Free motion quilting:
This is the book that started it all for me! I learned and practiced so many modern quilting designs from this book! I can't tell you how many times I would look at the book for inspiration when I needed ideas for a customer's quilt when I started longarm quilting.
This was the second Angela Walters book I purchased. This one helps with ideas and suggestions for designs to put in a variety of shapes you'll find when quilting a modern quilt. I personally found the section on borders to be the most helpful for me. It's one I still refer to - there are some great ideas in this book!
When I started my longarm business, I told customers they could provide any batting they wanted or they could use what I stocked, which was Quilters Dream. That was a mistake. I wish that I would have made it a requirement to only use this batting! I have carried 3 blends regularly: the Machine Blend (70% cotton & 30% poly) linked here, the 100% poly, the Green batting (made with recycled soda bottles). I've also used their 100% cotton batting which is nice, it just gets more linty than the others. I've LOVED using their wool batting, too - that's usually more of a special occasion batting. I'd recommend any and all of their batts. Also, I wanted to show you a picture of their product by linking here, but as with all of these products, if you have a local quilt shop, by all means, support them and look for these products there!
This tool is always at the ready when I'm quilting at the longarm! You know those pesky dark threads that get trapped under a quilt top? This is like an extremely tiny crochet hook that allows you to enter through the top fabric and fish out the offending thread! Simple and effective. Use caution though, so that you don't make a whole in the top by over-aggressive "fishing". Or grabbing the batting and pulling that through. With a little practice, you'll develop a "soft touch". ;)
These pre-wound bobbins are my boyfriend. I've gotten to the point where I don't even want to quilt without them. Please note: I have a wholesale account set up with Fil-Tec, the makers of these tiny blessings. I also have an APQS longarm that takes these smaller L bobbins (this is more uncommon, I think as far as longarm quilting machines go - more typical is the larger M bobbin size). I usually keep white, black and gray pre-wounds on hand and try to match the bobbin color based on value of the top thread. From all of the options I've tried in both pre-wounds and self-wounds -- nothing beats the consistency of tension I get with these magnetized treasures.
Also worth noting, I usually use Glide thread for the top thread. Before getting to know Glide, I had wholesale account set up with Superior Threads and accumulated a lot of thread that way. I still use on occasion, but my preference is Glide.
I couldn't find this product on Amazon, but the link I have included is from Nancy's Notions. I love my Red Snappers and wouldn't want to quilt without them. Having this system in place ensures you won't have to pin your quilt backing and top to your longarm frame. It's faster and prevents injuries from snagging yourself on pins!
Marking on fabric seems to always cause some sort of anxiety. While it's my preference not to mark at all, it's necessary at times! I love this pencil for marking on dark fabrics. Since it's not an ink, there's no risk of it damaging the fabric or not coming out. This pencil also comes with an eraser to gently erase a line if you make an error or when you're done using the mark. Generally the lines are so faint that I don't need to remove them at all after stitching. The refills are a handy option that'll prevent you from having to purchase another pencil and there are multiple lead colors from which to choose.
And this is my #1 marker for all fabrics light enough for the pink ink to be visible on. Like I mentioned above, I don't ENJOY marking and do it as little as possible, but this marker has never let me down and they last a fairly long time. It does erase with air, so removing marks isn't necessary, but because of this feature, don't mark lines so early that they'll disappear before you've had the chance to quilt/sew.
Patchwork and Paper Piecing
I call this my stiletto, they call it an awl. I sew with mine AWL of the time! 😂
This tool is a MUST for paper piecing! It's an Add-A-Quarter ruler and it is a must. Did I say that already? Full disclosure, I have a yellow one because I bought mine over 10 years ago before they had pink.
I'm including this combo pack here because it's what I would have wanted if I was just starting out. There have been many instances where a 12" ruler would have been handy. You can make a 6" work, but if you plan to do a lot of paper piecing, I would splurge and buy both.
I loved making my recent purple triangle quilt with this ruler! It was fast and easy and fun in a way that I didn't have to worry about anything but playing with and positioning fabrics. In my opinion, that's one of the best parts of quilting!
This is the perfect companion mat to keep close to your sewing machine! I use soooo many HSTs (half square triangle) in my quilts, and this is the perfect mat for trimming those. It's a nasty job (still worth it!), so you might as well make the process as easy on yourself as possible. :)
This is my number one most used ruler. It's a total staple in my sewing room. It once fell on the carpet where I stepped on it, cracking it in half (after YEARS of use). After I stopped crying, I immediately and without hesitation reached for my phone and ordered a new one. The size is so versatile, I love the easy-to-read markings and the slight grip on the underside can't be beat!
Please note, this page contains a gob of Amazon affiliate links. That just means that if you decide to purchase anything by clicking one of these links, I'll receive the tiniest commission for that product (which I'll use to keep this site going).
But please know that I would never recommend anything I didn't use personally or believe in wholeheartedly. Thanks in advance for your support!