Go Slow

When you've left your kids twice during the summer and then birthed a new baby in the form of a Craftsy class, the quilting slows down for some important things.

Like this beautiful, creative, crafty, free-spirited girl of mine. We've been sitting down to watch a Craftsy class on crochet together, Crochet Basics and Beyond. She's been crocheting for a while, but not following patterns and not really wanting me to teach her more than a few basic stitches. She likes free form crochet. After going through enough yarn to wrap around our house a few billion times, much of which ended up looking like a shag rug went through a shredder, she's now delighted to follow a class together. Even more so when she realized the instructor was the author of her favorite crochet book, Teach Yourself Visually Crocheting, Kim Werker. My daughter is so worth going slow for.

But I have gotten some quilting in between answering emails and questions/discussions in my class, doing some promoting of the class, trying to get some other work done, and more.

This quilt is worth going slow for too. It's a nice sampler quilt that I challenged myself to piece. See, I'm really all about the quilting and have always thought I was a pretty poor piecer. But I took my time and got it put together quite well.
curved crosshatching on a regular sewing machine

Now I'm using it to showcase a wide variety of ruler work designs. I'm using a light turquiose thread to show the quilting better, which of course means any little bobbles show. It reminds me of watching gymnastics: "Oh! A little bobble there. That's going to cost her." Nevermind the girl may have done a triple handspring with a 180 twist on the beam, a little bobble shows.

For me, it's not the quilt police or even show judges that I'm worried about. It's my own perfectionistic tendencies and inner mean-girl. But I'm getting better at shutting up my own worst critic. I planned to take a picture of this area below to show you why you should go slow when you start stitching with rulers.

Once I got the camera out, I could hardly see the spot that I wanted to show you. It really wasn't that bad at all. I'll get to the tip in a moment, but let me just point out the bigger thing here and that is if you see some quilting as you stitch that you don't like, step away from the quilt for a moment. Spread it on a bed or take a picture (not with the macro lens!) and then decide if it's something that really needs fixing.

What I wanted to point out is that it always pays to start out slow when free motion quilting, especially when doing ruler work. There are some side-to-side forces on the fabric sandwich and while you're using your needle down function (I hope you are!) everything is secure. But the minute that needle goes up, if there's tension in the wrong direction, the quilt can shoot off from where you wanted those first stitches to go. So take it very slow until that first stitch is in and the quilt is under your full control.

This part above definitely needs fixing! I got a little careless and stitched right into the frame of my curved crosshatching. But it was easily fixed.

free motion quilting with rulers on a sewing machine

Another block down, but what will I do to finish out that sashing design? It's reminiscent of the frame border I teach in my class, but in a much smaller scale. It's done with the BFF from the Quilted Pineapple (See her ad for templates in the right sidebar), but I don't want to treat it like that design. I'll quilt somewhere else while I think about it.

Speaking of going slow, if you're new to ruler work, don't feel like you've got to run out and buy a ton of new rulers. You can learn the technique and explore a lot of designs with just a straight ruler and a curve or two. There's plenty of time to add to your ruler collection. Of course, if you want to buy a bunch, I'm hoping you'll visit some of my sponsors or wait another week or two for my shop opening. I definitely didn't go slow when ordering rulers and templates for my online shop. If I think too hard about how much I have spent, my heart starts to race!


  1. You did a lovely job on this square. Can't wait to get started on my own project, but have to wait for my new ruler foot for my Bernina. Thanks for all the tips.

  2. I shall wait for your shop! I want to add a nice curved (small) ruler to my tiny collection. I finished your class on Craftsy last night. I enjoyed it so much and you put a ton of great info out there. Thanks, Amy!

  3. Girl, that cutie is well worth it. You're such a great mom. I am looking forward to when your online shop is up and running.

  4. Amy, I know you have a lot on your plate right now, but could you please consider doing a tutorial in the future about how to fix these machine quilting "oopses?" How do you pick out just 4 or 5 stitches without having to worry that the rest of the stitches will come out over time? You wouldn't have a long enough piece of thread to tie off and bury, would you? How do you pick out the quilting stitches without accidentally breaking the thread? All the time quilters talk about how they "fix" quilting mistakes but no one ever explains HOW and I'm completely mystified. When I make quilting mistakes, I just have to leave them in and feel sad about it because I really have no idea how to get them out without risking ruining the quilt even worse.

    1. Well, I’m not entirely certain I have the best solutions to these issues, but I can try! Sometimes I need suggestions for blog posts and these will get added to my list.

  5. nicely done, amy. i'm excited to learn more from you; i now have a ruler foot, and a straight ruler, and so the adventure begins! congrats on everything, i'm rooting for you!!