Wednesday, February 13, 2013

One of my paper piecing secrets

At the TMQG sew day over the weekend, I chatted a good bit about paper piecing, and in doing so, I realized that I've never shared here about one of my favorite tools for paper piecing - my telescoping Ott-Lite.


On a whim, I picked it up at Jo-Ann's one week when they weren't on sale and I had a killer coupon, and I haven't regretted it a bit. My sewing room does get a good bit of natural light during the day, but I don't always get to sew during the day, so if I'm working at night, a super bright light is absolutely necessary for helping me see where I'm lining up my fabric.

nighttime paper piecing, thanks to the Ott-Lite

I also really like to use it when I free-motion quilt, because it really does give off a lot of light. I remember when I first saw these things at Jo-Ann's, I positively scoffed at them. I thought they were totally unnecessary and that the light couldn't be that different from a regular old light, but it truly is. If you are a blogger who likes to do tutorials, these lights are great for lighting any step-by-step photos you want to take in your sewing room, because the light doesn't look artificial, it looks very clean.

Do you have any unexpected tools that you swear by in your sewing room? I'd love to hear about them! Have a great day :)

21 comments:

  1. We've got a very strong daylight bulb in our main pendant light in the office. Makes it much less dreary working the whole day when it's natural colour light!

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  2. I have a coffee mug on my sewing machine table that I keep those "go to" tools in: seam ripper, small scissors, pencil, small ruler for drawing diagonal lines, etc. I love having those things easily accessible!

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  3. ok now you got me convinced that I need one of these -- I know that the lighting in my craft room is awful (mostly because of my pictures always looking dark -- and my camera isn't the best). One tool that I swear by is my Frixion pens -- it's like magic every time when that ink dissapears. Unexpected tools -- I have a fence section (lice for porches) that I use to hang quilts on both in the room and when I take them to craft events for display.

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  4. Thank you for this - I need to buy a light for my sewing room!

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  5. Completely agree about the Ott light! I can't live without mine. I have one in the bedroom too for reading with no eye strain!

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  6. I love my Ott light - it is amazing how much it helps with FMQ and paper piecing. I shine mine right on the sewing machine - my husband thinks it's because as I get older I just can't see anymore :) In addition to the Frixion pen above, I really love my Add-A-Quarter ruler for paper piecing. It trims perfect 1/4 inch seams and makes lining up the next piece a cinch.

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  7. I was so like you and scoffed at these lights for so long. I now have three in different places in my studio (which has terrible lighting at night) that I don't know how I would live without. I've also switched most of the regular lights in my home from soft white to daylight bulbs. Inkjet he non-yellow light so much more!

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  8. I LOVE my Ott light, and not only that, but their customer service is fantastic! My bulb (which are very expensive) "popped" and blew out the first day I had mine, and the company replaced it no charge, no questions, and super fast!

    I like to buy fun funky thrift store glass glasses and candy dishes to hold clipped thread, bobbins and such at my sewing table :)

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  9. I have one too and it is fabulous,didn't think to use it for photography yet. I use it for tracing embroidery patterns onto fabric too:)

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  10. Yep, I do have a must-have tip... for taking out goofs when FPPing. Head to Wal-Mart and buy a three-pack of eyebrow combs/brow thinner. They're a couple bucks. Use the teeth in the comb to easily cut and separate short FPP threads. Oh, and give the other two combs to two best-friend FPPers!

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  11. I am in the market for a new desk lamp for the same reason - paper piecing! My old one just suddenly stopped working a week ago and I have been struggling since. Just a warning for those who shine them at their sewing machine, be careful your machine isn't too close. I managed to melt a bit of my machine in my first week using it because it was taller than my old one and closer to the lamp!

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  12. I love my Ott Lite! I have natural light bulbs in my ceiling too. I always use my lamp for sewing.

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  13. TRACING PAPER!!! You can see through it and it's easy to tear off your fabric without pulling on your stitches! For me, it's worth tracing the original pattern onto tracing paper. :D I also use the scraps of paper to put under fabric when there's the chance the fabric might get pulled into the feed dogs, like when you're sewing triangles. Oh, and it's inexpensive. I wish they made tracing paper for printers.
    ~ Tabatha at BendingPins.com ~

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  14. Good light is so important for any work space (I sound so official ~ teehee).
    I've got a light behind me (Ott) and a hanging light above my sewing machine (Ikea) and if I really need more I've got another little light attached to my sewing machine that works really well but is a pain (it tends to get in the way).
    While on a sewing retreat recently I bought a Stella light ~ it's really wonderful and has the best light (like it even better than my OTT).

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  15. thanks for the tip. last night when doing my piecing i could not see with the lamp i have on my desk. I will have to steal my hubby's light for this task. hope he does not mind.

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  16. thanks for the tip. last night when doing my piecing i could not see with the lamp i have on my desk. I will have to steal my hubby's light for this task. hope he does not mind.

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  17. I also have an ott lite in my sewing room and one beside my hand sewing chair in the family room. Don't know what I would do without them. Thinking of getting one more that is smaller like yours that I can move around. So I can hand sew anywhere in the house.

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  18. I have an ott light in my wish list. So many sewers love them. One of these days I'm going to have to bite the bullet and pull out the old charge card! LOL.

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  19. Love my free standing Ott light. My only regret is I didn't buy a matching one when the design was discontinued, so now I can't get another in the same style.

    My unexpected tools....have to be painter's tape and post-it notes. Painter's tape is useful for a lot, including securing a Supreme Slider for no-worry FMQing, replacing the paper on the bottom of a spool you want to mount horizontally, holding backing while you baste....I have a few more uses as well. I intend to put a page on my blog "Ode to Painter's Tape" or something like that one of these days.

    If I have a tiny triangle piece to sew, I'll use a scrap of notebook paper or a post-it note under the point so the feed dogs don't pull it out of alignment.

    In my travel sewing kit, I have a pair of nail clippers. They work great to snip threads, and there is no worry of an airline rejecting them in the cabin. (The TSA is clear about what sewing scissors you can take on a plane, but all bets are off for international travel.)

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  20. Tweezers are just great! I have a tall pair that sits in the mug with my seam ripper, and other items. I bought a small pack of Wonder Clips and now do everything with them. I found a large pack on sale so now I have enough! I also splurged on Pinmoors and found I use them whenever I use a pin instead of a Wonder Clip. Getting back to the unexpected, Scotch Restickable Strips- I use them to hold a thin ruler next to my machine for a scant 1/4. I have tons of feet but love this the best!

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  21. I have a ott desk lamp by my living room chair to craft by and a stand up by my sewing machine and they are great especially for matching true colors!

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Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy nine year old boy and a one year old baby girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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