Friday, February 19, 2010

Thangles and Knee Lifts

Can you say P R O C R A S T I N A T I O N? yES! i SAID procrastination! That's what I'm doing lately. I've been putting off finishing the work on two quilts. One is my communication-themed Fiberactions group quilt, which is due Mar. 15. And the other is the bluebird quilt I shared a while back or longer (I have no idea how far back I shared it as I'm too lazy to go look), which by the way really has no deadline, but sort of does just for the fact that it really should get done.

I know I'm not the only person who procrastinates. I have differing reasons for procrastinating too. Mostly, though, the main reason I do so is because the art work in limbo is not going well, not proceeding according to the vision in my head, or I'm unsure of where I should go next. So that's why those two quilts are in the avoidance heap.

I know I'll get back to them at some point, and I keep telling myself that it won't help to get stressed about it. The deadline for the Fiberactions quilt will help me get going on that one.

So what have I been doing in the meantime? Well I had a lazy day (a.k.a. low-motivation day), I had an update-the-business-end-of-things day for tax purposes, and now I'm starting quilting on a quilt I shared here even longer ago, that's been sitting in the UFO pile. I'll share a photo of that, maybe tomorrow.

Another thing I've been doing in the meantime is thinking about the knee-lift feature of my sewing machine. I never use it! I have tried it in the past. I found it to be in my way, cumbersome, and then I'd find myself just lifting the presser foot how I normally would, with my hand on the lever. I also found it hard to coordinate the use of the knee-lift and the use of my foot on the gas pedal. Too much responsibility for one leg!

I've been wondering to myself lately, how long would it/does it take to actually become accustomed to using the knee-lift. And is it possible to convert. So I'm asking you, do you use your sewing machine knee-lift? Why or why not? If so, did you always use it or how long did it take you to get comfortable with it? Thanks for any input/advice/etc. you have to offer.

Oh and I couldn't just have a blog post without a photo. Here's my latest find/purchase. Thangles! I know these have been around for a long while, but I've never bought any. The Block of the Month program I'm doing through Three Creative Studios, has a lot of these units in the blocks. So I'm trying a pack out to see if I think I should just continue to print my own paper templates or if this is the only way to half-square triangle.

22 comments:

  1. I don't use the knee lift either but I don't have a very good set-up for using it. One teacher I had said the trick was to learn to use your left foot for the foot control, then right leg is for the knee lift. Try that. Justine

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  2. I know some people swear by the knee-lift, but I was never able to make it work. I think I sew with my machine much higher, or maybe my seat much lower, than alot of people, and the knee lift ends up in the wrong spot. If I shift my position, the bifocals are in the wrong spot, and its hard to see what I'm sewing. The seeing is the most important part, so the knee-lift goes unused.

    As for the Thangles, you just reminded me of a UFO I have somewhere where I was trying those out. Its at least 10 years old. Wonder if I can find it....

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  3. i don't use the knee lift myself, but have a friend that does and she is an amazing quilter. she first taught herself to sew with the left foot and then uses her right leg for the knee lift.

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  4. I haven't mastered the knee lift, either, even though I think it would ultimately make life easier. When I bought my machine, they told me that the trick is to drive with your left foot (operate the foot control) and use your right knee for the lift; said that learning to be left-footed was easy!, but I haven't found it so. I don't think there is ANY way to do it all with just one leg, however. Good luck -- will definitely take some practice.
    -Lynn is Las Vegas

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  5. I never really saw the benefit of the knee lift. I tried to use it for a while but just didn't see the advantage.

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  6. I have experience with both procrastination and the knee lift. The first machine I sewed on was my mum's Elna and the 'foot pedal' was a lever you moved with your knee. So when I got a machine with a knee lift I would get so mad because I wanted to go not lift up! But I got it and I use same leg foot. I did see a long legged man modify (extend) his knee lifter as he sat on a taller stool. My problem is one machine is knee lift and one not so sometimes I forget to use it. But it really is helpful when you are intent and want to stay right in that zone whether it be pointy points or MQing.

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  7. I don't use my knee lift either. I do like the idea and would love to use it if it were close to my knee but I have to go on my tippie-toe to use it. I asked if they made longer ones for my machine but the answer was no.

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  8. I don't use my knee lift either - for all the reasons above! I did try but as everyone has said - I'd forget it was there and use my hand as normal. Maybe I should get it out and try again!

    Hugz

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  9. Unlike most of the other commenters, I love my knee lift and feel completely lost without it. I do run the foot petal with my left foot and the knee lift with my right leg, but most of my friends with knee lifts use their right leg for both. I broke my right ankle several years ago and the only way I could sew was with the left foot. I continued using it even after my ankle healed (that was before I had a machine with a knee lift). The point of the knee lift is that you can lift the presser foot without taking your hands off your work. This is very helpful for both free motion quilting and turning your work during applique.

