Best Useful Christmas or Birthday Gifts for Quilters
Quilters tend to be passionately obsessed with their craft. You know that giving a gift that is related to quilt making will be most appreciated, but how do you find the just the items that your favorite quilter will want and love?
Best Gifts for Quilters
There are all kinds of gifts for a quilt maker that belong on a list of most-wanted gifts for quilters. Supplies and equipment, books, and fabric are top choices.
Quilting Supplies and Equipment
One of the best gifts for a quilter is supplies. The quilter will have the equipment she needs and have money available to buy books and fabric that meets her own tastes,
Quilting requires specialized supplies, and a new quilt maker will appreciate receiving the basic supplies in making a quilt. As quilters use their supplies and equipment, they tend to wear down, and receiving a replenishment of basic supplies will also be appreciated.
Quilters like to cut fabric into shapes just to sew them back again. The basic supplies include a rotary cutter and cutting mat. The rotary cutter is like a pizza cutter. It helps cut through layers of fabric. It revolutionized the quilting industry because it made cutting quicker, more accurate, and more efficient. A cutting mat is used with the rotary cutter to provide a smooth, solid surface for the fabric to rest on while it is being cut. A self-healing mat is necessary. One that is reversible is even better. A large mat is helpful for cutting big pieces, and a small, rotating mat is helpful for cutting smaller pieces.
A ruler is also required to cut fabric with a rotary cutter. The ruler holds the fabric flat, helps the quilter measure the size of the pieces they are cutting, and provides a cutting line. There is a large variety of rulers, and a basic one is shown in the link. A ruler which also has diagonal lines would be helpful for a more advanced quilter who needs to cut triangles. Preferably, a 45-degree and a 60-degree line would add versatility.
Sewing Machine Feet
While quilts can be made by hand, most quilters prefer to use a sewing machine. There is a large number of sewing machine feet that helps making quilting easier. The standard ones are the quarter-inch foot, the walking foot, and the quilting foot.
A quarter-inch walking foot helps make sure that the seams are the proper size when joining many tiny pieces, which ensures that the pieces will fit properly together. A walking foot is helpful in evenly sewing the layers of fabric together, especially when quilting or applying the binding. A quilting foot is also called a darning foot. It is needed for free-motion quilting. When buying feet for sewing machines, you must be careful to buy ones that will fit the machine. The ones in the box below are not made for specific sewing machines. They all state that they will fit standard low shank machines.
For the quilter who likes to design her own quilts, Electric Quilt quilting software is the way to go. She can plan the quilt with the software, and find which color and design choice will work best. The software then calculates the amount of fabric that is needed and provide templates or dimensions of the pieces. The current version is EQ7.
Quilting fabric is probably the most favorite quilter's gift and therefore is required to be on a list of Most Wanted Gifts for Quilters. There is a variety of beautiful fabric from which to choose. Most quilters use 100% cotton. Quilting fabric can be purchased by the yard, which is helpful for backgrounds, backing, borders, and binding. A four-yard piece of a beautiful piece of fabric should work for those functions.
Quilting fabric is also sold in smaller pieces in order to provide a variety. Choose a combination of fabrics that meet your tastes and the quilters or pick up an already prepared pack. Since quilters like to collect a variety of fabrics, many manufacturers will package fabric collections in groups to make them easier to purchase. They will cut all the fabric in a particular collection into a particular size and bundle it for your convenience. They are sold in one-yard pieces (which can get pretty expensive). They also sell the collection in smaller pieces, such as fat quarters (1/4 yard), strips (usually 2 1/2 inch strips called jelly rolls), or squares, usually 10", 5" or 4". Choose the size and collection that meets the tastes of your quilter and your budget.
Amazon does sell quilting fabric. For a better selection, you might want to go to a quilt store, either in person or online. Online shops include Fat Quarter Shop and Hancock's of Paducah and Connecting Threads. Most of the people who work at quilt stores are very friendly and will be able to help you make a selection that works best for you.
If you are having difficulty choosing the perfect fabric, you may consider a gift certificate or gift card to her favorite local or online quilt shop. Many of the shops also have subscriptions that send fabric collections to the recipient on a regular (usually monthly) basis. There are also Blocks of the Month programs that provide a pattern and fabric to complete the block each month. When the program is over, all the blocks are put together to make a quilt.
Books and Magazines
Books make great gifts for quilters and also belong on the Most Wanted Gifts for Quilters list. Since there are so many quilting books on the market, you can tailor your choices to the tastes of your favorite quilter. You can choose fiction books, including quilt mysteries, pattern books, or books that contain pictures of many beautiful antique quilts.
Besides books, also consider individual quilt patterns, calendars, and magazines. With a subscription, your favorite quilter will remember you every time she receives a new magazine.
Calendars also make great gifts for quilters.
One thing that quilters often lack is the space to do their quilting. If the quilter doesn't already have a studio, clearing out a space that she can call her own would be much appreciated. In this way, she can leave out her work and be able to do some quilting for a few minutes each day, instead of having to spend time taking things out and putting them away.
Places to store quilting items, such as drawers, thread racks, and shelves all come in handy. A quilter will need a place to store and display all the quilts that she makes. Quilt racks, and quilt hangers will let her keep the quilts out of the way and displayed in a beautiful way.
Furniture, such as a big solid ironing board, a cutting table, a large sewing table with an ergonomic chair all help make the quilting experience more enjoyable.
There are many small things that quilters use quite frequently, and they don't cost very much.
- Needles, size 11 for hand quilting, straw needles for applique
- Pins—straight pins with flat heads
- Safety pins—curved ones to make it easier to baste quilts
- Fabric markers—good for labeling quilts as well as embellishing quilts
- Cotton thread—all colors, but standard colors such as beige and gray are most helpful
- Seam rippers—a sharp seam ripper makes the job so much easier. I am always losing mine, and they make different types that are ergonomic now too.
- Scissors—doesn't hurt to have a nice sharp pair of scissors
- Beads and ribbons for embellishments
- Freezer paper for applique - this is hard to find outside of the U.S. so be sure to include if you are sending a quilter a gift overseas. This is usually found in the grocery store with the wax and foil paper.
- Photo transfer paper
- Fusible web for applique
- Proper lighting is imperative in picking out fabric, so lamps that with full-spectrum bulbs are necessary investments for quilters. Ott Lite makes a variety of sizes and shapes of lights so you can pick the one that is just right for the freezer.
- Most irons tend to start leaking, so I prefer the cheaper irons that I can replace when they start leaking instead of spending a lot on an expensive iron that still winds up leaking.
As with most things, one of the hardest things to find is the time to do it. There are several ways you can gift time to your favorite quilter. You can simply do some of her chores or make her dinner, so she doesn't have to. Maybe offer a coupon for babysitting or so she can quilt in peace.
Another option is to purchase a spot at a quilt retreat or a quilting cruise. This will allow her to get away and quilt her heart out.
Other Great Gifts for Quilters
Besides quilting supplies and equipment, books, and fabric, many other items can be purchased for quilters. She might appreciate an antique featherweight sewing machine, or a new top of the line embroidery machine, or a long arm quilting machine. Since quilters tend to give away their quilts, a digital camera can come in handy to document the quilt before it is given away.
Since quiltmakers are passionate about their hobby, they would love to receive any item that is useful in their hobby. They would especially like one of the items from this Most Wanted Gift for Quilters list. Choose one or several that meets your tastes and budgets, and your quilter is sure to be pleased.
© 2011 Shasta Matova