Since it’s “that time of year” I thought I’d update my list of Favorite Gifts for Sewists and Quilters. I’ve added a few new things this year. One day I want to have the powers of Oprah to just hand out free samples of each to one and all, but alas, I’m not there quite yet. Maybe one day.
I’ve been a quilter for sometime now and I worked in a local quilt shop for about 7 years. I always loved helping quilters and/or their bewildered deer-in-the-headlights loved ones pick out gifts at Christmas. So I thought it would be fun to create a list of gifts perfect for quilters. This doesn’t just apply to the holiday season, but could be a good resource year round, or a subtle link to send to those you love who need suggestions for just the right gift for you. (wink, wink)
I have included items in all different price ranges in case you’re looking for that one great thing for someone special, or a nifty little gift for everyone in your quilting guild. (Some of these links are affiliate links.)
Handmade gifts: It’s hard to beat a handmade gift. These are just a few little suggestions of handmade gifts – some simple, some more complex -for quilting friends. A cute zipper pouch is always useful to anyone. There are lots of great zipper pouch tutorials. One of my favorites is Anna from Noodlehead’s open-wide zipper pouch tutorial.
I also love Anna’s Divided Basket pattern – I’ve made a few this year. It takes a little more effort but the results are so great, and the more you make, the faster they come together. I LOVE mine – it helps me feel so much more organized to have a place to keep all my supplies together.
A friend recently sent me some of these awesome numbered labeling pins. I LOVE THEM for keeping track of quilt rows, pieces, etc. and they make an inexpensive but VERY useful gift. There is a tutorial for making these quilt row markers here. Another simple and easy gift is a little pin cushion made from a small rice bowl.
And if you want uber-easy, these magnetic pin dishes are so simple and fast to make and customize – and are so useful. I used little rice bowls from Pearl River Mart for my pincushion and this magnetic bowl. Any Asian restaurant supply store would have an inexpensive variety.
Or a personalized magnetic pin case is also really simple and useful. I love mine so that I don’t have to worry about dumping my pins when I’m sewing on the road.
One of these pin holders with a bunch of new pins (because don’t we all need new pins once in a while) would be a really sweet gift for a quilting friend. If you’re looking for some quality glass-head pins, Westwood Acres has some really nice ones.
Pressing (Ironing) Table – this is a relatively inexpensive and easy item to make from a TV tray and they are SO handy to have right next to your sewing machine. I use mine all the time. I rarely even get out my big ironing board. Oh Fransson has a great pressing table tutorial.
Notions are another great choice and make a great gift because you can find them in a variety of sizes and prices. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
My two favorite cutting tools are the Olfa Splash Rotary Cutterand the OLFA 5-Inch Scissors. I love the Splash because it’s relatively inexpensive, sturdy, and it’s SO easy to change the blade. If you don’t have a good rotary cutter PLEASE give yourself the greatest gift and get one. (My favorite are the Olfa’s.) You will thank me and wonder why you waited so long. (It comes in Purple now too!)
I received my 5″ Olfa scissors at the Sewing Summit one year and have LOVED them. I keep them by my machine, but I also take them with me on the road because they are small and portable, but super sharp and great for cutting fabric.
If you really want to give a nice gift, you can’t go wrong with a pair of Gingher scissors. There’s a reason why they’re the cream of the crop. Small embroidery scissors are another simple, useful gift. You can find a large variety to choose from by searching Etsy.
Seam Ripper. Who can’t use another one of those? I have multiple seam rippers located strategically throughout the house. My personal favorite is the Clover Seam Ripper.
Another cutting mat that has been on my list for sometime that I finally got this year is the Fiskars Rotating Cutting Mat. (Omnigrid has one too.) This little mat is so useful for quickly squaring up blocks. It’s one of those things I’ve lived without just fine for a long time, but I sure do appreciate how helpful it is now that I have it.
