School Supplies for Quilters–Open Line Friday

School Supplies, QuiltersWelcome back to Open Line Friday…A chance for anyone to ask a question and for everyone to answer

Please help us by asking and answering.  If you have a question, I’m sure someone else is wondering, too.

No question is too small…

School Supplies, QuiltersI thought I’d start the ball rolling…

In keeping with our back-to-school theme…see the Perfect Pencil Free Motion quilt tutorial and Alphabet Scramble-a free motion work in progress

What school supplies do you buy for yourself?  For your quilt studio?

School Supplies, QuiltersMY SCHOOL SUPPLIES

  • Typing paper…Great for doodling.  It’s a nice texture, inexpensive, and if I don’t like my doodle, I can throw out sheets of it without a care…
  • Glue Sticks–If I DO like one of my doodles, I cut it out and add it to a sketchbook with a little glue.
  • Rulers and stencils, to draw my “rails”…
  • Notebooks.  This year I found this primary school notebook for $1.  It has nice lines–good for the tutorials and a larger area to draw a doodle…seems perfect for FMQ practice.
  • Pencils-My absolute favorite are Dixon Ticonderogas–they’re the BEST!


Did you buy any school supplies this year?  I’d love to hear…after all, the sales are still going and I can run out and get some more!!!


PS…All information, tutorials and images are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks.

68 thoughts on “School Supplies for Quilters–Open Line Friday

  1. This is a good reminder for me to buy school supplies more often. When I’m looking for my glue stick it’s usually dried up, my pencils all need sharpening and the erasers have all hardened, I keep misplacing my big eraser and use my sleeve to erase chalk lines. I know the sales are still on…I’m going today…thanks for the reminder.

  2. I love to but school supplies! I usually get notebooks, composition books for journaling, glue sticks, and crayons!

  3. Lori,, the only school supplies I have gotten —so far — are computer paper (to print off those fabulous free patterns), lined notebook like you show above (I keep lists of tutorials to share with my readers in it) and staples. I use the staples to adhere my wool pieces in place on my wool applique projects.

  4. Notebooks, paper, and ink pens because we run out of those faster than ball point.

    I did finally organize all my school supplies and never have to buy pencils again. 😀

  5. I found “Black and White Composition Books” with 1/4″ graph paper at Walmart for .99. And a new pack of Twistable crayons for doodling and sketching. And my favorite white erasers, they even make them as pencil toppers now. Do love Ticonderoga pencils but I will always be a mechanical pencil girl. Did you know that you can draw a continuous 35 miles long? Talk about doodling!

  6. I use lots of clear page protectors for notes, patterns etc. Also buy folders for handouts to give each person when I teach a class. Love the small angular erasers…they don’t make black marks after a few uses. But, I do have a question. My most favorite tool is the Frixxion pen. I don’t think I could quilt without them. However, on some fabrics a white line is left after I heat to remove the pen mark. Why? looks like a line of bleach was there. Very disturbing on a dark fabric….It is foggy this morn over the lake…lovely. Autumn is on the way!!!!!

    • I just noticed the line you describe this week after marking and removing lines from a black and white quilt. I think we must remember that we are not actually removing the lines. We are making them disappear. What ever the substance, it is still in the fabric and shows on dark ones. Good to know for the next quilt. I will have to test to see which fabrics it shows up on.

    • Hi Marta, I’m afraid autumn is on the way…which I don’t mind, but I do dread winter!

      I think that when you steam Frixion pens, you remove the color, but not the ink. There is always an ink residue left on the fabric. I did a sample recently, steamed it, washed it and then put it in my freezer, and sure enough, the ink line returned.

      Many of the “Big” quilters do use this pen.

