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  • WarmQuilts

Tools of the Trade

The up-valley grocery owner has begun assembling small collectibles and offering them for sale. So, I make a habit of checking out the shelving across from the Deli before I head out to my car. Sometimes, there is an antique treasure that calls my name.

There it is - a bit of nostalgia from the 1950s - displayed with several kitchen blenders, an ornate toaster and a wooden handled strainer. As I pull it off the shelf and inspect the melamine handle, the cashier stands next to me and asks, "isn't that the neatest tool?"

"Yes, how surprising to see it on the shelf with kitchen items," I comment. "Do you know what it is?"

"You don't see many of those around," he responds. "It's a tool for making small, handmade raviolis."

"How much do you want for the ravioli tool?"

"$35 - it's one-of-a-kind."

"Do you think your boss would re-consider the price if I told you what it really is?"


Like many quilters, my love of fabrics and sewing first came from making my own clothes. At the bottom of my sewing box, I still have a couple of packages of Dressmakers Carbon Tracing Paper - with the distinct dotted lines from many uses. The tracing paper and tracing wheel helped me create perfect darts on blouses and at the waist of skirts and slacks. The familiar Helpful Hints on each package offered simple directions to quickly and accurately transfer pattern markings to fabric.


- Always make your tracing marks on the wrong side of the fabric.

- Always use white tracing paper for medium and dark colored fabrics. If working with colored paper always use the color with the least amount of contrast that will leave the lightest visible markings. Do not use blue or red paper on white or light colored fabrics.

- Always use contrasting carbon paper, so that the tracings show up clearly.

- Using the TRACING WHEEL press down hard on the original carbon markings so that new carbon markings are transferred to the second side.

- Place work on a flat solid table, using a cardboard as a foundation to protect your table against damage from the tracing wheel.


The cashier was sorry to hear that I wouldn't be making any small raviolis with the one-of-a-kind wheel. His boss dropped the price of the sewing tool . . . SOLD!

Do you have a favorite tool or pattern that you can't part with? Have you made a recent treasure find?

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