Thursday, April 18, 2024

Quilting Tools - More fun essentials

 We're continuing our deep dive look into essential quilting tools for the new quilter.


To put our beautiful fabrics together in a quilt, we need thread. A topic that gets quilters going. Ha! These essentials and their tips are going to be my opinions, but I encourage you to branch out and find what works best for you.

Neutrals for piecing. I like neutrals for piecing because not only do I get to keep my pretty thread for things like applique and extra touches, I can stock up. I only piece in grey. Whether it's dark or light fabric, grey is my go to for piecing, so I buy in bulk. This also means I can wind a ton of bobbins and have them on hand for piecing. Now I don't have to stop every couple of empty bobbins to wind up again.

Bobbins. Don't forget the bobbins! You should get some with your machine, and those are the type you want to stay with. Bobbin sizes vary, and machines like the bobbins they come with. Make sure to check your manual before buying more.


When choosing to use a particular color for piecing you can buy large spools of thread. These large spools are also nice if you are quilting on your domestic (regular sewing machine).

Prewound bobbins are a thing! I have never used them, so I can't give you much information on them, other than to remind you to make sure they are the correct bobbin for your machine.

Extra, Extra

Large spools will obviously last longer between changes, but can cause issues for threading. You can use different household items to help, like cups, or purchase a large spool holder. There are some very pretty spool holders out there.

Bobbin holders are amazing. I love mine because I can wind up a bunch of bobbins and have them right there, ready to use, and not tangled.


Sewing machine needles come in different sizes, based on type of fabric and sewing you are doing. To start with I always used a universal and I never paid attention to the numbers, because I didn't know what they meant.

Here's a quick overview of needle sizes. There are two numbers listed 70(10), 80(12), etc. These are the sizes and they simply represent European(American) sizes. The larger the number the thicker the fabric you can sew. 

For piecing and quilting you can use 70(10) - 90(14), most use the 80(12).


I store my sewing machine needles in a container with multiple compartments that I found on Amazon. It keeps them all in one place and makes it easy to find the right size when needed. You can see I also store my rotary cutter blades in there as well. The compartments are a great size.


If you ask a quilter how many scissors she has, I guarantee you it's more than 1. Can you have too many scissors? Probably, but not when you are in the middle of looking for one.

Scissors with a spring loaded handle are so much easier on your hands, so if you can afford a pair, I encourage you to get one of those. If not, "regular" scissors are just fine. They do need to be sharp though. Contact your LQS (Local Quilt Shop) or sewing machine repair shop to see if they do scissor sharpening.

Snips are little scissors used for clipping threads. They are nice because they are easy to hold and be more precise with your clipping. There is nothing more sad than catching your fabric when clipping threads. They can also come with spring loaded handles.


Lanyards are a great way to keep your snips close by. It's so much easier to have them attached to you than trying to find them under the fabric pieces.

Extra, Extra

Thread cutting tools are clipping tools that stand on a flat surface and are used for clipping threads when chain piecing. Instead of clipping each one with a scissors you just pull the thread down on the razor and it cuts it for you.

Seam Ripper

Ahhh, the trusty seam ripper. It's a love/hate relationship. Every sewing machine comes with a generic seam ripper. They work just fine for those starting out. When you are ready for something different though, a seam ripper with a larger handle is going to be much easier to use. These are also available with ergonomic handles. Seam rippers do get dull, don't hesitate to replace yours when it's no long cutting through thread easily.


There are other tools to use as seam rippers as well. Razors and seam removers can be found at your LQS. It's another tool that you can research and find the one that works best for you.

This is the third article in the Quilting Tools - Essential series. Find the others here:

Week 1

Week 2

See my list of Favorite Tools.

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1 comment:

  1. I'll echo that thought on replacing the seam ripper when it gets dull. I also say the same thing about pins. They can get dull or bent and snag fabric.


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