Here are some of my favorite tools that I use for quilting. This list covers the basic tools that a beginning quilter needs to get started making beautiful quilts.
1. Scissors. Good scissors make such a big difference. I'm left handed and have a pair of Ginghers true left handed 8" shears. I've had these over 10 years now and they are wonderful. If you're left handed, you've got to try true left handed scissors. You can actually use scissors without hurting yourself!
2. Clippers. The little thread clippers I have right now are small orange Fiskars ones. I need to replace them because they're dull and getting duller. Anyone have any favorites to recommend?
3. Pins. Get some pins and a pincushion. You probably won't need to pin every seam in every quilt, but sometimes pinning is very important!
4. Rotary cutter. I use a 45 mm Olfa rotary cutter.
5. Self healing mat. I have 2 mats--the first one I bought is 12x18 inches and my big mat is 18x24 inches. Sometimes it's nice to use my smaller mat for small projects, but if you could only have one, I would get the larger size. These go on sale often at JoAnn's; don't pay full price!
6. Ruler. You need a good, sturdy acrylic ruler to use for cutting straight lines while rotary cutting. My first ruler for quilting was 3x18 inches. It's been broken for a while. I also have a 1x6 inch ruler which is useful for trimming very small quilt block pieces and great for other craft projects too. My main ruler nowadays is 6x24 inches and I think this is the best size.
7. Iron and ironing board. Get a good iron with steam. Frequent pressing is important while piecing quilts!
8. Curved safety pins. These are great for pin basting the quilt sandwich--I baste mine on the floor with the backing smoothed out and taped down.
9. Kwik Klip. This tool helps close the safety pins used for quilt basting quickly and without breaking fingernails or hurting fingertips.
10. Quilting gloves. These make it easy to grip and move the quilt sandwich while free motion quilting.
11. Computer/internet. Where else would I get all kinds of great information about quilting, from news about upcoming amazing fabric lines, to inspirational quilts and project tutorials on blogs? I also used the internet to get information about a certain basic quilt block I wanted to make earlier this year.
That's it! Did I forget something? What quilting tools can't you live without?