      • Hmmm I have never steamed a Frixxion line…sometimes I put the iron on it, sometimes near it and watch it disappear, and sometimes I just use the heat from hairdryer. I am going to do a test strip and see what happens in various conditions and with colors of Frix..I have mostly used black but also used blue and pink.I have tried to sew right on the line with black/navy thread when it is black or navy fabric and it had left a white line. ..if it was going to show..LOL

      • For catforever18….I don’t see yet if others have answered you but I would like to put my 2 cents worth in. #1.Learning the hard way, I have discovered less expensive fabric is not always straight on the selvege (sp?)edges. I now hang my fabric up on my porch on clothesline, look at it with light coming from behind, and see where the threads seem to go…straight or slanted, etc. I then use my rotary cutter to slice off the selvages. I line up the proper thread direction with lines on my cutting mat to do that. Now I have one straight edge. I turn fabric 90′ and cut the other edge. Now I have a straight 90′ corner of the fabric from which to start cutting my quilting pieces. #2. When my rotary blade is not brand new, it seems to get loose in the handle. I can’t always feel that. It makes a curve when cutting. I need to readjust the tightness of the blade.. Sometimes a new handle is needed. Try another brand also. I use 3 now but i sure didn’t in the beginning.
        For Tools : skip lunch/magazines, etc. and buy the best tools you can save up to buy..
        They really are worth it. I had to realize my work (and myself) were worth me having the best I could obtain…(yard sale?) There are also rotary blades sold at some tool stores in same sizes as quilter cutters and not as expensive and are longer lasting too.
        Let’s give our tongues a break and save them for the Hallelujah when our quilts turn out lovely.

      • Thank you Marta & no, no one had answered me yet. I always get the same responses on my FB page too…None at all! Sometimes I just don’t feel like I’m as important as others are. lol Thank you so much for responding to me. You have made me think about it & I haven’t checked my blade lately. I try not to buy cheap fabric but I can’t afford the expensive stuff either. I at least try to get a step above the cheapest. Thanks for taking your time to answer me I truly appreciate it. You’ve made me feel like I’m at least visible every once in a while. LOL 🙂

    • I know right!!! I just thought that it was me & I was doing it wrong. I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one!!! Thanks so much for asking this question! 🙂

  7. I bought coloured pencils for trying out colour arrangements and I was trying to find graph paper notebooks but found some with a dot grid that are a good size to fit in the back pocket of my purse (about 6 by 10). I hoping to use these to plan out my own quilt designs and for doodle practice for fmq.

      • Back in the olden days …..we used to have devices called typewriters! We developed the muscles in our fingers by practicing and practicing so we could push the keys all the way down to make a bold stamp of the letter. Lol. Later on we even had electric ones and the were fab! Hehehe. We used typing paper in the top and loaded one sheet at a time. Pardon my silliness.

      • What is typing paper….Bahahha…ho-boy that one made me feel old….LOL…It also just made me realize my girls never used one either…LOL! I have an old one I let my niece play on and she loves it! Thanks for the chuckles.

    • Did anyone answer your question? My mail is delayed and then a 2-3 day batch comes in…gee whiz…Typing paper is 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches and is absolutely plain….just white or sometimes in pastels. It was used in typewriter machines years ago before we got keyboards, computers, and printers. Some people still use their typewriters instead of printers. The paper can be used for anything you want. It is opaque and fairly lightweight, lighter than a cardstock paper (used for most greeting cards).

  8. Rosemary B here:
    I took inventory of my Prismacolor pencils and bought a few pencils this week.
    I like coloring in my designs I make up on graph paper.
    The graph paper ringed notebooks are great but the back piece of cardboard is flimsy, so I always glue a piece of cardboard to the back.
    I also use those clear plastic sheet protectors to file my printed out patterns and ideas. I put them all in notebooks.
    right now, I am so disorganised…. I have about two stacks of unfiled print outs to sort.
    Big piles. Just no time yet…..
    OH and my biggest supply I received as a gift from my hubbs is a 1948 Singer featherweight with a cute travel case. I can take that over to mom and dad’s when they get their place cleaned up…. but it is adorable and very healthy and shiny.
    Happy Friday every one

    • I have o say ditto to the notebooks and sheet protectors. I also get a group of the 99 cent poly notebooks to file my printouts/copies. I just can’t make myself throw out those colored pics and patterns from magazines that “I’m going to make”. I also get graph paper and the tape type of white out.Will look for the composition books with the doodle space.

