People ask me all the time, "What do I need to start quilting?" And what I say to them is, "Well, in the old days people just needed fabric, thread, scissors, and a few pins." However, today people want to make a quilt in a lot less time. So there are wonderful inventions like the rotary cutter and rulers to speed the process up.
I would suggest if you really think you're going to start quilting in a big way you might want to invest in buying a rotary mat, a rotary cutter, and a six by 24 inch ruler. You can see why a six by 24 because it just fits the fabric that you buy in the quilt store. After that you might want to invest in a 12 inch ruler to square blocks up, and my next favorite would be a six inch ruler. It's really handy for cutting smaller things.
You'll need a good pair of scissors that are sharp and that are kept only for cutting fabric. Keep them away from everyone else. Don't let people cut paper or anything else with them. They're good. Invest in your scissors and keep them away from other hands.
You can make a quilt by hand. You have to realize, of course, it's going to take a lot longer. And most people these days opt to quilt by machine. So you will need a sewing machine. You don't really need a fancy sewing machine. Something that does straight stitches is perfectly adequate. If you're planning on machine quilting you will need a walking foot. And you need to be able to lower the feed dogs on your sewing machine. That's important for free motion quilting.
With those few tools you can really get started, and you're on your way to making your own quilt masterpiece.