You are the place where I stand on the day when my feet are sore

Mo sheasamh art la na choice tinne

West Kerry, Ireland

When I’m in my work mode I’m pretty focused and keep a mental checklist going of what comes next in my super multi-tasked environment. I try to keep my tools clean and serviced and in the same place so that when the thread flies I just have to reach out and what I need is close at hand. I’m also always on the lookout for tools that will make me more efficient. I’m happy to pass on any tips to make your sewing successful.

PLEASE consider these two if you don’t already:

Presser foot with a quarter inch guide

The presser foot that comes with most sewing machines is not a quarter inch. The standard seam allowance for quilt piecing (and most quilt patterns) is a quarter inch. You can use your own measurement as long as you’re consistent but eyeballing tends to wander to either side of that little piece of metal presser foot. I’m coming at this from the long arm quilter side. When I put a pieced top on the quilt and it’s a wonky trapezoid I’m fairly certain the quilter didn’t use consistent seam allowances. I found my quarter inch foot for my old Singer (and newer ones, too) at Full disclosure: I don’t receive any kind of kickback from their company. I am just grateful they exist and want to pass on the information!

Best iron your money can buy

Can you love an inanimate object? YES! My Eurosteam iron is the workhorse in my stable. I saw it at a quilting expo and looked for the secret to its magic and came away pleasantly surprised. A bit of a hit to the pocketbook but over time it has paid for itself. Pressing all kinds of fabric is a breeze: netting, tulle, polyester, satin, jeans, cotton. I do keep my “regular” iron for the pressing of non-steam required services like fusible interfacing but my Eurosteam is truly invaluable. The iron is like a pressure cooker and is always on. It lays at rest on its flat side and I keep it just sitting on my ironing board. It goes to work releasing steam when you press the thumb button. Bottomline, get the best iron you can afford as you will be using it about as much as your sewing machine. And again, no kickback from the company.

NPR is my radio station of choice and this past Sunday I was listening to an interview between Krista Tippett and Padraig O Tuoma. Padraig is the community leader of Corrymeela, Northern Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organisation and his words of wisdom have stayed with me.