Three Tools that Can Help You Sew Better Quilts
If you like making quilts, these three products will make your sewing time even more enjoyable.
Quilting as a craft, basically the stitching together of layers of padding and fabric, came to America with the early Puritans, who plied their trade to make quilts for warmth at night and to cover windows to reduce cold drafts inside homes. If you thought quilting was a dying art, however, you might want to take a good, hard look at the numbers. An estimated 21 million Americans participate in the hobby, and as the number of quilters continues to grow from year to year, everyone is on the lookout for products to make them quicker and more efficient. Here are three tools that can do just that.
Whether you love to iron or hate it, if you’re going to make quilts, you’re going to spend quite a bit of time pressing fabric, and the more quickly and easily you can do that job, the sooner you can get back to the more enjoyable aspects of the art. A good quilting iron can save you money, time, and frustration as you work on your various quilt designs. Some features for quilters to look for in an iron include a variety of temperature settings, an anti-drip system, pressurized steam settings, and an auto shutoff system for safety. Some specialty “smart irons” automatically deploy a built-in “stand” that lifts the iron off the fabric when you’ve stopped ironing to prevent burns and fires. As for size, large irons are able to press big pieces of fabric fast, but littler ones are good for small pieces and getting into corners, nooks, or crannies.
There are many different types of specialized quilting rulers that can make quilting easier and more enjoyable. As with other crafts, few things are more frustrating in quilting than measuring fabric incorrectly because you don’t have the right ruler for the job, resulting in wasted fabric and time. Grid rulers are usually square or rectangular and used for measuring and cutting pieces you’ll quilt together. Most are non-slip, and nine inches is the most popular size for square rulers. Triangular, square, and half-square rulers are specialized rulers that enable you to cut those shapes. Hexagon and half-hexagon rulers make measuring and cutting easier if you are working on a quilt that uses hexagons. Dresden rulers come in a pyramid shape and are often used for creating wheels and other creative shapes.
The amazing variety of fabrics available to quilters is one of the things that makes quilting so much fun. In fact, the number of materials, styles, and colors is nearly limitless, allowing quilters to make unique creation after unique creation. Different types of quilts require different kinds of fabric, so first you’ll need to determine what kind of quilt you want to make and what pattern you’ll use. The pattern will tell you how much of each different fabric you’ll need, along with how much batting and the amount of backing material necessary to make that particular quilt. Fat quarter bundles are very popular nowadays and consist of a collection of fat quarters from a fabric line packaged together to assist in quilt making. Another popular quilting fabric unit is called jelly rolls, which are collections of 2.5×42-inch coordinated strips of fabric usually consisting of 40 strips. These pre-cut pieces make creating a beautiful, colorful strip quilt much easier than starting from scratch.