4 March 2012

{friendship} february: tools, tips, tuts & a winner...

Hello there!
I hope you are all having a great weekend & managing to squeeze in a wee bit of lovely creativity somewhere along the way....
Speaking of creativity, I really enjoyed reading about all those tools you could not do without & I thought I might share with you some of mine & a few wee tips too....but first, the winner of Leanne's giveaway for the Scrap Republic Book is..... number 52
So congratulations Rhonda! Could you please email me your postal address?

Here are some of my favourite sewing tools & tips...

Rotary Cutter Sharpener:
I couldn't do without my rotary cutters, but they always seem to run blunt on me when I'm in the middle of cutting & I haven't time to nip down to the local quilt shop to get a replacement blade... But here is a handy trip wee tip which will sharpen them in no time.....simply take a piece of tin (aluminium foil) & fold it a couple of times & slice away at it with your rotary cutter as if you were cutting fabric...after about 10 slices try to cut a scrap of fabric & you should notice a difference... no need for a new blade (not yet anyway!)
Iron Cleaner:
Another tool I don't think I could do without is my (ancient) & very heavy iron...but I sometimes get adhesive from applique sheets onto it, which leaves a burnt mess. Again I usually do this in the middle of a project & so, rather than rush off to the shop to get iron cleaner, I get a dryer sheet & put the iron onto a cooler, low setting & iron over the dryer sheet (quite vigorously) & the residue seems to disappear leaving me with a nice, clean iron.
Scissor Sharpener:
Sometimes the children take my super-sharp, fabric scissors for their school projects &, by the time I get them back, they are so blunt they can only chew up the fabric, rather than cut it... A quick way to sharpen them  is to cut a piece sandpaper (medium or fine grit works best) with them a couple of times & they are soon ready to slice again!
Freezer Paper Wonder:

I LOVE freezer paper - it is so versatile & I use it for patterns, paper piecing, applique etc. etc. All you do is draw onto the freezer paper the shape etc. you need, iron it to the fabric & cut & then just peel it off...no pins required! You can also reuse it, so no wastage either. I've just experimented with it for printing onto fabric & its works wonders for this too. 

Frixion Pen:
An alternative (& inexpensive) way to mark fabric lines, particularly for piecing or triangles, is to use this pen which disappears with a warm iron. These pens are so cheap & are great for children as they rub out if they make a mistake....They are very popular with quilters, although the mark will come back if the quilt is put in the freezer.....but if you don't do this, you should be grand! :)

Palette Knife:

My palette knife is my wee, secret, super-slick seam weapon!! If you want nice, crisp seams simply poke the seam with the palette knife & slide it along the seam as you iron - the seam will be lovely & thin like this:

Pin Sharpener:
My most recent favourite tool is this wee pin sharpener which I made out of a used tealight holder, some fabric & trimming scraps & steel wool (& seeing as its nearly St Patrick's Day I've made this one in the shape of a shamrock! :)
All you do is poke your pin (or needle) into the sharpener a couple of times & hey presto, one impressively sharp pin!
If you would like to make one of these, please click here to see the full tutorial
Wow! Sorry about the length of this post, but hope you have enjoyed it!
Hope you have a great rest of the weekend!
Take care


  1. Loved reading your favorite tools and tips! Thanks for sharing. I've GOT to try this pin sharpener. I have some pins that are dull.. very frustrating. This looks simple and fun and genius! I will link back if/when I get one made! Thanks! xo

  2. Well done Rhondda, and some great tips, especially love the pallette knife idea.

  3. thanks for the tips going to try the iron cleaning today ........mine is a mess :((

  4. Brilliant tips and well done to Rhonda x

  5. Thanks for the tips. Di xo

  6. Great tips K! I badly need to sharpen my scissors! Thanks for a less expensive solution. Jxo

  7. Great tips, and love the palette knife idea, I knew it was useful for something other than chipping ice blocks out of the freezer...

  8. Like the palette knife and rotary cutter sharpening tips!

  9. Oh I love that sharpening tip - have to try it as my cutter is very blunt!

  10. Such great tips! Thanks. I really need to try some of these.

  11. Love the pin sharpener and palette knife trick - very clever!!

  12. Those are great tips. I am going to try the foil trick today, thank you.

  13. thanks for those tips and tricks Karen - love the foil one - I tried that yesterday as my cutter was getting blunt and worked a treat :)

  14. Congratulations Rhonda!

    The tips are brilliant, will be trying that foil one!!

  15. Karen,

    Hi! Wow! I can't beieve that I won. #52!
    my e-mail address is:


    Thank you so much!!

    I will try to e-mail you!!

  16. Those are some great tricks! I'm definitely trying the tin foil!