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Precision Instruments For Precision Quilting

WARNING: This article is for comic relief only and should be read as such. Do not take this to the quilting store and ask the nice lady for everything on the list.

Remember the old saw, "For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost"? It is that way in quilting. Use the wrong tool, or try to quilt without the correct tool, and your masterpiece could end up in the scrap bag.

In an attempt to keep fabric shredding to a minimum, here is an exhaustive list of items that every quilter needs:

1. Sewing machine - make sure it is good and hefty, and can stand up to being glared and cussed at. Even if I have to get an old refurbished sewing machine, I always look for one with a steel case. They do not melt as easily under such intense pressure.
2. Rotary cutter - or as I like to call it: Sharp Implement of Disaster. It looks like a pizza cutter but is five times as sharp. Very efficient at slicing through layers of fabric and tips of fingers. Even when using the 24" x 3" ruler as a cutting guide and safety device, the rotary cutter can skitter across 3" of plastic quicker than bare feet on a hot sidewalk.
3. 24" Ruler - used for cutting a straight line through and drawing long quilting lines on fabric. It is also supposed to protect your fingers from the rotary cutter while slicing through material, but at only " thick, it does not do a very good job.
4. Some sort of finger protection. I have tried leather, duct tape and chain mail, but they are all either too bulky, too expensive, or too hard to work with.
5. Cutting mat - used with the rotary cutter to protect the work surface and keep the rotary blade from getting dull. It also does an excellent job at keeping blood off the work surface when the rotary cutter goes a-skitterin'.
6. First aid kit with butterfly bandages.

Think you have everything? Not quite. Here are four more priceless items to have that you will not see on any other "Quilting Supplies" list:

1. Needle nose pliers to use when the sewing machine needle decides to fall out of its clamp and jam up the works.
2. Wire cutters for obstinate needles that will not come out with the pliers.
3. Magnifying glass to hunt for needle bits that have fallen into the shuttle when wire cutters were used.
4. Safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying needle bits.

If I had had these four little items, I would not have had to replace a sewing machine (which was plastic), a window and a big chunk of front yard. That is another reason why I buy metal sewing machines: they hold up better when they go through a window and a-skitterin' across the grass.

Now that you have all your sewing and safety equipment, do not forget to add fabric and have fun!


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