Every time I do a trunk show or workshop at a guild I inevitably get asked questions about what products and brands that I use in my studio and where I get them. Given that we are fast approaching the season of gift guides and wish lists I thought I would do a blog post about all the things that I use in my studio…
Fabric: As most of you know I dye my own fabric and for the last 6 or 7 years the only fabric that I have been using is the 400 Bleached Desized Mercerized Cotton Print Cloth from Testfabrics Inc. It has a nice tight weave so fraying is minimal and it takes dye beautifully.
The only other fabric that I use in my quilts that I don’t dye myself is Cherrywood Fabric. There are some colors that they do better than I can (red, brown, gray) and sometimes it’s easier to just pull from my stash of Cherrywood instead of dyeing up a little bit of whatever color I need to add to a quilt.
I love these dyers glove from Pro Chemical & Dye. They come up over my elbow so if I am dyeing in a deep vat I can reach in and not worry about dyeing my arms. These are great gloves and if you are doing any dyeing I highly recommend them. TIP: I always wear a pair of close fitting nitrile gloves under these gloves just in case the outer gloves have a hole or nick in them that I am not aware of. The extra layer of gloves underneath them give me the security of not having to worry about dyeing my hands.
Quilt making supplies
Mistyfuse: The only fusible I use in my studio and the only one I recommend to my students and use in my classes. Why? Because it’s lightweight, doesn’t add any bulk or stiffness to my fabrics. This is especially important to me because I construct my quilts in layers so I can end up sewing through 6 or more layers of Mistyfused fabrics without any problems at all. It creates a nice strong bond every time and I never have to worry about any bead of gunky build up on my sewing needles. Ask your local quilt shop to carry it if they don’t already. You’ll find some tutorial videos on how to use it here on my website.
Transdoodle: I use this non-waxy, non-staining, reusable, chalky-color transfer paper a lot and I love it. I have a video of how I use it to create text on my website here. Ask your local quilt shop to carry it if they don’t already or get it on the Mistyfuse website.
Wool felt: I don’t use batting in my quilts, I use wool felt instead. Specifically I use National Non-wovens wool felt in the 65/35 rayon/wool blend. I prefer it to batting because it adds body not loft and my quilts hang flat and straight. You can find this (or the 80/20 blend) at most fabric stores or online through the National Non-wovens website. Better yet, ask your local quilt shop to carry it if they don’t already.
Scissors: I converted to Kai scissors a few years ago and since then all my other scissors have been relegated to craft or paper scissors. I have several differnt pairs from the 7000 professional line including the 10″ shears, 4 1/4″, 6″ and the 6 2/3″ size. These scissors are the best! I have had the 10″ shears for 4 years and they are just as sharp now as the day I bought them and believe me I use these scissors a lot.
Thread: My preferred go to thread that I use in my quilts is Superior Threads Masterpiece and King Tut. They come in a rainbow of colors and the quality and color is reliable from spool to spool. They also have the best customer service and ship orders super fast. I used to use the Superior Monopoly in my bobbin but for some reason my new Bernina 740 doesn’t like it (although my previous 740 was fine with it, go figure) so I have switched to using Bottom Line which I like just as much. I use either the natural white, black, silver, gray, or off white in the bobbin depending on what color I am using in the top and I avoid having to wind a lot of different bobbin colors. I also like the Superior Titanium needles and always keep a variety on hand.
I also occasionally use Aurifil threads.
Irons: I’ve had all kinds of irons in the studio including very expensive brand name ones that cost me hundreds of dollars and the one thing that all had in common was that they either leaked, didn’t get hot enough or didn’t last as long as they should. For the last several years this Continental dry iron has become my favorite and I always have 2 of these in the studio. It’s inexpensive, heats up super fast and stays hot because there is no auto shut off. It’s a workhorse of an iron and since it’s inexpensive it’s fine if I only get a year of use out of it.
Sketching supplies: For many years my go to sketchbook was the 5″ x 8″ Riata sketchbook by Daler Rowney but last year I started using a hardback 8 1/2″ x 11″ book. I always label my sketchbooks with the year that I start using them so I have a point of reference when looking back through them.
For colored pencils I use the Derwent Inktense and coloursoft pencils and the Musuem Aquarelle by Caran D’ache Last year I bought a set of Arteza Brush Pens and I really like them although I don’t use them as much as my colored pencils.
I think that’s everything! If I missed anything or you have any questions about any of these products let me know by leaving a comment on this post.