The Learning Center - Hosted by Pat Sloan

Hi everyone! It’s Michele here for today’s Learning Center post on not so basic quilting tools. I asked several quilting friends to recommend their favourites and have give-aways for a few of them too. Karen from Sew Many Ways is also sharing a few of her most popular DIY tools. See also, last month’s post on Basic Quilting Tools.

One of my most favourite tools is my June Tailor Shape Cut Ruler. I’ve had mine for a few years now and use it quite often. I have the 12″ ruler with 1/2″ increments, though I know they make other variations of it too.


Here’s a video showing how it works:

While not really a tool per se, here’s Pat Sloan’s recommendation… pretty and organized! These are wooden spools from textile factories.

pat sloan binding

On to the recommendations from other quilting friends…


One quilting tool that I feel every beginning quilter should own is the Angler 2 by Pam Bono Designs. I find it very helpful when stitching diagonal lines for half square triangles etc. I have had mine for years and use it all the time.


We have two give-aways for the Angler 2 below.


My recommended tool is a Stiletto. It helps keep your seams accurate when your fingers can’t do it for you.



The two tools that I just love are the Fons and Porter binding tool


and the Wacker Seams Perfect. You can find this at most quilting shops. I just listed this particular site so you can see it.



The Kwik Klip is one of my favourite gadgets. I use it to open and close the curved safety pins I use for basting. If you are still opening and closing by fingers only, you have to try this out. So much less stress on the little muscles in your fingers and hands. Made a huge difference for me.

kwik clip

Michele’s note: While I rarely pin baste anymore, I do love this tool too when I do.


Does a stencil count as a quilting tool? I’m saying yes because this stencil helps make perfect HST (Half Square Triangles) patches. Visit Kitty’s blog to see the tool in action and Sunday Best Quiltworks for photo tutorials and a video.


We have a give-away for a set of four stencils below.

Lesley Carruthers

I have been a quilter for over 30 years. And all this time I have struggled with 1/4 inch seams. I have even purchased the 1/4″ foot for my last two sewing machines. My seams were just too large and I would never get that “scant” 1/4″ seam that many patterns call for. My finished blocks would never be the size the pattern said they should be! And then last month, I headed away on vacation and came home with a Perfect Piecing Seam Guide.

Perfect Piecing Seam Guide

This little guide is phenomenal and immediately corrected my piecing problems. I blogged about too.

Perfect Piecing Seam Guide

Rebecca L. Ruth

I can’t live without my Gypsy Gripper. I have arthritis in my wrists and it really saves me a lot of pain when cutting with a rotary blade and holds the ruler steady.

Gypsy Gripper

Also got to have my Machingers Quilting Gloves for free-motion quilting. Helps again with the arthritis pain but grips that fabric and moves it along so much more easily.

Machingers Quilting gloves, all worn out

Michele’s note: I love these gloves too; they’ve made a huge difference to my free motion quilting. We have a give-away for two pairs below.

I love my Clover chaco liner. The white one always brushes off of fabric easily and it’s so much easier to use, in my opinion, than a marking pencil or marker. It glides right over the fabric.

Clover chaco liner

One more thing that is absolutely worth the $199 purchase price in amount of back pain saved — the GROLAND kitchen island from IKEA. What is a kitchen island good for in the quilting world?? It is the perfect height for a cutting table so that I’m not bending over to cut but standing upright. Not too tall, not too short. Just perfect. It’s made of unfinished birch which gives it a nice crafty feel, in my opinion, and it has a sturdy shelf and hanging rails. Totally amazing.

IKEA kitchen island

Melissa Dunworth

My first suggestion would be a hemostat – can’t tell you how many tubes I have had to turn for various reasons over the years and since buying a hemostat on amazon last year I am in love! It is a snap and good for lots of other uses too if you get inventive with it. You can get them in lots of different sizes – which is useful depending on how long the tube is you are trying to turn. I prefer this to a lot of other tools because you pinch the fabric instead of hooking it which can lead to snags.



Michele’s note: I need one of these!

My second suggestion is still my all time favorite tool – the Easy Star and Geese Ruler. I use it ALL THE TIME!


Here’s my Fancy Flocks quilt I made with it and a link to a tutorial I did too.

Fancy Flocks

Michele’s note: I love this ruler too!

Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the ever useful Purple Thang!


Karen – Sew Many Ways

Karen from Sew Many Ways has a really fun series on her blog: Tool Time Tuesday. Her ideas are both clever and creative and I often ask myself “Why didn’t I think of that?”. I asked Karen to share a few of the most popular DIY tools that she’s featured on her site.

