Tools

My Faves: Wool Pressing Mat

Top of my Christmas wish list was a wool pressing mat. I hesitated however because I just wasn’t sure if I needed one. The price for wool isn’t cheap and I wanted to make sure this mat delivered the goods.

Well, we got them in the shop and one was placed in a classroom so I tried it out. Here is my Sewing Machine block before pressing on the wool mat.

And here is my block after.

Notice how it smoothed out all those gathers around the embroidery? Look how nice and flat it is now! And that’s without using any starch. Pretty impressive.

Always in Stitches (the quilt store where I work) has wool pressing mats in two sizes—8” and 17” square. They are expensive and it’s tempting to get the less expensive one but I decided if I got one it should be large enough to press an entire block so I got the 17” instead.

Online, some have reported that wool pressing mats smell but mine doesn’t. I mean I can smell wool like a wool sweater but it’s not overpowering or even noticeable after a few minutes. I’d stay away from the real cheap ones though because maybe they smell because the wool isn’t that clean.

The mat is firm (I love a firm ironing surface, don’t you?) and holds my block in place so I can get a good pressing. In addition, it holds heat like crazy so I’m really pressing my block from both sides at once. So cool!

If you get a wool pressing mat of your own, here are a few tips for using it:

  • Keep it clean. I would not spray starch on a block while it’s on the wool mat, because the wool fibers will absorb the starch. So I spray on my ironing board, then move the block to the mat.

  • Rinse in cool water If you have dirtied your wool mat, rinse it in cool water and hang it to let it air dry.

  • Watch out below First, do not put the wool pressing mat on your cutting mat. If you use steam, the steam will travel through the wool fibers and wet whatever’s underneath, so it’ll soak your cutting mat. Even if you don’t use steam, the heat may travel through the fibers and warp the cutting mat (you also know not to leave your cutting mat in your car on a hot day, don’t you?) My mat is 1/2” thick and the density seems to keep most of the heat from traveling through but still, I don’t want any heat on my cutting mat so I’m not going to use it there.

    I planned to use the pressing mat on my ironing board because that seems the most convenient place, but it’s bigger than my ironing board and I don’t want it to warp so I’m using on a nearby table. I don’t use steam in my iron and instead simply squirt the block with my mister before ironing, but if I use steam I suppose I’ll put a towel under the mat to absorb the water and protect my table from getting soaked.

  • Block it out It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize you can pin your block to the mat to square it up if needed. Or any kind of fiber work, such as embroidery. How cool is that?

If you want to share the news about felted wool pressing mats, please pin the image below to Pinterest or share it on Instagram with my hashtag: #inquiringquilter.

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Tell me…have you invested in a wool pressing mat?

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Feathering My Nest

Back in the early days of my blog, I used to regularly feature handy tools, beautiful fabrics, and awesome patterns I called “My Faves.” It occurred to me that since I work at a quilt shop now, I should probably feature from time to time the things that catch my eye.

Recently at the shop, we featured this handy tool—the Your Nest Organizer.

The organizer was on sale at the shop for a short period of time, and after thinking about it for a while I finally bit and got it. The Your Nest Organizer has a troubh to hold your rotary cutter, holes in the front for small pointy things like a pencil, seam ripper, and small scissors, and grippy things for holding just about everything else such as a pack of machine needles, magnetic picker-upper, small rulers, and what have you.

I love its small footprint and its ability to corral the quilting tools I use the most right next to my machine. I also love the color I chose (purple <grin>). The tool comes in lots of colors, including lime, pink, aqua and of course purple. <grin>

I’m probably going to be tweaking what I keep in my Nest for a while until I find that perfect combination of tools. My only wish right now is that it had a few more holes in the front.

If you like it, please share my review online using the image below.

I could probably use a Your Nest Organizer in the kitchen as well to hold recipes, small knives, pen and notepad. Hmmm. I'll have to give that a try.

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Tell me…what tools would you keep in your Nest?

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I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!

My Faves: Clover Wonder Clips

Wonder Clips by Clover are my new fave. I keep finding uses for them! For example, they are simply perfect for holding your binding in place while you sew.

When you’re trying to sew a zipper, Clover clips are like an extra set of hands.

If you’ve cut up pieces for a quilt and you want those pieces to stay organized, the clips are pretty handy.

Wanna sew something you don’t want to poke a hole in, like vinyl or chalkboard fabric? I found that my Clover clips were irreplaceably useful when I sewed a business card holder to my camera strap and luggage tag, and also when I sewed vinyl to my can koozie.

Really, any time to need to hold something in place while you sew, these clips are a genuine must-have.

The clips come in multiple colors so you can find ones that match your eyes, your cat, or you favorite color.

As cool as the colors are, probably the coolest thing about Clover Wonder clips are the markings on the back at 3/16”, 1/4” and 3/8”. The markings let you accurately measure what you’re clipping while you're clipping it.

If you like it, please share my review of Clover Mini Clips online by using the image below.

Clover clips review.jpg

Tell me, what do you use Clover Wonder Clips for?

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Keep Calm and Get Your Seam Fix

Okay, I’ll admit it. Sometimes I need to rip out a seam because I didn’t sew it right. <grin> On those infrequent occasions <wink> I bring out my Seam Fix because it saves me time and frustration.

I probably have four or five seam rippers, so I certainly didn’t feel like I needed another one when I first saw the Seam Fix in a local quilt shop. Then I learned that Seam Fix has a rubbery end that removes threads easily, making it a seam ripper that every quilter should make room for in his or her sewing box.

At one end of the Seam Fix is your standard seam ripper. At the other end is a rubber ball with grooves that acts like an eraser, sweeping up those newly snipped threads with just a few passes.

I have both the regular-sized (5-1/8") and miniature )3-1/8") Seam Fixes because I love them so much. I hear it's a great tool for fraying the seam of a rag quilt. This really is a must-have quilter's tool!

If you like it, please share my review online using the image below.

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