I have already owned up to being a gadget person. That's a given. This morning I took two of my latest for a test spin with fabulous results. I hope you give some thought to the investment required with these...small as it is...but there may be a slight search involved.
My favorite part of quilting is in fact THE QUILTING which for me screams "needle and thread in your hand!!" Doing the hand work was and still is my pleasure in working on a project. Then again, there is the time factor and the fact that most of us quilters have far more pieces than we have hours in the day. That is reality!! Small projects (and occasionally LARGE projects) of mine have found themselves on the deck of my sewing machine (and sometimes on the quilting machine of a wonderful quilter named Betty Gillan) . Failing that, they wouldn't get done. This past month I took a machine quilting workshop with Dorinda McCully and since then I have practiced this unique style of quilting with moderate success. To enhance my skill, I first purchased a new open-toed quilting foot from my local Pfaff dealer for a cost of approx $25, which I thought was quite a bargain. . This foot is so much better than the darning foot that comes with the machine, providing far more visibility ... and if you have tried machine quilting, that visibility in front of and behind the needle is most important. I hope you can see in the photo what I am getting at. Your local quilt shop probably has a machine quilting foot of one kind or other...there are a few generic ones on the market so if you can't get one that's designed for your machine, give one of them a try. I have heard that The Big Foot is quite good as well and have seen it for $38 at a local quilt store.
My second gadget of the day is a product called SewSlip which is a "slippery non-stick top surface for all your free-motion sewing with a permanent tacky back to hold it in place". I thought long and hard about buying this item because it was $38 plus all of the applicable taxes and it seemed a bit unnecessary. After all, when you are doing free motion quilting, you have dropped the feeds and there is little or no resistance to moving your "sandwich" around. Not true!! This multi purpose sheet sits on top of a deck that surrounds my sewing machine when I remove that little compartment which holds all of the tools. It is a generous 12" x 18" and it can be trimmed to fit your particular working surface. I need to trim about 3cm off the front of mine in order for it to just fit on the deck. It makes my "sandwich" practically float as I am stippling. It's a great item, really. The website for this is http://www.sewslip.com/ and it's worth a good look. I got mine at Timeless Stitches in River John NS and personally I feel it has helped improve the quality of my machine quilting....and that's what I want out of a gadget: I want to know that it has helped me do something better. Why else would we buy something!! We could use that money to buy FABRIC!!!