Hi, my name is Karen from the blog Sew Many Ways. I want to thank Michele for inviting me to join in on the fun. She asked me to share a few posts I’ve done on my favorite quilting tools…beyond the basics. I thought the best things to share for sewing and quilting are design walls, pincushions and thread holders.

I’ve done several different kinds of design walls over the past few years. Click HERE to the post that has all the tutorials for the ones I’ve made so far. Below is a picture of one that is made with pvc pipes and it’s portable too!


Pincushions are another essential in my sewing room. I love them and they are easy to make. Click HERE for the link to all the pincushion posts…they’re not your usual pincushions! Below is one of many to make for yourself…it’s from a chicken feeder!!


Thread holders for hand sewing are a must too. This post was one of my first when I started blogging over 3 years ago. Easy to make and inexpensive too. A necklace thread holder! Click HERE for that post.


Thank you again for letting me participate in such a fun project and thanks for stopping by my blog too. There are lots of other helpful tips and hints, so feel free to browse around!

Take care,
Sew Many Ways


The Angler 2

The Angler 2

The Angler 2 is a plastic quilting template that fits every sewing machine. It can be installed and reinstalled in minutes with a few pieces of painter’s tape. Make up to 7 3/4″ squares. It eliminates the necessity of drawing or pressing diagonal seam guide lines and is very accurate for chain piecing. After a bit of practice, it cuts piecing time in half! See the demonstration videos on our site.

I have two Angler 2 templates to give away.

Sunday Best’s Original Half-Square Triangle Stencil


Half-Square Triangle Stencil – No more cutting and marking squares! You can make 32 perfect half-square triangles in 15-20 minutes. Just pin, mark, sew, press and cut. Minimal waste of fabric and no paper to remove! See our demo on YouTube.

The give-away is a set of 4 stencils: 1″, 1-1/2″, 2″, and 2-1/2″ finished sizes.

Machingers Quilting Gloves


Machingers Quilting Gloves are specifically designed for machine quilters. They are lightweight and form-fitting. The have fully coated fingertips for excellent grip with less resistance and drag on fabric. No coating on palm allows skin to breathe in cool comfort. They are made of nylon knit.

I have two pairs to give away.

How to Enter the Give-Aways

Leave a comment below sharing your favourite Not So Basic quilting tool. Include a link to the tool if you can find one. Additionally, indicate which of the three tools being given away above that you would love to win. One comment/entry per person. Winners will be randomly selected next Wednesday, April 11th 2012.


Congratulations to …

#144 Carla G. and #51 Gene Black won the Angler 2
#98 Shari won the triangle stencil pack
#44 Rhonda H. and #55 Kathy won Machinger gloves

Thanks to the sponsors for the lovely prizes. Winners, check your inboxes for a message from me.

Recommendations: Not So Basic Quilting Tools
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145 thoughts on “Recommendations: Not So Basic Quilting Tools

  • April 5, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    I would love to win the angler 2! It would make HSTs so much easier without all the marking.

  • April 5, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    I loved reading about all these tools! I’d particularly enjoy winning the Angler 2.

    A tool I’ve been using a lot lately is my orange Frixion marking pen, which I find makes marks that easily disappear when ironed.

  • April 5, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    I would love to win the half-square triangle stencils…. I do a lot of half-square piecing and have never tried the stencils. I look forward to winning those, if possible. Thanks..

  • April 5, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Painters tape is my non-traditional, favorite quilting tool. I use it for a correct scant 1/4 seam. Strait line quilting guide on the material, tape things to my wall so I don’t forget to finish them. But my fave use is a wadded up ball of the tape (that keeps building) to catch all those little string pieces when I am trimming or picking.

    I have been eyeing the Angler 2 for some time, but the gloves are on my list to try too.

  • April 5, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    I love Spiral Eye self-threading needles, which are perfect for burying machine-quilting thread ends. They’re made in the USA. The thread goes into the eye at the side, not at the top like other self-threading needles, so they stay threaded!

    There’s a cheaper Chinese-made version advertised on TV – don’t get those!

    I’d like either the gloves or the Angler 2.

  • April 5, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    I have a chaco liner and LOVE it. Also, a purple thang, which I thought was a joke until I tried using it. :) Both very useful.

    If I were to win, I think the Angler is something I would like to try. A lot of triangles find their way into my quilts.


  • April 5, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    I have just discovered the Clover Hera Marker & I think it is fantastic but I think a blunt butter knife would do much the same job of making an indented marked line. These tools all sound amazing, I’d love an Easy Star & Geese Ruler to help me with star & geese blocks. Thanks for the lovely giveaways.

  • April 6, 2012 at 12:51 am

    Would love the angler…

    My favourite tool is my bent tweezers – use them all the time, turning things, threading machines, etc….

