Aha moment

Our local quilt group recently had a demonstration visit from a quilting tutor who also sells tools and supplies. The information we were given was excellent and we all picked up lots of hints and tricks. One thing that a few of us realised, and not for the first time, was that we often have previously picked up a particular tool or gadget, taken it home with all good intentions to use it, but more often than not, the same tool is still languishing in a drawer, perhaps even in its original packaging! Sometimes it’s not that we have forgotten we have it, but it might be a tool that requires us to change how we have always done something in the past and it’s a little too hard to work out how to change our habits. Or perhaps we can’t remember how to use it properly, and we’re just leaving it until we have more time to sit down and work it out. We were given a timely reminder to go home and check out all those tools and gadgets and make use of them!
A related issue to that, is how we may well be using a tool or even our sewing machine, but not using it to its fullest capacity. Many machines these days come with a large selection of stitches but only a small number of them are regularly used. They also come with a lot of different presser feet (foots?…) and we can buy extra feet to do all manner of tricky things. The 1/4 inch foot that is common to many machines is one that us quilters would use a lot. My Bernina machine has such a foot, and I probably use it more than any other. But just the other day, I discovered something about it that I had never noticed before in my hours and hours of using it.

I was sewing the binding on this little quilt, as shown in a previous post, and I was doing a continuous binding with mitred corners. You know the one- you sew the binding down one side, stopping a quarter inch from the corner. To know where that 1/4inch point is, I have always stopped a little way back, used a tape measure and made a little pencil mark so I know exactly where to stop. But, the foot actually has little notches in the side so you can tell where a quarter inch is in relation to the needle, both behind it and in front of it! Yay!! This was such a revelation, that is for me – please tell me I’m not the last person to work this out?

I mean, I knew you could tell where the 1/4inch was from the front of the needle to the front of the foot, but I hadn’t noticed the notch that also went towards the back of the foot a 1/4inch from the needle. So when you want to start the next seam of the binding a 1/4inch from the top edge,after folding the binding up and back down again, you just line up the edge of the quilt top with that back notch and put the needle down, knowing it will be the right distance, without getting a tape measure out. Isn’t that wonderful!! I’m still excited by it. Gees, I hope I’m not the only one…..

I bought this little kit when I was at the Quilt and Craft Show last weekend. It makes a little hanging with five stitched birdies, so how could I resist it?
It was at a lovely stand by “Mai Misaki” which sells Japanese quilting fabrics and kits. It had some really lovely things
I know I don’t need to be starting another project at the moment, but it’s cute and simple, and it won’t take long… It will also give me a chance to practice my stem stitch, which is a little shaky.

And I have been sewing more things for my stall at the Art and Craft Fair: some shots of a few little things and parts of things….