We all have a “few” of our favorite things. Those items that, if they went MIA, would have us completely paralyzed from doing anything productive. For me, there are those very obvious things like my longarm, and sewing machine that undoubtedly would prevent me from moving forward each day. But in pondering the less obtuse items, there are three favorite things that come to mind:
My Grandmother’s Thimble
When I received my grandmother’s thimble I was thrilled to have such a pretty memento. To me thimbles weren’t a necessity to quilting. I felt they were very cute, and made nice, tiny decorative piece; but useful…no I mean, really, how could a small piece of metal situated on your finger really become an instant force field? Well, was I enlightened to the thimble’s importance! I felt like Mel Gibson in Brave Heart when I finally chose to spare my finger tips from being murdered by potential needle jousting. My fingertips and heart thank my grandmother on a daily basis!
Even my red-headed assistant wants one of these (for those very, very rare occasions she needs to replace a button). Once she saw me use this little gadget she was in awe and was very tempted to walk out of the studio that afternoon with mine in her bag. No, replacing a button was NOT on her to-do list that evening she just fell in love with this handy-dandy device. But for those true sewers, like me, I am happy to know that in a mere blink of an eye my needle will be threaded. I can cast away those reading glasses, and wasted time making sure I am in a nicely lit area, this mini machine gets it done. Since revealing this item to Drea I have kept a watchful eye out to ensure mine doesn’t go missing. I might just bite the bullet and get her one for that once a year use.
Okay, so this little beauty is so important that I felt simply posting a picture and writing a brief description would not do it justice.
Perfect Piecing + Flawless Stitching = The Impossible
My current project is slowly, and I mean slowly coming along. As I plug away every now and then I will stand back and scan the small progress I have made AND analyze my work. When I say “analyze” I mean scrutinize every tiny minuscule stitch and aspect of my quilt. Which has now led me to discovering a part of the design that does not appear exactly the way I feel it should.
Rather than remaining stressed over a small mishap that I had observed due to my OCD of going over the project with a magnifying glass; I need to move on. Is anyone going to be aware of my mistake? Not unless I tell them, right?!
Nope, no one will see that itsy, bitsy, teeny, tiny, imperfection when they view the quilt in its entirety. Yes, I will forever know where that flaw resides, but I cannot sweat the small stuff. Life is way too short. And if I constantly chose to sweat the small stuff in my studio, OMG, I would achieve zip, zero, zilch! Besides the fact that I would be very unproductive, I also believe that those small imperfections allows me to perfect who I want to become. So I pick my battles and strive to choose the ones that really matter!
And remember no one but you has to be in on that little “flaw”!
With the advances many gifted humans have made throughout time it is not surprising to witness applied science making its way into the quilting world. Beginning with the birth of the first patented sewing machine in 1791 to the now visible computerized quilting machines; mechanics has evolved quilting into an amazing hobby and business.
Somehow in this ever-changing quilting world I still embrace the tried and true, (a.k.a the old-fashioned way) pencil and paper. Bells and whistles are in abundance; enhancing the efficiency and uniqueness to what can be created with a small needle and thread. Yet, I forever find myself holding my graphite pencil prepared for brainstorming battle on sketching paper. I know my BERNINA 750QE is a playground of fun that I have allowed myself to only slightly enjoy. Maybe, one day, I’ll venture to the BERNINA playground filled with wonderful stitches. Or maybe not.
In regards to computer programs and the quilting world I do possess the EQ 7, however, I do not utilize it often. I am reluctant to be unfaithful to my pencil and paper, I simply find it faster and reliable. I even hesitate to stray from my handy-dandy calculator for determining yardage. The words “Computer Savvy” and “Lisa Calle” do not seem to compute. However, I do make use of “Illustrator”. I am actually quite proud to share that Illustrator and I are going on a 7 year relationship. I honestly cannot ever see me totally breaking up with Illustrator as this program has definitely become a small piece of me. There are moments during my creative process that, with the help of handsome Illustrator, I will produce an appliqué design. The results have me grinning from ear to ear as my eyes take in printed designs in various sizes. But every relationship needs a break, and I since I’m not very good at juggling relationships I always follow my heart back to my pencil and paper.
Breaking up is hard to do. So until my loyal pencil and paper decide to call it quits with this designer, I will be sticking with the tried and true. That’s not to say that technology won’t tempt me into putting my pencil and paper on the back burner.
Has technology found its way into your quilting world? I am sure there are many tech savvy quilters among us, so share your modern must haves!
How long have you been sewing? Whether you’ve been at it for a month or 20 years, you need to be kind to your body.
This past year, I had some debilitating neck issues. It not only prevented me from sewing and quilting but it prevented me from truly enjoying about 8 months of my life. Now, this was not brought on solely from quilting but a lifetime of not being kind to my body. I am not referring to drinking, smoking or drugs… I am referring to the act of living. As we move throughout our days, we tend to take our body for granted. That we will always be able to do the things we want to do and you should if you tend to your body.
I enjoy the accuracy of paper piecing… my next competition piece is paper pieced. This is what my set up looked like. You might be thinking, yes, that looks very efficient and it was however, not very nice to your body. I have since changed things around. The only thing I do there now is sew. If I need to cut or iron, I get up stretch my legs and neck and do it at my cutting table and ironing station. This takes longer but I have found that it is much kinder to my body.
my paper piecing set up
I have found that this video helps me tremendously when I do it every morning and if I am sewing or quilting a lot that day I will do it midday as well. Check out the video here. Hopefully you’ll find it as helpful as I do.