  9. I love to browse the school supply aisles. I usually buy spiral notebooks, glue sticks and those little plastic pencil boxes. I plan to look for the graph paper composition book. That sounds handy.

  10. Don’t forget those pencil boxes to keep small pieces in such as triangles, squares, etc. One for each UFO works for me.

  11. I have never heard of a Frixion pen. Are they in with school supplies? I always buy those composition books. I have one for quilt ideas, one for “how to do’s” ( when I see or learn an easier way to do something) now, one for quilting motif ideas! Love this blog! Thanks so much.

    • Hey Patty, Frixxion pens are special marking pens that you can get from the quilting stores to mark sewing lines & stuff on your fabric that are supposed to dis appear when you iron them. They come in all different colors so you can see them on any color material. I have found the same problem as Marta, when I iron over it there’s always a mark left behind. It never goes completely away. They do come in pretty colors though! Hope this helps. 🙂

    • Hey, I have a question that is probably going to sound so dumb but…. How do you cut material so that it comes out straight? I’ve probably watched hundreds of videos on this & tried repeatedly to get it right but for some reason I can’t. Everyone makes it look so easy. Mine always ends up being wavey when I cut it on the fold. I fold, refold, line the salvages up, measure it repeatedly & finally cut it but to no avail. Do you have any suggestions for me? I’ve been sewing quilts, hemming & sewing other items for many years now. Besides being taught the basics I’ve pretty much taught myself how to quilt & sew. My projects turn out fine but it really bothers me that I can’t figure this out on my own. I would probably sew more often it didn’t scare me to death to cut into my beautiful material or if I had someone to sew with. Do you think that maybe I’m not holding my tongue right? PLEASE Help me!! 🙂

      • Kathy,
        Perhaps this will help. Fold your fabric for how you want your strips, either cross-grain or length wise. Put the fold on the bottom with the selvage or cut edge on the left. Line up a ruler (I use a six inch square) with the bottom fold fairly near the cut edge. Snug up your cutting ruler to the square ruler. Ease away the square ruler while holding the cutting ruler firmly in place. Make the slice which just removes a small amount of fabric and straightens the edge. Now you are ready to measure and cut your strip. Check it after cutting to make sure there are no waves. If so, repeat the process and if you’re cutting many strips you may need to repeat the process again. Keep checking strips as you go along.

    • At risk of you already having an answer, I will add, Frixion pens are sold in my small town at Walgreens.. I have never seen them in Walmart (yet?) They are located among all ball point pens and such supplies. The company that makes them is Pilot.
      A demonstrator to our guild is how I became acquainted with them. I use them to mark
      seam lines. I am too wobbly to sew a straight 1/4 inch seam without it. I also have lovely points and corners that meet now. My goal is to have any remaining lines inside the seams where they cannot be seen.

  12. I love the 8X8 3-M sticky pads. I can doodle and post in front of the machine. If it doesn’t work, or I add on. Then add to the protector pages for future use.

  13. Haven’t purchased any this fall yet. Years ago I purchased a thick, spiral notebook at a college bookstore and it has been invaluable to me. I have documented every quilt I have made in this notebook. Changes, colors, sizes, etc. So easy to go back and see what was done and when. Date goes at the top of the page.

  14. I have bought pencils, two sizes of doodle pads with spirals as the first doodle pad I bought fell apart and I wanted to keep all my doodling. I bought a journal to begin keeping track of my quilt making. I think that is all I bought in school supplies.

  15. I found some sticky notes about an inch square.Perfect for numbering rows when piecing. “Dollar Store” shopping, my once a month go to store! Some spiral notebooks, mechanical pencils, pens, etc.

