I love Top __ lists. That being said, the following is just my opinion based on my experiences with these notions. There are plenty of folks out there who like these tools, obviously, because they sell. But for me, these are the Top 5 Notions that Sounded like Great Ideas...but aren't.
5. FriXion Pens
Now, on the surface these sound like a BRILLIANT idea (really, it does!). These pens, admittedly, are super cool for paper. You write, and then you erase using friction. Unlike the eraseable pens from 15 years ago, these guys actually ERASE. Literally, zero residue left. The thing with quilting, is that they were being advertized and are being sold and the newest and greatest new marking pen - make your marks and use friction to remove them. It works...until your piece drops below 60(F). Below 60(F), the markings reappear. Not that anyone is sticking quilts in the freezer (I don't think...) but who would want to take the applique quilt you worked so hard on out of storage or out of a chilly room and BAM! There are your markings staring at you in the face. I know I would be one ticked off little quilter.
So, I fully endorse them for writing on paper. Seriously, they're cool. But for your projects? Nope.
4. "Standard" Pre-Wound Bobbins
Here's another one that sounds like a really great idea that makes things so much more convenient. These bobbins are pre-wound on either cardboard or cheap metal bobbins and are filled with (usually) neutral threads that people most likely go through like a house afire. I, for one, can't seem to keep enough gray thread anywhere, ever, much less in my bobbin. So Mom and I got a pack to try out. Granted, we both have Berninas and they are notoriously finicky, but I also tried it out on my Simplicity (a machine that usually has no problem with generic, standardized components). This I put a big ol' FAIL stamp on. Both machines HATED these things. The bobbins weren't quite the right size for either machine, and the thread was just dismal. The Simplicity tolerated it best, but the thread snapped so much just on a straight stitch that it was getting to the point of being ludicrous.
So, give it a go if you want, it MAY work for your machine...but beware the thread quality. Unless it is a prewound bobbin by a repuatble machine or thread company, you can probably bet that the thread is kind of cruddy and the bobbin won't fit right.
3. Rotary Blade Sharpeners
Oh man. I tried these dang things with ZERO success. I even tried a ruler that had a blade sharpener on the cutting edge! Either way, if anything, I found my blade scratched to oblivion and duller than it was to start. I found the issue being 1 of 2 things (or both): a) the sharpener was not at the correct angle for the blade to properly sharpened at. Look at your rotary blade. See that little bevel right before the edge? That's the angle I'm talking about. Either the sharpener considered the bevel and accounted for it, or in trying to accomodate all brands of blades, disregarded it entirely and in so doing, just dulled the blade. The other issue, b) the sharpener didn't fit the blade at all. Meaning, that the sharpening component missed the edge entirely and tried to sharpen the body of the blde about a quarter inch up fron the edge. A fat lot of good that does! It's a pity too, because if this worked it would be one of the very best notions out there - blades are not cheap! Maybe they just haven't got the happy medium yet, or I haven't tried the right one.
2. Circle Cutter
This thing is a good idea in a horrible little package. This works wonderfully on paper, because paper is more or less rigid, unlike fabric. It functions like a compass, but instead of a pencil, there's a little X-Acto style blade. All this does, even WITH stabilizer on your fabric, is hack at it and crumble it under the blade. Your circle doesn't get cut all the way through, the fabric moves with the blade and if it gets cut at all, it's not a perfect circle. I tried this on non-stabilized fabric, stabilized fabric and paper. Paper it's perfect for, and that's where it needs to stay marketed to. IF the blade were a mini rotary cutter and rolled intead of slid, then it might work better because a rigid blade wouldn't have to be pushed over the more fluid fabric. I gotta say, unlessyou are using Timtex as your stabilizer, save your money and just use a template instead.
1. Fons & Porter's Rotary Cutting Safety Glove
Oh F&P, we meet again. I wan't to like you, I really do. Your patterns are good, they are! But then I listen to your snobbery on TV and see you but out products like this. I truly believe this product does next to nothing for the customer other than capitalize on the basest of human fears - fear of injury and pain. It's not a heavy duty glove, so if your cutter flies off your ruler after yuou've been bearing down on too many layers of fabric, you're still going to get cut. Period. So for $23.95 you can have peace of mind...but if you're careful anyway this is doing nothing for you other than losing you money that you could be spending on a couple yards of fabric ;-)