Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tools Tuesday . . . Two-fer . . .

So first up, on this wonderful fall Tools Tuesday, is the Companion Angle by Darlene Zimmerman for EZ Quilting.

I bought this tool at the same time I bought my Easy Angle and Tri Recs rulers, also by Darlene, because they were hanging beside each other in the store, and the packaging on this ruler says, "Companion to Easy Angle and Easy Eight".  So I foolishly thought I needed this ruler to get my Easy Angle ruler to work.   Ha ha, the joke's on me,  you don't need the Companion Angle to use the Easy Angle ruler and vice versus.  That being said, they are both good rulers and work well.


The purpose of this ruler is to cut triangles with the longest edge on the straight of grain, along with some other things.  I don't ever get too worked up about the straight of grain, when you're dealing with rectangles not all the edges can be on the straight of grain.  But it appears that's important, so there you go.


The thing I like about this ruler is that you can cut big triangle units, that would need to be cut from a very large square, from a narrow strip instead.  For example, the strip I'm cutting above is from a 4 1/2 inch strip, if I was cutting a square diagonally twice to get this size triangle, the square would need to be 9".

The instructions that came with this ruler are fine, plus additional information is provided online.   This tool runs between $10 and $12.  I'm keeping it, and now that I understand its purpose will use it, probably the next time I have setting triangles.  I prefer cutting strips to squares when I have yardage.

Since the Companion Angle was so easy I figured I would review another ruler, the Triangle Trimmers by Fons & Porter, they run $7.99.  I bought these thinking you would use them to trim off triangles AFTER you pieced them, which you can, but really scissors or a rotary cut work just as well.  These trimmers have a greater purpose, they are used for making accurate Square in a Square Units and Brave New World Units.

The instructions were great plus they have an online tutorial.  (click here)


These are not templates but guides for cutting the tips of triangles, they can be used on any size fabric triangle.

This is how I normally connect my triangles to my squares when making square in a square units.  See that folded line in the middle of the white triangle?  I finger press that, by folding the corners together to get the center.  I do the same on the square on the bottom, then line up the pressed lines and sew.    


Usually the triangle units called for in a pattern are a weird size so I cut mine to the next biggest normal size, find the center of the two pieces, sew, then square it all up, giving myself the perfect 1/4"of fabric that you need above the points.  I trim those dog ears off after the pieces are sewn.

This method removes the ears before you sew.  


But you have to have the accurate triangle size for it all to work.


Since I did use the correct triangle size, once the ears were cut off it fit the square perfectly.


Here is the completed block.


With the perfect 1/4" of fabric above the points.


So the blue trimmer worked perfectly.

Next up, the New World Unit.  Here's the completed unit, I had no idea that was the name of this block!



Same principal, use the trimmer to remove the dog ears before sewing.


One gone, 


two gone.


I forgot to take a picture of the finished piece before attaching the other triangle, but it came out perfectly too.

These trimmers are a nice weight, pretty, and have a nice coating on the back that keeps them from slipping and sliding on the fabric.  

These trimmers aren't something that suits me, or the way I like to do things, but they work exactly as advertised and I think worth the $8.00 if you're into making either of these blocks this way.  I'll probably throw them back in my tools box, you never know, they work, so why not keep them?

That's it, can you believe it!  I'm all done with all the tools in my box that I didn't know how to use.  I think it's been fun and I learned a lot, mainly not to buy a tool unless I understand how it works or unless I have an immediate need for it.  Those folks doing the demos at the quilt shows are going to be so surprised when I no longer buy their wares!  I think the most valuable lesson here is that there are so many wonderful tools at our disposal, if you have trouble making a block, there's probably a tool to help you along, do a little research and give it a try.  Don't be like me and avoid a block (triangle in square) just because it looks scary!  

To celebrate the end of Tools Tuesday, and to thank you for following along and for the tips that you added to my posts to make for a better discussion, I'm having a giveaway.  The winner can select any Open Gate ruler (my favorite of all rulers) or any ruler or template from the Fat Quarter Shop that is less than $25. If Open Gate Quilts or Fat Quarter Shop will mail to your address, you're eligible to enter.  

To enter, please leave a comment (or send an email if you have trouble leaving a comment) telling us your favorite tool, ruler, or template, by end of day Thursday, October 4th.  The winner will be announced on Friday.

And just so you know, my all time can't live without favorite ruler is the Fit to be Geese ruler.

