Tools of the Trade

21 Jul

Fellow Quilters,

I have been making quilts for 25 years now, ever since Northcott started selling quilting fabric.  Prior to that, Northcott designed and printed fashion fabric for the home sewing industry – think “local fabric store”.  When we started selling quilting fabric, I had to learn to make quilts, since I was responsible for making the displays for our trade shows.  Quiltmaking sewing is actually quite different from garment sewing, and I slowly learned the skills (and lingo!) required for quilting. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I took a class, and learned how much I didn’t know.  More importantly, I learned skills in that class that I still use, “tools” for my “technique toolbox”.  The class was a colorwash project, and I didn’t actually finish the project – a common occurrence among students, I have learned.  In addition to learning about how to make a colorwash quilt, I learned that we should make the entire quilt on one machine.  I also learned about nesting seams – a fundamental tool in quiltmaking.  From the teacher, I picked up little tips along the way.  That class was so much more than simply buying the book or pattern and making the quilt myself.  It was the opportunity to learn from someone more experienced than myself in the skills required for that project.

Over the years, my skill level has increased, and I have found ways to make my quiltmaking experience better, faster, more efficient, and more enjoyable.  I have added a lot of tools to my technique toolbox.  I began sharing my methods with other quilters by teaching. It has become something that I truly enjoy.  It is quite gratifying to see someone have success with a skill they didn’t have before you shared your knowledge with them.  It is particularly thrilling to see the student’s self-confidence increase.  The biggest thrill comes when a student takes what they’ve learned from you and takes it beyond what you even imagined.

This year I have the opportunity to teach twice in the lovely state of Tennessee.  In March, I taught at A Mountain Quiltfest in Pigeon Forge, and next week I join a faculty of renowned teachers at Quiltfest, held at Tennessee Quilts in Jonesborough.  I will be teaching bargello, Borders & Bindings, and Stacks of Presents – it is my newest class, and results in a lovely seasonal wall-hanging.

PC185 Stacks of Presents

Stacks of Presents holiday version

The first 2 classes are almost full, however there are still a few spots in the Stacks of Presents class if you are available ( ).  I will have your kit waiting for you!  I am also doing a presentation on How Fabrics are Designed and Printed, combined with a mini trunk show to inspire you.

The other equally fabulous benefit of a class is the opportunity to connect with other quilters.  I have met many wonderful quilters over the years that have become friends, and I am very excited that two of my quilting friends, Mary and Sandi, will be in my class!  Woop woop!  We shall have a blast. Then there’s the faculty. I have known fellow teacher Nancy Mahoney for years and am looking forward to seeing her too. I also want to take in the presentation by Esterita Austin – it should be great!

Speaking of tools, I have a new YouTube video on my favorite quilting tool, the narrow Hera marker by Clover.  I encourage the students in my classes to use it, and Northcott just posted a quick video of exactly how I use this great tool.  You can watch it here: Patti’s Hera marker video

It’s been a while since I’ve had a giveaway on my blog, so I’m thinking it’s time for one.

PC205 Butterfly Beauty

PC205 Butterfly Beauty

I have been making my samples for 2 of my new patterns that use the gorgeous Flight of Fancy collection.

PC206 On Golden Wings

PC206 On Golden Wings

For a chance to win a packet of Flight of Fancy, please post a comment on my blog by July 31 telling me what your favorite quilting tool is, and which of the 3 colorways of Flight of Fancy you like best.  You can see them here: Northcott’s Flight of Fancy collection Good luck to everyone!



29 Responses to “Tools of the Trade”

  1. Bunnie Cleland July 21, 2017 at 1:18 pm #

    My favorite quilting tool is my brain. But I can only share it with a few people at a time in my classes, just like you do.
    My next favorite is pointy stiletto. It can hold fabrics under the needle in just the right place till they’re sewn for good!
    I like the Blue Lagoon colorway. Beautiful.

  2. JUDY ECKHARDT July 21, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

    Patti, I love the KK Buckley serrated scissors for my appliqué work. I also use them when I do my hand embroidery. My favourite fabric is Blue Lagoon although Earth is really exciting too.

    • Lisa Hook July 27, 2017 at 3:50 pm #

      How do I get the fabric for this project. I purchase butterfly Beauty pattern but I need to get the fabric also I like Blue Lagoon pattern and I would like to get that fabric as well my favorite tool is the seam ripper

      • Patti July 27, 2017 at 10:55 pm #

        Hi Lisa, the easiest way to find the fabrics for Butterfly Beauty is by using the Product Finder on Northcott’s website. Go to, enter Flight of Fancy in the search box, click on the swatch, and click on the Product Finder icon on the top right of the page. Search by state/province to find a shop that has the specific fabrics you’re looking for. It’s so handy and helpful!

  3. Edna July 21, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    After the sewing machine, my go to tool is a Hera marker. However, I had only used it for marking seams. I loved your video on “pressing”! Love duel use tools. I like the Earth color way. Beautiful quilts!

