You may be expecting sophisticated and expensive gadgets for quilting in this post, but in fact I am going to suggest ten quite simple items that can really help you when you are quilting. Here they are:
Why it is useful: when you are inserting or removing safety pins which are holding the three layers of your quilt together, you can ‘hold’ the sharp bar of the pin against the serrated edge of the spoon. This is much more comfortable than holding against a finger!
Biscuits package/cocoa tin
Why it is useful: once you have made your binding for a quilt, you can tape one end to the tin with masking tape. Then wind the binding round the tin. Start stitching the binding on from the loose end and let the binding gradually unwind from the tin, held in your lap. This stops the binding getting into tangles.
Why it is useful: use this needle (with its open eye at the end) to stitch in threads after quilting. Even if you only have a short length of thread available, you can insert the needle into the wadding and up to the surface again, the pull the thread into the end of the needle. Pull on the needle and the thread will be buried in the quilt. Trim off the excess on the surface.
Why it is useful: this is a very useful cleaning tool. You should clear your machine of lint (under the stitch plate and around the bobbin case) after every project to stop a build-up inside the machine. Some parts are hard to reach though. The pipe-cleaner easily picks up lint on its fibres and is also helpfully bendy.
Why it is useful: if you have more than one reel of thread in the colour you are currently using, you can leave the top thread of your machine threaded up and wind off a couple of bobbins quickly. I use this little gadget a lot and keep spare batteries in the studio so I am never without it!
Why are they useful: when you are piecing, you should cut each set of thread at each end of every seam to a half-inch length. Using snips like this, which only require one quick action (a squeeze) to do the job, will encourage you to do this regularly. So no more long threads which get caught up in subsequent seams!
Why it is useful: this simple item (made of plastic, not bone) is excellent for pressing a crease into a piece of fabric. It can also be pressed into the surface of a quilt to mark out a line for quilting. It is also very good for poking out corners if you stitch something inside out and then need to turn it to the right side.
Why it is useful: it can be stuck to fabric without marking it or leaving a residue. You can mark out quilting lines. You can write labels to identify the different fabrics in a quilt, the different blocks in a row and rows in a quilt. You can tape down your backing fabric to the floor when layering up a quilt.
Why it is useful: well, clearly to undo a mistake! But since unpicking is no fun at all, it is much easier to do it with an unpicker with a sturdy, solid handle like the one above. Find one if you can!
Long measuring tape
Why it is useful: quilts are often quite large, so when you are checking the dimensions of your quilted quilt, before you trim off the excess wadding and backing, it is very helpful to have a tape that will extend the entire length and width of your quilt.
HAPPY SUMMER QUILTING!
Here’s a seaside fabric (Lighthouse windows) from my design collection on Spoonflower – buy it here