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what tools do you use?


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Hi again

I meant to ask this question this morning and forgot about it...until Judy posted a picture of her work with her trays.

I'm just a beginner but everytime I get to my machine I find I'm needing different tools.

Can you all share your favorite tools that you keep right hand while quilting?

I found that besides my scissors, I've needed needlenose pliers, tweezers, a blade screwdriver, canned air, oil, alcohol (haven't had to drink that ...yet..LOL)

I wish that APQS would have included a tool kit with the basics we need to maintain the unit. I did suggest it to them and they said they are working on it for future sales.


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Hi Rita,

I would add a mechanics magnetic bowl. You can get them at hardware stores or an auto store. They hold your pins and since they are magnetic they will stick to your rails. If you can find a Dentist pick they are convenient for getting thread out of your wheels. I would add a convenient trash can that I place at the sides of the quilt for easy thread throw away. Not glamorous things but nevertheless they will make life easier.

DeLoa Jones

APQS rep Michigan


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I have a clean(unused) coffee filter with double sided tape on top of my machine for putting thread clippings. I have hot glued a cardboard tube with the bottom taped off.Put this on one side of my machine not in the way of my thumb wheel or anything where it would be in the way. I put assortment of things of washable marking pens, twezzers, scissors,seam ripper, squeezers, small screw driver for changing out needles. I think quilters get enough walking, so to have these items close at hand we can save a few steps.:P

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One thing I'd like to add is that I throw a small piece of batting over my shoulder and quickly stick the threads I snip to it. Saves looking for the garbage can or cleaning up the floor later.

I also use this when I'm sitting at my regular sewing machine quilting.

I also have a sticky roller (3M I think) close at hand for cleaning up the threads off the top as I'm snipping.


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I have small strips of adhesive magnetic tape on the front and back of my machine. I keep an embroidery needle for burying ends, an extra machine needle and a couple of flat flower head pins on it. At the back just behind the first thread guide I have a small strip of velcro with a wet erase pen attached. It's a quick reach to mark the perimeters of the quilt on the plastic table cover. I also have a 1 1/2 x 12" plexi-ruler velcroed to the side of the machine just in front of the laser post. I always know where that straight edge is for quick crosshatching or straight lines in a block, or for some quick ditching.

My tools are kept in a small rolling cart that I can put right where I need it. I also have extra bobbins, needles etc. on the cart. My WD40, canned air, alcohol etc. are in a carry-tray on another rolling cart under my machine table. I also have a "carousel" thing I got at Staples that holds markers, magnifier, tweezers etc.

Threads go on the floor for a quick pickup after quilting. My shoulder is too sensitive to do the batting on the shoulder trick. I tried that after seeing Linda Taylor do it and paid big time! A quick swiffer on the floor or a "Stick vacuum" picks them up quickly and saves me a lot of time. Reaching to the top of the machine for a coffee filter also doesn't work for me. Too many whiplashes and shoulder injuries.

Whatever works for YOU is the right way to do it! ;)

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My magnetic strip is on the top of my machine and it holds all the ready bobbins.....I don't have a computerized machine, so would ask before I would do that if you do. Not sure if it would effect the computer chips or not.


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These are great ideas that are the result of experience.

My favorites are:

Cardboard tube for my scissors, dental pick for thread in the wheels and

coffee filter for threads.

Thank you for the great ideas.

My tip is: I cut up leftover warm and natural batting into pieces about

4 x 6 and keep a pile of them at both ends of the machine. When it is time

to oil the machine or to clean my rails with alcohol, these batting pieces

are ideal.

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We can pick-up some great ideas here! I love reading these posts!

One thing that I have really found helpful is those little dental flossers.

You know the kind that make it really easy to floss your little childs teeth.

One end has a bit of floss, the other is like a toothpick. That's the end I

use to get into my bobbin case and clean-out the thread path. I have

seen many use a pin to do this, but with this bit of plastic I know I won't

scratch anything. I have been using the same one for a long time now.

I also wear an apron while I am quilting. The pockets hold my little screw

driver for adjusting bobbin tension, my best little snippers, and a make-up

brush for extra tuff fluff cleaning in the bobbin area.

My best thing is have my tool chest right by my machine. A gross of bobbins

in their little boxes fit real nice in those little drawers. In the big drawer I

have put a silverware tray to organize my pens, markers and other little tools.

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I love my Harley Fence and my rulers. I also purchased the circle and oval guides. They aregreat although I haven't used the really big ones yet.

Also the Zippers are the best money I have spent. I plan to order more. Cutting back for a while on my spending. I want to order some CQ designs.

I also love the prewound bobbins by Superior. My honey did make my bobbins easier to wind by putting a tiny hole for the thread so I could hold it when the winding starts. See photo.


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Things I keep on hand.

Screw driver to change needles

Screwdriver to adjust my bobbin case if needed.

A couple of extra bobbin cases.

I keep my scissors on the laser light peg on the top on my machine

A trash can at each end of the machine . They are only a suggestion as I usually miss the can. But get the threads close for easy pick up. I can't do the batting or shoulder thing either. A quick pick up for thread is a toilet bowl brush.

I have a Scissor Spot on my machine (from Darlene Epp) I keep my self-threading needle there.

A 1" paint brush for lint in the bobbin area when needed. I use an air compressor after every quilt.

I use the mechanics magnetic holder or my pins I also keep a pair of tweezers in there.

Flashlight just in case.

a piece scrap of batting (cotton) to wipe anything that need wiped.

Chalks pencils, and a piece of scrap Hobbs 80/20 to wipe chalk off with. If it isn't Miracle chalk.

A tape measure.

Blue painters tape for lots of things.

Template and rulers. Base Expander

Lint rollers I by them by cases from cleanersupply.com for the best price, if you have someone to split with that's great. If not they won't go bad. I also get the comforter bags for returning quilts. The large ones are HUGE. I think I get the 18" ones now.


Pens and paper for designs. Floralphane for designs.

Pigma Brush pens in all colors, very handy


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I don't really have anything to add, just want to say I've gotten a whole lot of good ideas from this thread.

Like Myrna, I keep my blunt nosed scissors on the laser post on the top of the machine and I have a Scissors Spot for a couple of pins and the darning needle I use to bury threads. When I began outfitting my studio, I decided that I never wanted to search for a trash can. I have them everywhere LOL.

Because my room is quite large, I have space to put a 2x4 foot table on one end of my frame and I have a set of rolling drawers with all my bobbins, rulers, screw drivers, etc. on the other end.

I would like to get/build a long narrow table to go under the frame to keep the batting and quilt top (I float it) from dragging on the floor.


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I have found this thread to be very useful as well!

I especially like the tip the Grammie gave about the hole in the bobbin.

I find those bobbins so hard to wind as well. My DH is very handy and I know he'lll be able to fix me up.

My tip is about trash cans..........I use those industrial sized tin cans scattered all over my studio. I've covered them with decorative tissue paper or fabric and modge podge. I usually have one at each end of my table and find them to be very handy.

tammy in Az

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