Monday, May 5, 2014

Free Motion Monday Quilting Adventure: Using Rulers

First let me say a great big thank you to all those who commented on my previous post, Let Me Tell You a Little Story. You all are so kind, sweet, and wonderful! I can't possibly answer all the comments I got, but I will work on it this week.

Now, I wasn't too sure about choosing "using rulers" as the focus of one of our quilting adventures since not everybody has the ability to use the ruler toe from Janome. (Though most models of machine can use the Janome foot, you just need to match up the Convertible Free Motion Foot Set to your type of machine --high or low shank.) (Edited to add: There is a third party ruler foot maker- Westalee- who has feet that will fit on most machines.) This is one of the main focuses of my quilting work and this blog, and since I have a perfect give-away to go with this design focus, I decided to go forward with it.

If you find you can't use any of this month's techniques (though I'm hoping you will be able to use parts of it) be assured that next month's design focus has already been chosen and you will enjoy it, I promise! I also urge you to talk to your machine brand's dealers and teachers and tell them about this technique and convince them that there is a need for this foot! Because this really is an awesome foot and technique and they really don't want to see you switch to a Janome, do they? (Though I'd totally switch to a Janome to do this technique if I had to!)

long arm rulers
These were the first rulers I bought from www.accentsindesign.com
First, let's talk about rulers, since this is what makes the whole ruler toe needful. These are longarm (long arm) rulers and are 1/4 inch thick. Please, please, don't skimp and try this with a regular rotary cutting ruler. If you just have to, then tape two rotary cutting rulers together, one on top of each other, before trying it. It's just way too easy to slide a 1/8 inch thick ruler under or over your machine's free motion foot (even if you have the ruler toe) and then you'll break your needle and possibly throw your machine out of time!

Carol at Accents in Design sent me some of the rulers I was missing from her line so now I have the full set of templates, 8 inch straight ruler and the two smaller continuous curves rulers.
Now, even if you do have a Janome, but not the ruler foot OR maybe even not the convertible FMQ foot set (and you really should get the FMQ set if you FMQ on a Janome! Awesome foot!), you can do ruler work on a standard free motion foot. But, it's tricky.


I slapped one onto my machine to verify this. These feet hop up and down so the foot doesn't move as smoothly down the ruler. (Above, it is in the up position, and below, the down position while stitching-- presser foot is down, don't confuse that) Leah Day has instructions to modify a hopping foot so it doesn't hop. And of course, the toe is much thinner, making it easy for the ruler to slip over the foot and under the needle, which would break the needle, and possibly throw the machine out of time.


You can raise the foot slightly so it hits the ruler at the middle of the thickness and that can help. Since the ruler is holding the fabric down, raising the foot higher shouldn't affect the stitch quality too much. Also, since the regular FMQ foot isn't evenly round, for the most even spacing of lines, you need to hold the ruler to one specific spot on the foot. There are other free motion feet that have a round toe and that would definitely be better than the oval foot above.

But it can be done! But seriously, if you can get the FMQ set and the ruler toe, get it. There's a Janome Convertible Free Motion Quilting Foot Set for Low Shank Models and a Janome Convertible Free Motion Quilting Foot Set for Memory Craft Embroidery Machines & High Shank Models. If you have an Elna or Kenmore machine, there's a good chance that either the high or low shank versions will fit on your machine. We have tried these feet on a Babylock in the shop without success, the foot fits the shaft, but the needle doesn't line up with the foot.

Bernina- With the proper adapter (77 or 75) the Janome foot might work. See this tutorial for the Janome ruler foot on a Bernina. There is a third party ruler foot maker- Westalee- that will work with the adapter shank.  Ivory Spring has a good post about her experience with using rulers for crosshatching on her Bernina. She preferred the round, closed toe for free motion quilting with rulers on her machine, and found she did not like to use her stitch regulator with the rulers.

Janome free motion quilting feet

The ruler toe is packaged specifically for the 1600P so some dealers will say it can't be used on other Janome models. It fits perfectly on the high shank convertible FMQ foot set and I have been using it for 2 years, with the blessing of my local Janome dealer. The ruler toe fits on the low shank version of the convertible FMQ foot set also.[Note: the ruler toe comes packaged with only it and another 'toe' in the package -part #767-434-005. It is not the set that comes with the convertible foot set for the 1600P] Here's a link to one place you can buy the ruler toe.

Next week I will go into more detail about designs for ruler work and you can also see previous posts on ruler work by going to the tab above in my header.

But in the meantime, being able to use a ruler helps you quilt really straight lines much easier than free hand even when following a marked line. A straight ruler helps with stitch-in-the-ditch and the 1/4 inch echo of seams like I'm doing below.


You can do designs like the diamond design below. And then there's crosshatching, which is such a great design for traditional quilts.


