I thought I'd take this opportunity to weigh in on the favorite tools discussion. I have a few tools (besides those already mentioned) I use all the time. I'm not sure I really consider all of these to be tools; some I would consider to be aids.
As I've gotten older, I have more problems with my eyesight. I find that the light I have available is never enough. I really depend on the extra light provided by my “Bendable Bright Light” I have attached to my sewing machine.
The “Bendable Bright Light” is a small LED light that attaches to the side of my sewing machine with double-sided 3M adhesive. It puts out a bright light that can be directed exactly where it is needed. It eliminates the need to bring an additional lighting source when I go to a retreat or workshop. It is advertised that the product will last for 100,000 hours. No batteries are involved; you plug it in. When I first saw the “Bright Light” advertised, I thought it was too pricey. (You will pay anywhere from $30-$50 for this product.) I haven’t regretted the purchase a minute, though; I have trouble sewing without one now. An additional mounting kit that enables the “Bendable Bright Light” to be moved from machine to machine (if you use more than one) is available for purchase. The kit will cost somewhere between $8-$10.
I also would have a hard time doing without my Tutto luggage. I own the large-sized Tutto for use with my Janome 6500. (My Bernina 1260 will fit in it too.) I LOVE this bag. I had previously purchased a bag to transport my machine, but I wasn’t very happy with it. It was hard to pull and hard to maneuver through doors and around objects. The Tutto is a different story. It is very easy to pull (even when loaded down with a heavy machine).
2. the padded U-shaped pull bar (which is attached to both sides of the luggage’s metal frame) and the location of the wheels make the bag more stable when moving it
3. it is light weight
4. there is ample storage space for the machine’s knee lift, foot pedal, power cords, extension cords, and a book or two
5. it folds to about 3” in width for easy storage when not in use
6. there are extra pockets on every side of the bag for carrying miscellaneous items
7. there is an “accessory” bag (I think they may call it a serger bag.) available that can be strapped to this bag providing all the space needed for the “stuff” necessary for a weekend retreat
The “accessory” bag can be attached to the Tutto luggage. This bag can hold a tremendous amount of quilting-related “stuff.” Before I had my Tutto, I had boxes and bags of retreat supplies; it took many trips to unload my car. With the Tutto and the accessory bag, I make one trip. Everything I need will fit into these two pieces of luggage.
When I want to mark quilting designs (or any other temporary mark) on my fabric, I absolutely LOVE the Bohin mechanical marking pencil.
Last, but not least, is a porcupine quill. I use the quill to hold my fabrics in place when I am piecing. I don't do a lot of pinning because I find that the quill does a fabulous job of holding the pieces together.