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  10. When I worked at a store that sold Berninas (the machine that had the patent and let it expire) we HAD to use it because we were always demoing the machine. At home however, the chair and table combination were not at the right height to use it without strain. When I got a cabinet, there was a board in the way so I couldn't use it. If you are short waisted in body type, it usually isn't comfortable to use it. Average and long waisted people seem to handle it better. (Observation as a teacher).

    I use my left foot on the foot control (complaining right ankle) but I don't think I could do a diffrent thing with each leg. I am as uncoordinated as they come. That would be like at an exercise class when your arms are going to the right as you march to the left. I can't do it.

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  11. I have one machine with a knee lift (the Juki I use for piecing) and one without (the Pfaff used for everything else). I do use the knee lift on the Juki and don't seem to have a problem moving back and forth between the machines. That could be because they have different uses. I also remember learning on a machine that had a knee pedal for power.

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  12. Oh, please DO give it another try! I consider myself A Reluctant Learner, and if I can learn to love my knee lift, I feel anyone can. I learned to use my left foot on the pedal, and I haven't looked back since. I find the knee lift invaluable when doing appliqué -- my pieces come out smoother because i can pivot on every stitch, if I need to.

    You'd be amazed at what your mind and foot can do together!

    Diane

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  13. I used the knee lift on my Janome 6600 for awhile and learned to like it, even though I wish there were some way to change the angle of it so that I don't have to work as hard to get to it. Then the holidays happened, and when I got back to sewing, I forgot all about the kneelifter until I read this post of yours! I'm thinking of tying something fuzzy onto the handlever to remind me to use my knee, because I am sure I am faster with the knee lift.

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  14. I have both a Juki and a Bernina with knee lifts and never use them. I tried, but it always felt awkward to me.

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  15. I wonder if there is a connection with people who can drive a stickshift and who use the knee pedal? I don't use mine and have learned to keep my work under control as I lift the presser foot. I would only relearn to drive with my left foot if absolutely forced to!

    With the procrastination thing, I find I only do it when it is something I don't want to work on. The only way for me to get around it is to convince myself of the reward of finishing which will be to work on what I really want to work on:) Mental games right? LOL!

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  16. I LOVE my knee lift. Use it all the time.- use the gas and knee lift with my right side without thinking. Funny thing is, if I'm using a machine without it my knee is trying to find it when I need it!

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  17. I have not even started my Fiberactions quilt! I've been doing another project with a deadline for next weekend...but I'll get it done!

    I absolutely love my knee lift. I cannot sew without it. Have been using it since my second Bernina, which was about 12 years ago. Before that I had a Bernina without one, so yes, you can get used to them and love them. It saves so much time and it saves a lot on pinning, too.

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  18. I hate sewing on a machine WITHOUT a knee lift. I've had one for probably 25 years, since I got my first Bernina. I do think it was hard to learn to use at first, but soooo worth it. I don't know how you can do free-motion quilting without it. I use my right foot on my pedal also--no conflict. You are not lifting and accelerating at the same time.

    Just MAKE yourself use it. Your life and your sewing will be better for it!

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  19. I was in a sewing machine store last month rying a machine out that didn't have the knee lift in place - and I kept trying to use it anyway! I look very silly moving my knee for no reason at the end of EVERY seam, or whenever I wanted to shift something. Seriously I don't know what I'd do without one, I love mine so much!

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  20. I use my knee lift CONSTANTLY, which might explain why the knee lift cable broke last week:-) For free motion quilting, the knee lift means my hands are free to move the quilt around I use the needle down setting so that whenever I stop quilting the needle is down and I can pivot and keep going. I also use the knee lift for turning corners when I am doing straight line linear quilting with the walking foot. Finally, the knee lift is essential with the pinless curved piecing technique I use in many of my quilts.

    As for Thangles, I wish I had known you were trying them out. I bought heaps of different sizes when I first started quilting and only last week sold them at a Guild market day in my studio clean-out...

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  21. I LOVE MY KNEELIFT!
    I wouldnt buy a machine without one. Like learning to free-motion quilt, it just takes a little regular practice.
    Makes quilting & textile mark making soooooooooooo much easier to do & my stitches more precise.

    I find my "typist chair" with up/down lifter, allows comfortable sitting position - so Terri consider this in coordinating hands,feet,eye,brain (& everything else)...have I made you laugh?

    Hope this helps your deliberations.

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  22. I also love my knee lift! It just takes time to get used to but when you do - wow - I hate to stop and move my hand to manually lift the presser foot. Also - if you sew with your snips in your hand and your knee on the lift, you can make some good time sewing (if you want to make some good time that is!). It's all about developing a habit, right?

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