Last May I mentioned the wonderful three part series that Patsy Thompson was writing about ruler work on a domestic machine for MQU. Since then I’ve taken the plunge and am loving working with rulers on my own machine. It’s really fun!
I am in no way as expert as Patsy is, but, as a relative newcomer to this type of work would like to share a few tips that have really helped me.
- As always, having a large flat surface to support your quilt makes the job easier.
- Consider making a practice quilt to improve your skills.
- A little marking can help a lot. Most rulers have a variety of marks etched on them to help guide you as you quilt, but I’ve found that especially for circular designs having additional marks to follow is very helpful.
- Most of my errors have occurred when I finished a line of stitching (or a circle) and moved the ruler. It’s important to be sure that you gently snug up the ruler right to the foot to create an accurate design.
- Be sure to add some type of grippy material to the back of your rulers. Handigrip is one popular brand. Some of my Westalee rulers came with a grip that reminds me of shelf liner with adhesive on the back. Either way it helps to keep your ruler in place as you manipulate your quilt under the machine.
- If you hold your ruler in place it’s relatively easy to backtrack over previous lines to maneuver. However, remember that if your design requires backtracking that a thinner thread that matches the color of your fabric will produce less noticeable thread buildup.
- People who make rulers want to sell them, so most of them have great videos that demonstrate how to use rulers on a domestic machine. Just search for “domestic machine ruler work videos” , or go directly to a manufacturer’s website, and you’ll find plenty of demos.
Remember to breathe, take regular breaks, and have fun! I certainly can’t wait to keep playing with this new-to-me technique.