Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Nifty tools for quilting

I'm busy hand quilting the baby quilt for my friend. I'm using the same method I use when machine quilting which is that I first quilt the major seam lines where the blocks abut. Once the centre is stabilized in this way I can quilt the border and bind the quilt. This reduces the bulk of the excess batting and backing and makes quilting the centre of the quilt much easier. You can read a more detailed description of my method here.

In the process of hand quilting there are two tools which I've been using and I thought I would write about them today. The first is the Clover Soft Touch Thread Pick and the second is a Hera Marker.

I've had a Hera Marker in my tool box for more than twenty years and have used it for pin tucks and such but never thought about using it to mark a quilt until I read about it in Hilda's blog, Every Stitch. She has written about using a Hera Marker to mark straight lines on light coloured fabrics. The beauty of the Hera Marker is that it scores the fabric to create a visible line on the fabric but there is nothing to wash out.

Hera Marker

It is simple to use.

I had quilted the triangles in the border along the edge of the seam allowance so I didn't need to mark but I wanted to echo those lines of quilting with straight lines.

I used my Hera Marker and a small Omnigrid ruler. I lined 1/4" mark on the ruler on the quilted lines and then scored the fabric with my Hera Marker. I made sure that I had my quilt on a hard surface and that it was smooth and flat. I scored the lines slowly and carefully. I find that if you go too fast it can create little pleats in the fabric which will skew the line.

I did this on each triangle along the length of the border and then hand quilted. It is the perfect tool for marking straight quilt lines. 

The second tool that has come in handy is the Clover Soft Touch Thread Pick.  I was working away on the baby quilt and discovered a dark thread trapped between the top and batting. I stuck out like a sore thumb so I used my Soft Touch Thread Pick to remove it.This tool comes with a protective sheath which you remove in order to use it.

Clover Soft Touch Thread Pick

At the tip is a very tiny crochet hook.

Here you can see a trapped dark thread.

Slide the tip of the hook through the quilt top and hook the offending thread.

Carefully draw out the hook through the point of entry and the thread will come along with the hook.

Time for me to get back to work on this little quilt!

Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H


  1. I'm having a dickens of a time marking a darker print. Need something light that won't disappear. Think the hera marker would work?

    1. I used a hera marker to mark the seam lines for hand piecing my quilt. The fabrics were mostly medium to dark with a few light ones, and the hera marker worked wonderfully. I also used it to mark the quilting lines for a small wall hanging, and it worked great on both light and dark fabrics.

  2. Your stitching is looking great Karen. Are you using a regular hand quilting weight thread? I find it difficult to make even stitches when I try to do then larger. Do you have any tricks for keeping them even length? Are you using a larger needle? Happy quilting!

    1. I'm using YLI hand quilting thread. I like it because it doesn't twist and tangle so I can work with a longer length. As for the needle I think I am using a Roxanne applique needle which is longer and thicker than a between which I find hard on my fingers. Also a bigger, thicker needle tends not to flex as much and I find it easier to get consistent stitches. For this quilt I am doing a bigger stitch. To keep the stitches even I am only taking two stitches at a time (sometimes three). I'm not sure how people count stitches but what I count are those that show on top so if I'm taking two stitches that means two stitches show on the front of the quilt but some quilters would consider that four stitches since there are two on top and two on the back. I find it is easier to gauge the size of the stitches if there are fewer on the needle; I can compare what I have on the needle to what I've already done.

  3. I've a friend who uses the Heramarker for lots of her fmquilting (eg feather spines) but I haven't got into using it much - I guess I don't laways trust that I will see the line! I am trying to use it more though as it is good not to have to remove markings! Haven't heard of the Thread pick- what a hand little tool that one is! Happy Quilting :-)

  4. Hi Kare, 2 great tips, thanks for sharing! I have wondered about the hera marker for ages. I just joined at EPP online group, someone asked where do I get my lovely patterns and I sent her to you!