Several people have asked for recommendations on what tools to buy. Here are some suggestions. Most of them are Carole Chesser's, based on her quilting experience.
My favorite rulers are those made by OmniGrid. They have both yellow and black lines. For this project (and because it's a pretty useful size) I'd get a 12x12" square ruler.
Rotary Cutters and Mats
Olfa and Fiskars both make good rotary cutters. I'd get the 45mm size.
Olfa also makes the green, gridded mat I use for quilt workshops. I like the 18x24" size (if I remember correctly.....if I go upstairs to check, I'll get sidetracked.) It's about the middle size.
Molly really likes her Dritz mat. It's 30x36", so it just barely fits on a table top. But it's big enough that I don't have to move the fabric too much when I'm cutting something out.
Plain old sewing scissors work, too - you don't have to have a rotary cutter. Just make sure that the scissors are sharp and that you cut on a hard surface, keeping the cutting line as absolutely straight as you can.
Where to Get These Supplies
Cloth World and JoAnn fabrics still have many of these items on sale at 25-30% off. If you miss that sale, they go on sale frequently so call your local shop.
Sewing machines? Geez, I could probably write a dissertation on them. My recommendation is to find a used machine. I'm partial to Bernina. They are workhorses, especially the mechanical models.
Generally, people will trade in perfectly wonderful machines when they buy the latest with all the bells and whistles (the one I am coveting retails for app $4300 currently. No, I'm not getting it. Couldn't afford it.)
Anyway, if you can find a used 830, 930 or 1030 snap it up. They are really great machines and very easy to use. It'll still be several hundred dollars, but they are older machines (80's-early 90's) and much less than anything new.
Other good manufacturers include Elna (carina, I think, is the one I've heard recommended if you can find one), Viking/Husqvarna and Pfaff. I know some quilters in AK that are very happy with their New Home machines, but they are the newer ones and probably start at about $800 even for a used machine. I know nothing about older New Homes.
You want a machine that won't fight you when you try to sew. If you have problems with it, you won't use it and you will have wasted your money and frustrated yourself.
On that note, a very old (50's) Singer is a wonderful machine, too. It's not quite a user friendly as some of the newer machines, but sews a very nice seam.
Last Updated: Monday, May 31, 1999
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