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Five favorite quilting tools

If I had to grab some supplies to take with me on a retreat or travel, these five favorite quilting tools would be on the top of my list! I’m not limiting myself to just five, mind you, but these are my go-to notions. Plus, I don’t want to overwhelm you or anything!

Check out my five favorite quilting tools that I can't live without!  I'll give you the specifics of what they are and why I love them so much.

Note: I’ll be describing each notion and giving (affiliate) links for each, but my hope is that you’ll purchase these from your favorite local quilt shop.

Creative Grids Ruler

8 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ Creative Grids Ruler. I am a big Creative Grids fan. I like the the frosted 1/4″ and 1/2″ edges and the numeric markings. All of those numbers can be confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll appreciate the versatility of this ruler. I also like that it doesn’t slip while cutting because of the frosted grip dots on the back. And, it doesn’t grip so much, that I have to lift it in order to nudge it into place.

Creative Grids rulers make the top five favorite quilting tools I can't live without.

I get the most use from the 8 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ size Creative Grids ruler, and if I could have only one size (heaven forbid), that’s the size I’d pick. It’s perfect for cutting strips from a fat quarter and I can square up blocks or squares easily. It’s not too big and it’s not too small.

The other size I use a lot is the larger 6 1/2″ x 24 1/2″ ruler. When I need to cut lots of long strips or clean up the edge of a quilt top, this size does the job perfectly. And then there are the many square Creative Grids rulers that I use and own along with some of their special technique rulers (which will require a separate blog post.)

Olfa Rotary Cutter

I have several rotary cutters, but the Olfa Splash 45mm Rotary Cutter is the one I use most. Olfa invented the rotary cutter in 1979 and they make a great product. The Splash series introduced their quick-change blade system, and it really is easy to change the blade on these. I like the 45mm size for its versatility, but I use the 60mm and 28mm when needed.

My Olfa Splash rotary cutter is one of the five favorite quilting tools I love.

Clover Fine Patchwork Pins

I rely on pins to keep my fabric in position for stitching and my seams aligned. I’ve tried many and I have fallen in love with Clover Fine Patchwork Pins. They are thin, sharp and slide through quilting cotton with ease. The length is just right, too, so they don’t get snagged or caught on anything. They just make my sewing life easier!

Clover Fine Patchwork Pins are the best and part of my top five favorite quilting tools.

I’m also a huge fan of Clover Wonder Clips, but they serve a separate purpose. I’ll save those for my next list of favorite tools.

Magnetic Pin Cushion

I don’t know how I got by without a magnetic pin cushion. This is the trusty companion to my favorite pins (above) and they are always near my sewing machine. I like the Clover Magnetic Pin Caddy because it has a cover so I can easily pack it in my travel bag. I can toss a pin towards the magnetic pin cushion and it will catch it, and if I drop a pin on the floor, it will find it.

I can't live without my magnetic pin cushion which is why it's one of my five favorite quilting tools.

I still love to make and collect cute pin cushions. They will never become obsolete, I just don’t actually use them. They are wonderful to decorate with, though!

Havel’s Snip-Eze Embroidery Snips

The final item on my top 5 list is a good pair of thread snips. (I’ll bet you thought I was going to say seam ripper.) Every time I sew something on my sewing machine, I use Havel’s Snip-Eze Embroidery Snips to clip my threads. These snips are long and thin enough to reach around the back of my presser foot to clip my thread saver (leader/ender), and they have a curved tip that will fit under my presser foot if needed.

Havel's Snip-Eze Embroidery Snips are one of my five favorite quilting tools for good reasons!

They have a squeeze handle that never misses and it’s easy on my hands. Plus, I love how lightweight and sharp they are.

Havel's Snip Eze Embroidery Snips are my favorite!

That’s my go-to list of top 5 favorite quilting tools that I can’t live without. Do you have a favorite brand or type of tool you use in the sewing room? I’ll continue this series with more favorite quilting tools, because we quilters love our notions!

Looking for more favorites? Check out my 7 favorite hand embroidery tools and my favorite tools for machine applique.

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend!

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  1. I love the Creative Grids rulers too. Once I tried them I changed out all my rulers to this brand. My 3 fave sizes are the 6 1/2 x 12 1/2, 3 1/2 x 12 1/2 and 8 1/2 x 24 1/2…but of course I have many more! Thanks for all your great info, Julie.

  2. Hey Julie, I agree with you on the pins. I too love the clover thin pins and offer have several packs on standby. I recently just opened a new pack so I will have to replace that soon. Plus I read about your 81/2 x 12 1/2 ruler I got to get me one of those. I recently had to cut up some blocks and strips that that ruler would have been perfect for. So I will head to my local store soon looking for one. Thanks for the great reading on tools. What is your favourite marking tool. I am at a loss at the moment trying to work out which tool I like the best? Can you help me out???? Thanks and happy Quilting Julie.

  3. Agree with your choices! It is hard to find the really nice extra fine pins sometimes – I haven’t seen the 2″ ones for a while. Some are 0.5.. but the 0.4mm are the best as far as I am concerned. Last ones I got were the 1.5″ ones. Also like the Quilters Select rulers that don’t slip either.

  4. All good stuff Julie!

    I don’t have rulers like yours, just the ordinary squares & rectangles, and it’s a toss-up between my 12″ square and my 17″x 3″ ruler. They’re both VERY useful. I also have a manual Accuquilt cutter and several dies. The 6″, 8″, and 2.5″ square dies save LOTS of time. I have some other dies too but have to acquire them gradually as they are ridiculously expensive.

    I’d like to add 2 items to your list if you’ll allow. I have one of those extending magnetic wands. I think originally they were sold for car mechanics to help find and pick up small metal parts, but they are GREAT for quilters. I don’t care for magnetic pin cushions (sorry!). I’m pushing 70 and my fingers don’t work quite as well as they used to. Magnetic pin cushions make it difficult for me to pick up one pin at a time. Even with the little ‘dip’ in the side. I’m really too good at dropping things and they usually end up somewhere I can’t reach. The magnetic wand is a lifesaver! Swipe it around the floor and there are my pins, needles, snips – whatever metal thingy I dropped. And it will even rescue scissors because it can handle 16 lbs!
    The other item is a lighted magnifier – great for finding the start of a seam when the thread’s hard to see, or finding that blasted bit of thread that’s causing a bobbin problem. It’s lightweight, uses a little button battery and the lights are bright LED. SO useful and I love it.

    Thanks for another great post!

  5. I now use my pincushions. I have arthritic hands so I find it easier to pull a pin out of a pincushion than try to pick it up from my magnetic holder.

  6. I see on the Amazon site there are 2 choices for the snips. A 2020 version and one that says silver. Is there a difference and do you recommend one over the other? They actually look the same with about a dollar price difference. Thanks. I love reading your posts.

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