Tips And Tools Tuesday – Work Smarter, Not Harder

The older I get, the more I have to find ways to work smarter instead of harder.

Our sewing room remodel has made progress. The wall between the sewing room and hallway now has a relocated door and sheet rock. Yay!

Notice the red contraption in the left side of the photo?

It is for lifting drywall up to the ceiling and holding it there so that it can be screwed in place.

Hallelujah! What an awesome tool! That thing made a difficult and physically demanding job doable for Rick and me.

This sewing room is going to be used primarily for quilting, but also for all of my sewing and crafting projects. It, is a tool. And, once it is complete and I have it arranged the way I want, it will help me make quilts and things faster then before. Faster is good!

How can I work smarter? By collecting tools that do more of the work for me.

Twelve years ago, I began working in the flooring department of a local home improvement store. Every Saturday, we would hold a mini workshop to help customers learn how to install tile, laminate, and wood floors. I had helped my husband repair and install tile floors, and install tile and laminate floors for our daughter and son-in-law, so my experience with those products helped me during the workshops. Helping to show the customers how large a part the tools play in the success of the project, of course, helped us sell more tools. But, more importantly, it helped to instill confidence in the Do-it-yourself-want-to-be that they, too, could be successful if they have the proper tools. One of the most important things I tried to instill in the audience was to “Let the tool do what it is DESIGNED to do.”

The same goes for quilting. Many, many, many, many years ago, quilters traced the quilt block pattern pieces onto fabric and cut those pieces out with scissors. Then, they sewed them together by hand or treadle machine. With the exception of electricity powered sewing machines, not much changed in the way quilts were made.

Then, the rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat were introduced. What remarkable tools! It made the cutting so much faster! Then, rulers for specific shapes were added, and so on, and so on. Now, there is a plethora of wonderful and helpful tools available to quilters. And not just cutting and measuring tools, but, sewing machine companies now produce sewing machines with quilters in mind! Cutting tables, sewing stations, pre-cut fabric, tutorials, patterns galore! There is a smorgasbord of products available to help you be a successful a quilter.

You might be thinking, “Which tools do I choose? How do I know which ones I need for my project?”.


Talk to friends who quilt. Ask them which tools have helped them. Maybe, they will help you to learn how to use them. If you offer to bring lunch, you might bring your fabrics and pattern to their house and they can show you how certain tools can help you. Just ask.

Ask the owners and workers at your local quilt shop which tools they recommend for your particular project. Many times they will demonstrate it  and are a wealth of great advice on it’s use and care.

The tools I have that are invaluable to me are, first and foremost, my rotary cutter, mat, and 24″ ruler. Others include different size and shape acrylic rulers, mechanical pencils and graph paper for sketching designs, a digital camera, my phone camera, a peep hole, my design wall, and my portable design board/easel. I’m particularly enjoying my portable design board. It is so easy to arrange and rearrange fabric pieces. I’m working on a block to use for a Christmas table runner. I could easily move the pieces around until I found a pleasing arrangement.


What about you?

What are you favorite tools and why? And, where can we get them?

Share a comment about your favorites.

Today is a good day to share something!



2 thoughts on “Tips And Tools Tuesday – Work Smarter, Not Harder

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.