Free Motion Monday Quilting Adventure: Ruler Work, Week 3

I thought for week 3 of our Free Motion Monday Quilting Adventure featuring ruler work, I'd focus on a few different designs and show how rulers can be used on pieced areas.

I grabbed a sample piece left over from one of my classes to play on and marked off some different lines and shapes. I used a great stencil from One half has lines spaced one inch apart while the other has a radiating set of lines for marking the center, sides, and corners of a square. If you like this stencil, it will be an important part of June's Free Motion Monday series, when we focus on grid based designs and have a giveaway of a few stencils like these!

First I did a simple diamond border or sashing design:

Then I filled in the sides of the design to make the center diamonds pop! I had referred to this design last week. Any dense fill could be used.

I made a few registration marks and then dressed up those diamonds! After that, I moved onto a sashiko-type design or pumpkin seed design using a circular shape over these two inch squares. I used the smallest Fine Line half circle. At 3.5 inches, it is perfect for making a 4 inch circle.

I started by doing a full circle with the half-circle template, flipping it over for the other side of the circle. But I found this to be unwieldy, as the ruler needed to rotate so much around the foot. Since this is a small sample piece, I could have rotated the piece around more so the ruler wouldn't need to move around the foot so much, but knowing that isn't an option when working on a bigger piece, I didn't do that. Instead, I used the etched cross-hair markings to line up with the lines that created my squares and did the  quarter circle arcs across the squares corner to corner, moving from square to square.

I think that this design demonstrates that there's definitely a difference between the designs that are better suited to ruler work on a domestic machine and those on a long arm quilting system. With more clearance around the foot and visibility, the sit-down long arms might be able to handle a circular template easier than a sewing machine. For this reason, I will definitely say I don't really recommend a full circle ruler or even the half-ellipse if the thought is you'll use the full shape to stitch around in one motion. Smaller circle sets might still be good for arcs though.

free motion quilting continuous curves

Next I used the same half circle template to stitch continuous curves (CC) along the sides of these 2 inch squares. I could have  used the smallest size of continuous curve ruler I have from Accents in Design for this too. This is a great design for areas with lots of squares.

crosshatching around applique

Then I moved on to straight crosshatching around this flower applique. I thought it would be good to show how to stitch crosshatching around an applique since it's such a great traditional fill around applique. I shot a (long) video of this:

Here's the finished crosshatching.

Finally, I did some curved crosshatching. I am loving curved crosshatching and did this sample with the 10 inch continuous curve ruler. I did a variation on the CCX too, which was a first for me.

I an really enjoying the challenge of working on these designs with and for you. I know many of you now have rulers and ruler toes (or an alternative for your machine) so I hope to see some of your work too!

Several folks have asked for which 2 rulers I would recommend if you could only get 2 and I'd say the 8 inch straight ruler and the 10 inch continuous curve ruler.

I am so sorry to not have some ruler toe alternatives for some brands of machines. I'm a Janome girl and my experience is very limited with other machines. That being said, you can still use your free motion foot for ruler work with great care, and in the meantime, if none of my alternatives given in last weeks post work for you, contact your dealers and make sure they know that there's a demand for such a toe!

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

Here's the guidelines for the link party:

For the linky this week, link up a post of  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!

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.
  • Reciprocate! 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, be sociable, 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.
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've even got a pin board for quilting with rulers. I'll be visiting you too!


  1. these all look great Amy! I got some new rulers the end of last week - now I just need some time to play with them!

    1. I wish I could send you some time to play, but I'm a little short myself! But we'll get there.

  2. Thank you for this great Demonstration and all your other tutorials. I just love them.
    Greetings from Norway

  3. Love, Love, Love! I'm so fighting for time to sew this month. I've only had some time on the weekends & this past weekend I was trying to fix my long arm needle bar whose height needs adjustment after hitting the bobbin case that fell out. I'm rethinking the use of titanium needles! So once again, I didn't get to this week's exercise. So I'm participating in the "Quilt Behind".

    1. LOL! Quilt Behind! That's great! Though I thought a quilt behind is what we get when we sit too long at our machines.....

