Old Favorites and Some New Quiltie Goodies

You know that old saying: the right tool for the right job. I really believe that’s true.

I bought these wonderful scissors, Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Scissors, at the Round Bobbin last month. Ooooh, they are perfect, very sharp, lightweight, and a good fit for the hand. I’ve been using them to cut 1 and 1/2 inch squares for my postage stamp quilt, and these scissors are terrific.

I work with thread pretty much every day.  My morning routine is to shower, dress, brush my hair, and clip my little stork scissors and fob on my shirt. Okay, all dressed up and ready for the day to begin.


I often wear my little scissors to the post office, the super market, even to lunch. My daughter and I were headed out to lunch last week and she said, “You know, you have your scissors on.” Of course I do! I always do!  I was working all morning, which means clipping threads. (I just slipped the scissors in my purse. Didn’t need them at Taormina’s Ristorante.)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Not a day goes by that I’m not wearing thread. I’m covered with threads. The floor is covered with threads. Even Dilly, our resident springer spaniel, has been known to pick up a stray thread or two as they fall off me.

I spend a good deal of time snipping threads off client quilts, both from the seams before quilting and my own stray threads during and after quilting. And this little tool is a big help.

Cotton picker pic

This little foam mitt is a Cotton Picker. I have about 4 of them that I use for different functions here, and I gave them to many of my friends too. It’s so useful for getting stray threads and wiping the marking chalk off of quilts. I have another one that I use to brush stray threads off my clothes. And I had another one in my car for brushing threads and dog hair off the seats, but that one bit the dust from overuse. I need a new one.

I bought the Cotton Pickers at Byrne Fabrics in Chalfont PA, several years ago. I just went looking for another one there but and unfortunately they no longer carry them in stock.   I found them online at J Hittle Wholesale Sewing Supplies.


If you’re not interested in picking off threads, but you have other sewing needs, still take a peak at their website. J Hittle Wholesale Sewing Supplies has so many things a sewist or quilter wants or needs. I have never seen so many different types of stabilizer. They ask us to sign up for emails to get their special prices, but they just send one email every week or two, not a bombardment like some sites do.

Pins are next on my shopping list. I’m working on a little quilt of my own design. It’s going to be 10 blocks wide by 10 blocks tall, and each block is pretty much the same scrappy 25-patch. There are 100 blocks. Here’s a photo of a few of them sewn together. The pattern is starting to emerge.

perk valley 1 inch center

I’m trying to set them into a specific pattern, inspired by the traditional Mennonite Perkiomen Valley Split Ninepatch. Except mine isn’t a ninepatch. And it isn’t split. But I can see the pattern in my mind’s eye. It’s directional and  I’ve sewn it upside down a couple of times. Which is confusing and frustrating. =sigh=

I keep messing up between the design wall and the sewing machine. I’ve even tried putting Post it notes on the rows. I just need a better system. So I’ve ordered these numbered pins. They are numbered 1-20, and there are 130 in a pack.


I think they should help. I’m sewing this postage stamp quilt entirely by hand, and I really REALLY hate frogging! You know frogging, right? When we have to unsew a seam that’s been sewn not so well, we rip it out with the seam ripper. Rip it. Rip it. Get it? Sounds like a frog. So the ripping and unsewing is also known as frogging.

Speaking of unsewing, this little tool is a new favorite. It’s called SeamFix. It’s a very sharp little seam ripper, with a cool cap. I just rub the little rubbery ridged cap over the picked seam and the threads come right off. Brilliant. No more cramped fingers after unsewing. Aaahhhh….


Here’s hoping all our seams are straight and true, and our frogging is minimal. Bright blessings!



About Author: Donna Laing
Donna Laing is a quiltmaker who is passionate about her craft. She enjoys both traditional and contemporary quilting, and has an abiding interest in antique quilts. She has been quilting for over 40 years, and has made hundreds of quilts. She is the owner of North Star Quality Quilting, a professional longarm quilting service operated from her home in Bucks County.