Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Reborn quilter--needs Rulers and Mats

I was so happy to be invited by Madame Samm to share a little bit of me with you today.  I am a new blogger and a reborn quilter.
My Grandma with a quilt I made her for the nursing home in 1993. 
She had Altzheimers.
What exactly is a reborn quilter you may ask?  Well way back in the early 1990’s my grandfather gave me my dad’s mom’s beautiful old White sewing machine.  It came in a cabinet with a knee bar.  I was 22 and interested in quilting.  My grandma and great aunts and great- grandmother had quilted but it skipped a generation so there was no one around to teach me. 

Quiltnet World quilt
I decided to teach myself with the help of Quiltnet an online quilt guild.  I did lots of block and border exchanges and learned to quilt with email and ascii drawings.  In 2000 after three moves my quilt life was packed up in a closet - inaccessible.

A decade of illness and recovery and graduate school later I unpacked it all this past summer, set up a studio, and rediscovered a part of myself I had forgotten.  Now I have had to relearn all of my old skills and discover all of the new resources available.  Color photos! Blogs! Flickr groups!  Video tutorials!  Wow! 

I organised everything-in fact I am still organising as I figure out what works for me.  Plus I keep finding great containers! (but that's another post)

Unfortunately as I began sewing projects I discovered the limitations of some of my old tools.  My first rotary mat was worn out.  I loved the clear color of it but it was not usable any more. 

I unpacked the very large mat I had received more then a decade ago but never used because it didn't fit on the day glow orange card table I used to use for cutting.  I loved how big this 'new' mat was!  I could even use my longest ruler on it!  I love this omnigrid ruler with the yellow grid. 

Or I could use my large 12.5 inch square ruler with plenty of room around it.  Two problems.  My large cutting mat was dark gray.  When ever I tried to cut dark fabric on it I could not see the edges of the fabric clearly!  I didn't have that problem with the old clear mat.  Second problem was my old 12.5 inch square ruler.  It was one of the first made with hard brittle plastic and guess what?  I discovered it wasn't square anymore. 

I went out looking for some new mats and rulers and found there were many choices.  I bought a Fiskars cutting mat that was light green on one side and yellow on the other. In case you cant tell from the pics of my studio, green is my color.  The mat is light enough to see the edges of the dark fabrics. 

I also bought a few new rulers.  This 3.5 inch wide ruler I thought would be great for cutting strips.  It came with little sticky anti slip dots.  Its OK but I don't like the markings and the red shaded areas. It does not have the ridges underneath that grip like the omnigrids.

 I bought a 10.5, 6.5, and 4.5 inch omnigrid rulers.  I just like the way the way the ridges on the bottom grip the fabric.  Also the lines every eighth inch make it easier to line up to cut. 

Well this is kind of getting long.  I guess you just have to play around until you find the mats and rulers that fit you.  I see all kinds being used in the pictures on blogs. 

Stop by my blog Lucky Duck Dreams and follow my adventures as I rediscover the quilter in me.  I also like to post about my vintage treasures, other tools I use, and new quilting exchanges. 

I am working on manicuring my 1990's stash too. 

My late cat with my old studio design wall circa 1995.

 Thanks Madame Samm for letting me hang out here at Stash Manicure-which by the way was the first quilt blog I discovered, while looking for an apron tutorial!
Keep dreaming…Colleen of lucky Duck Dreams


  1. I am so glad that you have rediscovered the quilter in you! Thanks for sharing your journey with us. I like your green sewing room!

  2. You crack me up, I just read Tasha Tudor's book about American Crafts and in it she makes a gorgeous quilt, and she says all she needed was pair of scissors, pins, needles some thread and a measuring tape . Hows that for tools LOL !!!

  3. A refreshing post! It was nice to see the various "old" to "new" supplies. I like the Omnigrid rulers after some hit/miss purchases. I like the lite green mat - I have a grey, blue and magenta and sometimes I have trouble with viewing fabrics and ruler lines with them. And the rulers - the yellow lines change color against mats and fabrics - who thought of that? I much prefer the black lines. I hope we get to re-visit as you further your journey and updating into quilting.

  4. Good Morning Colleen, well first as a reborn quilter, how lucky for all of us you found SM when seeking an apron..did you ever find one? And oh my the ruler challenge you encountered. I never thought that plastic would not stay square for instance.. Makes sense, I just never thought of that...lol. Can you imagine how frustrating it is for new quilters who have no idea what to buy or choose from the multiple choices there are out there...HEH, that is me...I have just been quilting since JUNE, although sewed my whole life but still, listen up, you provided us with a lot to consider.....I love to see what quilts you will produce...BTW what did you graduate in ? What are you doing today>? Delightful post...

  5. Colleen,
    I love your "green room". Your first quilt is very pretty with the flowers in the middle. Also, I am going to have to check my rulers to see if they are still square..thanks for the idea.

  6. well a quilter can make it in life with only the bare necessities of scissors, pins, thread and ruler - it is so much fun not having to quilt with only those few items. I have too many rotary mats, rulers I never use and more supplies that are tucked away in drawers. You have a nice studio set up - have fun using it and glad you are well now to do so.

  7. There are so many new gadgets and tools, it makes your head spin, lol. I have the basics and still trying to figure out quilting without having to stitch rip, it all out;)


  8. Have fun with your newly rediscovered hobby! So much has changed over the years, but the basics are still the same :-)

  9. There are so many new tools out there for quilting that make it easier. I too love the omnigrid rulers. They are great. Your light green cutting mat is so cool. I've never seen them that color here. Thanks for the great post. I'm going to check out your blog. Hugs Ariane

  10. Oops! That last comment was from me. My son was signed in. I loved your post. Hugs Ariane

  11. Love the green Tupperware canisters. I have a set of the orange ones & still use them. They last forever!!!!!

  12. Thank you for your post! I love your beautiful sewing room...full of interesting containers that I'm sure we'd all love to go through! (LOVE the vintage green Tupperware!!) Good luck in finding the right tools that are just the right fit for you. There is so much to choose from! You've got the beautiful sewing room, the required quilt cat, and the desire...I'd say you are perfectly situated!

    In stitches,
    Teresa :o)

  13. Welcome back, Colleen! So glad you've re-discovered quilting in the information age - isn't the internet a beautiful thing?!

  14. Hi Colleen - it's good to see you over here at Stash Manicure. :) I like your observations on rulers and mats. I've found some of the same issues with mine....I think a big mat is essential but the dark ones, even the green, make it harder to see as my eyes get older. Good post! blessings, marlene

  15. Glad to hear you are re-learning quilting. It is so much fun and the blog world lets you meet so many great gals....have fun in the process!

  16. Hi, Colleen! Welcome back to the world of quilting! The internet nowadays is an endless supply of info on tips, techniques, designs, inventions and tooo many inspirations for a lifetime!! Come visit my blog when you can!! Polly from www.auntpollysporch.blogspot.com


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