Abominotions, and other categories

20 08 2009

I think I have coined a new term here, since I’ve never seen it in print before.



1. a device or product that has little or no real use for sewing or crafts.
2. a “repurposed” item that is shamelessly rebranded and repackaged and overpriced. Headless cable tie passed off as a bias press bar is an abominotion
3. a device or product that is touted as essential to everyone’s sewing tool kit, but will never be used outside the class where the person purchased said item.

August 19, 2009   on Darediva: Quilter Without Fear https://alicewithoutmalice.wordpress.com

Synonyms: piece o’ junk, waste of money

An abominotion is not to be confused with a gadget, a gizmo, a doodad, a doohickey, or a widget.  Those can all be very useful and worthwhile.

Abominotions are something that you can find in a hardware store for pocket change for which someone discovered a secondary use, then decided to foist it on the unsuspecting artisan as a new and wonderful tool for that secondary use.

What separates good tools from abominotions is the fact someone is taking your money and laughing at you while they back that Brinks truck up to the back of their booth after the show.  Then you discover that your significant other (or even you!) already have this wundertool laying fallow out in the garage or in the gadget drawer. Abominotions make you slap your forehead and wonder how someone else could sleep at night after selling that stuff.  Not to mention how you feel if you actually bought one.

I’ll be talking about a lot of these in posts to come.


Hey, y’all! Welcome to my blog!

18 08 2009

Did you ever look at a product on the shelf at a store and say to yourself, “Wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute, now! That’s just a [insert common household item name here] all fancied up in a pretty package, with a disgustingly high price tacked on it!”  If you aren’t from the southern U.S., your wording will differ slightly, but you get my drift here.  You are shocked/appalled/gobsmacked that someone has decided to repurpose something, call it by another name, and expect you to buy it unquestionably.

Did you answer yes?  Well, so have I.  Recent discussions with friends on this subject have spurred me on to create this blog to help us consumers sort some of this nonsense out.  My intent is to show some examples of these blatantly repurposed objects, tell you what they were originally, and help you to weed out what products really are a good thing to have around.

If you have examples of products you want to tell me about, or things you want me to test-drive for evaluation, I’m more than happy to oblige.  I’ve done this for some big name gadget-makers in the quilting and crafts fields, and with quite a few years of experience under my belt, I think you can trust me to make informed judgements.


I made my first quilt in 1972, out of leftovers from summer clothes I’d sewn.  Nobody told me that the quilt I spotted in McCall’s Needlework and Crafts would be any sort of challenge.  After all, it had only one pattern piece, right?  It was just an equilateral triangle.  I made the pattern out of a piece of cereal box cardboard, traced around it with a #2 pencil on the back of the fabric, and cut it out with my trust Wiss sewing shears.  The first day I cut all the pieces.  The second day I sewed all the pieces together for the top.  The third day, I layered and tied the top together and finished off the edges.  That night, it was on the bed.  Done and dusted.

How did I get that all done so quickly?  No one told me I couldn’t.  So I just DID.

No acrylic templates with cropped off corners, no rotary cutter, no Olfa mat.  No quarter inch presser foot.  No Rowenta steam iron or fancy ironing board that sucked the steam through the fabric.  No bias cutters, no corner gauges, no tools to square up the borders.  Shoot–I didn’t even use a thimble back then!  I just tied it with a double strand of crochet cotton and a square knot, right through that layer of clumpy cotton batting, using a big crewel embroidery needle left over from a kit from the dime store.  That’s a pre-Walmart reference for you young’uns out there.  Sort of like a dollar store is now, only the stuff was a lot cooler, and nobody worried about what kind of paint the toys had on them, because most of them were still made somewhere in this country.

Although my tastes have changed somewhat since then, I’m still very proud of that first quilt.  It’s actually one of the few bed-sized ones I ever made.  Now, it’s sort of “why bother” with a bed quilt, going to all that work, just so the cat might throw up on it.  Nope, I do what most red-blooded Americans do these days: buy one of those made-in-China knockoffs, and save my efforts for other endeavors.  My epic masterworks are for hanging on the walls where the cats can’t barf on them.  I love my cats too much to deny them (and me) the pleasure of sitting on the bed.

What I mean to do by telling you all of this is, I’m not a newbie to the sewing and craft world.  For many years, I sold at craft fairs and quilt shows, marketed patterns, test drove a lot of equipment and supplies.  Some of it out there is excellent.  Clover has never made a gadget I didn’t love, for example.  They have outstanding ideas and really work to make the sewing, knitting, and crafting world better.  I was privileged to try out the Clover Mini-iron before it hit the mass market, and it remains one of my favorite tools.  Perfect case of a manufacturer taking a great idea and making it better, because now, they have a guard along the heating element shaft and the heads on the iron are interchangeable for different tasks.  One of the best gizmos out there, and I wouldn’t take a farm in Georgia for mine.  Well, maybe I would if the farm came along with a couple of hunky-looking farmhands.

So, I’ll be talking here about some of the stuff I’ve come across that I can’t do without now that I have it, and some things that have left me breathless in the aisles of the store, tears of laughter running down my face, because I can’t believe someone thinks I should actually BUY that.

Come on, you know you do it, too.