Binding Tool Essentials

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I get lots of questions about quilt binding and I wanted to make a post highlighting some of my favorite tools that make the job SO much faster and easier. Just like with any home improvement job, the right tools really do make the job easier. If you need some stocking stuffers for yourself, here are some suggestions. wink wink.

  1. Clover Leather Thimble – I discovered this after I literally sewed a hole in two of my fingers from binding so many quilts. I tried poke a dots and a few other things, but they just didn’t feel natural to me. This literally starts to form to your finger after you use it and it has changed my life. I can bind SO much faster now and save my fingers. I wear it on my middle finger. I bought a size medium, but it definitely has expanded and I’ll buy a size small when it needs to be replaced. I’ve bound probably 20 quilts with my current one and it’s still going strong.
  2. Clover Clips – in case you don’t already have these, I highly recommend them. I bought mine when my now 18 month old was born and I didn’t want pins poking out of my binding poking him. I only use 4-5 at a time, so a pack of 10 is plenty for binding.
  3. Fons and Porter Binding Needles – These are relatively inexpensive, but I love them. Their length is perfect for binding. The right needle does make a difference.
  4. Machinger’s Gloves – I use these as I’m initially attaching my binding to my quilt by machine (in preparation for hand binding). I just use one on my left hand, Michael Jackson style, and it really helps me get the grip I need to control my quilt. I also use these when I free motion quilt, but even if I never were to FMQ, I would still want these for attaching binding.
  5. Gutermann thread – I prefer using polyester thread for binding. I know some say it “cuts” through the fabric, but cotton thread breaks down more easily. There are pros and cons to everything. I mainly prefer polyester because it does not knot up as easily. It makes for smooth sailing and much less frustration.

I’ll update this post if I think of anything else, or find something new I like using. Happy binding and may we all finish our Holiday to-do’s before Christmas eve, though not likely. 🙂

Bloc Loc Ruler vs. Triangles on a Roll

Bloc Loc v Triangles

This is a post I’ve been mulling over for awhile. It seems like there are 2 camps of quilters: those who live and die by BlocLoc Rulers and those who live and die by Triangles on a Roll. For those of you unfamiliar with either of these tools, here’s the basic run down.

Bloc Loc Rulers are a hard acrylic ruler with a groove in the middle. Assuming you press your seams to one side when you sew, the seam will nest in the groove, thus “locking” it in place and making it much easier to trim as compared to a ruler without this groove.

Triangles on a Roll are basically foundation paper piecing papers that are literally in a continuous roll. They come in many, many, many sizes. When you purchase a roll, you want to buy what the finished size of the half square triangle (HST) should be. For instance, if your pattern says you need to cut your squares at 3″, trim to 2.5″ so you end up with a 2″ finished HST, you order the 2″ size. It took some navigating, but always, always check the pattern for the FINISHED size. The Triangles on a Roll work differently than most traditional ways to construct HSTs. First, you cut your fabric in strips at a determined length (as stated on the packaging of the specific size of Triangles on a Roll that you purchase), sew up and down the lines in the direction the arrows point, then you cut them apart, rip off the papers, and trim the dog ears.

I recently made eleventy billion HSTs, one set for a Radiant quilt by April Rosenthal of Prairie Grass Patterns, another set for a Ruby quilt by Amber Johnson of Gigi’s Thimble. In making my HSTs, I have used both my 6.5″ Bloc Loc ruler as well as Triangles on a Roll and here are the pro’s and con’s about each product.

Bloc Loc Ruler:

– I can use my 6.5″ ruler for ANY size of HST, as long as it’s smaller than 6.5″. I use it for 1.5″ squares, 2.5″ squares, any HST that needs to be trimmed. I use it on a daily basis. Yes, daily.

– I only have to buy it once. As I said, I can use it for any size. While it is a larger up front investment, it is just that, an investment.

– It can get a little monotonous trimming 600+ HSTs.

– Owning this is a life changing event, in my opinion.

Triangles on a Roll:

– There are enough steps in the process that it is hard to get bored of one specific job, like getting bored of trimming eleventy billion HSTs with a ruler.

– The sewing of the HSTs together went very fast.

– I’m not entirely sure it saved me loads of time from just trimming them HSTs with a ruler, however there was enough variety that I didn’t want to put my quilt away and never look at it again (sound familiar to anyone??)

In the end, I do believe I will continue to use both products, the Bloc Loc ruler as my daily go-to tool for smaller projects and the Triangles on a Roll for larger-scale projects with a LOT of half square triangles involved.

* This is not a sponsored post, just my opinions on two products I have used. The link above to Amazon is an affiliate link.

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