I seem to run to the extremes.  I can focus with the best of them or I have the attention span of a hyper-active toddler whose had too much caffeine.  There’s no middle ground for me.

So it’s been a bit hard to work while surrounded by gorgeous new fabric and having the furniture in my office disappear.  I’ve had men standing on the top step of ladders with their heads in the ceiling, and there have been at least twenty earthquakes in Dallas since the 1st of January – I felt a couple of those.  But the worst distraction – the worst! – has been trying to work 100 yards away from a building filled with every manner of thread, needle, scissor, ruler, book and sewing-whatnot.


United Notions. I admit it, the name still makes me think about fabric – Moda Fabrics. But United Notions came first. Mr. Dunn started it back in 1975 as a distributor for notions and fabric. The fabric was produced by other companies – V.I.P., Cranston, Peter Pan, Alexander Henry. Those were the “biggies” back in quilting back then. In 1990, the universe shifted.  That’s when Moda Fabrics was created.  You might not have realized it at the time but if you’re a quilter, that’s really when “life” began. Trust me on this… I was there.

I also remember the tools we had back then. Life really is better now.

Since I had no furniture or computer and I needed something to write about eventually, I went on a “research mission”.  For you.

That was the easy part. The hard part was limiting “my list” to just a few things… things I’ve read about but haven’t yet tried.


Yes, I put this all back when I was done.  Except for the Wonder Clips.  I had to open them for the picture so they’re now in the sample room and “we” get to use them.  I knew about those but they now come in Neon Green – on the left, under the bottle – and Multi-color.  As soon as I decided which box I prefer, I’ll get them.  Both.  (It’s a known fact that I use a lot of clips when I bind.)

Have you tried the Marilee’s Numbered Pins?  Would you try them if I told you that Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings uses them?  That’s enough to get me to try them – and I did.  I think they’re terrific – if they’re used for their intended purpose.  They’re longer and thicker than the pins I use for pinning pieces together for sewing.  These are designed to mark blocks and/or rows to keep them in order for assembly, and they’re absolutely perfect for that.  I’ve used labels, tape, post-its and all sorts of other things but these worked well for me.  Do you need them for a quilt with three rows of three blocks?  Probably not, but for a quilt top or block with eight rows of eight blocks, they’re worth getting.  So I bought some of these.

Pinmoor.  I picked these up because I thought they were cute and colorful, and because I didn’t have any idea what they were.  Or what they did.  They’re little plastic-rubber pieces that are about 1/4″ diameter and 1/2″ long.  When you stick your pin through several layers of fabric, you stick the end into the Pinmoor to keep the pin from coming out.  It also protects your fingers from getting stuck by the end of a sharp pin as you’re handling the pinned-together whatever.  I used these when I quickly pinned the layers of a small project for machine quilting.  Genius.  (Not me, the Pinmoors.)

And while I’m on the subject of pins, I wanted to try some of the different types of Tulip pins from Japan.


The packaging is gorgeous, that’s undoubtedly what caught my eye first.  I will confess to not pinning any more than I absolutely have to, but when I do pin, I am quite finicky about the pins I use. I prefer those that are long-ish, very fine and very sharp.  The Tulip Patchwork Pins fit that description and they’re very nice.  The “flat-head” pins are finer than I expected but I don’t use them very often because I don’t really understand why the flat-head is supposed to be better.

Flatter – it’s by the Soak folks.  Jen Kingwell swears by it so that alone made me want to try it.


Flatter is a not-a-starch fabric treatment that leaves fabric smooth, static-free and soft.  It makes fabric easier to handle for piecing and applique – the very reason so many of us use starch or sizing.  Like Best Press, this is an alternative to starch or traditional sizing.  The difference really is the way the fabric feels, it doesn’t feel like it’s been starched or sized.  What I loved is that I won’t have to immediately wash my finished quilts to remove the starch-feel.  Or the scent – it’s heavenly.  The Fig is my favorite.

The last thing I couldn’t resist picking up was thread…


I knew that United Notions carried Aurifil but I didn’t know there were cones of the 50 wt. thread in the warehouse.  It’s a regular item in all the basic colors I use and stockpile have on hand.  I actually got light-headed.

