Today is the first stop for the Whip Up Mini Quilts Blog Tour to celebrate the new book, Whip Up Mini Quilts by Kathreen Ricketson (published by Chronicle Books). I am a huge fan of her craft blog, Whip Up which posts up daily inspirations and all sorts of crafting finds. Whip Up Mini Quilts is hard to put down because it’s pages upon pages of inspiration as well as quilting lessons. The spiral bound book also comes with pattern templates so you can make each of the 20 mini quilt projects featured in the book. If you are itching to learn how to quilt, mini quilts are perfect because with their smaller scale you’ll be able to try out new and different techniques!
For the readers of CRAFT, Kathreen was so nice as to write up her “Essential Quilting Tools” which goes over all the essential tools and materials, as well as set up for optimum quilting.
Find out how to enter the book giveaway and read Kathreen’s list of quilting tools after the jump!
Book Giveaway Time!
Three lucky CRAFT readers will each receive a copy of the book, Whip Up Mini Quilts. Just tell us why you would like this book in the comments. All comments will be closed by Noon PST on Monday, June 7, 2010. The lucky winners will be announced later on the site. Good luck!
This giveaway is now closed. Here are the winners! Thanks to everyone who entered.
Also join Kathreen on her Whip Up Mini Quilts Blog Tour! Here are the rest of the dates:
June 2 – Crafty Pod
June 3 – Chronicle Books
June 4 – Indie Fixx
June 7 – Craft Sanity
June 8 – Hand Made by Alissa
June 9 – My Love for You
June 10 – Film in the Fridge
June 11 – The Haystack Needle
June 12 – West Coast Crafty
Essential Quilting Tools
by Kathreen Ricketson
Setting up your quilting / sewing tools is a gradual process. You don’t need everything at once, but there are so many new and interesting and cool quilting and sewing tools on the market that it is easy to get confused and go a bit mad with buying tools that you many never use. Here are my essential tools + a few nice extras for those just starting out with quilting.
A sewing machine is a must – unless you plan to hand sew. Your sewing machine doesn’t need to be expensive or new, or have a hundred different stitches, but it should be fairly sturdy and run smoothly. If you are planning on buying a new or second hand machine – do your research first, and be sure to test it out. Make sure that you can lower the feed dogs; this is essential if you are doing freestyle sewing such as quilting.
It is important to care for your machine. Take it in for a regular service and learn how to clean and oil it properly. Use the small tool kit (and manual) that comes with your machine (usually a small screwdriver, lint brush, sewing machine oil and tweezers) to maintain it, and change the needle before each new project. Make sure to keep your sewing machine manual handy. (Weeks Ringle has a neat tutorial on cleaning your sewing machine.)
You will need a couple of different presser feet such as:
- Walking Foot: for sewing several layers of fabric; use this foot when quilting straight lines or sewing binding.
- Embroidery or Darning Foot: for free-motion sewing such as stipple quilting or embroidery. Use this foot when lowering the feed dogs on your machine.
Sewing Machine Checklist
Needles: Make sure you have spare sewing machine needles at hand.
Tension check: The upper and lower tensions must be balanced to produce a perfect stitch. If you are unsure about how to measure the tension, check your user manual.
Bobbins: If you are working on a large project, it’s a good idea to fill a few bobbins with the correct thread so you don’t have to stop and start.
Lighting and comfort: Most machines come with a small light above the presser foot, but you will need additional lighting for working. Make sure your work surface and chair are at a comfortable height – to prevent bad posture and avoid a strained back.
Tools to have handy: Pins and a pincushion, scissors for cutting thread,
and a seam ripper are essential to have by your side so you don’t have to
keep getting up to look for things as you sew.
Thread: Use high-quality thread to keep your machine running smoothly. Cheap thread will break easily and often, and leave behind lint in your bobbin tray – you will have to clean it out more often.
These tools are the essential basics you will need to get started on quilting and sewing projects.
- Hand-sewing needles and a thimble in a variety of sizes and types
- Scissors: small, sharp scissors, a really good pair of fabric scissors and a pair of utility scissors
- Seam ripper
- Iron: the key to creating professional-looking projects
- Rotary cutter
- Cutting mat
- Quilting ruler
Extra tools and Products
If you want to experiment with new techniques and go behind basic piecing, here are some extra tools and products you might like to have on hand.
- Embroidery or hand-quilting hoop
- Bias tape maker
- Quilting gloves or finger grips
- Fabric marking pens
- Tailors chalk
- Freezer paper when ironed clings to fabric and leaves no residue, it is useful for appliqué, templates, and stencils.
- Quilt basting spray is a quick and effective way to baste your quilts.
- Fabric glue can sometimes be used in the place of pins – especially useful for applique.
- Double-sided fusible webbing fuses fabric pieces together when pressed with a warm iron – very useful for applique.