Thursday, July 23, 2009

tools of the Trade

It's not easy to escape the lure of a new tool. I'm impressed with the simplicity of my blogmates' needs. My collection of got-to-have gizmos and gadgets threatens to take over my sewing room. I seem to have my own personal Billy Mays shouting in my head, listing the ways this tool or that gadget will a) ease the process or b) save time or c) make this bestest project I've ever, ever made.

Along the way, I've invested in things I don't like to use, can't figure out how to use or that flat out just don't work. I've struggled to remember how to use the blasted thing, like that neat tool for turning piping inside out. It works great, I just need to read the directions every time. I've held a quilting ruler in 8 different directions before finding the one that allows me to read the dimension I need. I've parked the unopened package next to others on my someday I’ll need this shelf.

Lately, I’ve purchased two tools that I truly love. One saved my fingers; the other my sanity.

In my first book, WILD GOOSE CHASE, the first person is killed with a rotary cutter. Everyone who has handled a rotary cutter will eventually cut themselves with it. It’s a sharp circular blade that the user is running alongside the ruler, mere inches away from fingers. Fingers that stray over the line. The first time I cut myself with the rotary cutter, I was in the dining room standing over the brand new white carpet. Red, red blood bubbled out of the finger that I’d so carelessly moved just south of the ruler, right in the path of the blade. I hollered for help so I wouldn’t stain the new carpet.

This tool, the Gypsy Gripper, would have saved me and my carpet. It allows you to use the ruler with more control and better pressure than when just using your hand. And best of all, it keeps your fingers up out of reach. I move it from ruler to ruler. I love using it on the big 16”square. Really wrangles that baby.

This second tool is a ruler. The Creative Grids Curved Corner Cutter Ruler. Rounded corners make it easy to sew binding on or edgestitch. I like to use them on flannel receiving blankets, small quilts or projects like the walker bag I made a few weeks ago. You can use a plate or coffee can or water glass to draw that curve, but getting each corner the same becomes a challenge. This little ruler took care of that nicely.

Any gadget making your life easier? Let your inner Billy Mays out and tell us all about it. No need to shout, though.


Camille Minichino said...

Much more interesting than my discourse on toothpicks, Terri!

For me, the poor-choice gadgets you describe are all over my house. I can't count the number of pitches I've fallen for that just don't work, from magic plastic bags and pans to little "personal" clippers. They never work for me as shown on TV!

Betty Hechtman said...

I don't think this exactly counts as a gadget, but yesterday when I was at Jo Ann's, I bought a kit to do some kind of needle thing. The finished product on the box looks cute and it promses to be easy. Just one problem - when am I going to have time to do it?

Jaye said...

Fabulous! I love Creative Grid rulers, but hadn't seen that curved corner model. I like it and should put it on my list.

Glad to know your thoughts on the gripper thingy. I have looked at it several times and always passed it by.