Hand Quilting Tools

Here are some of my favorite tools for hand quilting.

+ As with all handwork supplies, find what works for you! There’s no point being uncomfortable in the process.

big stitch quilting supplies


From thick and bold, to thin and subtle, there are many different types of thread when it comes to hand quilting. Quilting is functional in that these stitches will hold your layers of backing fabric, batting and quilt top together, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it!

+ Hand quilting thread is coated to increase its strength while also making it easier to glide through the fabric. The coating makes it different than the thread you normally use when sewing on your machine. In terms of hand-quilting-thread options, hand quilting thread is one of the finer options and therefore makes less of a visual impact compared to thicker options.

+ Perle Cotton is a thicker thread made up of several strands spun together. It can have a bit of a shine, and it comes in several different weights. The smaller the weight number, the thicker the thread. Many companies manufacture perle cotton. Presencia and Wonderfil are both great options.

perle cotton thread_carolyn friedlander

+ 12wt Cotton works great for hand quilting. Aurifil and Wonderfil make some beautiful options, and I make sure to include several in my Aurifil set here.

Aurifil Carolyn Friedlander Light Mix Thread Set

+ Sashiko thread is another cotton option made up of several strands, but unlike the Perle cotton it does not have a shiny finish or tightly spun look. There are many different weight and color options available.

sashiko thread

Pins, Needles and Thimbles:

+ I prefer to baste my quilts with quilter’s curved safety pins. They come in at least a couple of different sizes. Choose the variety that best suits you.

using curved safety pins to baste quilt projects

+ Needles for hand quilting need to be thicker and longer than needles required for hand piecing so that they can hold thicker threads and go through the multiple layers of a project. Here are some needles that I like to use.

big stitch quilting

Colonial Big Stitch Quilting Needle Pack

colonial big stitch quilting needle pack

Olympus Sashiko Needle 2 Pack or the 4 Pack

olympus sashiko needle pack

+ Thimbles are not only helpful at protecting your fingers, but they can also give you a better grip for pulling the needle through the layers. Here are the brands and varieties that work well for me.

Clover Protect and Grip is my favorite thimble for the finger pushing the needle (right middle finger in my case).

Plus, I like using Flexible Thimbles for the fingers that pull the needle through the fabric (right thumb and index fingers in my case). Several manufacturers make these, I’ve tried and liked Clover and Little House.

big stitch quilting supplies


You’ll want to have small scissors or snips for cutting the threads as you work. I like using Kai 5100 or 5100 Serrated, as well as Kai 7100 when I’m feeling fancy.

Kai 5100 Scissor

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