Quilt Projects

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Tools of the Trade

I finally had the opportunity to make the trek to the big city yesterday to take my ailing sewing machine in for repairs. I dropped it off first thing in the morning (left extra early -- 6:30 AM -- so they would have maximum time to look at it) and when I called late in the afternoon to see if it might be done, I was thrilled.

It was! (I was sooo happy. Yes, I do have two good machines, but rely on both of them for different applications. Besides that, my sewing table looked absolutely nekked with the one machine not set up!)

Turns out my sick machine needed only a minor adjustment (I had convinced myself the whole computer was kaputz). The business where I have purchased both my machines offers periodic check-up, cleaning, oiling, etc. of all machines purchased there free of charge for the lifetime of the machine. Now when cleaning a sewing machine usually starts around $50, I think that's a darned good deal. Yesterday, my machine was given a complete going over and readjustment and I wasn't charged a thing. Wanna know where I'll buy my next upgrade when the time comes?

Anyway, this morning was spent playing catch-up from being gone all day yesterday so I haven't had time to even unpack my machine let alone do any quilting.

In lieu of anything new to show today, I thought I'd do this post on three of my favorite quilting tools: Seam Rippers, Applique Scissors and Marking Pencils.

I can't quilt without an iron and/or seam ripper. You would think a seam ripper was a seam ripper was a seam ripper, right?

As you can see by the above picture, I've used several seam rippers. 'Bout a year ago, I bought the red and white one shown at the top and now will not use any other. It's a Fons and Porter product and is advertised as being ergonomically designed. Come on. What's the big deal? It's a seam ripper!

Proven wrong again, I was. I find it extremely comfortable to hold, to direct, to use. It just feels good holding it in my hand. I like it.

You all know when you're quilting a quilt, you end up with a kajillion threads front and back that need to be snipped off.

These applique scissors are designed so that they cut flat against the fabric, leaving no little sticky-uppy pieces of thread. I don't machine quilt without having them on the table next to my machine.

Oh, boy, have I ever purchased (and discarded) a lot of marking pens/pencils. Now I use these two almost exclusively. And if I ever took the time to order some graphite leads for the red and white Fons and Porter marking pencil, I would only need that one.

I got the red and white "eversharp" pencil as a Christmas gift with the tube of extra white leads. The marks disappear readily under my stitched quilting lines or with a brief rubbing of my fingers over the fabric.

The black graphite pencil (also a gift -- thanks, J!) is much like the Fons and Porter one in that they both give the sharpest, cleanest marking lines I've found with any marking tool. The mark is always thin, the lead never gets thick and/or dull, and I don't waste time trying to sharpen the lead over and over again as with wooden marking pencils.

Ahhhhh, back in place again. Couple of things I have yet to do today before I can go hide in my quilt studio . . . just where I'd like to be this Friday night!


beth said...

just wondering how you keep your quilting area so nice and tidy! I've always got more than one project going and can't (don't) seem to keep on top of the clean-up!
Thanks for the info on your tools of the trade. I liked both the seam ripper and the marking pencils. Now I know what to buy!
I already have those curved scissors and like them.

Mama Pea Quilts said...

Hi, Beth - Well, I do take time to "clean up" after finishing a project . . . and I do gather up, fold up and put in a clear plastic bag projects that are in progress but that I'm not working on. They're usually stacked on the back of my cutting table. I do work better if I have room to spread out on my sewing table so it's usually pretty clean there except for what I'm working on . . . which is nothing in the picture since I zilched the Sawtooth Star blocks and haven't had time to get in there to start anything else yet!

Jenyfer Matthews said...

One day....one day I'll have a dedicated space for my Bernina to live. Right I work on my dining table which as you can imagine isn't so wonderful for my posture / shoulders when I quilt.

Mama Pea Quilts said...

Jenyfer - I feel your (posture/shoulder) pain! I quilted on the kitchen table for many years. Ugh. I get so much more done now that I have my quilt studio. So easy to go in there and work for an odd 15 minutes when everything is all set up. Plus it's the only space in the house that is totally mine, MINE, M-I-N-E!

Jenyfer Matthews said...

The only advantage to working on the table is that if forces me to clean up after myself, LOL!