Quilting Tips and Tools

ROTARY CUTTER - My favorite is Olfa. Change the blades regularly and it will make a huge difference! I do not recommend cutting on any surface other than a self healing mat as it will dull your cutting blade in a very short time.

SELF HEALING CUTTING MAT - The Omniqrid Self Healing Matt is the one I use. It's a long lasting mat that doesn't easily wear down and I use the largest available, although they do come in different sizes to fit your needs. The green mat with yellow lines aids in visibility.

RULERS - I use both my 3 x 18 and a 6 x 24 ruler when doing my cutting. I like the clear Omnigrid rulers with yellow lines that are 1/4" thick with a stabilizer lip on one end that rests against the cutting board edge so the ruler does not slip around as I'm cutting. These rulers are of a hard plastic that you can't gradually slice away. The yellow lines show up on all colors of fabric. You can also add assorted square and triangular rulers to your supplies to use in various quilting projects.

SEWING MACHINE - A basic model sewing machine is really all that is required to create lovely quilts. A straight stitch is almost all you ever use! As you progress in your quilting experience you may want to upgrade, especially if you are doing fancy embroidery on your quilt tops or applique work.

WALKING FOOT - This is an extremely useful sewing machine foot for machine quilting. If you plan to machine quilt, this foot will help keep your backing, batting and front from shifting while moving through the machine. Helps all layers move at the same rate.

SEAM RIPPER - A seam ripper is a must and you may use one a lot while getting started! (Although us "old timers" have our moments too.) Be very careful when using one that has a sharp point as it can very easily rip your fabric causing you more of a problem. Personally I use one with a little plastic ball on the end just to be safe.

LONG QUILTER PINS - These are really nice for holding the layers together and not getting stuck in the machine. I personally use longer pins with yellow heads for better visability.

BETWEENS - These are the tiny needles used in the quilting process. The larger the number on the needle pack, the smaller the size needle. As a new quilter, I recommend beginning with a size 9. You can progress to smaller needles as your quilting improves. A smaller size needle will yield a smaller stitch.

SAFETY PINS - If youy are basting your quilt together with saftey pins a #2 is the perfect size. I personally prefer basting mine together with thread. It seems easier for me on my quilting frames.

IRON - I recommend one with the best steam feature you can find! Be sure to keep it clean and I recommend you use only distilled water to prevent mineral deposits from building up and unexpectedly transferring to your fabric.

QUILTING HOOPS - Hand quilters need a sturdy wood or plastic QUILTING HOOP for lap quilting that will hold your work securely without loosening. This is NOT an embroidery hoop! You need to invest in a sturdy hard wood or plastic hoop, round or oval, that is 3/4" to 1" wide.

QUILTING FRAMES - There are a variety of quilting frames on the market today ranging from simple frames to very elaborate and are very nice to work on, if you have the room. My personal quilt frame was passed down to me from my grandmother and are very simply constructed wood.

THIMBLE WITH RAISED EDGE - This is an essential tool for the hand quilting! My favorite has a deep, raised edge that keeps the needle from slipping off.

QUILTING THREAD - This thread is thicker than ordinary thread. I recommend matching the color of thread to fabric at first. As your stitches improve, you can choose colors that will show off more. Remember that the thread will also show up on the back of your quilt, so take that into consideration when selecting your threads.

QUILTING TEMPLATES - Templates are widely available in many patterns. You use these to lay on top of your quilt top to mark your quilting design.

MARKING PENS & PENCILS - There are many products on the market for marking your quilt top. My favorite is the blue ink marker that washes out in cold water upon completion. Beware of the disappearing ink markers - your design could be gone before you're done! Pencils work well as long as you mark lightly.

QUILT WALL - When you are designing a quilt top the ability to step back from your work and view it gives a completely new perspective. There are many great, prepared quilt walls on the market, complete with line grids, etc. Or simply use a large piece of pellon fleece and secure it to a wall in your sewing room.

Quilt Instruction Books There are hundreds of great publications and I am sure your Quilting Library will be as large, or larger than mine someday...maybe. However, when first starting out you can visit your Public Library and view their quilt book shelf. I have found some amazing books there and I always attend their book sale each year to add to my personal library.

Tips Removing Blood

1) If I am quilting and bleed on my quilt, I pull a little ball of batting from the edge, soak it in my mouth and lay it on the blood spot. I allow it to dry and - poof it's gone.

2) On Cotton or poly-cotton fabrics I find an ice cube does well also at removing bloodstains, even if the stain has set a while.

3) Each person's saliva has an enzyme that neutralizes proteins in her/his own blood. Try wetting a Qtip with your saliva and rub it on the spot to make it disappear.

Removing Grease

1) For grease spots, take a piece of freezer tape, stick it on the spot and then pull it off. Most of the grease will lift off. For stains on white fabric, I dip a Qtip in bleach and apply some to the spot.

2)You can also use a hair shampoo for oily hair to remove grease. I

3) I have used Baking Soda to remove grease. Rub it in dry and then vacuum it out.

Rust Spot Removal

1) Most organic stains can be removed with with a spritz of Murphy's Oil Soap and then washing normally. Color test on edge of fabric.

2) Rubbing alcohol has been found to remove spots.Apply with a cotton ball and air dry.

3) I use a Pentel Clip Eraser to remove pencil marks from quilt top or fabric.