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79 comments:

  1. Thelma, I have a whole bag full of rulers of dubious provenance - I need to do a thorough audit like you did. I have read enough of your blog to know that the Fit to be Geese ruler is a winner, so I'd like to win it!

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  2. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with all these tools. The ruler I use all the time is my 6" square Omnigrid ruler. I use it to square up my units and blocks.

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  3. Thelma thank you I have so enjoyed tool time Tuesday. I would love to win the easy companion angle ruler or fit to be geese. Thanks for a great giveaway.

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  4. Because of your strong recommendation of the fit to be geese ruler, I asked my fqs to order it ...haven't used it yet, but will. I would love to have one of their other rulers, and maybe I'll get lucky in this super giveaway..thanks..I really enjoyed your series on the tools that are there for us..

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  5. Thelma,
    I've really enjoyed your Tools Tuesdays reviews! I don't have a lot of tools but I'd say that other than my 6x24 ruler that I use all the time for cutting strips, my favorite tool is my Fit to Be Geese ruler. Thanks for offering the giveaway!

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  6. How funny! I bought the Companion Angle for the same reason as you. Haven't used it yet. And I have the triangle trimmers & thought they were just for trimming dog ears, too! So much for reading instructions. Thanks a bunch. These reviews have really helped!

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  7. Have loved these posts and it got me looking at many of my rulers that I seldom use. I like any ruler that makes triangle easier and I love my Precision Trimmer.

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  8. I am always using an easy angle. I have always wanted to try one of Open Gate's rulers. Thanks for the tools info you have been doing. ajks100@gmail.com

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  9. I have truly enjoyed your Tools Tuesday, and I feel that I have learned a lot. I don't really have too many tools, other than 3 obligatory rulers, rotary cutting mat and rotary cutter. I did, however, buy a a ruler called Easy Dresden, by Darlene Zimmerman, to make Dresdens, Grandmother's Fan, etc. I LOVE this ruler. It makes this pattern so easy, and I highly recommend it. mammich at comcast dot net

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  10. I have enjoyed this series. I don't have a lot of tools. I mostly use my cutting mat and 6 x 24 ruler.It has been fun to see what is out there.

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  11. I am a pretty basic quilter without a lot of tools, but this series was really valuable and got me thinking about what would be most useful for me.My favorite tools would have to be my cutting mat, 6 x 24 ruler and rotary cutter!

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  12. Great tool reviews! You inspire me to get out those fancy rulers I bought because I "might need them someday" and actually take the time to give them a try. My most used tools are my 6x12 or 6.5x6.5 ruler.

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  13. i like the fit to be square and geese rulers i just bought the folded corner clipper gonna give it a try i have many rulers also

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  14. Thanks for being the public face of those of us who buy tools we are not sure how to use or, worse yet, that do the same job as something we already own. I recently bought the Folded Corner Clipper by Prairie Sky Quilting. It's proven to be the most accurate way for me to do folded corners. It's also the fastest because it eliminates the tedious step of drawing a diagonal pencil line on the square of fabric. It feels a bit naughty to be cutting away that triangle of fabric before sewing the seam, but that's probably another reason I love this tool -- it appeals to the rebel in me!

    Cindy in NC

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  15. Out of all those rulers the fit to be geese looks the best as well. I am not a big specialty ruler type of person.

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  16. I'm not generally a "gadget" person, but these reviews have been full of great info. I will surely consider a couple of them. My favorite ruler is a simple 6 x 12 rectangle. I can't live without it.

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  17. I don't use a lot of tools other than straight rulers. I do like the Easy Scallop by Darlene Zimmerman for making scalloped borders. I have enjoyed your tools reviews.

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  18. I have a few of the tools that you explained and now I'm better prepared to use them. One tool I'd like to add to my collection is the 'fit to be geese' as I avoid them like the plague. Thanks for taking the time to experiment on our behalf!!

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  19. I have so enjoyed your tool box sharing!!!!!
    The "tool" I am using the most right now is actully an awl(spl?)that I have beaded and attached to the side of my sewing machine with a ribbon for helping feed in small block pieces under the 1/4 inch foot guide....
    The ahhh moment for me came when I put the ribbon on it and PINNED IT to the machine.... always where I need it now!

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    Replies
    1. I have loved reading your Tool Time Tuesday posts. I think my favorite thing is my stiletto. I use it to push, poke, hold in place while I feed fabric through the machine to prevent the very ends from going wonky.

