Comfy, cozy and warm... these are the words I remember when somebody mentions Quilts. Colorful fluffy square pieces of cloth that makes me sleepy just by thinking about it!
My first hands on experience on quilting was when I was still in high school. It was a project in one of our arts and crafts sessions. Armed only with scissors, a sewing kit and a few yards of colorful cloth, we dived right in and had fun making a quilt made out of 9 crudely cut cloth squares.
After making more than a hundred quilts from then till now, I always set my washing machine to wash on its gentle setting to make sure I don't damage my beloved quilts. :)
Making even a simple quilt includes a lot of time in planning, cutting, measuring, and sewing. Quilting is great way to relax and enjoy those lazy weekend afternoons while watching tv. I enjoy the whole process, because there is no rush and no pressure.
Note that I do not use a sewing machine and I make all my quilts by hand.
Yes, it takes a lot more time and effort to complete a piece but I feel more satisfied on the end result. I own a sewing machine at home and I use it for other sewing tasks too.
To make those personalized markings and embroideries on my quilt, my high tech sewing machine does quick work of that. I wonder how my Grandma would react if she saw one of these :). Well, i mean you have a touch screen LCD on a sewing machine. How cool is that! I got my Brother SE400 combination sewing and embroidery machine here.
It is my personal preference to stitch and sew each block by hand when I'm quilting.
The beauty of quilting is that you can cut cloth from old colorful clothing or cloth with sentimental value as your material. If you still have your children's clothes or some old bedding fabric, incorporate these in your next quilt.
If you plan to buy pre-cut cloth material or use a sewing machine, please go ahead. These tools really save time and finish the job much quicker than doing the all cutting and sewing by hand.
I always set all my blocks down first on a large flat table to get an idea of the finished final quilt. A flat surface allows you to work on your quilt without or snagging corners or ripping seams. You should have a stable base to place your cutting mat for accurate cuts.
We are aiming for accuracy in all our cuts because any mistake here will make the quilt a lot harder to complete. So take time in the preparation part and do your best to make all measurements perfect as possible. I'll talk in detail about the tools I'm currently using that make my life easier in quilting. These tools have been very helpful in making beautiful quilts that I own.
These are the essential quilting tools for every beginner quilter.
- Rotary Cutter
- Quilting Ruler
- Self Healing Mat
- Craft Clips
- Quilting Needle
The tool that has made my quilting preparation so easy is the rotary cutter!
Once you have decided what design you want to create, cutting each piece with a rotary cutter is actually effortless. A quality rotary cutter allows you to work faster and safer, whether it be for cutting long strips of fabric , or small squares for quilting. I simply set my ruler alongside the cut I want to make and glide my rotary cutter along. It cuts cleanly every time.
My rotary cutter also features a push-button lock so I can keep my hands and fingers safe when I'm cutting.
There are different sizes of rotary cutter blades available. The common sizes are 18mm, 45mm and 60mm. The bigger disk sizes are used for cutting heavier materials while the smaller 18mm disks are used for fine curved cuts.
The most versatile of these sizes is the 45mm which is just perfect for beginners and for quilting enthusiasts. It's very easy to use and is a must have for anyone that is taking quilting as a hobby.
Quilting Ruler and Self Healing Mat
A self healing mat and ruler gives me greater accuracy when guiding my rotary cutter through each cut I want to make. Lines and measurement markings on the ruler ensures that I am able to line up the cloth exactly where I need to cut. Chose a ruler that has clear
markings to an eighth of an inch with a size of 6" x 24". A typical quilter has several quilting rulers for squaring and cutting long strips.
Look for a self healing mat that has a size of 24" x 36". This size ensures that you have enough room to cut your pieces and squares without going off the table while cutting. This mat partners well with the rotary cutter because it holds a straight line when used with a rotary cutter.
Me and my trusty pair of scissors. This tool is a partner of all quilters and has always been at arm's reach when I need it. Snipping those loose threads and making size adjustments is a breeze. I use my scissors only for cloth and I've never had to sharpen it since i bought it a year ago.
It has a soft rubber grip that is comfortable to use and contains high carbon steel that makes it stronger and more durable than other scissors.
The weight and length of my scissors gives me accurate cuts and makes it less stressful on my fingers. Exercise caution and make sure to supervise your kids when using these scissors because they are extremely sharp.
I was using pins to hold my blocks together before but I couldn't finish a quilt without getting pricked a dozen times by those sharp pins. They left unsightly marks on my material and couldn't bind thick materials together. Those big binder clips were lumpy and would get always stuck together.
When I ordered and used craft clips for quilting, the difference was immediately noticeable on the alignment and beautiful seams I was able to create. The little gems hold layers tightly allowing for better control when sewing blocks together. These clips are very affordable and has different sizes for all your quilting needs, plus they are safe to use around children too. I keep everything neatly arranged on the nifty storage jar so I don't lose any of my cute clips. These clips are a must have tool for all quilters.
The needle I use depends on the fabric I'm working with. In order to punch a hole through 3 layers of a quilt, you need a longer needle. The needles used for hand stitching are known as Between needles. They are shorter, narrower and sharper than common needles. The lower the number, the longer the needle. As a beginner, I started with number 8, but now I comfortably work with number 11.
Quilting can be simple and complicated as well. There are hundreds and thousands of different stitches, backing material, complex designs and patterns will tickle your fancy as you gain skill and create more advanced designs. As will any other skill, don't expect to get it right the first time. I had to take 3 tries on one of my favorite designs to get the quilt I wanted.
From your imagination to the final piece, you can make it happen with the right set of tools. As a smart buyer, I always do my research before purchasing anything. I always look at the pros and cons of a product before committing to it.
With awesome feedback and reviews, it gives me confidence to get the best quality for my money.
My rotary cutter, clips and scissors are all from Evergreen Art Supply. They all perform flawlessly and help me get awesome results because I now can make perfect cuts and stitch accurately.
I absolutely love the new designs on my clips! They stand out in any fabric color and design that I use. You can only get these clip designs exclusively from Evergreen Art Supply.
I'm happy to be able to purchase these wonderful quilting tools from their website at www.evergreenartsupply.com. These tools have a money back guarantee if you are not absolutely thrilled. These tools are essential to all quilters and will help you focus on quilting instead of worrying about making correct cuts and have trouble with your preparation.