In the beginning

Posted by Jeannie Fuller on

What you need to get started quilting really isn't as much as you would think.
So don't go buying every little gadget and gizmo you see thinking they will make me a better quilter.
Ask me how I know? Honestly quilting is all about accuracy and once you get this down pat you don't need gadgets to make a beautiful quilt.
Now with that said there are things that you do need to get started and we will take them one by one.
Sewing Machine- Any basic sewing machine will work. I started with an antique Singer and used it for a long time. I then bought a Singer from Walmart for about $80.00 and still have it. I use it for applique since you need the blanket stitch, satin stitch or a  zig zag stitch.
I have since invested in a Brother PQ1500SL for about $500.00. The biggest reason for this is the throat space. The space between the needle and the machine is called the throat. The larger the throat the bigger the area for quilting a quilt in. Piecing can be done on any machine but if you plan to quilt your own quilts you will need, at some point a larger throat area. If you plan to send your quilts out to be quilted then you won't need to worry about this.
Rotary Cutter & Self Healing Mat- You will need these even if you say your going to only use pre-cuts. You will still need to sub-cut those pre-cuts.
What does that mean? It means you will have to cut those 2.5 inch strips into smaller pieces to make the blocks.
What size and brand you get is completely up to you. They will all work for you. I'm sure you will see tons of opinions on which one to get, but in all honesty they are only saying that they like the one they have.
I have always had, and like Olfa, but that doesn't mean that other brands won't work. Look at sizes and pricing. I started with one of the smaller mats. They can be pricey. Start with a smaller one to see if this is something you will stick with. Then you can buy a larger one down the road.
Scissors & Thread Snips- Again there are all kinds of scissors and thread snips out there. Find what works for you. I use the thread snips at the sewing machine for snipping the thread while piecing and scissors for all other cutting jobs.
Seam Ripper- We all make mistakes. This is life and those who act like they don't well it's just that - an act. Beginner's are made to feel bad because theirs didn't come out perfectly.
This is hogwash because no one is perfect at quilting. You will need to rip out your stitches and start over more than you can ever know. Everyone does it but not everyone admits to it.......Don't let them make you feel bad.
Rulers- You will need different types of rulers, but not as many as people make it seem. I use a 6 x 12 & a 6 1/2 x 24.
These I use for cutting fabric. I use the smaller one for subcuts and the longer one when I'm cutting wider or longer pieces of fabric. I've tried tons of gizmos for cutting the perfect 2.5 strip or the perfect this shape or that shape and I have found that my rotary blade, a mat and these 2 rulers are all I need.
Well that and a couple of weights to hold the end of my ruler while cutting. Did I mention Accuracy? You don't want that ruler to move on you while cutting because then you get a wonky strip, square or whatever your going for.
I use the cutting mat to measure and you will hear people scream that you can't do that! Well I'm here to tell you that you can. It's what the marks are there for. I've used my mats for years and my cuts have never come out off because of an old cutting mat.
Steam Iron- A good steam iron doesn't have to be expensive. Any steam iron will do the job. You want to be able to dry iron your patchwork to get it straight and then give it a little steam to set it in.
Keep the plate clean and free of debris or you'll find it marking up your patchwork.
Some like cordless and I thought I would too and bought a Panasonic 360. While the cordless part was great, it didn't give me the steam I wanted so I'm back to using a corded for the steam.
There is something so satisfying about hitting that steam button.....You know what I mean?
There you have it. the very basics of what you need to quilt. It's not a lot really.
Give me your thoughts, comments and questions. Do you feel there is another must have item to be able to quilt successfully? Let us know in the comments below.
 
 
 
 

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