Brother Ellismo machine to quilt it. We had some trouble getting the free motion functions to work (my mom uses the machine primarily for embroidery), so I ended up using the walking foot to do some straight stitching. I was a little intimidated by all its bells and whistles at first, but the wonderful extra work space, ease of threading, and amazing needle threader really won me over. It didn't take too long to figure it all out (except for the free motion aspect), which surprised me, too. I love the two machines I most often use—a Bernina 153QE and a Janome 6600. But I gotta say, this one was pretty pleasing.
X-blocks. My buddy Mel and I bought these rulers two summers ago when we met at a quilt shop in Manchester, Iowa, during the riding of RAGBRAI. Neither of us had ever used them and wasn't sure I would. But they were very fun—kind of like using my mom's sewing machine—they offered a new take on something you do regularly, in this case strip piecing. Yes, the binding is a bit wobbly, and I think a bit of free motion between the trees would have been great, but given the situation, I'm happy with it, as was my mom.