Whenever you use your sewing machine, you make sure (I hope) that it is oiled, dusted, and everything is working right. You know to change your needle regularly, keep bobbins loaded in advance of when you need them, and hopefully how to adjust your tension. You probably know what fabric your machine likes to sew on, and what fabrics make it choke. For my old Bernina, denim is pushing the limits.
When you are a hand quilter, it's every bit as important to know what works FOR YOU. What I use for hand quilting might drive someone else crazy. My thimble won't fit everyone, and I'm particular about my scissors. In fact, some days my thimble fits better than others!
Over the past couple of months, I've been hand quilting this spools quilt on a hoop while sitting in my favorite chair. I've noticed that the thimble I love the most for hand quilt keeps falling off. Now, I've lost about 125 pounds, but that shouldn't cause the tips of my fingers to shrink, should it? So I put a piece of moleskin inside the thimble, hoping that would make it tighter and it would grip my finger better. It did... for about three days. I invested in a new thimble a size smaller. In fact, it's called a "petite" size. I've never been petite anything, but I'll take it! It hugs my finger tightly and doesn't fall off, but the end of it is smaller in diameter, and I'm not sure I like it. I have to keep my fingernails trimmed pretty short for hand quilting, but I spend my days typing, so it's no big deal. I've never been one to get fancy manicures, so it's OK. What I love about this thimble and it's bigger sister is that there is a ridge around the end of the thimble so the needle won't slip when I'm pushing through a seam. It also has little crosshatches in the tip to help prevent slipping. I do NOT use a thimble or anything on my hand that goes under the quilt. I like to feel the needle, and putting anything on my fingers underneath just feels wrong to me.
I use a hoop for quilting most of the time now. It is easier on my back, and in the house we are living in now, I don't have room for my beautiful wood floor frame (made by my master woodworker hubby). But this works for me for now.
I have two favorite pair of little scissors for doing hand quilting. The little gold ones are Ginghers. The other pair is one that I received from a dear friend when my first book was published back in 1985. They are from Italy, and they fold up and fit in a little leather case. She had them engraved with APQ c.1985 (for America's Pictorial Quilts,copyright1985 (American Quilter's Society.)
I keep my thread on this cute little spool holder that I bought ages ago. It keeps my kitty from untangling the thread every other minute.
What tools do YOU use when you're hand quilting? Please share with us what works for you!