  4. Patricia July 21, 2017 at 1:42 pm #

    Golden wing ,so rich looking. My favorite tool my 1/4 inch machine foot.

  5. karrie233 July 21, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

    I love the Blue Lagoon! And my favorite tool is my seam ripper.

  6. Bonnie Larson July 21, 2017 at 2:04 pm #

    I love Blue Lagoon and my new favourite tool is quilting rulers for my DQM. Thanks so much for sharing

  7. Tara Dewdney July 21, 2017 at 2:04 pm #

    I have to concur with the Hera marker for pressing. After learning of this through one of your clases ( Borders and Bindings), I use it exclusivlely. Only giving a block a final press with a damp press cloth. I have 3 markers, one in my class bag and one at each machine. I think it’s the only tool I own 3 of. blie Laggon would be my favourite colourway.

  8. Sandy K July 21, 2017 at 2:06 pm #

    I like the Autumn.

  9. Vicki H July 21, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

    I definitely like the Autumn colorway most.

  10. Teri July 21, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

    I like the Earth colorway best. My favorite quilting tool is my Creative Grids basic ruler.

  11. LINDA July 21, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

    HI,I love Blue Lagoon and my favorite tool is my 1/4″ sewing machine foot. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Myra July 21, 2017 at 3:42 pm #

    Hello Patti
    I am more inspired by the “Earth” colour way.
    My favorite tool are the Clever Craft Tools – Grip & Stitch quilting discs for free motion quilting. Much easier to use than quilting gloves when my machine is in my built-in counter top which gives more tabletop on which to move the quilt around.

  13. CateD July 21, 2017 at 5:25 pm #

    It seems I cannot live without my seam ripper. If I were making the project for me it would be Blue Lagoon but for anyone in my family it would be Earth. I love both actually.

  14. Ellen July 21, 2017 at 5:48 pm #

    My favorite quilting tool is a rotary cutter. I like the Blue Lagoon colorway the best. They are all beautiful

  15. In The Boon Docks July 21, 2017 at 6:01 pm #

    Blue Lagoon colorway is my favorite! My favorite quilting tool would have to be a rotary cutter, I am not a straight cutter with scissors no matter how I try!

  16. Bev Smith July 21, 2017 at 7:57 pm #

    All of the colorways are great, but I think my favourite is the blue lagoon. It’s delicious! I have several tools that I love.The 1/4″ foot has revolutionized quilting. It’s so nice and easy to keep consistent size seams. Two of my other favourite tools are a scaper that I found in a kitchen store. It works the same way as your new tool. The other is a wallpaper seam roller. It comes in especially handy when paper piecing. I also love my “purple thang”.

  17. Stephanie Woodward July 21, 2017 at 8:34 pm #

    My favorite tool is my rotary cutter. Those of you who didn’t start before there was one are so fortunate.

  18. Susan Webster July 21, 2017 at 9:22 pm #

    Just beautiful, love the butterflies

  19. Cheryl Westlake July 21, 2017 at 9:31 pm #

    Hi Patti. Blue lagoon is my favourite colourway and definitely like the 1/4 inch seam foot.

  20. Delaine July 22, 2017 at 6:36 am #

    The Autumn colorway is my favorite and my favorite quilting tool is my stiletto. They are so handy. Thanks!

  21. Verna A. July 22, 2017 at 12:37 pm #

    I recently bought thread snips, and I don’t know how I managed without them! Blue Lagoon is my favorite!

  22. Pam July 22, 2017 at 1:04 pm #

    My favourite tool is the new ruler I bought at the Vermont Quilt show. The Oowhee slip-free ruler. Don’t know how I have managed so long without it. My choice would be the Earth colourwise.

  23. Shirley (Petunia Pinner!!) July 22, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

    Favorite quilting tool? Pick only one??!!!! I will have to say my rotary cutter(s) – without those I wouldn’t be able to work as quick as I can for the time they save in cutting out fabric pieces.
    That autumn color way has to be my favorite – so very rich and warm!

  24. DebrafromMD July 24, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    The rotary cutter is my favorite tool. I learned to quilt in the days before rotary cutters, and I wouldn’t still be quilting if I had to do everything the way I originally learned.

  25. Audrey July 24, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

    It think I am going to have to go with my favourite tools…..the rotary cutter, the 1/4″ foot and the walking foot. They have revolutionized quilting methods and have kept me very happy. My favourite colourway is Blue Lagoon with Autumn a very close second.

  26. Lisa Freeman July 25, 2017 at 3:48 pm #

    I have to say that my favorite tool is the rotary cutter and my stiletto. My favorite color in the Northcott Flight of Fancy is the Autumn. It’s such a rich color1

  27. Maria McGilloway September 27, 2017 at 9:24 am #

    Love this row! Can’t wait to try it!

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