Then there's my favorite, curved crosshatching! Love using this design whenever I can in various forms and shapes.



Here's a video on curved crosshatching:


And one even faster to see how I work my way across the area:

Wheeeeeee!

A semicircle makes egg-and-dart designs in a flash.

egg and dart design

Tips on using the rulers:

  • Choose a ruler big enough for your design, but not so big as to continually run into your machine while being used. Sometimes rotating the work and ruler is needed.
  • Don't push too hard on your ruler or it will be hard to move the quilt smoothly.
  • Some sort of non-slip on the belly of the ruler is vital!
  • Resting a finger or two off of the ruler (with quilting gloves) and on the quilt works better than having all your fingers on the ruler and using it like a handle to move the quilt.
  • Make sure the ruler is against the ruler toe at all times. 
  • When re-positioning the ruler, make sure there isn't a bit of extra quilt wrinkled up against the needle.
  • If the ruler slips, don't re-position the part that's against the ruler, move the end you are working towards. This will make a smoother correction.

All of these designs above were done with Fine Line Rulers from www.accentsindesign.com  They are the rulers with pegs for extra secure hand positioning and a great velcro hook tape on the underside to prevent the ruler from slipping. They also have good markings on the rulers, more on that in another week's post.

Accents in Design has graciously provided me with several more of of their rulers to supplement the rulers I had previously bought and I can't wait to use them to show more ruler work designs next week.

In addition, they are providing a set of the continuous curves rulers to one lucky participant of this month's series. So make sure to comment and/or link up to be entered in the giveaway!

Whew! That's a lot of material to cover in one post!I am sure there are questions, so ask them in the comments.

For the linky this week, post any ruler work you've done, if any. If you haven't done any, feel free to use a ruler to draw out any line based designs that you'd like to explore. You can use rotary cutting rulers for drawing. If you've written a post about wanting to do these types of designs, you can post that too!

If you've missed any of the Free Motion Monday posts, you can find them on the Free Motion Mondays page.

Some quick rules:

  • Keep your post relevant to this quilt along please. Spammy posts will be deleted.
  • Make sure you link up to the individual post, not your home page as nobody wants to have to search around for the post if they're a little late to the party.
  • Link back to this post somewhere in your post. You've got to dance with the one who took you to the party, so make sure you link back.
  • Don't be a wall-flower. (Talking to myself here too. In person I am so stinking shy!) Visit the other links and leave comments.
  • Please make sure you leave me a way to contact you if you are a no-reply commenter, especially if you ask a question.
  • Visit others who have linked up and be sociable!
Don't forget to bookmark this blog, follow, or sign it up in your favorite feed reader. Like the facebook page (I do post some short things on it pretty regularly), or even check out my Pinterest boards. I'll be visiting you too!

54 comments:

  1. I have a Janome 8900 and bought the foot you've recommended. Now, I'm looking forward to trying ruler work once I find the rulers. Thanks for sharing all your free motion experience!

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    1. The 8900 is a fabulous machine! You'll enjoy ruler work on your machine.

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  2. I have only just started to experiment with a ruler (well I have tried once!!) so I look forward to this month! I have a couple of rulers that were designed for my machine but I quite like the look of yours with the handles on them. (Sorry life got a little too busy for my final scroll flower play but thank you for the inspiration, I will be using it again).

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    1. It’s so fun to work together on these designs, even if there’s a lapse in time, it still feels like we’re working together.

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  3. I have just recently found your blog Amy, I am a longarmer but I found it very interesting that Janome has that ruler foot. All my sewing machines are Janome-love 'em! So do you also welcome longarmers to link up? I do not own any of those rulers they look awesome and I would love to win!!

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    1. You better believe long-armers are ok here! I have learned so much from them at MQResource.com, I can’t possibly leave you out. But be warned, I’ve got a friend with a longarm who’s gone back to her domestic on small stuff…..

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  4. Great post Amy. I have a Bernina 440 & also have some of the Accents in Design rulers. So far I have managed with my closed toe foot, but as you say care needs to be taken. I am waiting to hear from Bernina about a suitable foot.

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  5. I saw your ruler posts last November and immediately ordered some of the rulers and was able to get the ruler foot for my Horizon. Love them. Showed them to my LQS and they ordered some in as well.

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  6. Sounds like all good information based on experience, just what most of us need. I'm looking forward to the next episode. I've never done any ruler work so am interested in learning the process.
    thanks!

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    1. It’s a great technique. I like how sharing on my blog helps me to get better too.

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  7. love my ruler! Have just order a few more from Carol. I need to play some more with them, though. For any of your readers that have a HV Mega Quilter, the Janome convertible foot package works on it, and I love it! Not only the ruler toe, but I like the other toe better than what was on my machine originally.

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    1. That is such good news to hear the Janome foot works on that machine! Thank you!