  • April 6, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Another favorite tool of mine that isn’t listed above are my pin point tweezers! These have come in handy when trying to remove stray threads after seam ripping.

    I would love to play with the Angler 2. Thank you Michele for such generous giveaways and the shout out :)

  • April 6, 2012 at 1:05 am

    I would love to try the Angler 2, every time I see it I look twice, LOL. Thanks for the opportunity. One of my favorite “not so basic” tools is painter’s tape. It can mark a repetitive line on a ruler, or when I am cutting multiple pieces for a project it is easily written on to remind me what is what…when laying blocks out I can label rows or individual blocks…I really find I use it quite a bit!!

  • April 6, 2012 at 1:13 am

    One of my favorite quilting tools is the Accuquilt GO! Baby and the 2.5″ strip die. I’m sure I don’t need to post a link to it. I didn’t think I would use this die when I got it, but boy does it do the trick! I’d love to win The Angler 2. Thanks for the chance.

  • April 6, 2012 at 1:31 am

    I don’t have any gadgets per say but couldn’t’ do without my fine embroidery scissors. I reach for them continuously.

    I would love the angler 2 if I am lucky enough to be selected.

  • April 6, 2012 at 2:05 am

    My future favorite tool is going to be the stilleto, i just use anything i can grab like the point of small scissors, a long pin, tip of a seam ripper.

    I would find the Angler 2 very, very handy!!!!

  • April 6, 2012 at 2:15 am

    I use needle-nose pliers all the time instead of tweezers. I find they give me a much stronger grip on tiny threads or pieces of fabric caught in feed dogs or other difficult spots.

  • April 6, 2012 at 2:26 am

    Tool I’ve been using a lot lately are Frixion marking pens, they have it several colours, light or dark .They make a very fine line , which could be used in embroidery too, and then disappear when ironed. Would love to win Angler 2

  • April 6, 2012 at 6:27 am

    I need the Angler 2. So many of my projects that I’m working on right now would be easier with this tool. I love my magnetic pin holder. It travels around the house with me depending on what I’m doing at he moment. I just sweep it around to pick up any pins I may have dropped. If I didn’t my little dog would find them and another trip to the vet emergency room would be in my future.

  • April 6, 2012 at 6:32 am

    I love the macjingers glove & the angler. I have them both & use them all the time.

  • April 6, 2012 at 6:45 am

    My favorite tool is my homemade sewing board. I took a sheet of plywood covered it in padding, cotton, then flannel. I put it on my ironing board and have a very large surface at the perfect height. I balance one end on the back of chair for balance.

    I would love the stencils. All of mine disappeared in my move to south Texas yickes

  • April 6, 2012 at 7:13 am

    My favorite tool would be the June tailor ez stip ruler that you had as the first tool. I have gone through 2 of them already , not because they are poorly made – they are sturdy , I just use it so much. Tip- Joanne’s carries them so you can use a coupon or get it when the quilting supplies are half off.

    I do alot of free motion and would LOVE to try the gloves.

    Thank you for all these great tips!

  • April 6, 2012 at 8:20 am

    One of my favorite tools for quilting is painter’s tape. I use it many ways. Use it for straight quilting lines. It can be repositioned & used quite a bit before it loses it’s stickyness (is that a real word?). Does not leave a residue on the quilt. Also for doing HSTs & diagonal piecing on bindings. Line up a piece with your machine’s throat plate needle hole. Then place the edge of your fabric right on the line. Perfect every time!

  • April 6, 2012 at 8:41 am

    I would love to win the Angler 2 – I do heaps of scrap quilts cutting little triangles and this would be very very handy.
    My favourite tool is a bit strange – I use a round stiff toilet brush to brush over my carpet near my machine and it picks up every bit of thread (and other little things like pins that I might drop).

  • April 6, 2012 at 9:26 am

    One of my favorite not so basic quilting tool is the Hera Marking Tool. This is just one site that you can get it. I have used this little tool for marking quilting lines for both hand and machine quilting. I love it!

    I would love to win the Machingers Quilting Gloves. Thanks!

  • April 6, 2012 at 9:44 am

    I am afraid that all my tools and gadgets are basics :-( This list is so informative – I feel like I need them all!!

    If I were lucky enough to win, I would love any of the prizes but the Angler 2 and the gloves would be at the top of the list. Thanks for the chance to add to my pitiful tool collection!

  • April 6, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Would love the triangle stencel. I love my l/4″ papaer piecing ruler.

  • April 6, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I like the Genie bobbin magic things too, but I make my own by gluing two notebook hole reinforcers together. How’s that for unusual tool that is cheaper and easy to access?

