For those of you completely new to patchwork and quilting perhaps you might be interested in how to get started with the very basics. I am rather new myself so it’s all fresh to me and I’ve learned what it’s possible to do with simple tools. At the beginning you just don’t know if you are going to love it or hate it (perish the thought) but no need to spend out lots of cash unnecessarily, until you’re sure.

Let’s get started with tools. If you have sewn anything at all before, you are bound to have a selection of hand sewing needles & threads and dressmaker’s pins already. And surely everyone has a pair of scissors too. Unfortunately, we have irons and ironing boards whether we like it or not – and once you start quilting, these will be constantly set up and hardly ever used for shirts!!

This is already enough equipment for simple hand piecing and quilting – so far, nothing to buy! As time goes on you will doubtless get choosy about your thread or your scissors, I know I have, but there is time for all that!

Handwork can be very enjoyable but machine piecing and quilting goes a lot faster and some people simply prefer this. Obviously, you will need a sewing machine (the most expensive outlay by a long way) and a selection of suitable machine needles and thread. Check out Barnyarn’s guide to needles and threads Whilst it is possible to manage with scissors, I believe that a rotary cutter and mat are close to essential. Otherwise it is very difficult to cut with anything like the neatness and accuracy needed for piecing. Check out this blog by Carolyn Gibbs for a good guide to rotary cutting. I plumped for a Fiskars rotary cutter with a 45mm blade and an A1 size Ansio cutting mat but there’s a huge range out there to choose from. A wide selection of quilting rulers is available and, in time, you will doubtless amass a small collection. My first ruler purchase was a 6 inch x 24 inch by Omnigrip which continues to serve me well.

Below is a list of basic tools as discussed above with the addition of the dreaded seam ripper. This is not absolutely essential but jolly useful if any unpicking is required!! Look out for part two of Getting out of the Starting Blocks which will be a Basic Overview of Materials.

List of Basic Tools

• hand sewing needles & threads

• dressmakers pins

• scissors

• iron & ironing board

• sewing machine

• machine needles (eg 80/12 Microtex Sharp)

• threads (eg Aurifil 50 weight in beige or grey)

• rotary cutter & mat

• quilter’s ruler

• seam ripper