying Geese, Snowballs, or diagonal ends and corners.

Rotating Mat
Have a lot of pieces to cut? This ruler is great, especially for using a triangle square up ruler. Just place the fabric and ruler on top of the rotating mat (maybe use some  fabric grips to keep everything in place) and make your first slice. Then, just rotate the mat to cut all the way around without having to move your fabric.

Flying Geese Ruler, Tri-Recs Ruler and Dresden Ruler
These three rulers take the guesswork out of making these advanced quilting techniques. Each comes with clear instructions to make your impressive blocks faster and more accurate.

   

Perfect Circles
The name says it all. Each package includes 15 different circle sizes (a small circle or large circle option) for hand and machine appliqued circles.

  

— Posted by Stacy

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Moving Day

So, here we are. We’ve landed. The girls at Quilt Expressions have gone digital and there’s no turning back now.

Our fun little group of bloggers are ready to jump into action and will be bringing you new entries every week covering all-things quilting. Look forward to the best sewing secrets, giveaways for our dedicated followers, the latest projects from our fabulous team and an insiders’ peak to our latest fabric collections. You can also spy on what’s going on in the shop, including ideas from our “cookie cocktail” events and the brilliant quilts our friends and customers are working on.

Have you heard the news? Quilt Expressions has MOVED its location! After a few years in “cozy” quarters, we’ve reached our quilt shop heaven in a spacious 6,600 foot building with mile-high ceilings and skylights that makes the whole shop glow. We’ve barely missed a step in the transition and have all the long-arm machines buzzing along, customers scooping up armloads of newly discovered bolts while we’ve even managed to get several brand-new collections on the floor. Check out our online store to see the latest.

FabricMountain

Wonder what it looks like to move 5,000+ bolts of fabric? We took lots of photos of our able-bodied moving crew as they carried piles upon piles of bolts back and forth between the shop and our 26-foot truck.  Finishing the move in just under six hours, it was almost as easy as a wiggle of the nose a la Bewitched (although unpacking was another story…)

GoofyKris

Laying sheets and quilts on the floor, we started unloading our mountain of fabric in good spirits.

Bigger

And the pile got bigger...

MovingMen

... and BIGGER ...

KarenQuiltMoving

Karen lays more quilts down to make room on the floor as the moving nears an end.

JF

The winner! JF carries the most bolts from the truck.

ShopMoved

Annnd we’re finished. Can you believe this is only HALF of the new store?

And now, for the fun part! What’s better than shop talk and witty online banter? Free stuff! Make a comment to this blog entry with your first name and email address and you will be entered to win six fat quarters from the new collection everyone is talking about — Miniatures by Windham Fabrics! Our winner will be chosen on November 1st, so don’t delay. Invite your friends to check us out and maybe they’ll share the winnings if our random number generator favors them over you.

Minis

The complete Miniatures line.

— Posted by Stacy