Its the season of holiday countdowns: You have timed cooking schedules, holiday parties on the calendar, and that quilt you plan to gift in a few weeks? It isn’t even started.
Then you realize you have a gift exchange at guild that you haven’t even thought about yet. Or your family wants to know what’s on your gift list this year. Thats where this list comes in. Every item is under $25 and with prices starting at under $3, there is something for every price point.
Everything on this list (except some items in the “Just for Fun” section) is something that I use in my sewing room, and would love to receive as a gift or find in my stocking.
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Making Your Mark
- For all those marks that you don’t want to see later, Duo Pens are terrific- one pen marks and the other erases with no water needed. An extra eraser pen is always a good choice- the marking pens last longer than the eraser.
- Easy Marking of straight lines with nothing to wash out? Yes, please! A Hera Marker is terrific, especially for small projects.
- Masking tape is perfect for marking straight lines in specific implements. This masking tape comes in a wide range of widths. My favorite widths are 1/4″, 1/2″, and 1″.
- We all know that we should be labeling our quilts (even if we sometimes forget!) I use Micron pens for writing my labels. A set with assorted colors can inspire even more creativity!
- The 4″ Karen Kay Buckley Scissors are my absolute favorite for cutting/trimming appliqué as I sew. The micro-serrated blades help you make super clean cuts exactly where you want them.
- These tiny, inexpensive scissors go everywhere- one pair in my purse, another hooked to the longarm, and yet another next to my sewing machine. They are light enough to wear during a class and surprisingly sharp.
Hold It Together (Temporarily)
- The Magna Fingers pick-up and release tool is a recent favorite tool. The magnet lets you pick up pins (or staples from when I block a quilt) and the release lever lets you drop them wherever you want them to land.
- Sew Tites are great anytime you can’t or don’t want to use pins. I use them mostly for foundation paper piecing and bag making.
- I have yet to meet the quilter that has too many Wonder Clips, and now you can even mix it up with jumbo clips and mini clips. I use them for binding, bag making, and paper piecing.
Hold It Together (with Needle and Thread)
- Large Spool of Aurifil thread- every quilter can use a large spool of white or grey or you can try something a little different- some of my favorite colors are light turquoise, fuchsia, and magenta. These are great unexpected blender colors.
- Bohin needles are my favorites for hand stitching. This pack of Bohin needles has assorted sizes that are great for just about any thickness of thread.
- For burying thread tails, Spiral Eye Needles can’t be beat, but if you are looking for a budget-friendly option from the same company, try Sench needles for a similar thread-burying experience.
- I don’t hand sew without SewFine Thread Gloss. This hand crafted beeswax has divine scents and is made by a quilter in small batches.
- Want perfectly spaced straight stitches? Tiger Tape is a great alternative to marking individual stitches.
- Where do you keep all those bobbins full of thread? Bobbin wrangling is a must- try this Bobbinsaver for most bobbins, and this M Class Bobbinsaver for those larger bobbins
- A starch alternative like Flatter or Best Press almost makes pressing your quilt blocks fun. Almost.
- A mister bottle is perfect for dispensing water, or Best Press/Flatter/Starch alternatives. It prevents that annoying wet spot that takes forever to press dry.
- A wool pressing bar is awesome for pressing seams open
Rulers and Templates and Guides- oh my!
- Quilter’s Select Rulers have great thin, easy-to-read line markings and a translucent anti-slip backing that gives you a delightfully accurate cutting experience. My favorite options for under $25 are the 6.5″ Square or the 3″x12″ ruler which is one of my most used rulers.
- When I bought a set years ago, these circle templates felt like a splurge, but I pull them out several times a year, making them one of my favorite specialty notions. The smaller circles are equally excellent!
- For all those times you want to make your own project-specific templates, this clear heat-resistant template plastic is terrific.
- Pair this Chalk Pounce Pad with a stencil to mark your next quilting project. I use the grid stencils a lot to subdivide my quilting space prior to stitching free motion designs. Ok with spending a bit more for your pounce and stencil set? This larger grid stencil is terrific!
Fortunately, I have never had to limit myself to one ruler for longarm quilting, but if I had to, I would choose the Straight Line Stitcher. It makes it easy to get straight lines, and you can measure from both sides, making it really easy to hold onto.(As of 2023, it appears this ruler is no longer available)
- The Add-a-Quarter Plus rulers are a foundation paper piecing must! I like the set of long and short rulers- I use the long one the most, but the short one is perfect for keeping in my traveling sewing bag. You can also get the 12″ ruler or 6″ ruler separately.
- The Add-an-Eighth Plus ruler is my second favorite foundation paper piecing tool.
- A seam roller can cut back on trips to the iron and is especially helpful during classes and sew-ins. The wooden rollers are my personal favorites.
- Trimming half-square triangles can be a pain, but the Half Square Triangle Bloc Loc makes the process fast and accurate.
- Can you ever get enough of That Purple Thang? It guides fabric as you piece, turns sharp corners, and puts stuffing in its place. Every quilter deserves a new one this holiday season!
- This metal Safety Stilletto allows you to unscrew the tip and screw it back in with the point inside the handle for safe travel and storage.
For the Quilter On-the-Go
- Project bins are great at home, but even more useful when sewing on the go. Look for bins at big box stores (one friend scored a whole set at Costco a couple of years ago), craft stores, or pick up one of these bins that come in a few different colors. I suggest getting boxes at least 13″ square so they will comfortably fit a 12″ quilt block.
- I use my portable cutting mat and ironing surface at home, but it is even better next to my sewing machine at a sew-in.
Gifts from the Hardware Store
- 6′ Ruler for squaring up quilts
- Head Lamp for extra light while sewing or looking at the back of a quilt on the longarm
- Interlocking foam tiles– great for blocking a quilt or place in front of an ironing or cutting table to reduce fatigue on hard surfaces.
Bonus: Just for Fun!
Ruby Star Society Socks(As of 2023, it appears this item is no longer available)
- Half Square Triangle Quilt Block Design Deck
- Cute notebooks for holding your design ideas and doodling quilting motifs. And maybe a few lists too.
- You won’t find an adorable hand crafted pin cushion for under $25, but there are some awesome buttons and ornaments from Fish Museum and Circus that hit the mark.
A needle minder in the Happy Sloth or Rainbow varieties(As of 2023, it appears these items are no longer available)
- Handmade wooden handled seam ripper and stilletto combo
- Curl up with an issue of a really good quilting magazine while you watch it snow (or rain) this season- try Curated Quilts or QuiltFolk for a bit of holiday indulgence.
Do you have ideas for that gift exchange? Now let’s get back to that quilt that isn’t started yet!