Nancy’s Quilting Classroom: 10 Quilting Tools for Easier Quilting

Quilting and quilting notions have changed A LOT since I began quilting over 35 years ago. Back in the day, the only “tool” available to quilters was a good pair of scissors. Now, there are an abundance of tools. Quilters can choose from a variety of quilting rulers, quilting stencils, cutters, marking pens and pencils, glue pens, and more. It’s tempting to purchase each and every new tool, and I’ve certainly bought my fair share. However, I have a few go-to tools that I use all the time to make quilting easier.

Besides my rotary cutter and mat, one of my favorite tools is the Quarter Inch Seam Marker. I use these nifty rulers to mark the ¼” sewing lines on patchwork pieces. This is a quick and easy method for making Half-Square-Triangle and Hourglass units. Plus, I find my units are more accurate when I use these rulers.

Quarter Inch Seam Marker

Here’s a quilting video tutorial showing how to use the Fons & Porter Quarter Inch Seam Marker and create quick Triangle-Square units:


Hands down, my favorite marking tool is a mechanical fabric pencil. The strong ceramic lead is specially formulated for fabric and made from water soluble dyes. This is my go-to pencil for marking lines on dark fabrics.

Mechanical Pencil with Ceramic lead

For squaring up Half-Square-Triangle units, I love using a Bloc Loc ruler. This handy ruler comes in a variety of sizes, but the 3½” ruler is quite versatile. The groove slides along the seam to trim smaller units and allows me to rotate the quilt block without lifting the quilting ruler. Simplify trimming even more by pairing this ruler with a spinning cutting mat.

Bloc Loc 3½" Rulers

Since we’re talking about trimming fabric pieces, I love Triangle Trimmers. I use them in several of my workshops to trim off the “dog-ears” on fabric triangles for more accurate piecing and they can be used on any size fabric triangle.

Fons & Porter Triangle Trimmers

My favorite tool for appliquéd stems and vines is a bias tape maker. The Clover Fusible Bias Tape Maker comes in a variety of sizes, but the sizes I use the most are ¼”, ⅜” and ½”. I used the ½” bias tape maker for the vine in “Granny’s Stars,” featured on the cover of Love of Quilting July/August 2009.

Clover Fusible Bias Tape Maker
Granny's Stars - Love of Quilting July/August 2009

 

I’ve listed 5 quilting tools that make quilting easier, but why stop now? Here are 5 more tools I can’t live without.

  1. Clover Yo-Yo Maker: A quick and easy way to make nicely shaped yo-yos is using a Clover Yo-Yo Maker. The maker comes in several different sizes. I used the extra large yo-yo maker to make the yo-yos in my “Granny’s Stars” quilt.
  2. Clear Fabric Grabbers: Although these aren’t technically a tool, more of a quilting accessory, the transparent dots with adhesive backing make acrylic tools and rulers non-slip, making rotary cutting easier.
  3. Air Erase Marker (purple) : “The Fine Line” air erase marker makes a very thin, bright purple line that vanishes, after a bit, in thin air! Great for marking temporary quilting lines.
  4. Clover Wonder Clips: Wonder Clips are a terrific alternative to pins and have so many uses for sewing, quilting, and crafting.
  5. Fons & Porter Glue Marker:  This narrow glue marker allows for a more precise application. It’s perfect for glue basting fabric hexagons to paper instead of using a needle and thread.

Well there you have it! My top 10 quilting notions and tools that make quilting so much easier! Leave a comment and tell me about your favorite tool that makes quilting easier for you.

Nancy Mahoney, Fons & Porter Guest Blogger

 

Happy Quilting!

Nancy

 

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Nancy Mahoney

About Nancy Mahoney

Author, teacher, fabric designer, and award-winning quiltmaker, Nancy Mahoney has enjoyed making quilts for over 30 years, during which time an impressive range of her beautiful quilts have been featured in many books and in over 180 national and international quilt magazines. Nancy enjoys combining traditional blocks and updated techniques to create dazzling quilts. She doesn’t consider herself a specialist in one particular area, although Nancy’s favorite techniques include precision machine piecing, quilt design, and machine appliqué. When she’s not designing and making quilts, Nancy enjoys traveling to guilds and events around the country, sharing her quilts, teaching her piecing and machine appliqué techniques, and visiting gardens. Visit Nancy on her website, www.nancymahoney.com, for more quilting information and fun!

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