Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An old new tool

 I like to safety pin baste my quilts for hand-quilting. It was always hard on my fingers. A few years ago I found some small (7/8 inch) brass pins which were much more flexible than my old nickel-plated safety pins. Keeping the sandwich flat and smooth while pinning was still a challenge. The other day I discovered a “new” tool to help me close the pins without distorting the layers.

I slipped an old knitting needle under the sharp arm of the pin. It closed easily when I pressed down. I was delighted. Perhaps many of you have been using a knitting needle for years, but if you haven’t tried it you might enjoy it.

When I said I “found” some small brass safety pins it was true. I attended a workshop at St. Mary’s College several years ago. There were lots of classes given by quilting mavens in various classrooms. When I entered a classroom and sat down at a table I saw at least 50 little bass pins scattered on the carpeted floor near my spot. “Whose pins are these?” I asked. No one had any idea. The previous class in the room had been taught by Sally Collins. (I knew she was an advocate of small brass pins for basting.) While everyone was getting set up at their tables I crawled around on the floor (even under nearby tables) and picked up every one of the little safety pins and put them in a plastic bag. Lucky me.

You would think this little “quiltlet” I’m working on is a monumental project, but it’s just a small baby changing mat. I hope it gets finished before Emerson is out of diapers. I planned to free-motion nice rounded hearts on it. After it was pin basted I did some practice hearts on a small sample sandwich. But although I began to feel confident in my ability with the curved shapes there were sudden glitches and skipped stitches. I finally figured out that my old Singer 101 was shorting out so I could not use it.

I’ve ordered a new darning foot for another machine I have tucked away in the closet. The newly designated free motion machine is an old Singer301A. I could not use the foot I had on the 101 because the 301A is a slant stitch machine. I located a new foot at April’s 1930's Sewing Shop on eBay. Now I am waiting with bated breath for it to arrive.

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Blogger Jo (Pieceful Afternoon) said...

I admire people who do machine quilting - I've never got the hang of it (and don't like to practice, so there you have it)

That is a neat trick with the knitting needle and pins - very clever. And how thrifty of you to pick up the little safety pins - I hate to see waste and laziness.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Tanya Brown said...

That's clever! Thanks for sharing that tip.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Meggie said...

A handy tip. It is so long since my loved machine had a workout, I hope it will not sulk for me!

4:25 PM  
Blogger Collagemama said...

I like the close-up of the fabrics. Emerson will have a gorgeous changing mat!

7:22 PM  

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