Friday, August 7, 2015

Favorites: Tools for Beginner Quilters

Hello! Happy Friday! Today's favorites post is all about beginners. I often get questions from newish quilters asking about my favorite resources for someone beginning this wonderful past time! So today's post is part one of a series of posts I'll be doing with tips for more accurate quilting along with some of my favorite supplies and resources if you're just beginning...or even if you are a more seasoned quilter!

First, tools! When I was first married, I could never understand why my husband always wanted to spend money on tools. Not until I became an avid quilter did the "tool" thing finally make sense. There are definitely a few things you need to get started:

First, a reliable sewing machine is a must. Your machine doesn't have to be super's most important that you just be able to sew an accurate 1/4" seam allowance with a straight stitch. Of course there are special feet and attachments that make things nice, but really...a straight stitch is all you need to worry about. If you are heading out to take a class, make sure you check your machine before attending to make sure it's in good running order.

When I teach beginner quilters, I see that one of the most common roadblocks to becoming a better quilter is an inaccurate 1/4" seam allowance. For help with making sure your seam allowance is an accurate 1/4" this YouTube video I made sharing tips and hints for an accurate 1/4" seam.

Other items you need to get started:
  • A good pair of scissors
  • Rotary Cutter: the Olfa Splash  45mm Splash Rotary Cutter is easy on my wrists)
  • Acrylic ruler (my favorite sizes are 8 1/2" x 12" and 8 1/2" x 24")
  • Self-healing Cutting Mat
  • Pins and pincushion
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Seam ripper (Yes, I use one daily...this one is my favorite Clover 482/W Seam Ripper
  • Fabric! I'll devote a whole post to this one!

  Good quality thread is another must-have. I do almost all of my machine piecing with either a neutral off white (Aurifil 2021 Aurifil Quilting Thread 50wt Natural White) or a neutral beige (Aurifil 2000) depending on what fabrics I'm sewing with, but it's nice to have thread to closely match your binding material when it's time to finish your quilt. If you pick up a spool with every project it won't be long before you have a well-rounded thread collection!

Finally, I want to mention my two favorite resource books:  The Quilter's Ultimate Visual Guide: From A to Z - Hundreds of Tips and Techniques for Successful Quiltmaking (A Rodale quilt book) by Pahl, Ellen published by Rodale Press (1997)  and All-in-One Quilter's Reference Tool: Updated. The first book is sometimes hard to find, but I mention it because it really does cover a lot of topics in a very clear manner and can often be found in public libraries. The second book is easier to find--it was recently updated and published in this new edition.

I have a few more posts in this series planned for later this summer--these posts will cover tips for getting started and enjoying this wonderful past time as well as practical suggestions and how-to's for the basics!

Hope you get to do some fun sewing and quilting this weekend...Thanks so much for stopping by! 

PS! Thanks so much to everyone who entered the giveaway. I so enjoyed reading everyone's to do lists for the rest of summer! I got some good ideas for things I should be doing too! Congrats to Mascanlon who was the winner of the Stash & Dash Finishing kit! I've emailed you for your mailing address!


Needled Mom said...

I agree that the most important aspect is the 1/4 inch seam line. There are so many fun tools out there now.

Hildy said...

Another thing I use almost always when I'm sewing are my math skills. My teachers would laugh if they would know how much math I use these days;-)

Heru Notodirjo said...

Is it your atelier?...nice room. And your quiltings are beautiful too. Regards!

carol said...

Your series is timely. I'm a fairly new quilter and turning an office room into a sewing room. Your table for your sewing machine is like one I'm looking for - not too big. Would you mind sharing where you got the table? Manufacturer? Thanks.

Rosemary B❤️ said...

great advice.
You do not need a fancy machine, indeed.
Your sewing room looks so neat and tidy. I am working on a cute fun houses quilt and using lots of scrap fabrics, and new fabrics of course. My sewing room looks like a fabric bomb went off

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