Tips & Tricks

Quilt Direct have just received stock of the fantastic Colonial Thimble Pack Plus. Everything you’ve ever wanted for the ultimate finger protection when hand-sewing.

Colonial Thimble Pack Plus

Thimble Crown – for your pushing finger.  Made of stainless steel with precision-cut dimples for great needle control, the thimble crown can be used on the upper hand or the under hand.  The tested concave design provides better needle control, effortless deflection of the needle, and ability to feel the location of the needle point. It is secured to the finger with reusable adhesive pads.

Thimble Dimple – no more sore under-hand fingers! The Thimble Dimple give you a rim of protection for you under hand. The raised edge prevents needle slips giving you greater needle control for faster stitching. It is made of stainless steel and attaches to your finger with reusable adhesive dots.

Thimble It Pads – to protect sore fingers.  Colonial Needle-Self-Adhesive Reusable Thimble-It Finger Pads are natural feeling self-adhesive finger pads that make any sewing needlework cross stitch or quilting project easier and more comfortable. Simply add one pad per working fingertip and you can enjoy hours of sewing pleasure.

Thimble Pads – for any finger. These Thimble Pads are so comfortable you won’t even notice that they’re there. The leather thimble pad is tough enough to handle the heaviest needlework or crafting projects but comfortable enough to wear all day. Its lightweight construction gives you more control over your needle work so even the finest and most delicate stitching is a pleasure. The pads can be used again and again, and the adhesive backing holds the pads securely in place ensuring no sliding or slipping.

Needle Grip-It2  –  grip and pull pads.  These flexible self-adhesive dots are attached to the needle gripping finger and thumb for easy needle handling. Needle Grip-it pads create traction for better needle control, allowing faster sewing and alleviating the pain commonly associated with tight gripping and repetitive motion.

The Colonial Thimble Pack Plus contains:

  • 1 Thimble Crown
  • 1 Thimble Dimple
  • 12 Thimble Pads
  • 4 Thimble-It pads
  • 12 NeedleGrip-It2 pads
  • 8 Adhesive Pads for the Thimble Crown and the Thimble Dimple
  • A Small Storage case to keep them all safe and in one place

If you do any hand-stitching then you will love this versatile and easy to use thimble pack. Buy one from Quilt Direct now.

Have you had a problem with metallic and speciality threads breaking? After years of frustration and stress using metallic and specialty thread in her projects, Lee Fletcher decided to do something about it!

She invented the Thread Director! Did you know that thread should unwind off the spool the same way it was wound onto the spool? The Thread Director solves the problem of twisting and breakage while making it easy and fun to work with specialty threads. Like most great inventions, the Thread Director was borne out of necessity, and like most great inventions, you’ll wonmder how you ever managed without it!

CaptureThe Thread Director changes the position of the spool allowing the thread to unwind flat, eliminating twisting, which causes the thread to break. Now you can easily use metallic and specialty threads, giving your projects some extra sparkle and pop! The Thread Director works on most sewing machines and overlockers, and can be used with almost any thread, and will hold spools of up to 1000m.



Want to know more. Watch this video explaing how to use Thread Director.

Quilt Direct are UK stockists of the Thread Director, and we think they’re going to  be very popular.

Buy a Thread Director from Quilt Direct

Another nifty little tool that makes a pefect gift is the Binding Tool designed by Susan Brown.

This amazing tool is designed to bring together the last two pieces of binding in a perfect mitered seam. No measuring and cutting, and then trying to figure out how to join those last pieces! When you finish the last seam of the binding only an angle seam will work to reduce the bulk of this last step. The Binding Tool makes a perfect ending every time. 2 measurements and 2 cuts and you’re on your way to a great finish! Follow the easy instructions printed on the tool and you will have a perfect ending every time

Binding Tool from Quilt Direct



The Binding Tool – a must have tool for every quilter.


Here’s an easy to understand video of how to use the binding tool


The BindingTool and Mini Binding Tool are back in stock after a long 4 month wait.  These are perfect  Christmas stockings fillers and every quilter needs one. Order a Binding Tool or Mini Binding Tool from Quilt Direct while stocks last.

