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Unconventional Quilting Tools

Summary

18 fabulous quilting tool ideas that can help you work your quilting projects. Quilting Contessa covers these unconventional quilting tools right now!

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Unconventional Quilting Tools

Not all the tools we use during our quilting projects are conventional. Quilting Contessa explores some fascinating alternatives you can use today!

Unconventional Quilting Tools

 

Chopsticks

These great little wooden tools are very helpful to “poke” out corners when turning stitched shapes.

Chopsticks

 

Binder Clips

Those little (or not so little) black and silver colored clips are a great way to hold seams together that you don’t want to pin and they also are great for holding bindings in place for your quilts.

Binder Clips

 

Magnetic Tray

These little bowls or trays are commonly found in automotive departments. They can be quite helpful to hold straight pins and safety pins near your workspace, but beware if you have a computerized machine or thumb-drive as the magnets can be quite powerful and may erase the memory in your devices.

Magnetic Tray

 

Telescoping Magnet

This tool can also be found in the automotive section of many stores. Some even have an LED light. They can be great when you have lost your needle or pins on the floor and you can just swish the telescopic magnetic tool back and forth over the furniture or flooring to help locate the illusive items before you get stuck!

Telescoping Magnet

 

Flashlights

Flexible flashlights that wrap around things can be quite useful in your quilting studio to add extra light in just the right places. Sometimes they can wrap around your machine or even stick to it, other times you may want to wrap it around a curtain rod to light up your workspace.

Flashlights

 

Sandpaper

Sandpaper can be used to hold your fabric still while you write or draw on it. Or small dots of sandpaper can be glued to the back of rulers to help hold them in place while you are cutting.

Sandpaper

 

Gardening Gloves

Gardening gloves with rubberized palms and tips can be very useful when free motion quilting to help you move your quilt around more easily. They can also be useful when trying to get a grip on a stubborn needle when hand quilting through thick seams.

Gardening Gloves

 

Vodka

Now I know you probably will not find this at the local quilt shop! But, some recipes for pressing sprays use “cheap” vodka. Others find it particularly helpful to “loosen-up” before free motion quilting.

Vodka

 

Pool Noodles

Yes pool noodles those foam noodles that children and adult alike use to float around a pool are great for quilting. You can purchase a new one and wrap your quilt around it for transport so that it will not get creases. Some machine quilters also wrap their quilts around them to keep the excess fabric controlled while they are working on the other side of the quilt.

Pool Noodles

 

Rubber Finger Tips, Tweezers, Needle-Nosed Pliers, and Hemostats

Some of us have a hard time getting used to thimbles or have dexterity issues that make pulling needles through fabric more difficult and rubber finger tips can help. When those are not quite strong enough, tweezers, needle-nosed pliers, and hemostats (traditionally used for surgery) can be used.

Rubber Fingertips

 

TV Tray Tables

They are not just for eating any more! Wooden TV tray tables can be covered with batting and ironing board fabric and used as an extra pressing surface, or just a staging area beside your sewing machine. They are fairly inexpensive and a great take-along for additional workspace at retreats also.

TV Tray Tables

 

Design Walls

Design walls can be fairly pricey when purchased for their intended use, but there are less expensive options. A flannel-backed tablecloth pinned or taped (with painters tape) to your wall will hold your blocks in place so that you may move them around and get the design just right. Another option is to purchase a piece of foam insulation and cover it with batting and flannel. This is a more “permanent” option if you have a dedicated stitching space.

Flannel-Backed Table Cloth

 

Light Table Option

If you don’t really have space for a dedicated tracing table, you can always just purchase a component. Removing a leaf from your dining table, place a lamp underneath the opening, and then place a piece of plexiglass on top, and like magic, you have an instant light table that is great to use to trace your patterns.

 

Graph Paper/Freezer Paper

These papers are great to draw out new designs and color them in to see how your block will look after stitching.

graph paper Freezer Paper

 

Parchment Paper

When you want to protect your work surface from pressing sprays, adhesives, etc. Parchment paper can help you keep your work surface clean and dry. It can also act as a pressing sheet when in a pinch.

Parchment Paper

 

Last But Not Least…

 

Don’t forget to purchase a great extension cord with a surge protector. Our irons and machines can call for a lot of power, and we just have to protect them whether at home or on retreat, don’t forget the surge protector!

surge Protector

 

Have fun and happy stitching and – don’t forget the candy!

Candy

 

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Glossary

Batting
The layer in the middle of a quilt sandwich between the Top and Backing layers consisting of wool, polyester, blends, silk, or cotton.

Same As: Stuffing, Filling, Wadding, Filler
Block
The basic unit of a quilt top, usually square but can be rectangular or other shapes. Blocks can be pieced, appliqued or plain.
Flannel
A soft fabric which can be made from cotton, wool or synthetic fibers. It is usually loosely woven and slightly furry and is very warm. It's tendency to ravel makes it a very good fabric to use for rag quilt.
Free Motion Quilting
Method of quilting where the feed dogs of a sewing machine are lowered or covered and the quilter controls the movement of the fabric under the needle.
Hand Quilting
A running stitch that is made through all three layers of a quilt to hold them together.
Ironing
Moving a hot iron while it has contact with fabric. Often ironing can stretch and distort fabrics and seams. A better alternative is to press, where you just lay the hot iron down and lift straight up from the fabric.

See Also: Pressing
Pressing
Picking a hot iron up off your fabric or quilt top and then putting it down in another place to remove the wrinkles. When you press your fabric, you do not slide the hot iron.

See Also: Ironing
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Quilting Contessa
Quilting Contessa is a collection of various authors around the world that have submitted articles for the QuiltingHub 'How To' quilt wiki.  These are authors that do not write enough to have their own authorship, yet provide valuable content for the site.  If you wish to submit an article, contact us on QuiltingHub.
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