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  21. I would love to have one of the geese rulers. They sound awesome. Thanks for the chance to win.

    Mary

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  22. I've enjoyed your tools on Tuesday's. My favorite tool is the Li'l Twister.

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  23. I agree one hundred percent about the stiletto being a great tool. I use mine every time I sew. But my favorite notion would have to be Best Press. I can't believe how my sewing has improved by this product. I will not sew without it. I was waiting for the Double Wedding ring template review, Thelma!!

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  24. I have to say my iPad as been my link to the best teachers, how to videos and incredible blogs which has opened up a world of possibilities in my creations. It would be amazing if Tracey Holzer or myself won as we would share this ruler!! Right, Tracey!!

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  25. I'm a little sad that you're through all the tools in your drawer. I've learned a lot from your testing. I'm going to have to try the Fit to Be Geese ruler. Too many people are raving about it to ignore it any longer.

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  26. Thank you so much for your reviews. I recently bought the companion angle and easy angle rulers but haven't used them much yet. I use my 6 1/2 square ruler alot. I can't seem to cut straight or sew straight to save my soul, so I'll take anything that will straighten out some of the messes I can make.

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  27. My favorite rulers are anything designed by Deb Tucker. Also love the Open Gate rulers

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  28. I think your Tools on Tuesday posts have been one of the most interesting things a blogger has done this past summer. Thanks for all your testing and reviewing. I have that Companion Angle, and a couple of times it has been exactly what I have needed for a project. I think it is a good tool to have on hand.

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  29. I've thoroughly enjoyed your Tools on Tuesday posts. Since you've run out tools in your tool box how about I send mine and you can play with those. LOL My favorite tool is my 8.5" x 12 ruler (I do love Jack the Ripper, too - LOL)

    Thanks so much for sharing.

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  30. I'm working on the Faceted Jewels quilt you finished a couple of years ago and have found the Fit to be Geese and Tri Recs rulers to be invaluable. Thanks for sharing your tips on using these tools.

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  31. I love gadgets and rulers but the best one I have found lately is the Bloc-Loc. It makes squaring up half square triangles a breeze. It has a groove that butts up to the seam to hold it in place as you cut. Couldn't live without it now.

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  32. My favourite ruler is my Shape Cut Ruler. I use it to cut my yardage into strips, and strip sets into blocks. Thanks for the giveaway and the fabulous Tools Tuesday.

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  33. I have all kinds of rulers and some work, some don't. The most helpful that is a definite keeper is the Fit to be Geese tool. I tried making an octogan table topper with flying geese per pattern directions - talk about wonky!! I remembered I had a Fit to be Geese tool and hadn't used it yet - made the flying geese with it and wonderful!!! Thanks for all the tool tips and the giveaway.

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  34. I'll echo what most others have said, in that these tips have been so informative - like a personal shopper! I buy Omnigrid rulers in all different sizes, so I can whip one out at any point that fits my blocks perfectly when I go to square up. My 12 1/2"x12 1/2" gets a LOT of use. I have wanted to invest in the Fit to be Geese ruler, but I couldn't quite make myself pay for it when I feel ok about my own method. I will probably kick myself after using it for not getting it sooner! Plus, I can never find it on FQS website. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  35. I love june tailor Shape Cut Plus ruler for cutting strips! Thanks for the great giveaway!

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  36. The only rulers I have are a 12.5" square, a 6.5" square and a 6.5"x24" and I love them all! My favourite (that I omitted in my 'I don't have many rulers' list!) is a 1"x6" ruler - I think I have at least three of them! I keep one by my sewing machine to check seam allowances, trim corners and use for small foundation piecing, etc. and the other two (maybe more!) live in tins for hand sewing - one for each current project...I'd love to try a fit to be square/geese ruler but have never seen them on sale in the UK, yet!!

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  37. I'm sad to learn you're out of tools--I've really enjoyed your blogs! Not sure I have a favorite tool (depends on what I'm cutting) but often use Nancy Crow's Quickline (I think I bought it 20 years ago) but I can see the lines easily and the width (3") is nice, although I wish it were 3.5" often. Just bought a bunch of Open Gate rulers, and so far they're great--make things so much easier. I'm using an old Quilter's Rule to do the half squares, but would love to try the block lock one....so many rulers to try! :)

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  38. HI! THANKS FOR THE POST!
    THANKS TOO,FOR SHARING A NEAT GIVEAWAY!

    msstitcher1948@yahoo.com

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  39. I keep reading about how great the Fit to be Geese ruler is, so I think I better get busy & buy one. Thanks for all of the tool tips.