Clover Wonder Clips aka Binding Clips. I had heard about these puppies for a long time and finally got some last year. They have come in handy so many times! And my family walks with much less trepidation and fear of a random pin in the carpet after I have bound a quilt. The one thing that held me back originally was the price, but I found them for a GREAT deal on amazon here.
This is called a Wooden Iron. I saw these for the first time last fall at a sewing conference. It’s a tool for quick pressing simple seams without having to get up and use an iron. I don’t have one yet, but they looked so cool – it’s definitely on my wish list.
Design Wall: I love my Design Wall. It’s so handy for laying out projects. Connecting Threads has an easy hang design wall with grommets like mine. There are lots of tutorials for making your own. Here are a couple of design wall tutorials from Ellison Lane, Oh Fransson, and Craft Buds.
Most of these notions are found, not only at big box sewing-supply stores like JoAnn’s, but also at craft stores like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. You can use those weekly coupons to get some great deals on quilting supplies, extra rotary cutter blades, etc. At the same time don’t forget to support your local quilt shop! You can’t replace the expertise and customer service only found in local shops.
Fabric. Who can resist fabric? Precuts or Fat Quarter Bundles are a great option, but for me part of the fun of getting new fabric, is picking it out myself. I recommend Gift Certificates to fabric shops. Pretty much all of the online shops on my side bar (under Sponsors) or your local quilt shop will happily sell you or your loved one a gift certificate. Keep in mind – giving a gift certificate is not a cop out – it’s like giving a present twice. First when they receive it. Second when they use it to pick something they love!
Another fun thing for someone who is just getting started would be a membership in a monthly club from online shops such as Pink Castle Fabrics, Westwood Acres, Duckadilly, or Marmalade Fabrics where they send you a new bundle of fabrics each month. Perfect for stash building!
Another monthly club is from a company called Quilty Box. This is a monthly box that arrives at the door with a different collection of supplies including fabric, patterns, notions, etc each month. Shipping is free in the US. If you subscribe before May 11, 2015 you can get 25% off your first box.
A gift certificate could also be used to take a class, either at a local quilt shop, or online. You can Gift Any Craftsy Class by buying a gift certificate and then let the recipient choose the class that interests them most.
One of my favorite recent gifts was a set of customized quilt labels from Modern Yardage. I’ve always been terrible about labeling my quilts. Now I will actually do it!
Books: There are a myriad of amazing quilting books right now. I really like a versatile book that has multiple good projects to choose from as well as appealing to a variety of styles. Here are a couple of my favorites from the past year.
Quilting the New Classics: Patterns for traditional and modern quilts as well as write-ups about the history of different classic quilts and photos of a variety of them. A great variety of patterns and styles – something for all tastes and just a really pretty book.
Scraps, Inc. This book has 15 patterns for using up fabric scrap and there are SO many good ones. A great bang for the buck.
I also hear Fabulously Fast Quilts is pretty good. 😉
One of my favorite books, and one that is perfect for gifting because it has so many possibilities, is still 500 Quilt Blocks by Lynne Goldsworthy and Kerry Green.
This book is full of inspiration. I bought mine last year and it is still on my bedside table because I love to read it just for the fun of it. I’ve since gifted it to some of my favorite quilty friends, including my mom. I think it’s the perfect gift because it appeals and crosses over to many tastes and styles – whether they’re new or experienced, traditional or modern. It’s pretty like a coffee-table book, but a more compact gift-size.
Quilting-themed t-shirts. I love the selection at Patchwork Threads. Modern, graphic and really good looking. (This is on my Christmas list this year.) Keep in mind that sizes are unisex when ordering.
New for Spring 2015 are these sewing-themed t-shirts from Stately Type. Some really clever shirts! One of these in on my list too!
Many of the things on the list are things I’ve bought or received myself so they get my authentic stamp of approval – no one asked me or paid me to put any of these things on this list.
Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments if you have other ideas of gifts perfect for quilters.