Pins and Thimbles
It is really important to have fine and sharp pins when quilting, as if they are too thick, too dull or old they may leave pin marks (holes) in your quilt fabric which could be visible when then quilt is completed.
Pins are used to hold pieces of fabric together while pressing, sewing or tacking. The most common type of pin is the glass head pin as they are thin and sharp which means they pierce the material easily and are simple to use.
There are longer pins available which are a great tool when temporarily attaching a number of layers of fabric together or holding the quilt in place for tacking or basting.
Safety pins can be used instead of tacking or basting. They provide a quick and simple solution to holding the quilt sandwich together whilst quilting. If you are machine quilting it may be easier to tack as the pins may be bulky and difficult to sew over using a footer.
A pin cushion is a quilters best friend as they hold all you pins close by and prevent you from dropping them on the floor or leaving them lying around where you can accidentally prick yourself later down the track. You can buy pin cushions that actually wrap around your hands which are fantastic when you are taking many pins out or putting many pins in and need to get to your pin box frequently.
Magnetic pin strips are very popular for finding “lost” pins or for collecting pins after you have taken many out and left them all over the quilt top. They are also great for machine quilting. When you are quilting and removing pins quite quickly, you can simply”flick” each pin towards the magnetic strip as you sew over it and it will catch the pin.
Thimbles are also a quilters best friend and once you get over the initial unnatural feeling (which usually takes a couple of hours) they are an almost invaluable tool when quilting. You can quilt without one, however your fingers do tend to get a bit sore and this can often be disheartening.
Thimbles are traditionally made out of silver, however leather thimbles are proving to be very popular as they are very flexible and more comfortable to use whilst still preventing pin pricks! China thimbles are also available however can be bulky and tend to be used as collectors pieces rather than as a practical quilting tool.