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  40. Thelma, I've loved this series. Maybe I should send you my odds and ends and have you play with them. LOL.

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  41. I love all my non-skid omnigrid rulers. I'm definitely going to go down and get the triangle trimmer. Do you have the wave ruler? I have one but haven't tried it.

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  42. My favorite ruler is the Easy Angle. The best for my way to make HSTs. I've def learned from your tools Tuesdays! Thanks!!

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  43. This has been a great series on tools. The ruler I use the most and is probably my favorite is my 6"x 12". Thanks for taking the time to review all of these tools.

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  44. This has been interesting! I love all of my tools, and I can't help but think of my poor mama when she used to cut so many quilt pieces with only her scissors and newspaper patterns.
    I sat beside her and helped cut many a piece of fabric from every scrap she could find.
    Thanks for doing this!

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  45. I'd love to be entered into the Giveaway. You've taken the mystery out of the tools that I've had shoved in boxes and never used. Now they can come out of hiding and actually be used (or tossed out).

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  46. I really have enjoyed your reviews its been fun ! and I have a few new rulers on my list to buy from your reviews! thanks for making my cutting a bit easier and more accurate a win win!!!!
    thanks
    kathie

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  47. I really enjoyed your Tools Tuesdays, very helpful - thanks for your reviews.
    My favorite ruler at the moment is the Easy Square jr. by Sharon Hultgren. I would love to try the Fit-to-be-Geese ruler and would definitely buy one but have never found them in the UK or Germany.
    Rena

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  48. I enjoyed your tool time reviews. No real favorite tool, just the one that helps. I'm on the look out for the Fit-to -Be geese ruler. It's the one I'd pick if I were lucky enough to be the winner.

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  49. The ruler I use the most is the EZ angle ruler, followed by my 6" square. But I love all rulers :)

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  50. Nice to know I'm not the only one who falls for all the demos at the quilt shows.....I admit, I do use my EZ Angle a lot.

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  51. I just have plain old rulers...nothing fancy!! Would like to try one with a few bells and whistles attached!! Thanks for the chance!
    Paulette

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  52. Thank you for the reviews...nice to know whether some of these 'must have' gadgets work easily or not. My favorite tool is my Pinmoors...I use them for piecing and quilting and no longer worry about getting 'stuck' with sharp pins. Thanks for the sweet giveaway!

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  53. I'm really enjoying your posts on tools@ Learning a LOT! My favorite ruler is Marsha McClosky's Precision Trimmer 6. There's a little 'bulls eye' that you can use on pinwheel and other blocks that have diagonal angles so you can "square up" your block perfectly! No other ruler is as easy to use and 'see' where the cut should be made. LOVE YOUR BLOG!

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  54. Very nice reviews--and I have many of those tools and toys in my ruler drawer. My current favorite ruler is a 12 1/2" square one--because our guild members make little house blocks, we sash them up big, and then I just trim around them with my magic 12 1/2" ruler, and our charity quilts go together so slick. We just had a workshop on Saturday, so that is fresh on my mind. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  55. Thanks for all your reviews! I tend to want to buy tools and gadgets, and you have helped me make a wish list of what I would like to try!

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  56. I have enjoyed the Tools Tuesday demos & critiques. Thank you for that. I have to say that my favourite "tool" would be my little stick of fabric glue. It was $5 well spent! It's so handy to have on hand when you need to just dab a wee spot to avoid the fabrics slipping.
    Thanks so much for a chance at the give-away.

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  57. I use the ez-angle to trim corners on both HST's and QST's before sewing them, but you need to think about it a little to see which way to turn it to be correct. But you absolutely can trim corners before sewing without the special tool.

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  58. I love a little ruler that was a giveaway at a quilt fair. It is 9 inches long, yellow but see through, and has 1/8, 1/4, and 1/2 inch markings. So handy to keep by my machine for quick trimming up.

    Thanks for your tools tour. It has been great!

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  59. Because of your recommendation months ago, I bought and love the Fit to be Geese rulers and several others from Open Gate! Thanks for the information int Tool Tuesdays. I have really enjoyed them.