  16. Pencil cases for my rotary cutter and basic sewing supplies, pads of graph paper, 3-ring binders for printed out e-books and downloaded patterns, small scissors to snip threads, short skinny rulers (for times when the big ones just won’t do), plastic page protectors and dry erase markers for auditioning quilting designs, permanent ink pens, and large plastic envelopes with an elastic band closure for projects and UFOs.

  17. Like the idea of the twistable crayons or colored pencils for doodling — that would bring an extra “oomph!” to your doodling! I have been meaning to get a 3-ring binder to collect my doodles and then categorize them if necessary. I like to keep dry erase markers and white board on hand. I practice my doodle and when I’ve gotten comfortable with it, I’ll doodle it on paper and then that can go in my notebook. I also like to use the sheet protectors with the dry erase markers. If you have a print out of a quilt design, slip it in the protector and practice it with the dry erase marker. Erase the sheet protector and practice, practice, practice!

  18. Being new to FMQ these are great ideas. One thing I have on order, thanks to suggestion of a teacher at our quilt store, is a Body Rite Posture Pleaser. My shoulders and low back are hurting from FMQ and she suggested this item she uses. Does anyone else use one of these? Mine comes tomorrow. Lori, you are awesome. Your “gifted” guidance is there for us even late at night when we need help. Thank you.

  19. For something with ready-made lines to serve as “rails” in practicing, I’ve been keeping my eye out for a primary printing paper pad – you know the one with the soft, off-white paper and turquoise lines :). But I like the looks of yours … bright white and paper looks like a harder finish, making erasures easier. One difference is that yours is printed in portrait orientation whereas the old fashioned one I’m thinking of was in landscape orientation.
    Can you mention where you found yours and/or who the publisher is?

    I liked all of Celeste’s ideas. I have seen dry erase markers used on plastic sheet protectors and the covers of 3-ring binders before … thanks for the reminder.

  20. I think that one of the clues to using the Frixxion pens is that Frixxion is a substitute for “friction”. When it’s used on paper, the eraser at the top is what removes it. It would probably be good to do a little research if you wanted to use it on the face of a quilt. I have been at 2 quilt shows lately and saw that someone had used them for marking the quilting lines and there were still lines showing.
    I love buying school supplies, as well. I usually just buy what I need when I need it, so waiting for sales is not my thing. Currently one of my brother’s kids are being home schooled and so I have been buying supplies for them every year. I buy tracing paper for tracing a design that needs to be reversed when assembling. I also like that see through paper for paper piecing – some printers balk, but I can usually coax a sheet or two through. Much easier to line up fabrics and get through the sewing machine and cheaper than some of the special “quilters” papers.

  21. My question is this: I made a stained glass quilt with ironed on (with steam-a-seam 2 lite) pieces. The “lead” is 1/4inch bias tape also adhered with steam-a-seam. But stitching through all this gums up my needle and I constantly break thread. I’ve steamed it carefully and thoroughly as instructions say but it still doesn’t work. HELP someone!!!!


    • Hi Annie…Someone might know a better solution than this but when I used to sew queening shirts there was a lot of gummy stuff when we went through sequins and sparkles of different kinds…we had to use sewers aid…it came in a little plastic bottle with a red lid…just like the fray check in the blue lid. It was a pain but a drop or two on the needle every so many stitches kept the gum from building up on the needle and breaking the thread. That was a lot of years ago so maybe there is a better product now…it didn’t stain my fabric either. I haven’t used the steam-a-seam product…just Heat and Bond lite and Wonder Under and didn’t have that problem. Hope that was bought in the sewing notions in many fabric or craft stores.

      • Thank you I found that on Amazon and ordered it. Won’t be here until next Tuesday. So I went to the local Ace Hardware store and purchase some silicone spray. I used it in the best way I could understand was to put it on your finger and then rub that on the needle, and it seemed to help. I’ve never heard of sewers aid until now thank you so much.

  22. I like graph paper and colored pencils for playing and planning quilt tops. And plastic boxes (pencil cases) with different colored tops to hold my variegated quilting thread.

