This week we are looking at favorite tools. I can't wait to see what all 16 of us choose. Do you think we will all pick the same thing? I suppose we will all say our rotary cutter is our favorite tool. But in spite of how much I love my cutter, I have a few other tools that I use all the time and are my go-to tool for certain tasks.
I sort tools into categories and I'll tell you my favorite tool in each category.
Sewing: I sew on a Bernina 790, Bernina 440, and Bernina 240 I use for travel. Um I really like Berninas. My sit down long arm is a Martelli Bella. I also have a Singer Featherweight 221. I had more machines at one time but in the "Great Purge of 15" (the year I retired from college teaching) I got rid of a number of machines I had been collecting and using.
My favorite of them all, I gotta say it is the Bernina 440. This machine is a workhorse, totally reliable, uses any thread I put on it, and can do anything! Wow, I love this machine.
You would think my new 790 would be my dream machine because of all the bells and whistles, and I confess, I was seduced by the bobbin and the embroidery unit. It is a little temperamental at times, however, and when I sit down to sew I want to SEW, not smooth over the ego of an uppity machine with sensitive feelings! It is getting better as we get to know each other more. But in a moment of pique I always turn to my 440. It is my retreat machine because it can be easily transported in my car in its Tutto Trolly.
I digress, however. Because my favorite sewing tool is a simple pair of bent nose tweezers.
These beauties are my third hand. They hold onto the ends of fabric as it goes through the machine and are indispensable for sewing curves. I teach a class on sewing curves without pins and issue everyone a pair of these at the start of the class. I used to love my stiletto but these tweezers have taken over that #1 spot in my heart. If you want a pair you can get them HERE.
Pressing: Without a doubt my single favorite pressing tool is my Easy Binding Winder!
I used to HATE doing binding. Hate, hate, hate. There are not many things I am that strongly negative about, except maybe the neighbor's dog that craps in my yard. This gadget changed all that, (except the dog) and I am so proud to say it was invented and marketed by my good friend Peggy and her husband Rex. It clamps to my ironing board and winds up my binding while I press it.
The best part - to me at least - is that is feeds off the winder while I sew on the binding. No more tangling around my chair or feet getting coated with cat hair while I sew. Nice.
Watch how it works.
I like this tool so much that I bought one to give away to this week's lucky winner.
Leave a comment on this blog post to be entered to win an Easy Binding Winder.
(sorry, USA residents only)
This mat is a dream. Not only does it sit on a smooth turntable, but the markings make it super easy to trim blocks and units as I sew and press. When cutting out diamonds from jelly roll strips using my Stripper template (Marti Michell) - something I do a lot - this is my best friend. It is a big surface and can hold the strip while I cut and spin the mat.
Side benefit: Buster loves to ride on it when I give it a spin! hahahaha
Measuring. This may surprise you. I have tons of rulers, and like many of you, can't resist a new ruler, gizmo, or gadget. But as a designer, I really need a measuring tool that can calculate all kinds of math needed to write a pattern. My favorite tool is the Quilter's Fabric Calc - Quilt Design and Estimating Calculator.
I bought one when they first came out and my son bought me one for Christmas one year. I was thrilled to have 2. One stays in my office next to my computer - where I do all my design work.
The other stays downstairs in my studio where I often need it to calculate how much fabric I need to cut a certain number of strips. I used to teach a class in how to use it, but I am thinking maybe I will do an online tutorial. If you design, you need this!
Here is what you can do with it.
Yup, its my total, all time, favorite measuring tool.
However, there is also a great app I use on my iPad and iPhone which is also a great tool for calculating yardage, especially backing and binding. It is called the Quilter's Little Helper and is created by Robert Kaufman Fabrics.
It also calculates bias binding, something the Quilt Calc doesn't do. The other calculation it does that I really like is shows me how much backing I need if I position it vertically or horizontally. I love a gadget that I can actually use, and makes my life easier.
It does even more calculations than the Quilter's Fabric Calc, using the calculators created by Quilters Paradise.
You can use these online if you don't have an iPhone or iPad. Bookmark this link to see them for yourself.
So thanks for wandering through my studio with me looking at some tools and some quilts made using those tools. Hope you had fun.
Want to win a FREE Easy Binding Winder??? Leave a comment. Winner will be announced next Tuesday.
Be sure to visit all the other Hoppers in this second week of the Creative Spaces Blog Hop.