Favorite Things: It’s hip to be square!

Stanley Laser Level Square

Okay, I realize this is not your usual quilting type tool, and no, I’m not taking up carpentry along with all my other hats that I wear. This tool is a borderline “must have,” though, even for us quilter types, and it definitely saved me the other day as I was finishing up my latest quilt last week. I’ve never really had problems putting on the hanging sleeves and getting them straight. I’ve always just pinned them on parallel to the top of the quilt and it’s been fine, and the quilt hangs straight.

Well with this latest quilt, the top edge was scalloped, and even though I measured from the tops of the scallops to position the sleeve evenly across the top of the quilt, when I hung it up on the quilt stand to take a photo, the sleeve was obviously out of whack somewhere. It was really bad, with a great big wave in the bottom. I could tell by looking at the quilt hanging there that the sleeve ended up with a big curve in it somehow as I sewed it on, but I really couldn’t tell by looking at the sleeve itself.

So I removed the sleeve to start over again, and that’s where the Stanley Laser Level Square comes in. This thing is so cool, because you turn it on, and laser beams shoot out of it at a ninety degree angle to each other and run for 30 feet or more. I lined up one beam on the side edge of the quilt and aligned the bottom of the sleeve with the other beam running across the quilt and my quilt sleeve is perfectly straight. The quilt hangs straight and true.

I usually use the Laser Level Square when I’m basting the quilt, to make sure that the backing is laid out straight, and that the quilt top is straight and the corners are square. I also use it when I’ve washed the quilt and I’m blocking it to dry on the floor, again to make sure the edges are straight and the corners are really square. I’d never had a problem with the sleeve this bad before, but you can bet I won’t skip that step again.

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