It's probably obvious by now that I'm a pretty crafty lass. I clearly love sewing, but it's not the only craft I dabble in. Over the years I've picked up the odd crochet hook, I love photography (both using my DSLR as well as my smartphone camera), I have a tonne of screenprinting gear that I have little time to use at the moment. And I'm also a bit of a hand lettering and papercraft fan.
So when a dear friend asked me what was my absolute favourite crafting tool, it took some serious consideration to answer.
I mean, obviously my sewing machine is one of my favourite tools – but is it my top pick? And after some extended pondering, I don't think it is.
My favourite craft tool would have to be my quick unpick.
Let me explain.
It's a tiny, tiny tool. It's pretty fast to use. I can use it to unpick both machine-stitched seams as well as hand-stitched ones. It can fit it my pocket and it's cheap as chips to replace. And when I sew I need to have it handy at all times — because even experienced sewists make mistakes.
My relationship with this handy tool has significantly changed over the years too.
I used to resent having to use it because that meant I'd made an error and would slow up my stitching time. Having to use it was a constant reminder of my lack of skills and reinforced what a beginner I was.
But as my skill level increased I found that I still needed to use that damned quick unpick at least once during every garment's construction. And then I realised I'm not the only one.
LOADS of highly experienced dressmakers have a close relationship with their quick unpick too. So I'm in good company.
I now have quite a few quick unpicks in my sewing kit, because there's nothing worse than needing one RIGHT NOW and not being able to place my hands on it quickly.
I have my favourites, too. The essential features of a quick unpick (also known as a seam ripper) need to include:
- A sharp edge. Old unpicks tend to lose sharpness over time. It's like a knife: it needs to be sharp to do its job properly or you might hurt yourself — or your fabric (which is much more likely).
- A ball on the point. This helps protect your fabric from the sharp edge or from poking that point through the fabric's weave. Neither are good things, so make sure yours has that plastic ball.
- A decent sized handle. I know the cheapie jobs from Woolies are handy, but if you're unpicking a long seam (or a hem on a massive full skirt) then you absolutely need to have a decent handle. Those tiny cheapies are great for a quick, short seam but anything longer and your hand will cramp up and you'll be cursing so bad that a sailor will blush. And no-one wants that for you!
My friend's question really did make me ponder, so I asked a few of my bloggy friends what their favourite crafting tool was too.
Some of their responses surprised me — and gave me some ideas for more crafts to try.
Here's what some of them had to say.
Dorothy from Oz And Other Places
Paint pens are the absolute best. They are the perfect intro tool for newbie crafters since they are easy to use and give you a polished looking final product. They are also great for more serious crafters because they allow for more precision than a paint brush. I love making personalised gifts for my friends and family, and my paint pens are un-matched when it comes to decorating things they can use again and again. I have used them for personalized wine glasses, plates and coasters. We even used them to decorate hot chocolate mugs at a winter-themed bridal shower I hosted!
Cindy-Jo Williams from Best Vinyl Cutter Reviews
I just love my Cricut Explore Air 2! It's such a versatile crafty tool and I've made so many different things with it that it's hard to pick just one example. I love that I can use it to cleanly cut vinyl transfers to make witty t-shirts for my kids, but then I can also use it to make birthday cards. I've even used it to cut out labels for all my storage containers in my pantry. In fact, with a little bit of thought, I can use it to make gifts as well as to wrap them in a pretty handmade box, then make the gift card to go with it!
Crystal Hodge from Ceramic Cookware Hub
My favorite crafting tool is my hot glue gun. It's such a nifty tool, not just for adhering things, but also for making useful hacks, like creating a knife sheath or pot and pan protectors in a pinch. Adhering fabric, embellishments, ceramics, wood, or other materials to items in home projects is a breeze with a glue gun. With a bit of imagination and the use of my gun and stapler, I transformed my old cutting board and a piece of fabric into a cutlery organiser. It’s such a handy tool to have (even in the kitchen).
Kay Winters from Paws And Pines
My favourite crafting “tool” is washi tape. It comes in a seemingly infinite variety of colours and designs and is perfect for adding a pop of colour or a flair of personality to otherwise boring objects. I've been known to border my office cabinets and shelves with a teal chevron pattern washi tape – if I want to switch up the design, I can also peel it off and replace it somewhere else. It really is versatile and reusable! Additionally, I wrap my Apple pencil with two layers of washi tape to give it a cute design that can be changed every few months. And best of all, because it's made from biodegradable materials (paper and rubber adhesive), it's an environmentally-friendly option for those who care about the planet.
So, now it's over to you. What's your favourite crafty tool – tell us in the comments below!