Updated: Nov 14
Tori McElwain from The Quilt Patch by Tori
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I love giving gifts - practical gifts. Pretty and practical gifts! I have several quilter friends and family that I struggled to find gifts for last year. So, I did some research and created a list!
I decided to share some of the biggest hits, and things I have asked for, to help any other struggling friends out there looking for practical ideas to get your favorite quilters or to send to your significant other!
This blog post does not have any affiliation. I am writing it in hopes that I can reference this list later and hoping my husband can take a hint! I am also assuming you're good at "Googling." This is an inspiration list for you to get ideas flowing.
Gift card to a Local Quilt Store:
Gift cards are generic, but a gift card to the local quilt store can be a wonderful gift for a particularly particular quilter! If your local quilt store does not offer gift cards, consider a homemade (or computer made!) card with a "shopping spree day at [enter local quilt store here] for $[enter amount]". Not only is it a wonderful quilt-themed gift that shows you want to support their hobby/possible fabric addiction, but it can also be a chance to spend an afternoon with your friend or family member!
Practical Ideas - Not Specific to Quilters:
Lighting - Many sewing machines or rooms do not offer adequate lighting for quilting. Check out their space/machine. Sticky Light Strips can stick right in the throat of a sewing machine and add amazing light. A book light is great for hand binders/quilters, a bendable standing lamp or tabletop lamp can be wonderful! If you live with a quilter, consider changing the bulbs in the lighting fixtures, or dare I suggest....changing the lighting fixture itself (did my husband make it this far??).
Phone Stand - I have 2 ideas for this one as well. One is so they can watch or listen to their favorite shows/audiobooks/ podcasts etc. as they sew (for those quilters without access to a TV viewing)
The second is if your quilter likes to record their progress and share it. A phone stand that can bend and present different angles would be very handy for their social media fans!
Cups/Thermoses/ Mugs with a LID - Does your quilter have a drink of choice they like to have as they sew? I love having all of my drinking containers with lids when sewing - just in case! My favorite is a mug that is shaped like a coffee cup with a lid. I like to have hot drinks since I tend to sew in the early morning and the evening. Lids prevent or at least slow down spills and prevent threads from falling into the drinks. Bonus points if you can find themed containers!
Color Catchers - When you wash brand new fabric, dye can run and “bleed” together. Color catchers are little sheets you put in the washer with the brand new unwashed fabric to “catch” the dye. These are a life-saver and can definitely be used by quilters and non-quilters with brand new clothes!
Practical Ideas - Specific to Quilters:
Quilters use up their essential tools fairly quickly or because we may not use them often they deteriorate slowly and we may not notice that a tool needs replacing. If possible, take a look around their supplies and see if you notice any of these items that need replacing. If you can't tell, these make great gift basket items as well!
Cutting Mats - Cutting mats come in a variety of sizes and a few different shapes. The most common size is 18" x 24". If you can't see the numbers on a cutting mat or there are permanent lines scratched into a cutting mat, chances are they may appreciate a new one. If their cutting table happens to be huge, or smaller than the mat, consider a larger mat or a smaller mat. They even make rotating mats that are super useful for trimming!
A good pair of scissors OR getting their favorite scissors sharpened - Scissors! We love scissors - themed scissors, huge scissors, curved applique scissors, little unicorn scissors - you name it! Some scissors may need to be retired to paper scissors, but others can be sharpened and made new again! Check out their scissors. If they only have 1 or 2 pairs, chances are they may appreciate a new pair. If they have a used favorite pair, chances are they could use professional sharpening!
Quilting Gloves - There are two kinds of gloves I am speaking about here. One prevents the rotary cutting from slicing your hands (or your quilty friends/family members hands) while cutting fabric. The other are silicone dotted/lined to help quilters grip their fabric while quilting. Both can be excellent gifts! Bonus points if they have their favorite color or a fun themed fabric.
Foot Pedal Stopper (for lack of a better term) - Most quilters use a pedal when sewing and it tends to slip back and back and back. Imagine trying to drive a car like that! Having something that stops that pedal from slipping backwards is wonderful and maybe something they haven't put much thought into fixing. There are so many available, but keep in mind what kind of floor they quilt on - Carpet? Hardwood? Linoleum? Tile?
Other useful supplies quilters use frequently:
Quilters Notebook - quilters write notes, redo math, need to keep track of their fabric choices and names and even like to sketch quilting designs or quilt patterns! I designed the Quilter Notebooks just for that! It's pocket sized and has easy to use dot graph pages! Plus, they are on Amazon and ship FAST!
See them below:
Needles - typically needles that are size 90/14 or 80/12 or even 75/11 - these are universal needles and machine quilting/embroidery needles. Many come in packs of mixed sizes. Unless your quilter friend has a specialized machine, these needles are great for any sewing machine and will be used up happily!
