Here is a summary of favorite tools/accessories/gadgets/etc. that enhance our quilting experience from the recent giveaway. I hope you find at least one new tool to try.
Setting the Mood:
Many of us seem to like some sort of background music or entertainment while we work. Suggestions included radio, CDs (both music and literature), iPod, television, and DVDs. One reader enjoys The Lucy Show and another likes Bollywood DVDs, even occasionally dancing along. Pandora internet radio and Hulu also received mentions:
My favorite mood setting suggestion is a clean house. That definitely helps my mood; however, a messy house has not stopped me from sewing yet!
Seeing our work:
Reading glasses and bifocals were mentioned, as well as having good lighting. One reader uses a fold-up Ottlite and another likes her Ottlite floor lamp. I love my Ottlite, too, and use it for sewing and handwork.
Measure twice, cut once:
I actually kind of hate that phrase, because sometimes I measure multiple times and still manage to make cutting errors.
Rulers -- Rulers received a few mentions, including having the right ruler for the project at hand. One reader recommended the June Tailor Shape Cut Pro Ruler, which looks pretty slick to me. You can see a video of it in use here.
And several readers love special gadgets that make using their rulers easier, safer, and more efficient. A few readers mentioned the Gypsy Gripper...
and one reader enjoys her Rule Steady.
Marti Mitchell Perfect Patchwork templates received an endorsement from one reader.
Cutting tools -- This proved to be a very popular category as far as tools that make quilting more accurate and enjoyable. We love our cutting tools (don't anger a quilter)! The good old rotary cutter is a favorite of many, with a small rotary cutter for curves getting a specific mention. A good pair of scissors (e.g., Fiskars) is a close second to the rotary cutter. Other favorite cutting instruments:
The Artist Within:Design walls received several mentions. Some people use batting, but a vinyl tablecloth was also mentioned for portability. The soft, cottony side is used for designing, but because of the vinyl side, it can be rolled up and moved without disturbing the fabric pieces.
A Stitch in Time:
Quilters love their sewing machines (when working properly). I think we could start a heated discussion just about sewing machines alone. A couple of people mentioned their Berninas (and one appreciates her Bernine #10 foot), so I feel that I should give a shout out to my trusty Pfaff Tiptronic 1171. It's old, but loyal and true and belonged to my mother. On the cover of the instruction book she wrote June '89 -- oh, the stories this machine could tell. She has sprinkled notes throughout, but especially in the blank pages at the back. My heart swells and aches and my breath catches whenever I see her familiar handwriting. She's been gone 14-1/2 years and I still miss her like crazy! Breathe. My two favorite things about this machine (and there are so many) are the dual feed (I even use it for piecing) and my 1/4" piecing foot.
Someone mentioned Roxanne's needles (handmade in England), which come in a cute little tube with a shell on the top.
I've always sworn by my John James needles (also made in England), but I'm willing to try something new.
A toothpick was mentioned as a great tool for turning appliqué; a vintage spool for binding and long skinny tweezers are handy, and at least one reader likes That Purple Thang:
And one clever and lucky reader bought a workbench for $15 at at hardware closeout sale. The perfect height for cutting, ironing, and other prep work! What a great idea!
I think a good sense of humor and the ability to turn potential (or actual) disaster into a design challenge is very important in a happy and successful quilt maker, and many of you kept me amused with your responses. Two of the more interesting and amusing "tools" included having a snoring cat in the room and the quilter's own tongue. You know, for protruding during moments of intense concentration.
I don't eat while making quilts or doing any other kind of needlework. The natural oils on our hands are bad enough, so I don't want any added oil, salt, sugar, etc. on my fabric! However, a snack break for fortification seems to be on many a quilter's mind. Iced tea and coffee were beverage favorites, with microwave popcorn, M & Ms, and chocolate with mint or raspberry flavoring all getting snack mentions. Are there any quilters who don't like chocolate?
Whew! I'm looking over my notes and checking them twice. I think I got everything mentioned during the giveaway reflected in the list above. My apologies if I've missed any! There are several tools that I think I'd like to try. What about you?
With wishes, true and kind, and the right tools for the project -- Joan