Monday, September 10, 2012

Making Do

Several months ago when I was prepping for my Canada trip the store owner asked me if I had any favorite 'gadgets' to promote. She wanted to make sure they were in stock in case any of the students wanted to buy them. I thought about it for a while and realized that I don't use many gadgets. No, really. Bring your machine and what you use to sew with and we'll make a quilt.

Then the other day I went into a shop nearby to drop off a sample. I hadn't met the gal that greeted me before but she looked at the quilt I brought in and complimented me on it. Then she asked who did my quilting. I told her that I did my own. She asked what machine I used (this particular store carries a very popular brand of machine) and I hesitated to tell her about mine. (read here for more info. "Kenny")

Lastly, just this weekend I was getting ready to quilt a small project when I realized that the only white thread I had was a large cone. I'd used it before but it was kind of a hassle since my machine isn't built to hold cones. I thought about checking my LQS for one of those nifty stands but honestly I didn't have a cent to spend on it. So I got thinking and came up with a solution that is FABULOUS!

 
Last year a friend gave me one of those cool reuseable cups. My daughter quickly took it to her room where it was lost for several weeks. It's been recovered for a while now but the straw is missing. As a cup it still works great but there was no use for the lid without the straw. Until now! I put the cone in upside down and threaded it through the lid. I wound it into my machine and I didn't have one snag while quilting. And it doesn't take up any more room than a fancy stand.
 
When it comes to gadgets I say- do what works for YOU! I use scissors that are sharp. When they get dull they go in the drawer for paper and I use a coupon to get another pair. I've used fancy scissors that belong to a friend. Did they cut? Yep! But in my opinion, since mine cut too I don't need the fancy ones. My thread snips were a goody bag gift that fit perfectly in my machine compartment so that's what I use. I'm sure they were pretty inexpensive. If I ever loose them or they break I'll get another cheap pair. It's just to snip threads. My rotary cutter I bought because it was pink- not because of the brand. When it's dull I buy the same replacement blades as everyone else. And I have 2 rulers that I use daily: A big one and a not-so-big one. I have a couple more specialty ones in a drawer for very specific patterns. But what I've realized, as compared to a quilter with a gadget and gizmo for everything, is that I'm not missing out. I can do mostly the same things....including machine quilting.
 
Why was I embarassed to talk about my machine at that store? They service my machine there and everytime the guy is so nice but kindly tells me that "these machines are only made for about 150 hours of use. After that they're junk. Our machines will last forever." Oh I'm sure their brand name machines are fabulous- but I don't NEED one. For my machine to have given me years of use - way beyond the 150 hours - I feel I'm doing just fine.

 
You can be in a whole room of quilters making the very same quilt. What works for one quilter may not work for another but in the end we've all made the same pattern.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's ok to not have the latest and greatest piece of equipment. Sometimes people choose to be frugal, others are in situations that are out of their control. But whatever the reason I'm doing great with what I have and it's time that I own it. There's no shame in 'making do' with that you have. In fact, sometimes it makes life fun!
 
Besides, I'd rather buy fabric.  :o)

25 comments:

giddy99 said...

I'm with you! I'd rather use the old Singer I inherited from my grandmother than buy a new one (this one still works). And 150 hours of use? That seems rather slim, doesn't it?

Cyndi loves to stitch said...

Me too!!! I still have and use constantly the Kenmore I got for my 17th birthday!! (that was is in 1974, lol) Cup was a great idea!!!! I made my own with a wire coat hanger and a clay pot when I had the same problem......yours was a way cooler solution!! Thanks!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I have a very old New Home and wouldn't trade it for the world, plus two lower end older Brothers that have served well past their expected 'life'. I use a 1 liter bottle (bottom cut off) and feed up thru the top - works great with cones. I find gadgets just not necessary and 'supplies' are found cheaper around the house or the hardware store. Add the term 'quilting' to the name and you pay 4 x's for it.

Marion said...

AMEN!!! ;)

Natalia from Piece N Quilt said...

I love it! I totally am not a gadget person either, I think my reason is because it's hard to find any gadgets here when I need them so I've just learned to do without. :)

Phyllis in Minnesota said...

Like you, I am not popular among the latest gadget developers! I love your thread dispenser and will be checking my cupboards to see if I can find a "make do" gadget like yours. The price is right and that makes more $$$ for fabric.
Keep on quilting.

Donna said...

Love the tread holder. My Kenmore is not designed to hold a cone. This I will try.

Podunkpretties said...

Amen! You said it sister...Sing it!

Johanna said...

Love the thread cup! Funny how these things work better than the gadgets. Quite often too!

Ella said...

Love it!! And love the make it do or do without attitude!!! Your so creative!!!! Me not so much!! lol BTW love the quilting on that quilt too!!!

Pokey said...

We do too much buying of stuff that every one "who knows" says we need it. Phooey...and thank you for sharing the cup idea, cool!
:-}pokey

Yvonne said...

Great idea to use a cup! You are so right. It is the fun quilting and creating that count. Your quilting looks lovely!

MaterialGirlQuilts said...

Emily I think you are spot on! We all sometimes need to be reminded as well that our grnadmothers and great-grandmothers made some of the most amazingly beautiful quilts without ANY of the tools we have today.
Amanda

onlymehere said...

I sewed on my Viking for 30 years and loved it. The only reason I got a new one is that I had trouble keeping a good 1/4" seam once I started piecing quilts. I tried gadgets to help me but none of them worked all that well. I bought a new Bernina three years ago and I love it but I loved my Viking. I gave my Viking to my daughter and it's still going strong. I actually like the way it makes button holes better than my Bernina! I'm with you, use what works for you and there's no sense spending money on something if something you already have does the trick too.

Cindy said...

Amen! Love your thread holder.

smileynann said...

SUCH darling quilting! I love love love that flower!!

Rebecca said...

I am just about giddy with the cup and the upside down spool..
I have been known to rig up chopsticks and clamps for friends who want to use on of my large cones of tread.... this is going to work so much neater for them!!!!

As to a machine turning to trash after 150 hours... some of the "new""cheep" modles maybe but in my house that means it would be done in less then a month and back into sears or where ever I bought it... The older machines can go years.... and do!

Jacqueline said...

2 peas from the same pod when it comes to being realistic about our hobby/passion.

Thanks for sharing - and what size thread did you use in your quilt?

amy smart said...

Loved this post.

pinksuedeshoe said...

Awesome post. And so much truth and realness. My mom's friend talked her into buying the gigantic Bernina a few years ago. It cost more than my car. She doesn't use it that often, she doesn't even know how to use 399 of it's 400 functions. My machine has a mean straight stitch and an automatic buttonhole. I'm good to go. Until it dies, I am good to go. Awesome post Emily, so great.

Lisa Reyes said...

You reminded me of a quote “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Boyd K Packer

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WandaFish said...

Great post, Emily - thanks for the reality check :)

Sugar Town Quilt Co. said...

hey all I sew on and love the Kenny model. When Sears discontinued the Kenmore I paniced and bought 3 of them. Each of my girls have one, if I could just get them to sew. You can still buy Kenmore in Canada but not sure for how long. Own a quilt shop and sew alot, Kenny is not slowing down.

Rana said...

Utterly brilliant cup idea! I, too, have a cup w/ no straw just hanging around here living a sad and lonely life. But, no more!! She has a new lease on life and plenty of years of joyful work ahead of her.
Thanks for the inspiration.
Rana (say Renee)