      Stitch and post when you can, no pressure. If it wasn't my own quilt along, I wouldn't have the time to participate myself!

  4. Very interesting and informative post. I have tho...I do wish Bernina would make a dedicated foot for ruler work. The foot I have to work with - the closed darning foot doesn't not make for a happy life... I do love ruler work!
    Thank you for the wonderful post

    1. Joan, Bernina does such an excellent job of having all the best feet for the popular techniques, so I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before they have a suitable foot.

      Thanks for reading and commenting

  5. Thank you for such a wonderful demonstration, both in photos and video. I love the curved cross hatching.

  6. I got the rulers a few months ago, just got the foot for my Juki, oh my. It makes all the difference in the world, I love having the right tools.

  7. I just stumbled on this quilt along today while searching pinterest for machine quilting designs. Can you explain to me how it works and that sort of thing? I would love to take part because I would really like to spend more time with my long arm. Thanks a bunch:)

    1. Welcome Melia Mae!

      This quilt along is primarily a link party, which means if you write a post that meets the guidelines for the linky (ie: this month is about ruler work) you can link at the bottom of my post to your blog post. Follow the instructions after clicking "Click here to enter" Asks for your post's address, your name, email, not shared with anyone other than me privately, chose a photo from your post. Then, your pic and blog post title are shown at the bottom of my post and my readers can click on it and then read your post on your site. This gets you more traffic and in return, you link back to my post, either with an individual link in your post, or by posting my 'button' on your blog. (Button code is in my right sidebar.)

      But even more wonderful than just a traffic generator, is that we all get to see what we are all working on and glean ideas, tips, and inspiration!

      Anyone who comments on this month's series of posts or links up is eligible for the ruler giveaway.

  8. Amy, your samples are great and look do-able. I've bought the curved, straight, and half circle set.

    I have a Pfaff Expression 2.0 and the Janome convertible set fits perfectly on my machine, but I can't use the ruler foot because there's a little build up above the foot that makes it too low - resting on the fabric instead of hovering above it. So.....I used the circle foot that came with the Janome set and it worked very well on the Fineline Rulers. I also used my modified (ala Leah Day) free motion foot (with the clear plastic foot area) which also works great now that it doesn't "hop".

    I so enjoy sharing the Free Motion Adventures and look forward to doing more and more ruler work. Thank you! Barb

    1. Barb- have you used the screw to adjust the convertible foot part up all the way when using the ruler toe? If so and it's still too low, I wonder if you've got a low shank machine, but the high shank version of the Janome convertible foot set? I'm glad the set works for you on your Pfaff, but it seems like the ruler toe should work on it also. Is there any other way to adjust the height of your foot? (Some machines have an adjustable presser foot pressure, either manual or a computerized setting) Hmmmm......

      But I am very glad that you've found options that work for you on your Pfaff!

  9. I don't have blog to link to but here is a link to one of the pics I uploaded to flickr This is my first attempt at curved cross hatching. I decided to be very brave and not practice, I have that you can do anything mentality. Of course it was mainly due to your videos and tutorials that I felt this way. I used a swirl and floral type design on the other 4 or 5 quilts I've quilted similar to what you've posted on your blog. They all were quilted edge to edge with the same design. This is the my first quilt I would consider to be custom. It won't be perfect but that's OK. It is to be used not entered in a show.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Virginia, it looks fabulous!!!!! That curved crosshatching is very good. Thanks for sharing! I love your fearless attitude, keep it up.

  10. I used the ruler with my Pfaff 7075 and the darning foot. I was successful. It takes getting used to using a ruler but my stitches are beautiful. I love your web site.

  11. Thank you so much for sharing these ideas. I had a lot of fun using my ruler this week.

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  13. I am in total awe of the designs and suggestion that you have given to all of us. I love, love the curved crosshatching and the filled in shapes for borders. A whole cloth practice piece is definitely in my future of things to do, this list is getting longer. Sorry about the previous comment, my email was incorrect. Thank you so much for all of your efforts.