Seeing something being done is often so much more useful that just reading about it – especially if you’re a quilter.

There are so many fantastic quilting videos out there – instructions, handy hints, patterns, advice on machines – just about everything you could ever want to know. The tricky bit is finding them!

Quilt Direct have decided to catalogue all the videos we find into helpful groupings that will, hopefully, make things easier for you to find the quilting help you need.

We’ve added a Bernina Sewing Machine playlist to our youtube page.

6573789A list of useful videos ranging from simply how to clean your Bernina, comprehensive guides on using the variety of sewing machine feet and other great features in Bernina machines, and even a few to help you when things go wrong.

seam allowance guideSometimes the best ideas are the simple ones, and this seam allowance guide is a perfect example of that!
Most of us just want to get on with our sewing – we really can do without the annoyance of adding in a seam allowance, but we know how important it is to get it right!

This fantastically simple little tool offers the perfect solution! Just attach the magnet to the blade of your scissors, move the small black marker to the correct seam allowance and cut!

The Seam Allowance Guide includes a green and a yellow guide.
Green Seam Allowance Guide – The green guide is used for scissors that have no slope on the outer edge of the blade. Also great for the tip or at the pivot of the scissors.
Yellow Seam Allowance Guide – Some scissors blades have a slight slope on the outer edge. This is about 3 degrees. If your scissor blade slopes then you’ll need the yellow guide. Rotate it until it’s parallel to the table/fabric.

Where to Position the Seam Guide
This depends on your cutting style and also the pattern shape. For long straight cutting, position the guide further back towards the handles of the scissors. For curved patterns where the cutting action is smaller, it is better to move the guide closer to the tip of the scissors. Ideally the guide should be attached where the two blades separate during the cutting motion.

Detailed Instructions:

  • Mark the seam allowance with chalk
  • Attach the guide to your scissors
  • Cut into the fabric at the chalk mark with your scissors.
  • Move the black band to line up with the pattern edge.
  • Start cutting, ensuring that the black band remains parallel to the pattern edge at all times.

    The By Hollie Seam Allowance Guide is in stock now at QuiltDirect

Choosing the correct needle for the correct task is now so straightforward thanks to the new Schmetz colour-coding system. The needles are all colour coded to indicate the type of fabric and the needle size.

Not only does this system make it easy for you to select the correct needles when you’re buying needles, it also makes it so simple to quickly locate the needle you need within your own needle collection.

Quilt Direct carries the full range of Schmetz needles for all your sewing requirements



Download the pdf version here for printing!!



hornIt’s the start of a whole new year, and we’ve all (well most of us!) just packed away the tree, and cleared up the Christmas clutter. The sherry has all been drunk, the mince pies have all been eaten and we’re on our way to a clean, tidy, healthy and organised 2015 (we are, really).
So why not start with decluttering the sewing space – it will make us feel so much more inspired and efficient, and it might free up some space for more fabric.


sewboxGB8560BWe have some pretty good Sewing storage products too, from sewing boxes to thread racks, and of course the ultimate in being truly organised is a Horn Quilter’s Delight MKll Sewing Cabinet Maxi 2032 from our great Horn Sewing Machine Cabinets range.

jthreadt675So, come on quilters, let’s get organised. In fact, we challenge you to send us before and after photos of your sewing area.

ott lightsThe clocks have gone back, and the days are getting gloomier, and it is getting difficult to see the finer details and colour distinctions in your quilting and crafting.
Ott Lite can make all the difference – you’ll wonder how you ever managed without one and your eyes will certainly thank you for it!

Ott Lite craft lamps create a perfect light that gives optimum brightness without any harsh glare. The natural light from an Ott Lite means that colours are easier to see and there is no glare or distortion, avoiding tiredness and eye strain. Over 50 years of research have gone into making Ott Lite the ideal light for quilters and crafters. Ott Lite gives you low energy, low heat LED light bulbs that will last for up to 10,000 hours. Take a look at our range here!

Ott Lite is a white light that avoids the yellow hue created by traditional light bulbs, so you can be 100% sure that you are seeing the true colours and details of your quilting project.

