Introduction to Quilting – My Favourite Necessary Tools

After several requests from readers, friends, students and family, I am going to start a series of posts on what you need to know in order to make a quilt. This will include a list of what I consider to be necessary tools, common quilting terms and will end with my basic Sampler Quilt Pattern. I designed this quilt using progressively more advanced blocks to ensure that any of my students are able to pick up a pattern and run with it at the end of our session.

The first thing that is a requirement is a decent sewing machine. You can get a decent machine for a reasonable price. I personally have 3 machines. A Janome QC which is my take to class machine, a Pfaff Grandquilter which is the machine I use to do my quilting and ruler work on. I also have a Janome Skyline S3 which I’ve just ordered a ruler foot and a darning foot for. I’m guessing that this might become my favourite for quilting and ruler work.

I have a few different cutting mats. My cutting table isn’t very large so I use a 24” x 36” mat there. I also have a small 8” square mat that I will use when squaring up small blocks or units. My newest one is a 14” square rotating cutting mat. It is the perfect tool when trimming blocks. Now I just give the mat a spin when I need to reposition my ruler to trim each of the sides of my block. You can see my larger mat in the background of the photo below.

One other item that you will need are pins. My preferred pin is a thin pin with a flat flower head. When you have two pieces of fabric pinned and want to use a ruler to measure or mark your fabric, these pins allow your ruler to sit almost perfectly flat without rocking or shifting.

The next tool to discuss is your rotary cutter. I have a few different ones, but my favourite is this one;

Olfa Rotary cutter

This cutter is ergonomic which helps when my arthritis acts up. I’m able to cut fabric accurately because I get such a good grip on it.

I also have an Olfa Splash 45 mm and the smaller Olfa 28 mm which is perfect for cutting my appliqué pieces.

More Olfa rotary cutters

Scissors do also play a part in my selection of tools. Recently I won a set of Appliquick tools and I have to say the scissors are incredible. the larger two pairs have three finger holes and my hands don’t get sort when I use them for longer periods of time.

The last cutting items to discuss are a seam ripper and a pair of snips. Both of these sit at my machine at all times. I use the snips when I’m sewing to separate the pieces or trim my threads when removing my fabric pieces from the machine. Jack the Ripper gets used when seams are improperly sewn or backwards.

The last tool which is a necessity is a selection of rulers. I really like my Omnigrid rulers. I have the 8 1/2” x 24”, the 6 1/2” square, a 6” x 12” and a 12 Q1/2” square that are used daily. I have also added a few specialized rulers to cut triangles and other shapes but they are not required. The first ruler I purchased was the 8 1/2” x 24” to be able to cut the full width of my fabrics. The next one was the 6” x 12” and then the 61/2” square. With these three rulers I was able to cut all of the shapes I needed for any quilt I wanted to make.

Over the years I have added other tools and gadgets to my collection but could easily get by with just these few items.

That concludes Part one of my Introduction to Quilting. 😉 Carol


Published by Carol Andrews

I have been fondling fabric and creating things with fabric and fiber for as long as I can remember. My children had homemade clothes, blankets, canning and quilts most of their lives. Now I create goodies to share! Hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoy making them! When I am not creating with fiber or fabric I keep busy with Dear Heart, kids, grandkids, great grandkids.

6 thoughts on “Introduction to Quilting – My Favourite Necessary Tools

  1. We have many of the same tools, especially rulers and rotary cutters. I have a 24×18 rotating cutting mat that I love – the little round one wobbles for me. I don’t quilt well on my Janome so my must-have is my longarm!! This is going to be a fun series of posts!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you are collect, but I can always hope you have an “essential” that I haven’t heard of and suddenly desperately need!!

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: