Good morning my lovely Hoppers! Can
you believe it's been six weeks already!?
The summer has just rolled by like a heat soaked freight train with so much to do and create. I hope you have been enjoying it as much as I have. Here in Southern Arizona, this is the time of the year to be careful about spending too much time outdoors with the 110+ degree days and our highest humidity created from our monsoon storms in the evening, so I take advantage of the forced seclusion to quilt as much as I can! If you're in one of the hotter areas of the country, I hope you're finding similar ways to keep yourself happy and cool.
This week we're looking at rulers and tools.
I see that some of my fellow creatives have already given you some great ideas about storing rulers and tools, so I thought I would show you what I like to have on hand in terms of my tools and rulers and how I try to keep them handy.
Let's start with what's right next to my machine. I have two nearly identical machines (Lacey - a Juki 2010Q and Diana - a Juki 2200QVP). Having two machines that are almost exactly alike means that I don't have to change my set up all the time if I need to do two different things in the same week or in the same day. I might need a walking foot on one machine and a free motion foot on the other. It helps not to be required to make a huge change all the time. I also enjoy naming my machines. Call me silly, but I like to have a sense of a personal relationship with my machines and I name them after fictional female characters that represent powerful examples of women in our culture. Lacey is named for Detective Mary Beth Lacey from the amazing series Cagney and Lacey. Brash and beautiful, Lacey was a modern woman that offered a vision of the future. Diana is named after the incomparable Diana Prince, the one and only Wonder Woman. A mighty goddess, created to fight hate and save Humanity, Diana has blazed a path for young women both of my mother's generation and mine.
At all times, I have a little cup of my most necessary tools right by my machines. I have a screw driver to change feet, marking tools, a seam ripper/stiletto combo, a pair of needle nose tweezers, curved scissors, a glue pen, and a tiny ruler.
I keep a small container with multiple types of needles just behind my tool cup, so I always have all my options handy.
In the earlier picture of Diana, you'll see I have a thimble on her ledge and a small piece of cardstock the same width as I prefer my binding to I have a gauge to help me with turning corners and maintaining a perfectly straight line.
Of course we also have a need for more than
one kind of foot and in my case, seam guides, seam gauges, and bobbins.
I keep all of those things in a long dish under my Sew Steady table, so they are easily grabbed anytime I need them.
My goal is always to have what I absolutely use the most right at my fingertips all the time. I take advantage of simple dishes and cups to make that easy. You don't always have to invest in expensive containers to hold your tools. Use what you have on hand to organize in or pick up a few inexpensive dishes at the thrift store the next time you wander through.
As for rulers, my philosophy is to stay relatively minimal in my ruler collection.
I think Everyone needs at least one 6" x 24" ruler and a 3" x 18" ruler.
I also like to have at least two good squaring rulers. I suggest that a 12 1/2" ruler is something everyone should have since it is a common block size. The other size should be the one you use the most. I have an 8 1/2" squaring ruler since I love an 8 inch block size.
Specialty rulers are different for everyone.
My advice is to only buy what you really
need and consider why you need it. Will
you use it more than once? If not, borrow
it from a friend, but if you know you'll use
it more than once, be sure to pick one up
for yourself. I keep a 4" x 8" ruler because it fits in all my travel cases. I also invested in a 60 degree ruler from Creative Grids because
I love the math for 60 degree quilting blocks.
Here's an example of my Equity project with Island Batik's Elementz from Tamarinis.
Since I make quilts with 60 degree angles often, it pays to have the ruler available to me all the time.
I also create several designs with half rectangle units, which means it really helps for me to have a Tri-Recs Ruler set.
Likewise, I occasionally paper piece and
having an Add A Quarter ruler is invaluable
Here's an example of my Wish project that uses the Tri-Recs ruler for long points on the stars. The first time made something with a Tri-Recs I just borrowed one. I thought it would be a one time use. After I tested it out, I knew I would make several quilts with this type of unit, so I bought one for myself.
The last two major rulers I keep on hand are The Easy Angle Ruler, which I have found very useful and the Quilter's Quarter Marker, which has all of the major angles utilized by quilters with a quarter inch indicator line all the way around. I feel like this little baby has saved me several times over.
I'm offering 5 chances to win a copy of Wish for yourself this week! Visit my Facebook, page and comment on the link to this blog to be entered in the drawing. 5 winners will be drawn at random on Friday, August 24th.
Finally, I have template based rulers that I use with frequency. Once again, I choose rulers that I know I will use often to mark. I love quilting with circle and oval motifs, so that's what I own.
My favorite company, Quilter's Rule, makes a variety of nesting template rulers, both thin ones for marking and thicker ones for free motion on sit-down machines.
I hope you've enjoyed the Creative Spaces Blog Hop this summer. So many wonderful creative designers have offered up great insights into their studio spaces and design ideas. Stay with us all for one more day as we finish up this grand project and be sure you're entered for the various prize drawings.
Cherry Blossom Quilting
(Be sure to visit Cherry's blog to find out how to enter the prize drawings!)
Morning Glory Designs
Sew Many Creations
Seams Like a Dream
Poor House Quilt Designs
Desert Bloom Quilting
Canton Village Quilt Works
Cranberry Pie Designs
Avery Lane Designs
Funky Friends Factory
If you would like to have me teach at your shop or guild, I offer a variety of classes and lectures including large and small trunk shows options. Contact me at SwanAmity@gmail.com for details and scheduling.
If you have enjoyed my blogs, stay tuned for some new ideas I have in the works for this fall as well as a new On-Line Block of the Month program I'll be introducing at Fall Festival in Houston! In the meantime, like me on Facebook, follow my Instagram, and/or send me an email to be added to my email updates. Happy quilting my friends!