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  8. I have been dying to try to do some ruler work with my FMQ'ing!!! Thank you for doing this!

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  9. Thanks for this post Amy. I have a Bernina and was wondering if the Janome foot would work with the adapter shank. Now I won't waste my money. :) I'll try my closed toe foot until they come out with something new (I hope). Also, loved your previous post.

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  10. I have worked with rulers only a couple of times. I have improved a bit on SID. It's the curved crosshatching that I really want to learn so thank you very much for your video. Take care and God bless, Cory

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  11. I have an older HQ16 that I primarily use to do all over free motion designs. I still use my Juki for smaller projects though, so I am very interested in the ruler work. I love the look of curved cross hatching which I have never tried.

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  12. I'm dying to try out some curved cross-hatching (I use a HV 875Q) as soon as I can figure out how to get the rulers over here in France!

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  13. - I watch your blog for each posting...and this one is no exception. I have a Bernina 820 and use the rulers as best I can....takes a bit of twisting and turning, but I manage it with some difficulty. I am hoping Bernina will put out a special foot just for ruler work - as the Janome has ...in the meantime I am watching what you are doing...and shall keep trying with my rulers. I do have some of Carols rulers - they are the BEST! I find they are great to use!

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  14. I'm so (or is that sew??) pleased I found your blog recently. I'm loving your videos and I went to my local quilt store in the weekend to check out their rulers and the cost of the feet (I have a Janome 6600P too). I'm looking forward to getting the equipment and having a go. I love curved cross hatching but have been disappointed previously when attempting to follow lines marked on the quilt top. Thanks to both you and accent designs for the opportunity to win a set of these fabulous looking rulers!

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  15. I have been free-motion quilting for quite a while now, but was always told ruler work was only for quilting on a frame. I'm anxious to learn more about how I can use them with my sit-down machines. Thanks for the opportunity!

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  16. I would love to try the rulers. I am checking with my Viking dealer to see if they have an appropriate foot. I tried the regular 1/8" rulers and they definitely did not work. Fortunately I gave up before I broke a needle.

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  17. Amy, I loved your FMQ with the Janome foot so much that I bought one for my Pfaff Expression 2.0 midarm - it worked perfectly. I bought the ruler foot, but it was too long no matter how much I adjusted it. Then I saw your Fine Line Ruler demo and was so excited - I ordered on right away! I'm really tired of either marking the whole quilt or staying with boring filler stitches. When I got the ruler, I used it with the open toe foot from the convertible set - It works perfectly! I've now ordered a few more. Thank you so much for all your great lessons and information. Quilt on!

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    1. Oh, I wish you weren't a no-reply commenter! Hope you see this:

      So the Janome convertible free motion foot set worked on your Pfaff, but the ruler toe wouldn't work with your machine? I'm guessing that the needle didn't sit in the center of the toes? Because otherwise, I would think the ruler toe would work. Hmmm....curious.

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  18. I really want to try this but it looks so complicated. Could you show us a video perhaps. So demanding aren't I.

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  19. I would love to try these rulers, but I have a Pfaff Creative 2.0. Can anyone tell me if there is a ruler foot that is compatible for this machine? Love your blog. Thanks so much for sharing your techniques.

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  20. Amy, I'm so glad you're going to show more ruler work. I quilt on a BabyLock Tiara (love love it!) and got the curved and straight rulers from Accents In Designs. They are very easy to use and I'm looking forward to see what you do. I just used the straight ruler to sttch in the ditch on a charity quilt I'm doing to stabilize it. It went lickity-split fast!! Thanks for your videos - I've learned soooo much from you!!

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  22. I have a Pfaff 7075 and I love to do FMQ. The rulers would really improve my straight line quilting. I do have a closed metal foot that I'm going to alter today. I'd love to win those rulers. Thanks to you I'm able to do cross hatching.

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    1. I would love to have a set of rulers to use! Your videos and information have taught me a lot about FMQ on a home machine. Thanks!!!!

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  23. I am just learning to use rulers on my long arm machine. Would dearly love to win this set, since rulers tend to be expensive. Thanks for the chance.

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  24. Don't have a blog, so better leave you my email address: marilynrobin@gmail.com
    Thanks!

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  25. Love, love, love your blog and videos. I have been quilting for a while now but FMQ intimidates me. After reading your blog, I am going to give it another try. The rulers make alot of sense to me...a handy quide for the needle. I've bought one ruler and love it...I need more to "broaden my horizons"!

    Keep those post coming!
    Deb Rosol
    Lostjeans@hotmail.com

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  26. I bought the curved ruler from Accent ( haven't tried it yet ) ,would love to win .Can't wait for your post to help me in this new adventure .

