Which is better, using a tool or finger rolling?
How you roll your quilling strips is really a matter of personal preference. I don’t believe there is a hard and fast rule, although many quillers have very definite opinions about the subject.
Slotted tool- When I first learned to quill, I learned using a slotted tool. You just ‘thread” the beginning of a strip into the slot and then turn the tool until the strip is completely rolled. Let the strip fall off the tool and then pinch into desired shape and glue. Depending on the slotted tool you use, there will be a small opening in the center of your tight rolls (the size of the hole is determined by the size of the shaft of the tool). There may also be a tiny fold in the strip where you first inserted the strip into the tool. This little fold or “hook” is offensive to some quillers. (I have never had a customer mention this little hook) If this is a concern for you, the hook can be eliminated by reversing the tool before releasing the roll. It can also be eliminated when you pick up the roll with a tweezer.
Pin or Needle tool-I know that many of the early “1970’s” kits came with a corsage pin. When you use a pin, you roll the paper around the pin (instead of turning the tool), the hole in the center will be smaller and there will be no hook.
Finger rolling-When finger rolling your strips, it helps to soften the paper a little by running it over your finger nail, much like you would with curling ribbon. I usually have a damp washcloth nearby and dampen my fingertips so it is a little easier to get the roll started. Your finished roll will have a very tiny center opening. I also find that my rolls are a little “tighter” when I finger roll. After using a slotted tool for many years, the repetitive motion began to bother my thumb, so I forced myself to learn to finger roll. I quickly realized this was also easier on my tired old eyes since I was no longer required to ‘thread’ my slotted tool. Now I finger roll most of my strips but still use my slotted tools for rolling fringe flowers and curling back the corners on my rose petals.
I do have a funny story about finger rolling. A couple of years ago I did a taping for the DIY (Do It Yourself) network demonstrating quilling and how it can be used for scrapbooking. I had to fly from Connecticut to Tennessee for the taping. With all of the security restrictions on the airlines I thought it best to put all my quilling tools, tweezers and scissors etc. in my checked luggage. Of course my bags were opened and inspected. The next day as I prepared to do the taping, I opened the box with all of my tools and realized I had no slotted tool! Thank goodness I knew how to finger roll! The DIY folks were pretty impressed with my finger rolling although it was harder to tape. (I was only allowed to move my fingers a tiny bit so the camera could zoom in.) At any rate we got through the taping and when I packed my bags to fly back home, there in the bottom of my suitcase was my slotted tool! When they inspected the bag they just didn’t put everything back where they found it. And I am sure they had no idea what they were looking at.