My favorite quilting tool

I love tools. I have drawers and drawers of tools that either did not do what I thought they would do or only do one thing and I had to have them for that, but won't need them again unless I do that specific thing again. Often, my favorite quilting tools are not quilting tools at all, like this one. This is a pen shaped awl. Push the button at the top and the point comes out. Push the button just above the pocket clip and it retracts into the case, which is handy for taking it with me wherever I go to sew. It makes the handiest stiletto you ever saw. It's sharp enough that I can use it as a pin to hold several layers as they go under the presser foot. And the point is tiny enough that I can put it places where my finger won't go. I can get very close to the machine needle without having to worry about hurting myself.

I'd never thought of using a stiletto in my sewing until I watched Eleanor Burns TV show. She uses a stiletto to match seams without pinning. Now, I haven't been able to use it to replace pinning for accuracy, but what it does allow me to do is push the fabric so the little hump of fabric that naturally forms between the presser foot and the pin can't build up. That little hump was keeping my points from matching, no matter how carefully I pinned. I didn't even know what was causing that. When I stopped letting that hump go under the presser foot, my seams immediately started to match...okay, match more often.

It also lets me keep the right edges of my fabric aligned between pins. I don't know if you run into this, but as I sew, the top piece of fabric tends to pull to the left and get out of alignment with the bottom piece of fabric unless I put a ton of pins in it. I can stick the tip of this awl into both fabric edges between any pins I do use and it will stay aligned as it passes into the presser foot.

Okay, that's enough about my favorite tool. It came from Hobby Lobby. If you've found a tool that really works, I'd love to hear about it, especially if it's a tool that is not traditionally a quilting tool. Like all men, I guess I am a tool collector. Lane


Shirleymac said...

I bought a stiletto once for a class and we didn't use it. It's still in the package hanging on my bulletin board with all my other tools I've never used. I'm gonna have to try it one of these days.

I started to answer your last post but got called away in the middle of it.. story of my life these days. Why not make Sydney a couple of purple throw pillows. Purple and blue go great together. Hope you're having a better time of it. And eggplant drapes? Uh.. how about some nice neutral mini blinds *LOL*

Este said...

Men are practically minded and have to have the best fitting and convenient tool at hand when there is some work to be done. I could not get a tool like yours here in Europe, so I built it myself with an old mechanical pencil and a long upholstery needle. And I will visit Hobby Lobby when I travel to USA next time ;-) I think collecting tools is a primeval relict, we are still hunter-gatherers.
Happy Quilting, Erich

DeAnna S. said...

I use a faux-stiletto. It's made of wood. I like yours better, even though I've gotten use to mine over the years. We just got a brand new Hobby Lobby. I guess I need to go for a quick visit. Thanks for sharing.