  23. I purchase and give as gifts, sticky notes (Post It notes). Great for marking rows, patterns in books and magazines. Identify Fabrics for patterns and piles of pre-cuts, Very colorful too!

  24. Ok I just asked a question on here from my phone but when I switched over to my laptop I couldn’t find it. So if you do see this somewhere please disregard it. This is probably a very dumb question but I REALLY need some advise!! How do you cut material out straight?? I’ve probably watched hundreds of videos on this & tried repeatedly to get it right but for some reason I can’t. Everyone makes it look so easy though!!! I’ve been sewing for many years now, I mainly quilt but I make other items too. I learned how to sew when I was little & we’d go to Az. for the summers to visit with my family. When my cousins & I would say that we were bored my mom & aunt would hand all of us newspapers, needles & thread & we would go to town. That ‘s how we learned the basics of sewing. LOL Besides being taught the basics I’ve pretty much taught myself how to sew & quilt. I’ve watched countless videos on youtube. When I cut my material on the fold & open it up though it’s always curved in the folded area. I line the selvages up, fold, refold, measure repeatedly & finally cut into it but never fails it’s always crooked. My projects seem to turn out ok, by the grace of God because he knows I can’t afford to buy more, but I really need to figure this out!! I would probably sew more often if I wasn’t so scared of cutting into my beautiful material & getting it wrong or if I had someone to sew with. Can anyone relate? Do you think that maybe I’m not holding my tongue right? PLEASE HELP ME!!!! 🙂

  25. I bought several new packs of Crayola washable markers which are the only thing I have found that I like to mark my quilt tops. These were labeled “super washable” and I wasn’t sure if they were the same as my old markers. I was also worried about the need to press my quilt sandwich after marking, and wondering if it would set the color of the marker. So I came home and made a sample and used each and every color from each pack of markers. Then I used a screaming hot iron and ironed the whole piece of fabric. Then I put it in the washer. It came out perfectly with no visible marks. I have also taken to using Elmer’s School Glue for glue-basting pieced blocks.

  26. I discovered a washable Elmer’s school glue that’s clear, but had a problem with the tip being too large and applying too much glue. So, I found some bottles that came in a set of 3, with 3 different sized small metal tops so that I can precisely control the glue’s line width and placement. This is very useful for foundation piecing, particularly when the pieces are small. I just put the glue on the seam area (rather than use pins, which will skew things to some point), and press briefly with a dry iron to dry the glue before stitching the seam.

  27. I have found the pads of very thin, cheapy paper from the Dollar Store, intended for children’s coloring paper, is good foundation for strip piecing. I cut the paper at least an inch larger than the size of the finished block, then trim to size. Just make sure to set your stitch length shorter than usual and the paper will tear off easily.

  28. Great hint that I received last night as I am planning our guilds raffle quilt and want a specific color family for donations of FQ’s from the membership. They are not exactly school supplies…..but paint chips at the home improvement stores come in handy when planning colors for a quilt. Put them on a white piece of paper – or in my case – a large piece of white cardboard and you can be sure what YOU call teal is what someone else calls teal. Love this!

  29. I bought stencils of ellipses and circles – they are smaller then the plastic templates I use to stitch around with my longarm, so I will need to use them to draw on my quilts then carefully follow the drawn lines. And they go really small!!! I also like to get graph paper and glue sticks!

  30. I took a machine quilt class eons ago. One suggestion the teacher made to us was to get a “Doodle Pro” from the toy section Fisher Price makes them. They are earth friendly…….you get the constant repetition of hand eye movement and then….when you are ready to try on a more refined scale get out your pencils and paper! I have had better success doing it this way….and wasted much less paper and dong much less frog stitching! LOL

    Hope that this may help someone! It sure has helped me!


  31. The “Dollar Tree” stores have a 2-pack of the Elmer’s washable school glue pen for $1.00! These put out a much finer line than the glue sticks or the bottles of school glue. They’re GREAT! I stocked up on them! LOL!


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