Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tasting Table Tuesday - Free Motion Quilting Rulers for Domestic Machines

I have a new Tool on my Tasting Table to Tell you about Today.  I have always been drawn to the perfect quilting that longarmers can achieve on their machines using rulers and templates.  I have always assumed that you can't use rulers while quilting on a domestic sewing machine, because you need both hands free to manipulate the quilt.  I assumed wrong...

A few weeks ago, I looked around the internet to see if any such rulers existed, specifically for domestic machine quilting, and found this website - Accents In Design.

As many of you already know, I'm a drafter.  I learned to draw (draft) in the late 1970's the old-fashioned way using tools like these...
Now you understand why I was always frustrated when my free-motion quilting looked like sketching.  I wanted my circles and arcs to be perfect, not oblong or wonky.  I wanted them to look like they were stitched with templates - just like my drafting.  I know - with practice, practice, and more practice, I might eventually get them almost good enough.

So now I'm using tools like these...  (Continuous Curve Ruler, and Straight Ruler)
and these...  (Quilter's Template Set)

I'll be totally honest and tell you that this is the first time I've used these rulers - or any kind of quilting ruler - and I'm amazed at how easy it is and how well they work.  What makes these rulers different is the strip of velcro on the underside of the ruler, to keep it from slipping, and the two pegs on the top of each ruler.  This makes the ruler very easy to hold in position, while still being able to maneuver your quilt.

This is the Continuous Curve ruler and there is an outward curve on one side, and an inward curve on the other, so I just flip it around from side to side to quilt this curved line design.  (feed dogs are lowered)

There are handy guidelines on each ruler so you can line it up with your seamlines, or any other guides in your quilt.  I moved my index finger out of the way in this shot so you can see the guidelines a little better.  Even though the guidelines aren't on top of my seamlines, you can still "eyeball it" and make sure that they are parallel to the seams, and the center line runs right through the intersection of seams.  This ensures that all the curves will be uniform.

And just as an extra little bit of info - here's how I plan my quilting designs.
I printed an extra copy of my EQ7 drawing for this quilt, then clipped a sheet of transparency film on top.  Then I can play around with different quilting designs using a dry erase marker.  If I don't like a design, I just rub it away with a tissue or scrap of quilt batting and start again!  Then I hang it from the shelf right next to me so I can refer to it as I quilt.

So that's what is on my Tasting Table Today.  Time to head back down to my Cotton Cellar to play with these rulers some more.  I'll share the finished quilt with you soon, and hopefully have more good comments about these rulers - but so far, I'm very impressed and can't wait to try the rest of them out on my next quilt.  If you're interested in learning more about these rulers from Accents In Design, visit their website by clicking here and be sure to watch their videos too.  One shows the rulers used on a longarm, and the other demonstrates them being used on a domestic machine.



  1. I am overwhelmed with the concept...I think your tools are fabulous..

  2. Very cool, thanks for sharing. Again, your work is beautiful!


  3. I REALLY would love seeing how these work with a domestic machine, very cool. I noticed the quilting on this quilt yesterday, loved it.

    It was wonderful meeting you yesterday!

  4. Hi, Kathy! Have you had a chance to play with these rulers some more? Are you still loving them? I, too, have been smitten by the perfect secondary designs longarmers achieve with especially the arced rulers and wondered whether anything similar could be used on a domestic machine. Which rulers do you like the best, if I was going to just get a few to try? Thanks for the post -- your photos are very clear and helpful!


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