Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Hand quilting is an art form that dates back many years if not many hundreds of years.
The act of hand quilting is portable, relaxing and quiet, very different than using a sewing machine.
Having the right tools is important.
Above are a few of my favorite tools. None are all that expensive, and most are not that hard to find.
Starting at the lower left corner and moving clockwise...
1) Thread heaven: lower left, in blue
I run my thread over this stuff before I start to quilt. It does a good job of minimizing the amount of knots that you get in your thread.
2) Clover size 10 between needles: middle left
I generally like strong needles that are short and don't bend easily. These by Clover work well
3) Raised Edge Thimble by Colonial needle: upper left
Having a thimble that fits the middle finger of your dominant hand is key. This one is big, speedy, and needles don't slip off the big cup part on top. It's the only one I use.
4) Finger Cot: upper, second from left
I use one of these on the index finger of my dominant hand. It helps you pull the needle out without putting extra stress on your wrists, fingers, etc. A must in my opinion. It's good to keep things as ergonomic as possible.
5) Clover Chaco Marker: upper middle
This is handy marking tool for fabrics when you have a plastic template to guide your quilting design. This marker comes in various colors so you can get a blue one when you are using white fabric, etc.
6) Magnetic Needle Keeper by Kelmscott Designs: upper right, in green
(I found mine at The Workroom in Toronto)
You basically use this as a two part magnet to attach it magnetically to your quilt. When you need to put your needle down for a quick break, you can just drop it on this magnet and it stays there. Genius.
7) Clover petite needle threader: middle right in white
For around $3, you can avoid scissors completely and have a needle threader at your side. Not sure you can find any tool better than that.
8) YLI Quilting Thread: lower right in blue
I have heard this thread is no longer being made, but you can still find it around if you live in the U.S. It comes in 1000yd / spool increments and is my favorite. I'm actually not sure what I'll do when I run out...hm....
9) Water soluble pen: middle right in light blue
There are lots of these by various companies out there. I have tried them all and they work more or less the same. Be sure not to iron your quilt while this blue marker is on there or it could become permanent.
10a) Clover Hera Marker: bottom middle, in white
You can use this to mark quilt lines in your quilt by pressing down and making a crease in the fabric. Cotton has a memory to it so for the most part, the lines will stay there until you wash the quilt. That said, you will want to test this out based on your climate, and your quilt fabric. I would not mark an entire quilt this way in advance without really testing that it will stay over several weeks first.
10b) Marketing Roulette: middle left, wood and metal
Instead of a hera marker, if you're looking for really thin quilting lines that last a very long time, and fit well into extremely thin quilt line templates (read, Japanese ones), this tool will do an awesome job. You can also just place a ruler down on your quilt and run this along it to get a thin but lasting quilting line. I got mine from the lovely Maria, owner of Pinwheels (awesome quilt shop).
Ok, so more soon, hopefully on the quilting stitch itself, fabrics to use and not use, and thoughts on basting, binding, and other fun aspects of the hand quilting process.
Hope you find some of this helpful!