Friday, 9 January 2015

Good , better, best

never let it rest till your good is better and your better best.

so goes the little rhyme.  When it comes to the tools for crafting best is not always the most expensive or the latest new thing.  Best is exactly that, what works best for you.  Of course you can only find out what that is by trial and error.

For the quilting as I mentioned before I started out with an ordinary 12" plastic ruler."My first patchwork" It was fine for a start and if necessary I could manage with that again but much better is my quilting ruler, 18" see through (although I occasional loose sight of it for that reason) with a grid making measuring so much easier.  I have a wider heavier quilting ruler and for some that would be best but nice as it is, the 18" sees more use, strips being the main for my default logcabin.

Inch dragon ruler
                                                      For getting a shorter firm line I like this early learning centre ruler,the handle effect lets me get a good grip, apply even pressure with little strain to my hand.

edge on




And it looks like a dragon of course (so it is supposed to be an inch worm but it looks more like a dragon to me).  It works well for paper crafts and for slippery material.

Easy grip action













Useful but by no means essential I have a flexible ruler and a set of French curves.  Oh but the ruler that has made so many a quilt edging easier is a metal meter rule, now there was a gift chosen with a great knowledge of my needs. You can see it at the bottom bottom of the picture below. It is also quite helpful smoothing flat the backing material when laying out ready to "sandwich".

all my rulers

Occasionally I borrow one of those laser tools advertised for lining up dado rails or hanging wallpaper.  It is quite good for getting a long straight line on a quilt edge. Oh and I have a quilters quarter for marking quarter inch seams, it gets little use as I confess I mainly use half inch seams (the purists are shuddering now at the very thought) I like the extra margin for uniqueness that gives me.

For my cross stitching I have a triangular ruler,self titled "The Stitchers Friend", the six different edges measure in the various counts,  10,14,18 and 12,16,27, it makes measuring out the material for a design quicker and takes away some of the worry about getting the things the right size.

Cross stitch ruler

Scissors are another essential that can become an obsession.  I often look like a crazy woman in shops, holding scissors up to my ear so I can hear the quality of the cut, as how they look is no guarantee of cutting quality, I prefer not to buy scissors I can't hear.  My friend, having seen me do this repeated the check in the presence of her husband, after some gentle spousal scoffing he tries it for himself..another convert to "hear the quality".

Anyway the size and type of scissor depends much on the craft and the level to which you intend to do it. I started off with one pair of paper scissors and one pair of material scissors.  They were joined by several little pairs of embroidery scissors, people, once they know you sew will be delighted with a new avenue of gift possibilities and little scissors are readily available and appeal. That is fine as you can leave little scissors in with different projects (and I often do which is why there is only one pair for the picture). Other scissors for paper and material joined my original cutting implements and pinking shears, I have a cunning plan for scissor storage and if I ever bring it to fruition I will no doubt be sharing it here.

Scissors plus

Let us not forget what is by many considered better for quilters, the rotary cutter.  I do have one, in fact I had it several years before I made use of it, my carpet page quilt (Tracing inspirations.) being its first project however, for me best is still a good sharp pair of scissors.

Oh I almost forgot, snips, good for carrying with cross stitch kits when all you want is to 'snip' a thread or two. I have a couple of those as well.




Some innovations have not been for me, I use the little flat square bobbins for my embroidery threads but could not get away with a bobbin winder.  Nor, although I can see the merit to the idea could I use the thread bow method of storage.
Thread storage.

All my threads on cards in the top three boxes and the spares bundled together in the bottom three fit into this storage bag.  Nice and useful but I have a feeling given my love of wooden boxes that there is a best out there for thread storage had I the room to store it!

Of course had I the room, there are dream items that I imagine would be best with a capital B.  The first I have already mentioned in the preceding sentence, room, I would love one room dedicated to all my crafting fits and starts.  A room big enough to include the other dream items, a full size standing quilt frame,(I currently use hoops) a long arm quilting machine, oh a cutting table, a design wall.(wouldn't a Harry Potter style room of requirements be great for a sewing room or Terry Pratchet's The Luggage with unlimited storage space and what ever you want to get out always at the top). But dreams aside I will keep going with things stored here and there  (there often being the loft) and whatever works the best for me.

And I will try and keep the tenth commandment when looking at the wonderful sewing, quilting, crafting rooms stuffed full of handy implements on other crafter's web pages and Facebook posts. 
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