Hey there everybody! You know, after Friday’s post on Beastie work accessories, and reading about Tierney’s recent studio update (seriously, take a look! I have such storage envy) I thought I’d do something a little different this week. So, let’s have a rare behind-the-scenes post… How about I introduce you to the hard-working tools, equipment and knick-knacks that help me perform the alchemic transformation of wool into monsters?
And because the internet loves a top 5, I’ve picked the 5 tools that make my crafting life so much easier. Let’s go!
1. Swiss Army Knife
Not even one of the biggest, fanciest ones either! I think this is the most basic model out there, but I use it ALL THE TIME. The scissors are super-sharp, and they’re great for getting into awkward corners. I also use the tweezers to unpick threads, tie knots, handle small pattern pieces and push stuffing into narrow or hard-to-reach places. The toothpick works for that too, and the nail file is great for smoothing off the wooden dowels that go inside some Beastie accessories. All that, and it folds up to the size of a pencil eraser! Genius!
And while we’re on the subject of cutting…
2. Rotary Cutter
Pictured here with its lovely assistants Cutting Mat and Metal Ruler. I’m still a fan of scissors for cutting out, but for the many, many pattern pieces that call for crisp, straight lines, you can’t beat this handy trio. They’re especially good for dealing with thick, unstretchy fabrics like wool felt (my craft material of choice), so any new project will probably see me wielding my yellow cutting wheel at some point!
3. Magic Magnifying Lamp
Otherwise known as “the reason I’m not blind”. After enviously looking at the supersize versions in the labs of technicians on “Forensic Files”, imagine my delight when one of my very own appeared in my Christmas stocking a couple of years ago. This thing is brilliant! The magnifying lens shows up every stitch in glorious detail, and the circular daylight bulb means that I’m not working around the shadows cast by my hands. It’s also probably cut my electricity bill in half while I’ve been working from home during quarantine!
4. Circular Knitting Needles
These are the reason I became hopelessly hooked on knitting again. Circular needles allow you to knit tubes, rather than flat bits that will eventually need to be sewn together. Now, I don’t mind sewing. But if I can knit and have something that is already almost finished when I cast it off, that’s definitely a bonus! What you see above are my most-used sizes, but I have… um… a few more that aren’t pictured.
Anyway, moving swiftly on… I’ll distract you from my knitting needle hoard with magic disappearing pens!
5. Air-Erase Markers
Well, full disclosure – it’s the ink that disappears, not the pen. There are lots of options out there for marking your pattern pieces onto fabric before cutting them out, but these are far and away my favourite. They’re thinner than tailor’s chalk, don’t rip up felt like chalk pens do, and the marks fade away all by themselves. Or, if you’re in a hurry, you can help them along with a spritz of water. The lines are also easy to see on most colours, apart from the very darkest ones. I’m still looking for something that draws well on black felt!
Did I miss anything out?
Oh yeah, Beastie assistants!
Hmm, then again… Perhaps not, if you actually want to get anything done.
What makes your creative life easier? Be sure to share the tools of your trade with us in the comments! And we’ll be back on Friday with another look at Beasties past – see you then!