The Science Behind Ott Lite

The scientists at Ottlite have created a visual efficiency by optimizing both photopic (brightness) and scotopic (contrast) lumen output to allow the eye to better perceive light. So, in English, Ottlite gives you a light that helps you see better, gives more clarity and costs less!Look after your eyes!

Ott Lite was developed by Dr John Nash Ott, a former banker with a passion for time-lapse photography. When Dr. Ott was asked by Walt Disney to record a pumpkin’s growth for the famous carriage transformation scene in Cinderella, he started experimenting with the lighting in his greenhouse to optimize the plant’s growth.

All this led to Dr Ott recreating natural light indoors by using the right combination of contrast and brightness. Dr Ott went on to become a pioneer in the field of photobiology.
The science behind Ott Lite Natural Daylight Illumination started with trying to understand how our eyes work. Dr Ott and his team experimented with combinations of light and colour to create the best visual experience – a light that was natural, easy to use and avoided eye strain as far as possible.

By 1989 Dr. Ott had perfected a range of natural light bulbs, and wanted to share them with people who really needed them – people who want to see better in order to carry on doing what they love, and so Ott Lite Technologies was founded!

Ott Lite have also put a lot of thought into the design of their lamps and their range includes features such as articulating shafts, adjustable shades and achromatic coatings. From small portable craft lights to traditional standing lamps, the design of the Ott Lite means that there is an Ott Lite to suit all tastes and all tasks. Ott Lite is not just for quilters, it is great for reading, scrap booking, sewing, puzzles – anything that requires a clear and steady light. The other great feature of our Ott Lites is that they are not expensive, and make a perfect gift. So if there’s a large, jolly white bearded chap in a red suit looking for gift ideas for you, tell him about the Ott Lite.

Quilting threads come in a bewildering array of brands and weights, and understanding them can make a big difference to your quilting projects.

We’ve found this great video from Heather Thomas that gives you an insight into the types of thread and the weights.

The important things to remember are the different types – cotton, polyester, silk; with silk being the strongest.

Weight and ply denote the thickness and strength of the thread – the higher the number of the weight, the thinner the thread, and the more ply, the stronger the thread. So a 40/3 will be a 40 weight, 3 ply thread. Experimenting with a variety of threads helps you become familiar with the different threads, and can make a huge difference to your quilting projects.

Quilt Direct believe that quality threads are an investment that should not be overlooked, and we only offer quality threads that we use ourselves in our own work.

If you need further information or advice on quilting thread, please drop us an email or give us a call.

Most hand quilters will have to face up to painful “quilters fingers” at some time or another – and most of us have tried a variety of remedies and finger protection, with varied success!

Well, we’ve found something we loved so much, we’ve decided to sell it on our site.

udlogo Not only is “UDDERLY SMOOTH” wonderful for quilter’s fingers, it is equally amazing for a diverse range of uses.

Originally developed for use on dairy cows, UDDERLY SMOOTH® Udder Cream has been proven to be perfect for as an everyday multipurpose moisturizing lotion for humans.



uddercream_for_dry_skinApart from being perfect as a general moisturizer, Udderly has also been shown to be effective for:

  • Nappy rash
  • Breast feeding
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Sunburn
  • Shaving


chamoisUdderly Chamois Cream is fantastic for sports people, particularly:

  • Cyclists
  • Horse Riders
  • Golfers
  • Yachtsmen
  • Swimmers

Udderly is also highly respected as skincare aid for cancer patients suffering side-effects of chemotherapy and diabetes sufferers.

  • Chemotherapy drugs can affect the skin on the hands and feet, and UDDERLY SMOOTH is often recommended by oncology departments for use with chemotherapy drugs.
  • Over 1/3 of diabetics will suffer diabetes related skin conditions, which can be treated with Udderly. UDDERLY SMOOTH Foot Cream is well suited for diabetes foot care. Obviously, it goes without saying that if you are being treated with chemotherapy, or if you are a diabetes sufferer, then you must check with you doctor or consultant before using Udderly.

For the rest of us, all we can say is  “Try it – it is fantastic stuff”!

You can also call us on 01822 810877, email us at or write to us at:
Quilt Direct
Peter Tavy
Tavistock, Devon
PL19 9NA



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