What can you give a quilter that will make her eyes light up this holiday season? That can be hard to guess at if you’re not a quilter yourself. But fear not! This list of 21 tools, fabric, and other must-haves takes the anxiety out of giving holiday gifts to quilters.
(If you’re a quilter who wants to give advice to would-be gift givers, just click the button below to download this list, print it out, circle your favorite items, and hand it to anyone who wants good suggestions for what to give you.)
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Stocking Stuffers ($20 U.S. or less)
Wonder Clips, $11.53. These handy little clips do a lot of the same jobs straight pins do, but they don’t prick your fingers! I use them for piecing and binding. Wonder clips come in several different sizes. My favorites are the red ones, which are the perfect size to hold binding in place for machine stitching. Machine quilting gloves, $9.01. Fabric is surprisingly slippery when you’re trying to guide it under the sewing machine needle. These stretchy, lightweight gloves from Machingers have sticky fingertips that help you grip your fabric and keep control of how it moves. I use mine almost every time I sew. While they are especially useful for free-motion machine quilting, you can also use them to make piecing and straight-line quilting easier. Calendars for Quilters. You can find calendars that feature beautiful quilts in a variety of different formats. Here are two of the most popular:
- 12-month wall calendar, list price $19.99, includes mostly traditional pieced quilts. There’s a beautiful quilt for each month, plus a booklet with instructions for actually making the quilts from the calendar.
- Weekly engagement calendar, list price $15.95, that includes quilts in a wide variety of styles.
LED sewing machine light, $14.55. It’s a law of nature — there’s never enough light to see where you’re sewing! These LED strip lights with adjustable brightness stick to the inner surface of your sewing machine’s throat and throw a bright light right where you need it, on the area around the needle. Men of Quilters book, $14.95. This hilarious little book of 40 seriously handsome men saying laugh-out-loud funny things about quilts, fabric, and quilting makes a great gift for Secret Santa exchanges or a prize at guild meetings. Quilters’ Coffee/tea mug, $14.95. Every drink tastes better when you’re drinking from a cup that makes you laugh. Sewing machine service and repair tools, $14.99. Sewing machines need regular maintenance. Everyone who sews will use this set of two stubby screwdrivers, lint cleaning brush, and tweezers to pick out threads that get caught in the bobbin area. Thread Stand, $9.99. This humble tool is a real money-saver for quilters who sew a lot and use a lot of thread, because it lets them use the more economical large cones of thread instead of small spools.
Medium-Priced Must-Haves ($20-125 U.S.)
Travel iron, $23.99. Lightweight little irons are popular with quilters who go to retreats or take classes away from home. This one from Steamfast has a quick-heat water tank, a no-stick plate, and a two-year warranty. Dual voltage means you can use it wherever you go around the world.
Quilter’s Sweatshirt, $30. Walk around in a sweatshirt that shows the world how much you really, really, really love quilting. Comes in four colors and women’s sizes S-XL.
Bobbin winder, list price $40. A freestanding bobbin winder saves you from one of the most annoying sewing experiences: running out of bobbin thread, then having to stop in mid-seam, unthread the needle, thread the bobbin winder, wind a bobbin, and rethread the needle before you can sew another stitch. With a free-standing bobbin winder, you can thread a new bobbin without having to rethread your machine.
Wool pressing mat, $18.99 (small) to $47.49 (large). Take your pressing to the next level with a felted wool mat that helps you get your blocks really, really flat. Wool pressing mats are a hot trend in quilting for good reason — they make the time you spend pressing more effective.
Slotted cutting ruler, $66.49. Can’t cut straight to save your life, but can’t afford an expensive die cutting machine either? You’ll love this supremely useful cutting tool. A slotted ruler has a set of pre-measured slits where you insert your rotary cutter. As you cut, the slot guides your ruler so your cut lines are perfectly straight, even when you cut multiple layers of fabric. The ruler’s multiple slits make it easy to cut several strips or squares without having to reposition the ruler. I have tested out a number of different slotted rulers, and the Creative Grids Stripology XL ruler is my all-time favorite. It is large enough to cut fabric right off the bolt. It has lines at half-inch intervals to make it easy to cut shapes of any size, and it is made from durable material with a pebbled no-slip back. Try it, and you’ll find yourself using it for more and more of your cutting and trimming.
Kaffe Fassett fat quarter fabric collection, list price $65.95. Collection of 20 fat quarters from one of quilting’s favorite designers.
Tula Pink fat quarter fabric collection, $73.99. Collection of 18 of designer Tula Pink’s most popular quilt fabrics.
Aurifil Thread Collection, $77.95 This assortment of nine premium 50-weight, 100% cotton threads includes all the neutral colors a quilter needs to piece just about anything. Aurifil threads are also good for machine quilting and machine embroidery.
Celtic brass thread cutter pendant, $87.11. Quilters are always cutting threads. This pendant is a beautifully easy way to be ready to cut a thread at any moment without having to carry around a pair of scissors.
Leaf-shaped sterling silver thread cutter pendant, $105.87. A thread cutter pendant with an elegant leaf design she can wear every day.
Grand Gesture Gifts ($350+ U.S.)
Unwrapping one of these gifts will make any quilter’s holiday or special day an unforgettable occasion. A quilter will treasure these tools for many years to come.
Accuquilt Ready. Set. Go! cutting machine, $359.99. You can use this machine to cut a whole quilt’s worth of strips, squares, triangles, tumblers or other blocks, and applique shapes in a small fraction of the time it would take to cut them by hand. This set comes with dies and accessories you need to get started cutting right away.
Accuquilt Go Big machine, $459.99, is a larger, electric-powered version of the Accuquilt cutter. It’s perfect for anyone who does a large amount of cutting, wants to cut larger fabric pieces, or has hand or arm pain that that makes hand cutting difficult.
Janome Memory Craft Horizon sewing machine special edition, $1999.00. I have been sewing with an earlier model of this machine and know it is a work horse with just about every bell and whistle a quilter dreams of, most importantly a large 11″ throat that fits bulky quilt sandwiches with ease, plus a large library of decorative stitches, stop/start button, speed control, automatic thread cutter, needle threader, built-in walking feet, and much more.