Anyone who starts to take interest in quilting is commonly overwhelmed by the thought of collecting all the patterns he sets his eyes on. While this is okay, the first task of a beginning quilter is actually to gather all the necessary quilting tools.
Here is a list of the most basic quilting tools. Although some tools need to be purchased, others are just sitting in the house, or more appropriately in the sewing box.
These are necessary to keep fabrics together while quilting. There are many different kinds of pins. Some have glass heads, while others are ball-headed. The latter are more preferred by most quilters because they are more visible and are easier to hold. Pins that are sharp, fine, and long are recommended for quilting purposes.
It is used to hold and keep pins when not in use. Other quilters also use magnetic pin strips to pick up stray pins and collect pins that have been left lying on top of the quilt.
There are two types of quilting needles: hand quilting and machine quilting needles. Both kinds are stronger and sharper than the ordinary sewing needles since they need to pass through multiple layers of fabrics without the tendency of bending and breaking. Hand quilting needles, also called betweens, come in four sizes: 9, 10, 11, 12, with 9 as the biggest and 12 as the smallest. They also have smaller eyes and are thicker than other needles. Machine needles, meanwhile, need to be replaced every so often to keep making fine stitches and to prevent the needles from breaking.
Worn when hand quilting, thimble cushions the finger that pushes the needle and works to prevent finger sore and needle pricks. It can be a little uncomfortable when first worn, but proves to be helpful in protecting the finger and controlling the needle. Thimbles are usually made of metal, although leather thimbles have become more popular nowadays. In fact, leather thimbles are recommended for novice quilters because they have a better grip on the needle.
An essential quilting tool, fabric marker is used to line out the fabric. Depending on the fabric, you can use any of these three markers: pencil, chalk, or fabric marker pen. Soft lead pencil is the most commonly used fabric marker as it is easily washed off and fades over time. Chalk is also a good alternative and is fairly easy to remove. However, it does not work well when making detailed markings and drawings. For this purpose, a fabric marker pen is best used. Like the other two, it can be easily washed out and fades after some time. Before using a fabric marker, it is best to first test it on a sample fabric. Mark a small piece from the fabric you are using and wash. See how the fabric reacts to the marker.
Rotary Cutter, Mat and Ruler
A circular blade, rotary cutter is used to cut and trim fabrics with precision and accuracy, which makes it very useful in cutting identical strips. Because of its strength and sharpness, it can work with fabrics of different texture and thickness and can glide through fabrics in multiple layers. A rotary cutter is often used with other quilting tools such as rotary board or mat and transparent plastic ruler. For other cutting purposes, scissors are used in place of rotary cutter.
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