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"Below you’ll find ‘more than you ever wanted to know’ about my favorite materials, but please remember that I also think it’s fun to work with what you already have!" - Heidi Parkes  

The minimal materials needed for this quilt:

  • Fabric for your quilt top
    • Natural fibers (especially cotton) are the easiest to work with, but I’m very open to experimental options too!  I love incorporating repurposed fabrics from domestic life, like napkins, towels, lace, clothing, curtains, tablecloths, and bedsheets.  *Please use caution with bedsheets, some with a high thread count can be hard on your wrist to pull through, so test them first.
    • You’ll need a base fabric to applique on to.  Your quilt top can be any size, but 2x2’ to 6x6’ is a good size range.  I often like to buy wide yardage in cotton muslin, and sometimes I hand dye it with food scraps like coffee, tea, avocado peels, or onions skins.
    • You’ll need a variety of fabrics to applique with, have fun with small and experimental items.
    • Any colors are good, natural dye, prints, solids, neutrals, bright colors, etc!
  • Backing fabric, slightly larger than the front, a single cut or pieced together.
  • Thread, I like slightly thick thread best, so even embroidery floss will work, or a double thickness of sewing machine thread.  You’ll see my favorite threads later on.
  • Quilt batting, enough to make the size quilt that you want.
  • A sewing needle that works with your thread (one pack of my favorite needles will be mailed to students)
  • A scissors
  • A thimble, to protect your fingers while sewing
  • A needle puller/rubber gripper/rubber thimble
  • Pins (straight, applique, safety, any will work) 
  • Safety pins, for basting. 
  • A heavy book (about 5lbs) to create tension while quilting
  • Embroidery hoops, 4”, 6”, and/or 10”
  • Tracing paper or tissue paper
  • A bit of cardboard, thin, from a cereal or crackers box
  • An Iron, and ironing board/surface.  A tiny iron is fine.
  • Aluminum foil (optional)
  • A cutting mat, clear ruler, and rotary cutter (optional)

Specific Materials:

Part of the joy in this class, is that we will be embracing the materials that we already own.  So long as you have fabric, a needle, thread, and a scissors- you’ll be just fine.  That said, it is enjoyable to know which materials I like and why. Also, you may be able to get many of them from Amazon Prime, or JoAnn’s drive through pick-up, and that’s a lovely option to have.

Many of these items are on my Amazon Shop page,

***If you have any trouble with these links, just copy and paste them into your browser.


There are many brands of pearl cotton that work well. A few examples are: DMC, Anchor, Valdani, Finca. I usually use size #8, but sometimes go for the smaller #10 or #12. This is found in the embroidery section at craft stores, but there are lots more colors at your local quilt shop or on-line. I like DMC size 8 the best, and think it’s the strongest and most durable, and there are SO many colors! I buy mine from the source at DMC. 16 colors are easily available at JoAnn’s. 

I also use crochet cotton. This is widely available at craft stores in the yarn section.  ‘Aunt Lydia’s’ is a popular brand, but it is also made by DMC and Michaels, and I have no strong brand preference. Most crochet thread comes in size #10, and that’s what I use most often.

Sometimes you can find similar threads on big spools intended for weaving. This is good too! This is thicker thread, requires a larger needle, more skill to thread, and a little more muscle to pull through the fabric. But, it’s more visible, and very beautiful. There are 37 colors at JoAnn’s, but don’t get the metallic ones, they’re very hard to work with.


I use the 3 smallest needles in this Dritz Milliners pack- depending on the size thread I’m working with. The thin needle head, length, strength, and sharp point are all ideal. I love these needles.

 I like to bind with 3 of these ‘wonder clips’ by Clover. Just buy the small 10 pack, it’s all you need.  

 **We won’t use these for our framed quilts


Safety pins are sometimes useful for piecing, and an important part of binding a quilt.  I like these ‘normal’ ones from Dritz, without a fancy bend in them, at 1&1/16”. Long straight pins are very helpful for piecing. I like these Dritz yellow dipped quilting pints.

 Applique pins are a revelation! So amazing, and a great investment! I like these Clover pins with the ‘dipped heads’ since they’re easier on my fingers, and easier to see. 


I love the Clover Protect and Grip Thimble! I used to use a hard metal one from Dritz, and over time it gave me nerve damage in my finger, and I had to go Occupational Therapy. It’s better now, but the pressure that it put on my finger wasn’t worth it.  Get a ‘soft’ thimble. There are also wonderful leather thimbles out there.  I have long thin fingers, so the ‘small’ Clover thimble is the right size for me, found on my Amazon shop page. JoAnn’s carries the medium and large size.

Rubber Grippers:

Used to wrap my sore fingers in Band-Aids when I quilted, but now I’m never in pain.  Using a rubber gripper to help ‘pull’ the needle is a game changer, especially when quilting. There are many kinds.

-The round blue Dritz ‘needle puller’ has great grip, and one size ‘fits’ all, but you have to pick it up and set it down a lot, so it’s slow.

-Pinkie and ring:  cheap at office depot, these are sold for counting money and come in multi-packs.

-Middle: Bohin from France, can be found in quilt shops in the U.S.

-thumb: Is a Clover ‘Flexible Rubber Thimble’

-My index finger is a discontinued Clover Japan needle puller

-I also like the rubber gripper from Little House, found on the Snuggly Monkey Etsy shop

-This pink one (pictured in the previous thimble photo) from JoAnn’s is also very good, the Loran ‘needle puller.’

 Embroidery Hoops:

These are great for mending, embroidering- especially for signing the back of your quilt, and especially for small pieces of applique, which are used often in visible hand piecing.

 -I love the bamboo hoops from ‘Loops and Threads,’ which can be found at Michaels.  

-There’s also a good multi-size pack on my Amazon Page.

-I use a 4”, a 9” and a couple sizes in between.  It’s really helpful to be able to reach the work with my fingers to have the right sized hoop


I like using Warm and Natural cotton batting, and it’s made with American cotton which has stricter regulations for the wellbeing of farmers and the environment.  Also, there’s no glue in it.  It is at JoAnn’s, Amazon, and other places too.


When quilting, I don’t use a quilter’s hoop. I simply create tension using a heavy 5-pound book.   

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