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  27. I just recently started reading your blog and am very interested in being able to use the rulers as a guide for quilting on my domestic machine. If I am understanding correctly I can use the ruler toe on my Janome 8900 QCP even though it specifically says it only works on the 1600 models. Your quilting is beautiful.

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    1. Thanks for reading. Yes! You understand correctly, the ruler toe will fit on the convertible free motion foot set for your machine. I use an 8900 when doing some of my FMQ at a shop I work at—great machine.

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  28. I just recently bought a Janome, and am really enjoying reading about all your techniques. I am using up all my scraps practicing! This looks like so much fun. I'd love to have a set of rulers like this.

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  29. I am still plugging away learning freemotion quilting. I would love to try these rulers...Val

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  30. I would love to have a set of the rulers from Accents in Design. Of course, you make it look so stinkin' easy!! But...I am continuing to practice and some of my quilting is putting a bitty smile on my face so I know I'm improving. Wow, what I could accomplish with those marvelous rulers!!! lol

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  31. I will be QAL on my longarm. I have the curved ruler good for cross hatching & the others are on my wish list. Thanks once again for organizing this

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  32. Thanks Amy. This will be fun!!

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  33. Holy cow! 42 comments! I might not respond to yours, but I'm reading them all! Thanks!

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  34. Hi Amy, I haven't been on your site in a few weeks and see that you discussing adaptive feet/ruler work again. I communicated with you several months ago regarding my Bernina 180 and had to finally gave up on adapting the Janome feet to fit the Bernina. I returned all parts/feet to dealer for refund but it was worth the try. In January I purchased a new Juki TL 2010Q. I didn't see a reference to the Juki machines in your blog so I'm not sure whether or not, the Janome foot will work on Juki? We still need to purchase 2 items: the Convertible Foot Set ($50.00) and the Quilting Foot Set 1600 ($20.00) yes/no? I know you are extremely busy with your family, quilting and blog. Any help or reference will be appreciated.

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    1. Althea, I sent you a private response as much of the info I will put in Monday's post. But short answer is yes, both pieces, though I don't know how the Janome set will work on a Juki.

      I'm glad you haven't given up on the technique, so fun!

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  35. Hi Amy! I have been following your blog for a couple of months and love the idea of using a ruler on my Bernina. In fact, I found a ruler in my scrapbooking supplies that works great for making straight lines! However, it slips and I think I really need your rulers with the handles. But making straight lines is possible....I just want to get better at it so I will follow your future posts. Thanks! I LOVE your blog and learning so much in my fmq adventure. Connie in California

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  36. Glad to see this will be an ongoing series! I checked the links already posted and see some really good things being done. I had bought the ruler and the foot after reading your previous posts on the subject. I wish I had seen this post earlier, but I now have two projects set up to try ruler work on so hopefully I might have something to show if you do another linky. Looking forward to seeing more good info on this topic!!

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  37. Were you using regular Babylock high shank machines (such as an Ellisimo) or the Jane formally called Quilters Choice Pro? I have this machine and was wondering if the Janome 1600 convertible foot would fit. I actually own the convertible foot for my Memory Craft 9700, which of course does not fit, but I'm thinking the 1600 just might. I could really use this foot with my quilting frame. Have you heard or experimented with this Babylock machine?

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  38. I would love to win some of these rulers. I have only found your blog a few weeks ago but love it. You do fantastic work and are such an inspiration. I quilt on my Janome 8900.

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  39. I have a Bernina and would love a set of these rulers...I a have the foot, but rulers are not in my budget at this time...thank you for the opportunity to win a set of these great rulers...I will be following along with you by reading all the posts this month and hopefully I can use all the info after I am able to purchase the rulers....great tuts so far...

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  40. Just discovered your blog and this series. So excited to play along but I have a Baby Lock and no ruler foot. I'll be watching this month and look forward to joining along next month!

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  41. melson72012@gmail.com
    I love your blog and have been following since last year, I am especially interested in being able to do ruler work with my domestic free motion, just a beginner. You make everything look so easy!. Thanks for your blog and all your videos with techniques. What size ruler would be the best to start with as a general rule??

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  42. Oooh, those rulers are on my dream wish list! Thank you for having this drawing and I hope I win! (Sorry...I'm being selfish!)

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  43. Hi, Amy --

    I just discovered your blog, and I am THRILLED with the amount of information you've provided us about using rulers with a domestic quilting machine. I'm wondering if you can answer some questions that I have been unable to find answers for: I own a Bernina 1530, and I want to buy the Janome Free Motion Quilting Foot Set for the 1600P and see if I can get it to work on my Bernina. Do you know if this can be done? If so, is there an adapter that will work to attach the foot? Or is there a Bernina foot that is round and deep (like the Janome foot) for ruler-quilting without "hopping"? Thanks for your time and expertise -- I really appreciate it.

    Diane
    ArtQuiltsByDiane@gmail.com

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