As with many tasks in life, essential tools make work much easier. This week I’m talking about a new and exciting product line from UNIQUE longarm including 9 tools that are must-haves for effective quilting.
I received, unboxed and been working with a large magnetic pin bowl, glass head pins, quilting pins for longarm quilting, reverse-action tweezers, a thread cone net, a 0-120” center measuring tape, a longarm quilters’ dust brush, pattern tracing film and 3 film marking pencils. These tools are so exciting because they’re so useful!
Some of us in the quilting world use domestic (sit down) machines to complete our quilting and some use our own longarm machines or ship it out to professional longarm quilters to be quilted.
Haven’t heard of a longarm?
Simply explained, a longarm machine consists of a sewing machine head, fabric rollers (at least 10 feet long), a worktable and a heavy-duty frame. The throat of the machine is longer than a sit-down machine (18″ plus). These machines load the top, batting, and back into a metal frame, and sew the three layers at once. The machine head rolls vertically and horizontally, allowing it to quilt while the fabric stays in place. Depending on the machine, the operation may be manual or run by a computer, which can quilt designs automatically.
Longarming has gained popularity because it makes the quilting process on a machine so much easier as it is less time consuming and less cumbersome than traditional basting and quilting and there are of course more brands of longarm machines on the market than ever before.
A word of positive caution …if you’re reading this review of tools and you think it does not apply to you because you don’t own a longarm, let me assure you many of these tools I’ll talk about this week, would also be helpful for domestic machine quilters as well.
Pins are crucial every day when quilting and sewing for most projects and it’s important to use the right pins to get the job done effectively. Pins help quilters achieve accuracy in their piecing by keeping fabrics securely together for sewing. The most important feature in a pin for quilters is that the pin is sharp and thus able to glide smoothly through the fabric.
The 50 glass head pins from UNIQUE longarm quilting are nickel plated steel so they don’t rust easily, they “provide the glide”, they’re strong, longer (2”) compared to the domestic quilting glass heads at 1½”, sharp and the heads will not melt under the heat of an iron. You can use these even if you’re not a longarm quilter. The 2” length is very useful for pinning all 3 layers of your quilt when loaded on your longarm machine (I find this very useful along the outside edges of my quilts) or for temporarily pinning designs to the top of a quilt.
Why do I love them?…. Let me show you the way:
- They are 2” in length.
- They have a pear-shaped head making them easy to hang on to.
- They are super strong nickel plated steel.
- They are an excellent pin length and strength for piercing multiple layers of fabric.
For example: When I’m loading a quilt onto my frame rollers and leaders, I have to pin through 4 layers of materials (a leader, quilt top, backing and batting). Other pins do not work well for this process as they are not strong enough and bend and break frequently.
I have even been injured (stabbed) by broken and weak pins previously and I have also had issues with my quilt top pulling away from the leaders as a result of weak pins.
I’m so glad that UNIQUE longarm has decided to package up these brute strength pins and I find them so essential now for loading my quilts onto my longarm.
A fantastic tool to corralling all your pins, keeping them organized and preventing them from falling onto the floor is the magnetic pin bowl by UNIQUE long arm, shown below:
Why is this magnetic pin bowl awesome?
- This bowl is a generous 5½” in diameter so it holds lots of pins.
- It’s made of quality stainless steel.
- Has a 3” diameter weighted magnetic base, making it very sturdy and able to adhere magnetically to my frame rollers.
- The magnet is strong enough to use horizontally, vertically and upside down which means my pins stay put on the bowl and do not fall off.
- It holds more than pins. It can hold pins, needles, safety pins, and other small metal quilting tools and this makes it useful for both domestic quilters and longarmers alike.
- There’s a rubber coating on the magnetic base which prevents it from scratching surfaces.
- When loading quilts onto my frame, I don’t have extra hands to hold pins, the magnetic pin bowl sits on my metal roller and I’m able to access my pins easily while using my hands to hold the quilt and pin it securely it to the rollers.
Join me tomorrow when I discuss the UNIQUE longarm reverse-action tweezers and why they’re so important with my long arm quilting.