Monday, April 19, 2010

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things!

On some of the blogs I read, people have been talking about their favorite quilting tools. I have found it all very interesting. I know different people like different products for all kinds of reasons. For me, ergonomics is a big deal. I don't know if it is the years of cross-stitching and needlepoint I did, or changing cloth diapers on five kids and dealing with all of those diaper pins, but for whatever reason, I struggle with recurring tendinitis in both wrists and my right thumb dislocates easily. I know, I'm 42 and I sound like I'm falling apart ;-) At any rate, ergonomically designed things are a must for me, or I trigger another bout of tendinitis. Just in case anyone out there struggles from any similar problems, I thought I show some of my favorite quilting tools.

This first photo shows the Gypsy Grippers that I use to hold my rulers. I bought all three sizes, and I have never regretted the purchase. Those purple grippers make it much easier to hold the ruler in place, and holding them is much less stressful on my wrist than pushing really hard on a ruler. I like the rulers too, though none of these are my favorite. Besides disliking Omnigrid's yellow markings, I'm not too picky about most rulers.

This next photo does show my favorite ruler, June Tailor Shape Cut. It has slots every half inch, and I love to cut strips with this ruler. Stashbusters had a discussion about this ruler recently, and it seems to be a love/hate thing. Either you really like the slots and find you cut more accurately with them, or you hate this ruler and think it's inaccurate. I think my strips are much more accurate with it, and make it easy. I also have June Tailor's Quarter Cut ruler, which has slots every quarter inch, but I prefer this one. Sitting on the ruler are my Martelli rotary cutters. What a difference those have made! My wrists don't hurt, my thumb doesn't hurt, and I think my accuracy has improved with them. I only used 45mm cutters before I bought these, but I bought the 45mm and 60mm at the same time. I actually prefer the 60 mm most of the time now.

When I hold the Martelli cutters, my hand stays in a more natural position, and my wrist is not turned sideways, which is key for me. I can't imagine going back to a different cutter, and I find most cutters called ergonomic really aren't. This one really is a more natural position.

Scissors? I have two pairs of spring-loaded Fiskars which I really like. I don't get as tired cutting when the scissors are doing half the work for me by opening themselves back up. Also, I don't have to deal with a thumb hole on these which is great for my poor dislocating thumb! For fine work and snipping threads I just use the orange-handled Fiskars micro-tip scissors. They are very sharp, and not very expensive. I have more than one pair.

Most people don't like to rip, and I'm no exception to that. With my thumb issues I really hated using those tiny rippers with the skinny handles. I just couldn't grip them properly. This Dritz ergonomic ripper was just what I needed, and I have more than one of these too.

I don't know that this information will help anyone, but I would recommend them to anyone having pain issues while cutting or ripping. Quilting should be fun, and for me having the right tools is key to keeping it fun instead of painful. I bought the Martelli cutters and the Gypsy Grippers at the same time, during a painful bout of tendinitis in both wrists. I haven't had another bout since then, and I think the tools have helped.

Now, if I could just find some straight pins I really liked....

1 comment:

Stephanie Newman said...

I have the little Gypsy Gripper too, isn't it great on tiny shapes?
I like the look of your seam rippeer- I use the Clover one which is also very nice as it fits inside my hand well- and has a lovely shaped blade.