If you’re wondering why I prefer cones, it’s simple.  It’s more economical.  A regular spool of 50 wt. thread has 1,420 yards and costs about $13.25 – less than a penny a yard or .0094.  A cone has 6,452 yards and costs about $47.00 – about .0073 a yard.  Thread-wise, one cone equals 4.5 spools of thread and 4.5 spools of thread costs $59.625 – $12.62 more than the cone.  So for every cone, you basically get a bonus spool of thread.

So what would you find the most distracting about being so close to the warehouse?  What else should I look for?

I’m here for you.  It’s my job… research.    And now that the office is done and the men are gone, I need a reason to wander over there.

Not to worry… pictures of the finished office are coming on Friday.

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35 thoughts on “Distractions…

  1. Thanks, Carrie! You’ve mentioned a few items there, that I’d like to try. I’m always on the hunt for nice thin pins, I swear some I’ve tried are like pinning with nails, they seem so thick! I’ve been hearing about the Flatter, and want to try it. Also the Pinmores, I want to try but haven’t seen them yet. Aurifil thread…….. love it and yes, all of my basics are always the large cones, cause, well I’m smart that way – LOL! Looking forward to seeing that office. Thanks for the reviews, Mz Research 😉

  2. Thanks for sharing these, Carrie! The only ones I’m familiar with are the thread and the clips. I’ll be on the lookout for some of these. Another thing that I know United Notions caries but I have YET to find available for purchase is the red Miracle cutting mat. I see all of the designers and shop owners using them but I can’t find one to buy. Besides the beautiful color, I have seen wonderful reviews of these mats. Can they become more available to us?

  3. I’m with you I love notions. Hurry head back in there with a basket and find some more fun stuff. I’m making a shopping list. I can’t say what to look for just grab 5 things from each wall 😉

  4. Sure love hearing about your new job – your writing is great and very funny! Where can we purchase these wonderful products?

  5. Great reviews. I want to try the Flutter, and I need to find my stand to use the cones. Looking forward to more reviews from you soon – and pics of your office where magic will happen!

  6. I’m glad you went to the warehouse,such great tips. I want to try the Flatter,I like doing mini’s and this will really help. Love your blog.

  7. Flatter in fig—scent that is, sounds interesting. I’ve wanted to try this product and Best Press as well but the price of Niagara is unbeatable That leaves me money to invest in more fabric like Whitewashed by Three Sisters or Aloha Girl by Fig Tree. These are two must haves for 2015 . Is there anyway to get Moda to order more adorable rose tote bags for those of who like cross stitching or perhaps market a line of fat quarter that would come packaged in the tote.
    Looking forward to seeing your new office furniture.

  8. great column and information. I need to buy some more big spools of Aurifil. That is so smart and economical too. Sound like you are settling into your new digs.


  9. I would love to see just pictures of the warehouse itself to get a visual of what you’re talking about! Thanks.

  10. Ooh! A review of scissors and their attributes would be great! Keep up the great work! Moda has a great asset in you.

  11. Love this posting! I also want to request the same info Pam Hansen did. Love the rose bag. To add my request…. I would like United Notions to carry Autifil floss. I’ll add Ambleside by Brenda Riddle to the list of one of many fantastic new Moda Fabric lines. Oh wait ….then there’s Minnick and Simpsons new line and Me and My Sister’s and Kate Spain’s. Oh …then you can’t forget Pat Slone’s and 3 Sisters. OK I know you know how much I love Moda Fabric. Looking forward to your next posting. Wishing all who read this a great week.

  12. I just love having you as our “inside” person – I feel like we really get a glimpse inside the warehouse and the inner workings of Moda and United Notions. I say keep on going – I am really enjoying your work.

  13. I’d have a hard time staying in my office if I had your job! It was interesting to hear a bit of the history of United Notions – Moda. I’ve loved Aurifil thread since I first used it, but it was wonderful to hear about new notions. Those pinmoors sounds great.

  14. First, thanks for all the research you’re doing for us;-)
    I would like to know about more about rulers and cutting mat. And please tell me where I can find a cutting mat that’s not in this boring green (the red Moda mat, love it!).

