There are so many great quilting tools, notions and gadgets out there, and I love discovering new and useful ones. I am often asked about my quilting technique and I am happy to share with you just some of the notions and gadgets that I like to use.
Walking Foot and Quilting Guide
If you are keen to try straight line machine quilting, investing in a walking foot for your machine will make for a much better quilting experience. A walking foot is an attachment for your sewing machine that helps, together with your built-in feed dogs, grip and feed through the layers of the quilt evenly, thereby avoiding puckers. A walking foot is available for most sewing machines. More information on why a walking foot is a quilter's best friend can be found here.
I also use a quilting guide that attaches to the walking foot. A quilting guide is a bar that acts as a guide to set precise distances between one quilting line and the next (by measuring distance from the needle) and therefore ideal for quilting parallel lines.
When quilting parallel lines I start quilting in the center of the quilt. I use a Hera Marking tool (made by Clover) to mark the first straight line on my quilt. This nifty little tool is great for marking lines directly on to fabric, and is often used for creasing sharp lines on applique. Thanks to Lurline for pointing me in the direction of this tool. I will then continue to use the quilting guide for the next few parallel lines, but will use the Hera Marker to mark a quilting line every now and again just to ensure the lines are still running nice and straight.
I have also been known to use a Chaco Liner (Clover) which is a pen style powered marker, that does leave a light chalky residue on the quilt. I have had great success with the white marker, leaving no noticeable marks on the quilt.
My new ruler - (Note to self: Don't stand on it!)
There are a number of different size rulers that I use when rotary cutting or marking lines on quilts. All have one thing in common though. I am left-handed and use left-handed rulers. They are the same as a standard right hand ruler, however, the numbers on the ruler go for left to right which is just so much less frustrating for me. Most of the ruler manufacturers do take into account the needs of both left and right handed quilters, you just need to know that these products do exist.
I use only 100% cotton thread when quilting, and have tried out both Gutermann and Aurfill thread. Both are strong, durable, and come a huge range of colors. However I often use a neutral thread for quilting, such as a beige, light gray, or white, which blends in well with the wide variety of fabric colors that I use in my quilts.
I hope this information is useful and that you too will have a go at quilting your own quilts on a domestic sewing machine.