Friday, August 19, 2011

Three tools

I did a little experimenting yesterday and I think I can claim I know how to use three new tools.

The first set of tools was two long boards (that I'd actually bought before I went to the States but never got a chance to use). These were recommended to me by Katie who introduced me to Sharon Schamber's basting method. I have often visited Sharon's website and have never been led astray yet so I really wanted to try her method of basting. Unique!

First you starch your backing (Sharon really likes starching). Then you lay your backing out and then quilt top on top of that. Then you wrap each layer around a board tightly. Finally you unwrap each layer with batting between it all and baste. No tape, no getting down on the floor.

So I marked a small baby quilt for quilting. And I grabbed some backing. (In this picture the floral is the backing... the light pink is the top.)

I wrapped each board and then took the whole thing downstairs where it was cooler. Yeah! Another plus of board basting! It is portable (at least at this size.)

Downstairs I unwrapped and basted using Sharon's Herringbone stitch which she claims is better for holding the layers. Hey, it works!

Please give a look at the You-Tube video online. Supposedly (Katie did it!) you can baste a king size quilt this way if you have long enough boards. I had to try small first....

So. First tool used and pronounced viable.

Now, if you've got a basted quilt ready for quilting what do you do? You quilt it of course! Or else put it away for months... Well, I wanted to try out the next tool so I started quilting.

This is where the Aunt Becky tool comes in. Erika (no blog) recommended this tool to me for beautiful, fast quilting. I looked for it at the Long Beach Quilt Festival but no luck. Then Liz from Alabama (no blog) sent it to me (along with a lot of other wonderful things!!!)

Aunt Becky doesn't look very exciting. A bent piece of metal that has a logo on it. It looks like something dropped from Tetsu's tool box... I went online and watched how it was used... under the quilt, instead of an index finger thimble. Well. This takes a bit of doing! (I was warned by other blog friends that the Aunt Becky is either wonderful or frustrating.) But after an hour things warmed up and I guess I've got the hang of it. I was a pretty good hand quilter to begin with and the Aunt Becky seems to do the same job as my old thimble (which was getting holes in it). I do not have a recessed top thimble for on top of the quilt as is recommended but I did just fine with my usual right hand thimble... I don't think I have to go out and buy a recessed top thimble just to use my Aunt Becky. I'm not sure if my quilting is better or faster than before but I'll continue using the Aunt Becky with this quilt just to get practice. Okay, I'll give this new tool another "yes" rating!

The last tool to get used yesterday was the Gentle Leader dog "halter". As I've mentioned before, Choco is a strong dog and I often feel like the tail of a kite when walking her. Tetsu blows his top and yanks and pulls her by the choke collar so much that I sometimes felt like we were abusing her. Why can't this dog learn to walk quietly?! It was such a chore to go for a walk and each day a test of who was stronger... me or the dog! And then after my knee mishap, that was the end of walking Choco at all. Her lunges into the forest and wild direction changes just made it too dangerous for me with not much balance. Thus... I bought a Gentle Leader. Oh dear... I don't remember which blog friend suggested this to me.

Let me tell you!!! If there is a tool that has ever given immediate results this is it! Magic! Choco easily accepted having the Gentle Leader put on her and then off we went. A few seconds of "Wait a minute. What is this around my nose?" but besides that Choco walked quietly beside me and by occasionally putting very slight tension on the leash, stayed close. Is this the same dog?! Choco? Are you in depression or something? Have I broken your spirit? You look happy enough. Still eating grass, still bounding into the stream (when I gave slack), still panting and looking around at the world. Just no more jerking (from Choco) and swearing (from me)! If Gentle Leader ever wants a satisfied customer testimonial they can come to me! Tetsu was amazed this morning when we all went for a walk together!

Three tools. Any of them interest you?

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