You might be wondering if I am “off my rocker?” Yes, curtain rods are actually the topic of this edition of Friday Favorites. To those that claim sewing as their hobby, occupation, love or whatever the case may be, you are very much aware that gadgets can and do make our craft easier and much more enjoyable. Some of the items are down-right near impossible to live without. Curtain rods just happen to be one of my necessities.
Let Me Explain
As the name of my blog suggests, I am a quilter. I love bringing together bits and pieces of fabric to create quilts, wall hangings, etc. I also enjoy quilting those items with my Tin Lizzie long-arm quilter. Utilized while quilting are various tools. The obvious assistants would be my retractable scissors, a seam ripper, rulers, chalk, disappearing ink markers, a lint roller, among others. Not mentioned above is a pair of curtain rods. Now you might be wondering how I could possibly use curtain rods. Before I can explain how I think I it would be best to tell you a little bit about the long-arm quilting machine itself.
Tin Lizzie Long-Arm Quilter
The Tin Lizzie Long-Arm Quilter is basically an over sized sewing machine. There are two very obvious differences between a long-arm machine and a conventional sewing machine. The first is the throat or distance between the guts of the machine and the needle. The long-arm machine has a much greater distance. The extra length allows the quilter to quilt with greater ease.
The other significant difference is that the conventional machine is stationary while the long-arm machine is mounted on a moveable platform. The platform has wheels underneath its surface. The wheels glide along on rails. The ability to glide the machine effortlessly from one edge of the project to the other, as well as from top to bottom, gives the operator tremendous flexibility. Eliminated is the frustration of maneuvering a bulky pile of fabric and batting through the tiny arm of a conventional sewing machine. There are other advantages to a long-arm machine vs. a conventional machine but these are the ones important to today’s conversation.
Utilizing the Curtain Rods
When a quilt is loaded on a long-arm quilting machine the backing fabric is pinned and rolled on to two rollers. The quilt top is pinned to a single roller and basted along the top edge. The batting lays sandwiched between the two layers. The sides of the quilt top and quilt backing are not pinned to rollers; they hang free. To provide tension and stability to the edges clamps are attached.
These clamps are attached to the long-arm quilt frame by elastic ropes. While the clamps are necessary for a favorable outcome they can obstruct the movement of the long-arm quilting machine. This is where the curtain rods come in handy.
To allow for smoother movement I lay plain old curtain rods across the rollers directly beneath the elastic ropes.
Pictured here is a curtain rod laying across two of the rods. The clamps have not been attached to the quilt yet.
By placing them there I elevate the elastic ropes and the clamps to a height that eliminates the obstruction, thereby providing for smoother movement.
This is a close-up of the elastic ropes laying on top of the curtain rod.
Here’s a side view of the clamps attached to the quilt with the curtain rods laying beneath the elastic ropes.
I learned this handy tip from one of my fellow quilters. When I first heard of it I was surprised that there could be such a simple yet unique answer to the problem. At my very first opportunity I tried out the remedy and was immediately sold. Since then I never use my Tin Lizzie Long-Arm Quilter without my handy-dandy curtain rods.
Well there you have it; a very unusual application for an everyday household item. I bet the inventor of the curtain rod never imagined them being used in this application.
That’s all for this edition of Friday Favorites. Come on back next Friday to learn about another one of my favorites.