Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Tutorial- Quilting with rulers on your home machine!

Good morning Modern Irish Quilters - we have a brilliant tutorial for you today!

Tomomi has kindly shared her process of quilting with long arm rulers on her home machine sharing tips and lots of photos.  Thanks a million Tomomi, this is something I have been wanting to try for ages!

If you want to see more of Tomomi's gorgeous quilting head on over to her blog and webiste Slaney Handcraft and if you are in the Carlow area looking for a class Tomomi teaches from her studio and has drop in classes midweek too!
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Free motion quilting with a ruler:

Hi, I'm Tomomi of Slaney HandCraft and here to talk about free motion quilting with a ruler.

If you haven't heard about free motion quilting with a ruler (call it ruler work from here on), it is a method which a lot of longarm quilters do for quilting clean straight lines or certain shapes and it involves using special rulers. There are lots of different shaped rulers available from doing simple straight lines to making special shapes. And now more people are doing it on the domestic machines. I think most reliable info you can get is from Amy Johnson of Amy's free motion quilting adventure whom I am following a while and she has released Craftsy class about the ruler work this autumn. If you are interested, you should check it!

What you need for ruler work is some acrylic rulers and a ruler foot. Rulers for ruler work is twice thicker than cutting ruler in order for foot to slide along. And the foot itself needs to have some thickness to do so. Mine look like this.
 

My Janome free motion foot is convertible and I can just change the actual foot part as you can see on the second photo (The free motion foot with main part and ruler foot are sold separately by the way). Some sewing machine manufactures are producing ones now and also there are universal feet to fit various machines. Do check with your machine manufacture.
 
The circular part of ruler foot is 1/4” tall or so and if I drop the needle while foot is up, the bar holding the needle gets stuck. Always drop the foot first!

And this is how it looks on the machine.

I have a 6” straight line ruler and a set of half circle rulers. Both are from Handi quilter. Those white dots on the ruler are anti-slip stickers I put on and I couldn't hold it in the position without them.
I haven't got any special shaped rulers like feather and wavy lines. I wanted to have a straight one because I wanted to quilt nice clean straight lines while free motion quilting. Of course you can quilt straight lines with walking foot but it is slow and I have to turn the quilt a lot. With free motion, I can go any direction and I don't have to turn the quilt on every corner. The semi-circle ones are doing curves without marking and getting wobbly!

Now quilting in action!
You hold a ruler against the foot and move the quilt and ruler together along the foot. You can place the ruler left, right or front of foot and any angle as you like. Technically you can place it even behind the foot but I don't do it because it is beyond awkward.
 
The foot's diameter is 1/2” and your quilting line comes 1/4” away from the ruler. When you are doing ruler work, you need to have it in your mind(talked later).
With a straight line ruler you can quilt parallel lines with various distance. If you want to quilt parallel line 1/2” away from the previous one, you place the 1/2” mark of the ruler on the previous quilting line and quilt it. It is not precise 1/2” and it's ok because the purpose of ruler is creating straight lines, I think and it doesn't matter as far as they are kept same distance away.
 
This is me quilting parallel line to green square and starting from the corner of purple one. I put the needle down on the corner, placed the ruler beside the foot and made sure ruler is parallel to the green square.

Now I am trying to finish this quilting line on the corner/target and I place the ruler 1/4” away from the corner/target.
I still put a lot of registration mark in order to know where I should stop or turn the quilting line.
 
And this is the finished product.
 
All free motion quilted without wobble.

Of course you can mark all the lines before quilting and just follow them but I find myself getting wobbly and concentrating a lot to stay on the line and still wobbly which annoyed me so much.

Ruler work needs bit more concentration and slower than free hand for me but way faster than with walking foot and neater than free hand. I think it is slightly different department of free motion quilting skill but very useful one to know.

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