An Unfortunate Event

But luckily just the one, not a series.  Here goes…

I’ve said before that I enjoy Pinterest and I use it to save everything from quilt ideas to recipes.  I mostly ignore the ads, though I do note that they somehow have me pegged as needing plus size clothing, which is not the case, thanks!

I know there’s a lot of “profiling” going on at Pinterest as well as most other sites, but usually I don’t worry about it.  However: I recently found an idea I thought I’d blog about, so I started a Pinterest board labelled “blog”.

Oh. my. goodness.  Pinterest immediately sent me a bunch of suggested pins concerning how to “improve” my blog.  The first one I clicked on led to an obviously fake blog post (meaning this person doesn’t really have a blog, she’s just a front for an advertisement).  That was bad enough, but the product advertised is designed to “spam” Pinterest for you by posting your stuff several times a day with “no effort” on your part.  This is supposed to drive traffic to your blog, and it probably does.

Now I wonder how many people are using the strategy of spamming Pinterest to have their stuff put in front of me looking like a genuine pin, when really it is an ad?  I’m always cautious online, but this is ridiculous.

You’ve been warned.  And I’ll go back to blogging nice pictures of quilts next week.

Anybody had a similar experience with Pinterest?

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Favorite Quilt Tools 2017

There are lots of great tools on the market these days to make quilting easier.  Here are my three favorites of 2017.

(As always, please note that I receive no payment or product in exchange for these recommendations, and the links are provided only for your convenience.  I do not profit in any way from these opinions.)

Matilda’s Own rotating cutting mat.  I’ve actually had this for several years, since trying it at a retreat.  It’s great for trimming blocks because you just rotate the mat without having to move the block. The picture here is from Nancy’s Notions, where I found one of the best prices on this admittedly-expensive item.

rotary cutter review

Photo from Connecting Threads catalog

The Martelli ErgoCutter.  I’ve written before about how handy this item is.  After I cut off a piece of a finger with an ordinary rotary cutter a couple of years ago, it seemed worth looking for something safer.  I was not happy with the cutters that run on a groove along the ruler, so I kept looking until I found this item.

This cutter is, as the name suggests, designed for more ergonomically correct cutting, resulting in less strain on the hand and wrist.  And, because it is guided by the index finger over the front of the blade, it is less likely to get away from me.  It comes in right- and left-handed versions.  My only complaint is that the blade is slightly more difficult to change than in a traditional rotary cutter.

The Tucker Trimmer I.  I am not a big fan of buying every ruler on the market, but after seeing a friend using this one, I was sold.  It makes construction of accurate half square triangles, combination blocks, and hourglass blocks easy.  I use it with the rotating cutting mat to trim down these blocks, and it is a winner.

What are your favorite tools?

Pinwheels!

Jayne published instructions on how to make fabric pinwheels on her blog.  This was just in time for me, since I needed decorations for my Christmas packages.  Check out her tutorial here.fabric pinwheels

Naturally, I made a few changes to her instructions 🙂  Jayne’s pinwheels were small, but I needed to decorate a big package.  So I used some of my 5″ squares. (Remember the Nickel Quilt craze? That’s how old these squares are; I was in a swap group.)  If you want to use your own 5 inch squares to make bigger pinwheels, follow Jayne’s instructions but trim them to about 4-3/4 inches after fusing the two fabrics together.  Then make your corner cuts (see her instructions) 1-1/4 inches.  I just marked the center while marking for the corner cuts, so I didn’t need her measurement for the center dot.

Also, Jayne used Steam-A-Seam, which is a good product, but I had Heat-n-Bond, and that worked just fine. I did try gluing the center together rather than sewing it, but I wasn’t patient enough to hold it until it dried.

Finally, Jayne noted that “there will be fraying” since the edges are unfinished.  I think that is unlikely with Heat-n-Bond; I’ve never had trouble with it.  But just in case, I trimmed my edges with pinking shears rather than my rotary cutter.  Remember pinking shears?  Those were what we used to “clean finish” the inside seams on our garments back before everybody had a fancy machine with overlock stitch.  They still work just fine if you saved yours!

Happy holidays!

Ultraviolet

The Pantone company is an international organization (though based in the U.S.) that defines colors so that they can be reproduced exactly for printing and industrial uses.  Since 2000, the company has chosen a “color of the year”.  The 2018 color, announced this past week, is “ultraviolet”.  Here is the picture of it from their press release.  You can read the whole press release here.

Pantone publishes many color references, and I have one of their books of suggested color combinations.  I love looking at it, but in reality I choose my color combinations based on what looks good to me.  The book is fun anyway, and certainly I could use it if I ever get “stuck” on finding a color scheme.  You can see information on my book and look at some of Pantone’s other resources here.

I’m sure many of you are well familiar with the Pantone color system.  If you aren’t, browse their website just for fun.  And keep an eye out.  I’m always interested to see which industries seem influenced by the Pantone color of the year and which do not.  Will we see an immediate increase in the availability of purple fabric?

 

Some Useful “Finds”

Today I’m sharing a few non-quilting items that I have found useful for quilting.

Clear Plastic Trash Bags. I keep a package of these handy and wrap any quilts or fabric I’m going to mail in one of them.  I seal it with clear packing tape.  That way, if the box gets wet in transit, the fabric has some protection.  I won’t tell you how I learned that the trash bags you can’t see through are a BAD idea…  Glad makes the clear ones in several sizes.

Binder Clips.  I have these in two sizes as a legacy of Judy Niemeyer’s classes, which require extreme organization.  I now use them to hold binding in a reasonable roll while I’m storing it, to hold quilt pieces together when I’ve cut a bunch of the same size for a project, etc, etc.  They’re pretty handy as chip clips in the kitchen, too–they don’t break like the usual plastic chip clips.  You can find them at any office supply store.

Ponytail Holders.  These are handy for putting around a spool to keep the thread from wandering, tangling, etc, while the spool of thread is in storage.  If found this small size,

which is handy for the smaller diameter spools, for $1 at a store that will remain nameless.  These also come in a larger size that works well for larger spools.

What non-quilting items do you find useful in your studio?