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  60. THanks for your reviews - I am a gadget girl - would love tons of gadgets - but don't always have the $$ to induldge in them. I recently had to replace my 12.5 x 12.5 ruler as the lines started to wear off? I never had that happen before. But my favorite rules are my omnigrid ones which have the markings down to 1/8" . Helps with better accurance for cutting. I also love the really fine silk pins when working on projects. I'd love a gift certificate to go add to my gadget fettish! THanks for a chance to win. oh - and how many yo-yos' are you up to now?

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  61. I've enjoyed your tool reviews; you covered many I wondered about,several I've never heard of and the two I do own. Next on my list is the fit to be Geese rulers...Christmas is coming and I'm starting a list! Tnks for the chance at your giveaway.

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  62. I'm with you Thelma, the Fit To Be Geese ruler is my favorite. I can't imagine makine flying geese without it again! The Fit To Be Quarter ruler is a great one too. I'm finding all kinds of new ways to use it on each project I do. It's great for general squaring up. Thanks so much for doing all of these great tool reviews :-)

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  63. I have been really enjoying your "Tools Tuesday". I think my favorite tool right now is my Angler 2. Works great for sewing those half square triangles - no need to draw lines :-)

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  64. I 've really enjoyed the Tools Tuesday's, what great help it was, and sure will check back often, whenever I have the urge to buy a new tool. Fit to be geese is a great tool to have.

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  65. Thank you for all the great info! I agree, my all time favorite ruler is Monique's fit to be geese also! :O) And Carrie and Miss Rosie also have a cool trick and tutorial on how to use it also and how to put a little post it pad on the ruler to also help you line up your ruler on the finished geese - works like a charm! :O) Thanks for the fun giveaway!

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  66. Is a seam ripper considered a tool? JK I love the Fit to be rulers. I have one but would love to grab another size! I enjoyed learning about these tools. Thanks for posting so much helpful info!

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  67. I looked forward to Tuesdays with your tool information. I don;t have a favorite tool is that bad???? I get stuck using the same ones. I need to buy some so I can experiment I think... Thanks for your great research and information.

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  68. Great reviews of the tools. Next up you should try the Bloc Loc ones. I can't believe how much I love them. They make flying geese and half square triangles come out perfectly!

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  69. Thelma, you've made it very easy for me to decide what I really need and I have so appreciated your reviews. This is one I'm going to add for the triangles I love. XOxO

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  70. OK, this may be really boring, but my favorite ruler is my 6.5 inch square! I literally use it every day.

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  71. I love my fine Clover pins sew much!

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  72. I really love the combination of the EZ Easy Angle, Companion Angle and Tri Recs. You can cut just one width of fabric and make wonderful quilts with many different styles.
    Saskia

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  73. I have really enjoyed your Tool Time Tuesday. I would love to win either the Easy Companion Angle ruler or the Fit to be Geese. Thanks for a great giveaway!

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  74. Your Tool Time Tuesday has been great. I have always wondered about the Triangle Trimmers. I love using the Easy Angle Ruler. It is what I use to make my HST. If I win, I would have to get an Open Gate ruler because I haven't tried them.

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  75. Thanks for all your reviews - I have learned from them and enjoyed visiting your toolbox and the comments from readers.
    Currently my fave ruler is the 6" bias square developed by Nancy J. Martin and Mfg by That Patchwork Place. I use it for basket blocks or any bias blocks. Your raves about the Open Gate Flying Geese Ruler has made me very curious to try it, and that is what I would get if I won. Thanks for the chance.

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  76. Fiddlesticks, Tools Tuesday is over? :( I've really been enjoying this series and I thank you for your frank discussion of lots of tools. I just bought the Fons and Porter binding tool and I'm liking it lots. In the past, I've tucked the end of my binding into the beginning of the binding. With this tool I have gotten a perfectly matched binding seam at the end - unnoticeable from the seams used to attach the binding strips.

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  77. My favorite tool is my Pfaff sewing machine. It has given me countless hours of creative fun and relaxation and I wouldn't be able to enjoy quilting as much as I do without it. Thank You Thelma...for taking the time to do Tool Time Tuesday. I learned a thing or two along the way and really enjoyed reading your reviews.

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  78. I've really enjoyed your Tools Tuesday! I think we should all send you OUR unused gadgets so that it continues! My fav tool is the add a quarter ruler. I love the precision of paper piecing and it is indispensable! Thanks for your blog, Thelma!

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