Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Year, New Notions

Reevaluating comes naturally to me in a new year. Which projects do I want to continue? Which ones do I want to start? What big events are coming up that require a quilt or handmade gift? Late last year, I started preparing for my guild's upcoming February Spark Joy event, where we bring in sewing items to exchange or giveaway that no longer bring us joy. In the middle of this process, I noticed my sewing supplies in general needed a little refresh.

Have I mentioned that I'm a lazy hand sewer? Allow me to explain. I don't do a lot of handwork compared to machine work. I've been storing ALL of my hand sewing needles on a cute little needleminder (circular device about an inch big). This is not ideal for portability, even when it's in a bag, or for finding the right needles (though I don't do tons of handwork in general, I do seem to have accumulated lots of different needles). It was frustrating and time for a change... but what to do?

I discovered, to my glee, a small piece of cross stitch that I had started at the beach a couple of years ago but never finished (pattern is by Anna Maria Horner). I decided to finish it off (after all, it was only a couple more hours of work) and repurpose it into a small, handy needlebook (tweaking this tutorial from Nana Company). I couldn't resist adding some hand stitches to the borders (chosen favorite scraps) and backing. The best part is that I could make it to exactly fit into my sewing pouch! Making custom things rocks.


So now, when I go to handsew (which is a lot these days, as I'm preparing 20 quilts for my exhibit), it's SO EASY. I even marked each category (in a very rudimentary way - I may handstitch over them one day). Why didn't I do this before? Anyway, it makes a huge difference, and I'm thrilled to have a new handmade tool/notion around.  


That wasn't all. First, I realized I was getting quite low on Best Press (I buy big refill bottles). Then it was bobbins - I was working on so many projects that my bobbins were nearly all used up. With that I threw in a new bobbbin case (not pictured - I ended up buying even more bobbins after this! I do a lot of quilting!). My safety pins, which I use mostly for basting, were dull and well-used. Why not?

 And last but certainly not least, I have two new pairs of scissors. The top are pinking shears by Handi Stitch - when I was making handmade ornaments, the tutorial called for pinking shears and I couldn't think of a better way to do it at the time. Plus, I find myself always needing pinking shears but never having them. When else is a better time to invest? And then, my pride and joy - Mike bought (at my request, for my birthday/the holidays) 8 inch professional Kai scissors (7205). I've never had real fabric scissors (I've been using old kitchen shears for a while now) and these make cutting A DREAM. They cut like butter. Fabric, no matter how thick or layered, is simply a fluffy cloud. I could go on and on, but the point is, I literally use them every day.

New year, new notions. Stock up. Get ready for all the sewing to come. These small purchases prepared me, and I'm making this reevaluation a yearly tradition. (By the way, no paid advertising or anything, I really just love all these products!).

So, did you restock anything for a new year, or do you see yourself doing so soon?


  1. Great solution for your needles! I can see a quick and satisfying stitch project of stitching in the labels on day.

    I definitely need to stock up on more bobbins. My new Juki only came with 5 and I've been carefully managing them. Hmm... I'm off to Amazon to see what I can find! :)

  2. Hi there - I just discovered you in this New Year and enjoy reading your blog.
    I used to do only hand sewing for many, many years so this machine quilting stuff is the bomb.
    I recently destashed the uglies (fabric, that is)

  3. A good start to the new year. Having real fabric scissors makes life so much easier so congrats on choosing the KAI brand. They make awesome scissors! You also piqued my interest when you mentioned your guild's Spark Joy event. Can you share a bit more information? I understand the Spark Joy reference but will you be selling items, swapping items, giving items away? Does the guild rent tables to individuals? I am curious as it might be a great program idea for other guilds. Thank you for sharing!

  4. I can honestly say I've never used my pinking shears and fabric scissors on anything other than fabric. It sure makes a difference. I don't buy new bobbins because I never work on more than three quilts at a time so my 20 or so bobbins are plenty. I do need to buy some new basting spray. I still have over half a roll of batting so I'm good on that and I refilled my neutral thread supply in December.

  5. so far, with this chilly weather, I am just trying to clean up, clear out.
    I do need to get organized.
    New stuff? I need more interfacing.... I have a list somewhere in my purse, which ones I am running low on. I just need to do that some time.
    I have so much stufffffffff
    Love you Jess!!♥️

  6. How and why do you use Best Press? Just curious. Fun post.

  7. love that little cross-stitch, and what a cute way to use it. You know how much I dislike hand sewing, so bravo to you for buckling down and getting it done for your exhibit. As for me, I have just ONE more quilt to finish for my book and then all of this secret sewing can end (then comes the secret writing, ha!). Since new years, I have been quilting for hours and hours on end, and haven't done much reflection or goal setting, which I enjoy doing at this time of year as well. I'm planning do some of that after that final quilt is finished.

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  8. What a great idea for using your cross stitch. It certainly makes for a sweet needle book.
    I have so many items in my studio that I should give some away, but I STILL don't have a pair of pinking sheers. That might be on my birthday gift list next month. It worth a try, anyway!

  9. I love the needle book, Jess! The cross stitch is so pretty and your hand stitching in the borders is the perfect finishing touch. My needle book was a gift from Renee as part of a swap, so it's especially treasured (even if it only has two needles in it right now...I need to buy more). I have been making do with about 16 bobbins, but I have a pack of 50 on the way, so I'm looking forward to a lot more freedom with colours :)

  10. I have a very similar situation. I've been wanting to make a needle case for my hand sewing, but haven't yet. It probably won't take very long. It is inspiring to see you make it happen, maybe I will need to too!

    1. Hi Serena, take the time to do it! You'd love it! :)

  11. Hi Jessica
    Lovely little needlecase, great idea to customise to fit your other bag. Fab blog just found you through sunday stash, will be back again, cheers Fi


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