Friday, July 4, 2008

Basic Quilting tools

Must Have Quilting tools
Here's my shopping list of quilting tools for the beginner. If anyone see's something I've missed, let me know and I'll add it.

Rotary Cutter- buy the Olfa brand, I like the 60mm ergonomic one for cutting up to 8 layers. if that’s not in the budget, the 45mm one works well also.

Extra blades – a sharp blade will make your cutting much easier and more accurate

A cutting mat – but the largest one you have room for, it will speed up your cutting and get you to the fun part sooner.

Sharp scissors – I recommend the Gingher brand 8” sheers and a pair of 4” embroidery type for clipping threads. I keep my small scissors on a lanyard around my neck; otherwise I spend a lot of time looking for them.

An Iron – I like an iron that is a bit heavy and that will get very hot. I don’t worry about steam because I use spray starch. Your iron should be comfortable to use because you will be using it a lot.

A large ironing surface – I made a big ironing surface by taking a scrap of plywood , stapling a piece of cotton batting and an ugly piece of fabric to the underside of the plywood. (No stapler? Use duct tape, a girls best friend LOL) Then I cover it with an old beach towel that I can throw in the wash when it gets stiff with starch.

Rotary cutting rulers – I LOVE my ruler collection, probably have too many, but they really make the cutting and sub-cutting much easier- I like this brand the best because I can see the markings very well.
Olfa makes a good ruler also. Buy the brand whose markings are easiest for you to see.
I would start out buying a 6 1/2” by 24” and a 6 ½” by 12”. I would add these to my collection as I went along – a square ruler in the size block I make the most, i.e. a 6 ½”, 9 ½”, and/or 12 ½”- these are great for squaring up finished blocks. Then an easy angle for cutting triangles.

Notions – needles, pins, (buy good ones, cheap pins are not sharp, frustrating to use and can ruin your fabric) a pin cushion, extra bobbins, (wind a bunch of these before you start to sew) oil and a brush for your sewing machine, (it’s very important to clean your machine after), a seam ripper, I like this type the best:
Or this one:

Thread – buy good thread, cheap thread is not worth your time and money. I like to use a thin thread like Bottom Line or Sew Fine in the bobbin, both produce very little lint and more thread will fit on the bobbin, saving you time.

Sewing Machine – again not a place to skimp; Buy the best you can afford.
I would focus on quality rather than features. Lots of stitches and options are nice, but I’d rather a sturdy, reliable simple machine than one with a lot of “bells and whistles”. The reason for that is quilt making uses simple stitches.
The features you will need are a straight stitch, the ability to lower the feed dogs, and an adjustable zig- zag stitch. The accessories you will need are a ¼ inch foot, a darning foot and an appliqué foot. You will be happy with these features for a long time

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