Read these 11 Tools for Quilters Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Quilting tips and hundreds of other topics.
If you are a machine piecer, it is especially important to change sewing machine needles frequently. A dull needle will drag on your fabric and may pull your seam allowances out of line. Machine quilting through batting dulls needles even more quickly--be sure to change needles after each project.
Threads of all types have a grain to them. To cut down on those annoying knots, you should be knotting the end of the thread closest to the spool. If you will remember to first thread the eye of your needle onto the uncut spool of thread, then cut and knot the freshly cut end, you will save yourself much frustration.
This tip will work for threads of all types, including embroidery floss.
To make your pins and needles smoother and drag-free, stick them in a plain bar of soap when they are not in use. The soap will prevent rust and the needles will glide through even multiple layers of fabric and batting. Keep the paper wrapper intact to catch the inevitable soap chips that come from repeated use of the bar of soap.
Be careful to avoid pins when using your rotary cutter. Hitting a pin will surely cause a nick in the blade and your cut will not be perfect. The damaged blade will not cut wherever the flaw has occurred to dull the blade. If you drop your cutter, be sure to check the blade for nicks.
The needles commonly used for hand quilting are called 'betweens.' They are available from several manufacturers and in a range of sizes. Sizing is done using numbers. The larger numbers are given to smaller and thinner needles. Experiment to find the size that you find most comfortable.
When rotary cutting, it is important to have your holding hand near the cutting hand to keep the ruler from slipping. If you are holding the ruler in place at one end and cutting at the other end, the ruler can
slip. Also, if your arms are tired from too much measuring and cutting, it can lead to inaccurate cutting that you will have to fight when you sew the patches together. A way to avoid arm fatigue is to do two projects at once: one cutting and one quilting or machine piecing. Then, when you start to tire, you can switch to the other project.