  15. I would love to see how they make layers cakes and well, all the precuts. I would love to see that happening. You have my sympathies, I think I would swoon in that warehouse with all the pretties. I’d also like to hear more about Mats. Why, oh why must they be the ugly green? Well it’s not really ugly but I would love to be able get prettier ones. I didn’t know there was a red mat. I’ll have to do some hunting for that.

  16. Carrie, I want to let you (and your boss(es)) how much I’m enjoying your blog. I’m pretty sure there was some kind of Moda blog before you came along, but I rarely read it. You are a wonderful addition to this space. I loved your old blog, but I’m happy that you’re here!

  17. Thank you for the information. Where can we purchase the Hiroshima Tulip Pins? Have searched and don’t seem to be able to find a vendor.

  18. Having you “inside” Moda is akin to having my sister working there … the phone rings … she says, “Got a minute” … I get my cuppa tea … and we chat about what we love … quilting! HUGE fan of Aurifil and thanks for doing the math on spool versus cone … enlightening! Like my pins sharp and long … might have to give those ones from Japan a try. Hadn’t heard about Flatter … use Best Press and really like it. A few friends make their own “starch” with that vodka/water concoction … any opinion on that? Those curved scissors are worth owning just for their beauty alone! LOVE your addition to the Moda blog … I check here MUCH more frequently than before. Looking forward to all you have to share 😉 Linda

  19. Carrie, I am enjoying your new job! I have a request, a couple years ago the Moda Home dept had a kitchen calendar towel with sewing machines on it. I fell in love with it, of course, after they were all sold and have not seen any for sale since, even though I do an Etsy search every so often. They had a zodiac towel last year which I’m sure was nice but not my taste. This year I did not find any towel? Is that so? And do you think they will use the sewing machine design on any other product, I’m telling you I would buy anything with those machines on it! I will completely understand if you find other things to research and I think you are doing terrific in your new job!

  20. Love unscented Best Press, unscented, due to my allergies. Could not use Niagara because of the scent. I agree w/Pam; hopefully, Flatter offers scent free. Carrie, I really enjoy reading your informative blog especially this one on notions. I want something that it useful because I have wasted money on items that really did not work. Love Wonder Clips. Thanks for your conversational writing which is fun to read plus honest…not a sales pitch like some quilting blogs.

  21. Oh this was fun! I just bought Flatter in Fig at the Ontario show this weekend. I love Wonderclips too and am sure I need the multi colored box. Now Pin mor and the numbered pins are new things I will have to search out. Glad you’re having fun Carrie, cause we all are too!

  22. Carrie, so, so glad to hear your voice again!! Sounds like you have a lot on your plate, I’m glad there is time to write, and explore and do research for us. I am so glad you seem to be settling in there. I have the Cutting Table bookmarked now and will check out your adventures more frequently. Hugs from California.

  23. Carrie, thanks for sharing all the info on items to help with quilting! I have been hearing about the Pinmores and also the numbered pins and want to try them. Aurifil thread……love it!

  24. Now this was fun! I felt like we were just tagging along with you, into that building with all that stuff in it!!! Thanks for all you do for us 🙂

  25. Oh heart be still! What a wonderful tour. I was intrigued by the scissors in the very first picture but you never mentioned them. Tell us a little about them, please.

  26. flat pins – you can press with them in place & if you are doing “stack & whack” you can pin the repeat & then cut without worrying about shifting.

  27. I never saw the large cones of aurifil thread and wonder where I can buy it ? Also there are so many sewline pens and I would like to know what each one is meant to do.

  28. Thank you for this fun and informative round up of goodies. I’m betting that you will find many other excuses to wander over to the warehouse to see what else you can discover. 🙂

  29. Thank you so much for the tips on different quilting notions. I have been very disappointed with Clover pins even though they say “fine” Too thick for me. I love Little House Pins, but they are hard to find. Would you say that the Tulip Patchwork Pins are comparable to Little house? BTW, aren’t LH pins a Moda product? Thought I heard that once.


  30. Your self-restraint must be getting quite a work out with all those lovely notions just a stone’s throw away! I’m always on the search for the perfect pins – not too long, quite fine but not bendy, sharp and not too expensive – perhaps you could keep your eyes open on your ‘wanderings’?!

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