a straight answer about straight pins

a straight answer about straight pins

By Patricia Belyea

SEATTLE WA   The Supply List for my Doodle Piecing Workshop includes "fine pins" as one of the things to bring. What does that mean? Students have arrived with pins as fine as butterfly antennae and pins as chunky as little nails.

When I was at Quilt Market in St. Louis this May, I asked Veronica of Clover Notions what would be the best pin for my workshop. I had three criteria—fine enough to sew over, not too long so the pins don't pop out when sewing on a curve, and strong enough to not bend easily.

To answer my question, Veronica sent me packages with every kind of straight pin that Clover makes. That way I could try them all out!

Here is what I learned through my testing experience:

1 Flower Head Pins—Red
20 pins per card, $3.95
100 pins per clear plastic box, $12.50

Fine Flower Head Pins—Blue
20 pins per card, $4.75

I have always enjoyed using Flower Head Pins. They make sewing more fun. Both of these pins are 1.5" long but the red ones are noticeably sturdier than the blue ones: .55mm diameter versus .45mm. Both are just the right size for pinning two quilting fabrics together, with the blue ones designed for lighter weight fabrics. Note that the ABS resin heads will melt if an iron is applied directly to the pins.

2 Quilting Pins
100 pins per clear plastic box, $9.50

These pins are long—a whopping 1 13/16" with samurai-sharp points. And heavy-duty with a .60mm diameter. They are excellent for multi-layered quilt projects. Stainless steel with glass heads, they can take the heat of an iron.

3 Fine Quilting Pins
100 pins per clear plastic box, $11.50

Also 1 13/16" with ultra-sharp points, these Fine Quilting Pins are .50mm in diameter. Perfect for pinning a quilt sandwich, the glass-topped, stainless-steel pins can be ironed. If they share a pin cushion with regular Quilting Pins, think "translucent" when you want to grab a fine pin.

4 Patchwork Pins
100 pins per snap-close plastic box, $7.15

A handy 1 5/16" long and .50mm in diameter, these pins feature a stainless-steel needle and a super-sharp tip. The glass head is heat-proof so you can confidently iron over the pins.

5 Fine Patchwork Pins
100 pins per snap-close plastic box, $8.50

Extra-fine at .40mm in diameter, these 1 5/16" long pins pass smoothly through cloth. The stainless-steel needle and glass head are rust-proof and ironing-proof.

6 Silk Pins
100 pins per clear plastic box, $5.75

As you can imagine, Silk Pins are fine—with a .50mm diameter. These pins are excellent for lightweight fabrics and will not leave marks. The needle is made of stainless steel and and the glass bead top of ironing-proof glass.

7 Appliqué Pins
150 pins per snap-close plastic box, $6.75

What a joy! These short pins, 3/4" long, hold tiny pieces in place when working on an appliqué project. Sharp and glass-topped, Appliqué Pins are quick to see with their bright white heads. And impossible to bend with a .60mm diameter.

That's the line-up of Clover pins.

What’s the answer to my question? Number One for pinning on curves: Fine Patchwork Pins. Second choice: Fine Flower Head Pins (blue). Also a favorite: Silk Pins.

What about you? Do you have use different pins for different tasks? Do you have a favorite pin for your quilting projects? Any recommendations for others?

To buy Clover pins, check out your local fabric store. To buy Clover pins online, +click here

Okan Arts was not compensated for this article except for the gift of pins from Veronica.