Chalk Pencils/Marking Tools - Chalk marking pencils, water/air soluble pens, fusion markers, even tailor's chalk, etc. We use these in a variety of colors to help temporarily mark fabric for piecing and even for testing out quilting designs! They get used up or they dry out (except chalk).
Bobbins - I can never have enough bobbins. However, if you don't know or can't subtly find out the brand or kind of machine your quilter family member or friend has, this gift maybe tricky. Consider a bobbin thread keeper or bands like these, that can help bobbins stay neat between uses.
Rotary Cutter or replacement blades - Rotary cutters sometimes need replacing, rotary blades need replacing even more often. It's a tool used very often. The most common size is 45mm and any rotary blade will do.
There are also some new designs coming out for rotary cutters (feel free to search "ergonomic rotary cutter") and they even have "electric scissors" or electric rotary cutters if your quilty friend or family member has any health concerns with their hands/arms/shoulders/upper backs. Another alternative (that is pricey) is to look into cutting systems such as "Accuquilt Go!" that are made for fabric cutting.
Special Straight Pins - All quilters have straight pins. However, glass head straight pins (they can be ironed!) or fun straight pins that have shapes, animals, buttons, or even numbers at the top can be a fun - and useful - gift!
A Quilt Box Subscription
I am sure you have seen box subscriptions floating around online. Many fabric designers and virtual fabric shops offer Quilt Box Subscriptions as well! A good place to start is to look up a designer you have heard your quilty friend or family member talk about. You can also find more generic Quilt Box Subscriptions for beginners, fabric enthusiasts, hand quilters, modern quilters, etc.
If You're also a Quilter/Sewer or Feeling Confident:
Thread - Thread can be tricky if you're not a person that uses thread. However, quilters tend to have a particular favorite. Mine is Madera 100% polyester thread in large cones. My mom's is Glide for her Longarm. A friend of mine swears by Aurafil. How do you know? They have TONS of it in all different colors - sometimes organized or thrown all over!
I also will use Gutermann universal thread if I need special colors quickly, department stores (like JoAnns) usually have this brand on hand. If your quilter doesn't have a favorite brand, I'd pick Gutermann universal or what your local quilt/fabric store has on hand; that way it can be replaced or returned. As for color, neutrals are used the most: greys, white, black, beige. You can also glance at what colors are low and replace those.
New Favorite Ruler - Many quilters have a favorite ruler! Mine is a blue lined 6" x 18" ruler. It has a crack down the middle, but have I replaced it? No! I love it! If someone thought to buy me the exact same ruler, I'd be over the moon! (Here's a hint for my husband!)
Does your quilter have a well worn favorite ruler? Consider replacing that one ruler with the exact same one. The brand and measurements should be enough information to find the same one. If they're not ready to part with it yet, it's still great to have an extra handy when it goes missing for a day or in case it may also crack down the middle.
Batting - If they quilt their own quilts or projects, chances are they love batting. Ask or take a peek at their stash to see what kind of batting they may prefer. Most common batting is 100% cotton or an 80/20 blend of cotton and polyester. My go-to brands are Warm and Natural or Quilter's Dream. If you notice they like to make a lot of white background quilts, bright white batting would be perfect for them! If they love making black background quilts, black batting is also available on the internet!
Precut Fabric or Solid - 100% Cotton Fabric - Many quilters use up solids quickly or don't think to include them in their stash. Again, some quilters have preferences here. My go-to are Kona Solids. Bella Solids are my second, but I have ways of using everything! Grab a fat quarter pack or 4-5 colors in 1 or 2 yard cuts with matching thread for a fun bundled gift. Neutral colors are also fairly safe here: white, greys, black, beiges or utilize your local quilt store and their most purchased colors.
Does your quilting friend or family member have a favorite fabric designer? Have you heard the name "Tula Pink" or "Bonnie and Camille" or even "batik" often? Getting a precut pack (Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, Charm packs) can be an excellent way to give them a go-to start with their favorite designer. Also consider gifting the fabric with some matching thread!
Specialty Materials - Are they an avid embroiderer? Hand quilter? Longarmer? Just bought a brand new serger? Many specialties have specific materials that are used often and can be great gifts! Again, check with your local quilt shop to see their suggestions. Here are a few ideas:
Longarmer: Machine Oil, small scissors, batting, rulers/new pantographs
Embroiderer: stabilizer - all kinds - wash away, tear away, permanent stabilizer, etc. Curved scissors to cut close, machine embroidery threads, thread organization stands/boxes, embroidery club subscriptions?
Hand quilter: needles, thread, hoops, batting, lights - like a book light to help them see where ever they sit (also see Lighting above!)
A Handmade Gift
Grab their favorite color(s) or fabric designer and make a handmade gift!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
project bag (I offer a free pattern here)
table top trash can
armchair thread catcher/supply holder
Any more ideas? Let me know! I'd be happy to update this list!
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