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Transforming Tools

The more I sew the more I realize how important it is to have the correct tools with which to work. And I really enjoy trying out new things and discovering what tools make the sewing process more efficient and enjoyable. As a result I have two new tools that I have found to be helpful and three old tools that I am using in new ways.

The first new tool that I have been using is a set of numbered pins. The ones that I purchased are Marilee’s Numbered Pins and include 130 pins labeled #1-20. They were invaluable when I had 17 different shades of blue to keep track of in cutting out Lindsay and Dustin’s wedding quilt. I used them again to mark the 17 different rows of blocks that I stitched as well as when I laid out the 17 rows. They have also been very helpful in labeling the rows for the Quilts of Valor that my sewing club works on.

The second new tool is an iron. Now that might sound strange since you can be sure that I have been using an iron since I learned to sew when I was eight years old. However, a few weeks ago I needed to replace my old iron as it had fallen on the floor one too many times. So I headed to Bed Bath and Beyond with my 20% off coupon to check out their selection of Rowenta irons. There were four to choose from in varying prices and they even had my previous iron which was the third most expensive. The two most expensive indicated that they were professional irons made for people who did a lot of ironing. Since I think I fall into that category I decided to splurge and purchase the Rowenta Focus. (Now I just have to be careful that it doesn’t fall on the floor!) I am so glad that I purchased this product as it has made ironing a whole new experience! The iron is hotter which makes tackling creases on cotton fabric a breeze. And the pointed tip of the iron makes pressing seams open so much easier. While I will continue to press my seams to one side I won’t shy away from pressing them open if that is a more appropriate option.

The third tool that I have found myself using more often lately is Best Press. This magic juice works so well when dealing with pieces that don’t quite fit together or when I encounter wavy borders. Now I have been using it to remove those stubborn creases that one finds in fabric. The Best Press combined with my fantastic new iron has been a game changer.

The next tool that I have been spending quality time with is the June Tailor slotted ruler. It is marked with 1/2” slots and made the process of cutting 627 - yes I said 627! - 1 1/2” strips for Lindsay and Dustin’s quilt short work. I’m fairly certain that had I used my 3” x 18” ruler for this job it would have taken me twice as long.

The final tool that I have been using frequently is the Walking Foot that goes with my Bernina 350. It is also known as an even feed foot which actually gives a pretty good description of how this foot works - it evenly feeds both layers of fabric through the machine as it stitches the seam. I use it when I am attaching binding to a quilt as I have three layers to stitch through - the top, the batting, and the backing. I also find it useful when I am making t-shirt and memory quilts as the thicker layers of the t-shirts and sweatshirts glide through the machine with ease.

What tools have you found to be must-haves to make your hobby more efficient and enjoyable? Do you often think “how did I ever manage without this?”

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