Here is a tip for you. I have been wanting to try those little rubber tips that you can put on the end of your straight pin while basting a quilt sandwich together. Until now, I have used the curved safety pins when I baste my quilts. It takes time to fasten the pins when basting and even more time to remove the pins while quilting. That is actually the part that annoys me most, removing the pins when I am quilting. The little stubs that I have seen on other quilters blogs were intriguing. Until I looked at the price. They are kind of spendy, for my budget at least. Quilting is an expensive
hobby obsession. If I can minimize some of the cost, I will. Sometimes this means buying fabric or notions at estate sales and thrift shops or choosing not to buy some of the many gadgets that are available (and oh-so-tempting.)
I was mentioning my surprise at the price of these little stubs to my husband and asked him what else I might use. He immediately suggested the little ear protection plugs he uses when working with power tools or using the chain saw. Isn’t he brilliant? I looked around online and saw that there was already some discussion of using the earplugs in this way on an old forum.
A quick search on Amazon showed myriad choices of ear protection. I purchased a jar of Sound Blocker ear plugs which was priced at $17.95 for 30 pair. Thirty pair provides 60 individual pieces. Cutting each one in half nets out 120 stubs. The originals are priced at .35 each and this method sets the cost at .15 each. In all honesty, I didn’t do a great job of pricing these plugs when I purchased them. There are others listed on Amazon that look to be the same and are priced even lower. While the price difference that I ended up with was good, it could have been even lower. When they arrived, I unwrapped about 15 of the little packets and quickly cut each plug in half using my regular craft scissors
I gave these a try for the first time when I was basting the baby quilt that I made with the orphan blocks. It was a bit awkward at first. The ear plugs squish down with the least bit of pressure and I thought they wouldn’t work bec ause of this. Not so. I think they are supposed to be squishy like that if you are using them in your ears, as they are intended. I found that when I put them on the ends of the pins, the natural shape was restored after a bit. Kind of like they deflated when I put one on a pin and then it puffed back up. They held to the end of the pin quite well. I think I had only one fall off the whole time I was quilting.
When I was experimenting with these, I cut a few of them into three pieces, rather than in half. (I suppose one can be too frugal though.) They were not long enough and the tip of the pin would poke through the other end of the plug. One of the purposes of using these is to protect your fingers and hands from being poked so this wasn’t exactly helpful. 😉
I am happy with the results so far. It will be interesting to see how long these last. I love taking regular pins, instead of safety pins, out of the quilt while quilting. In addition, I can use a thinner pin since I am not using the safety pins. The safety pins leave a larger hole than my sharp pins, especially with batiks.
Hope this is helpful to you. If you have tried this already, let me know your thoughts.
Linking to Freemotion by the River and Let’s Bee Social. You’ll find their links at the top of the page, under Link Ups.