Hi all! This has been a super busy time for me for about the last 6 months. I’ve got so many different things going that my head is spinning. One thing I have not formally unveiled on my blog yet are the new Longarm Templates that I designed. I’ve been working on them since January, trying out different prototypes until I found some that I thought would work. They were finally done towards the end of May, so that I would have them in time to sell in my booth during the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival in June. I’ve just been too busy to share them with you yet.
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve had 6 surgeries on my left eye and 2 on my right. I am legally blind in my left eye, but I don’t see that as a problem. I think I’ve actually been given a gift along with it. For whatever reason, I know see textures more clearly when I am quilting, which is weird, because my depth perception is messed up. My left eye runs 20/400 without glasses; it is like looking being under water in a pool and trying to look at things out of the water. I also have a retinal pucker, so things get a little wavy.
Anyhow, one of the problems I have run in to when quilting was when I was using my Longarm Templates made of Plexiglas or a similar material. I have LED lights on my Longarm and they shine off the shiny Plexiglas, creating a glare that hits my eyes like the glare of the sun on a windshield… blinding me in both eyes and causing me to make mistakes. I looked for non-glare templates but had no luck. I wondered why someone hadn’t thought of them yet. Maybe it’s just a problem I have; I don’t know. But, I do know I wanted to solve that problem, if not for others then at least for me.
I use the Plexiglas below for laying on top of quilt tops and drawing out designs. Can you see the lights shining on the shiny surface? That’s the glare I am talking about.
Now look at it with the frosted templates I designed. See where the glare is? Not on the frosted templates and not on fabric from quilt tops.
Here’s a shot of a “regular” shiny ruler and the frosted ruler/template on a pair of slacks with a seam. See the difference in the glare?
My concern was that we may not be able to see the lines on the template of a frosted ruler, so the company I hired to manufacture these rulers (Midwest Engravers) and I tried out several mock-up prototypes before I settled on one. For stitching around applique and using a template as a “push” the selection was an easy one. I wanted it to be usable for both right-handers as well as left-handers, so it is frosted on both sides. It doesn’t need any lines, so the only engraving is the name and my website. I named it “van Go” because it is shaped like an ear and helps the hopping foot “go”. The “ear lobe” opening is a little large; on purpose but still experimenting to see how others react to it. I don’t know about you, but I have a problem with running my hopping foot over the edge of an opening that is just right for the hopping foot when I’m not moving it. That causes a chip and scares the bajeebus out of me when it happens. For hand placement, my thumb goes into the indention on the ear and my other fingers hang on to the big part of the ear.
For Stitch in the Ditch and straight edge stitching, we first looked at frosting on both sides, but if you look at the picture above, you will see that it is not easy to see etching. So, then we tried frosting on one side and experimented with etching. As you can see in the pictures below, it is not as clear as shiny Plexiglas, but you still can see the lines, marked 1/4″ and 1/2″ away from all edges plus 45 degree lines from all corners. This one is called Eye-c, because now I can see better without the glare and it looks kind of icy… and the “c” stands for Cowtown.
So, if you, too, have a problem with glare on the rulers or if you are in need of a ruler or template to help you quilt better, would you please give one or both of these a try? They are easy on the eyes and help prevent eye fatigue. Ask me how I know. 😉
You can find both rulers here.