  • April 6, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I have something for stencils, the more the merrier. So, I would love to have this one to my little collection!!!! Thanks for the chance.

  • April 6, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Of not already mentioned, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE by Creative Grid rulers!
    (I didn’t know how to create a direct link…)
    I wish I could sell these, I use mine all the time!
    I would love the triangle stencils, this is a great idea!
    Thanks for the giveaways!
    Take care, Leslie

  • April 6, 2012 at 11:33 am

    I have many of those tools and agree with the comments. Instead of the seam wacker, I use a rubber mallet-gives nice satisfying ‘thump’ and my husband made me a Kwik clip by putting a screw into a dowel and then cutting off the head. Works perfectly.
    I don’t have and would love, the Angler or HST template. Much watch the video on the Shape cut as I have it and have never used it. Great article, thanks

  • April 6, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I love the angler 2
    I use it for all my half sq triangles

    I would like to win the gloves as my new challenge is to master
    free motion.

  • April 6, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I love my angled tweezers. They aren’t high tech, but they serve as a stilletto or tweezers. 2 tools in one. I can use them to line up points and seams, hold the end of the fabric as I’m piecing and pull up strings for snipping. I have mine right next to my seam ripper and scissors for easy access!
    I would love to win the stencil!

  • April 6, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I am sooooo new to quilting that I don’t know what will be my favorite tool as I don’t have any. I read, take notes as to what others use and why. I would appreciate any of the tools offered if I happen to be picked. Then I would jump up and down shouting “my first tool!!” lol

  • April 6, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I think I would like the half square triangle stencil. I use my long hemostat the most. My pair is very very long and I can do alot of things with mine.

  • April 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    This list of great tools is really informative. One of the tools I recently purchased was an Eleanor Burns flying geese ruler (small size). I needed to make quite a few of the flying geese and this ruler really helped me. Also, I have used my Kwik Klip frequently and I know why this tool made the list – what a help when you are pin basting! Thanks for the chance to win a cool tool.

  • April 6, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    One tool no one talked about is lighting. I have a OTT-LITE standup lamp sitting right next to my sewing machine. Thanks for the giveaway. To cool.

  • April 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I would love to win an Angler!
    I recently started using Machingers, they are great.

  • April 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    As I want to learn how to FMQ, the Machingers are my choice. My not so basic tool is an oval lap hoop for hand quilting and marking a quilt top. I also use a combination of helpers for getting the fabrics smooth when making a quilt sandwich: my late father’s quick release clamps that he used for wood working (easy to use with my hand issues), large binder clips from office supply, and an old-fashioned portable garment cutting cardboard. I can get a straight edge using the grid on the cardboard, and use the binding clips to anchor the fabric on one end of the cardboard. Then as I pull the quilt smooth, can use those quick release clamps . Whether I pin baste or thread baste, this combo works. I can lay it out on a bed and I can sit in a chair to baste. Plus, if I don’t finish – I can move it intact!

  • April 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    I have to say the Shape Cut is also my favorite tool, I have worn out some of my slots cause I use it so much. I think the Angler looks like a pretty handy tool to have.

  • April 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    I’m getting back into quilting after a 40 year lapse and loving all the new gadgets! I think the stencils would be a wonderful additon to my arsenal but I like all of the hints and tools mentioned.

  • April 6, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    I would love to try that triangle stencil. I saw one years ago but couldn’t find where to get one. Thanks for sharing! And thanks for featuring my favourite gadget, the Kwik Klip.

  • April 6, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I’m learning free motion quilting and my favorite tool just became Pat LaPierre’s Queen Size Supreme Slider.
    It’s a wonderful, wonderful tool and she is a great teacher. I’d like to win th machinger gloves. I’ve used them and they’re great.

  • April 6, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    My favourite tool is my Gingher 4″ Featherweight thread clippers. I’d be lost without them.
    I would love to win The Angler 2.

  • April 7, 2012 at 12:24 am

    My favourite tool is for when I am pin basting. I use a teaspoon to help me when I’m pushing safety pins through the quilt sandwich. It works like a charm and you always have one in the drawer!
    My other favourite tool is my lip balm when I’m free motion quilting as I always end up licking my lips when I concentrate and they get sore. Its the first thing that goes on when I start!
    I’d love to win the Machinger gloves. I have a pair and I love them!

  • April 7, 2012 at 7:59 am

    What a great list of tools! My current favorite is Clearly Perfect Angles, a tool similar to the Angler, but it is a vinyl cling so much easier to remove when you have to change the bobbin. I would love the stencil or the gloves if my name comes up! Thanks for the reviews and the giveaway.

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