I have been terribly remiss in keeping up with this blog. What is the saying? Life gets in the way when one makes plans? That about sums it up. I’ve been working sporadically on a few projects, namely Piccadilly Square; a small disappearing nine-patch PACH (PAramedis Care and Help) quilt, and organizing a class I’m going to be teaching at our local Quilt Shop, “Creative Essentials”. Who said retirement was boring?
What I wanted to post about was the new ruler I was fortunate enough to be a test quilter for called the “Fine Line Quilters Ruler”. This ruler is specifically for anyone that does machine quilting on a frame, or; as I’ve heard some refer to it as, ‘stand up quilting’. Making a straight line is relatively easy (with some practice) when using a domestic machine because you are either following a seam line, a line you’ve marked on the fabric or using the edge of your pressure foot and the dog teeth pull the quilt sandwich through. When you’re trying to make a straight line with a long arm machine it is much different and requires a lot more practice.
Imagine trying to control a 45 pound machine that’s resting on ball bearings and keep it in a straight line! Pretty hard especially if you are trying to quilt on the diagonal. We have to add a table base to the machine and use special rulers that are thick enough so that the hopping foot wont go over top of it. Typically they are 1/4″ thick, some with markings at 1/4″, 3/4″ and so on so we can do grid work and such. Basically, you just hang on to the ruler as comfortably and firmly as possible and guide the hopping foot along the edge.
This new ruler was developed by a quilter that was frustrated trying to control the ruler, keep fingers and hands out of the way so you don’t bump the hopping foot and end up with a ‘bump’ in the line that you have to stop, rip it out and re-do. When you are doing this professionally this all takes time and costs $$. She developed a ruler with finger and fabric grips to solve these issues.
I couldn’t believe how quick and easy it was to to some background grid work. My hands didn’t get sore and the ruler was not sliding around on the quilt top and not once did I find my hands or fingers in the way!
I’ve always stayed away from ruler work because of the frustration level but no more. I finished up my practice piece and started looking around at what I had ready that I could do some more grid-work on!
If you would like more information about this ruler just let me and I will get it to you. They are not in Canada yet but I will get the information to you so that you can order directly from the manufacturer. They are running about $15 US for an 8″ ruler (perfect for mid-arm machines) and she has 12″ as well. I can’t wait to see what else she comes up with!