The importance of good tools

After fighting with my sewing machine on and off, I finally caved and bought a new machine.

I can’t even begin to say the world of difference it’s made. I suddenly understand why sewing is fun.

It’s amazing how much difference the right tools can make — and how much unwillingness there can be to get them.

I tend to do the same; when I’m looking at a new hobby, I tend to buy the cheapest tools I can. The old sewing machine off of Craigslist. Cheap plastic needles. An inexpensive spindle.

The logic goes something like this: I don’t know if I’ll like this, I can upgrade later, if I buy the cheap tools I can get more options, etc.  Only it’s frustrating — things don’t necessarily work, I hit snags and bumps, I don’t enjoy the process. I fight the tools instead of learning what I need to, and then I worry about upgrading because what if I don’t actually like this hobby? Besides, the cheap stuff still works (albeit not well) so it’s wasteful…

Now, I’m not saying all inexpensive tools are bad, or that you should buy something you can’t afford. But there are ways to find quality tools, from searching for bargains to borrowing something for a tryout (while you decide if you want to invest) to getting a knowledgeable friend to help so you aren’t just randomly buying something with the hopes it doesn’t suck.

Because tools make a difference. In the way you work, in the end result, in the enjoyment of the process. It’s so easy to fall into the mass consumption mindset — ten pairs of cheap needles are better than two pairs of good needles! — but it’s not always for the best. Crafting has helped me step back and learn to appreciate that. To consider quality over quantity, and take pride in turning out something that’s the best I can make. (Which as a beginner, may not be all that fantastic. But I’ll get better.) Good tools and materials make that easier…and more fun.