Saturday, June 24, 2017

How To Cut Your Rag Quilt

I have made hundreds of rag quilts and I have tried almost that many rag quilt clippers.  Just kidding but I have tried a lot!  At first, like everyone who makes their first rag quilt, I just tried scissors I had around the house.  That did not work very well at all even though my first rag quilts were only 2 layers thick. (see My First Three Mistakes) Hurt my hands, did not cut through all layers, didn't stay sharp.

I did some experimenting with different scissors that I found at Joann Fabrics. Here is my collection of scissors and clippers.

I have to say my all time favorite clippers have been the black ones in the middle - Fiskars 8.5" Softouch Spring Action Rag Quilter Snips. I used these for years.  I loved them! They are comfortable in my hand. My hand does not get tired.  They cut through multiple layers of fabric like butter.  They are amazing!  UNFORTUNATELY, they seem to have been discontinued.  I cannot find them anywhere and if I do, they are out of stock or unavailable.  I recently found a pair on ebay but when they arrived it was a completely different pair of scissors.  Fiskar???  Why??????

I tried the orange and gray handled scissors - Fiskars Easy Action Rag Quilt Snips.  I've only used these a few times.  I found that they would stick when cutting through multiple layers.  I would have to pry the handles open at times.  I bought another pair to see if I just got a bad pair but they worked the same as the first - poorly.  I do not recommend these at all.

I thought maybe razor edged scissors were the way to go.  I tried the Fiskars 8" Razor Edge Scissors Softgrip but the cutting area was just too long.  These are really great for cutting through fleece and I use them all the time for that.  Then I tried the Fiskars Amplify RazorEdge Fabric Shears 6".  They worked well cutting through multiple layers and I could cut very fast with them but they just hurt my hands and thumb after just a few cuts. 

I really needed to find an alternative to the my favorite black Snips.  Mine were in need of sharpening and I had already replaced the springs.  I googled what other rag quilters used and I kept seeing the same Heritage Spring Loaded Rag Quilting Snips over and over.  I had actually tried these a long time ago and dismissed them pretty quickly because of the width of the handle grips.  I have small hands so it was harder for me to use these but I was desperate.  I forced myself to use them because they did cut very nicely through my 3 layered quilts including fleece.  Now after using these Heritage Snips for the past 6 months and getting used to them, I enthusiatically recommend them!

SO....if a Magic Quilting Fairy came to my house and offered me a lifetime of rag quilt clippers, I would definitely ask for... Fiskars 8.5" Softouch Spring Action Rag Quilter Snips.   However, since I'm buying I have to go with the blue handled Heritage.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pink T-shirt Quilt

       For the last couple days I've been working on a fun, big 30 shirt T-shirt quilt.  The borders or sashing are sparkly pink.  I'm a pink girl so working with anything pink makes me happy.  This quilt also has the little 2" squares at the corners which say: "Love you More".  How fun to be wrapped in a quilt like that.  One of the shirt squares is actually part of a halloween costume of Tinker Bell.  It was a little bit hard working with the delicate silky fabric.  I was worried about burning it but once it was fused it turned out okay.  The little silk petals will drape freely over the borders.

Just finished the top yesterday and I'm waiting on fabric to finish the backing.

One thing I learned with this quilt  is to use the steam setting to press the steams.  For years I never used the steam setting since my older iron would leave marks and stains on the fabric when I used the steam setting.  I just never tried the steam setting on my new Rowenta iron until now.  Wow, what a difference!  I will always use the steam setting from now on.
I just need to remember:
  • steam for ironing t-shirts to begin
  • no steam for fusing
  • steam for setting the seams
  • no steam when ironing over the logos without parchment paper
Here it is all done: