My tools include Perle Cotton no. 8, size 24 chenille needles, thimble with a ridge around the top and sharp scissors. I put these things in a little zippered purse and keep it with the quilt I'm working on so I can take it with me easily.
For this project, I made sure I ironed my seams outwards so that I could use the shadow of the 1/4" seam allowance as a guide. That way, I didn't have to mark my quilt or use quilters tape as a guide.
Start by threading the needle with a length of cotton. It's meant to be about 18", but I must admit, I make it as long as possible, so I don't have to re-thread so often :) Tie a single knot in the end (you may need a double knot if using a thinner thread). Insert the needle about an inch away from where you want to start quilting, going through the top layer and batting (but not the backing fabric!) and bring the needle up where you want to start quilting.
There are many different ways to hand quilt, and hopefully by sharing what I do, you can find what works best for you and develop your own technique. Please feel free to ask a question, or to share a tip. Happy hand quilting!