Quilting Frames And Other Supplies
Quilting is making a comeback in popularity, as a new generation makes this needlecraft hobby its own. As any generation of quilters gets down to work, they will find that they need some basic quilting supplies on hand.
Quilting Needles And Quilting Thread
These are specialty items, and substituting an ordinary sewing needle and thread for them won't do. Quilting needles are smaller, and they maneuver easily in and out of several layers of fabric at a time. Most quilters can get two or three stitches at a time on a quilting needle, but only one stitch out of an ordinary sewing needle.
Similarly, quilting thread is super strong and coated with wax, so it glides along the quilt pattern without tangling or breaking. Most quilters use plain white thread, but you may want to use dark thread for a special top-stitch effect or if you are "stitching in the ditch" - quilting along the seam lines of a pieced quilt top.
Using a rotary cutter, quilters who use straight-line patterns can cut hundreds of quilt pieces in minutes - work that used to take hours with scissors. A rotary cutter takes the drudgery out of cutting. It is no longer considered a "want," but a "need."
Technically speaking, a quilting frame is optional, but a quilting frame is sure nice to have, especially if you are not stitching in the ditch, but are outlining an intricate quilting pattern on a blank muslin, where every stitch will be exposed to scrutiny. Quilting frames hold the top and bottom layers of fabric, sandwiched around a layer of quilt batting, in place while the quilter does the stitching.
I once knew a woman who loved to sit in bed and watch TV and quilt. Her husband rigged up a large quilting frame that dropped down from their bedroom ceiling via a rope-and-pulley system, so she could quilt in bed. I don't know anyone else who wants to have such an elaborate quilting frame system, but it is nice to have a portable quilting frame one can use to keep the fabric in order and assure that uniform tension is applied to the fabric during the quilting process.
The typical quilting frame for personal home use is a large oval hoop, like an embroidery hoop on steroids, mounted on a stand. The hoop swivels so the quilter can adjust it to their light and comfort needs, and the stand is wide enough so a quilter's knees can comfortably fit between the legs of the stand.