Ruler Quilting is simply using rulers to guide the free motion action of your sewing machine. It is critical that you use a ruler foot and a ruler produced for ruler quilting, or you will damage your sewing machine. This equipment can be as little as £40-50 to get started, and you will find it to be an excellent investment.
Why Try Ruler Quilting?
Ruler quilting offers the opportunity to switch the way you think about free motion quilting. With a straight ruler and a ruler foot, I can trace around the piecing in my project without twisting it. When I compare sewing around a triangle with my walking foot, I would have to turn my quilt twice, pulling it through the arm of my sewing machine to finish sewing back at the point I started, depending on the size of my project that can be tricky and awkward. Instead, with a ruler foot, I can turn the ruler and not the quilt. It is soo much easier – and far quicker. Furthermore, using my straight ruler, I can create a host of great designs, or I can break up more significant areas to make smaller portions of the project to fill with doodle quilting,
What is a Ruler Foot?
A ruler foot looks like a darning foot, except it is thicker. A ruler foot doesn’t hop; instead, it glides over the material. As it doesn’t hop, it also doesn’t have the bar that fits over the needle screw, which can be found on a darning foot. Setting the ruler foot to the correct height is critical so that the fabric moves freely. The height of the foot should not be so great that the stitches don’t complete correctly, or the ruler can slip underneath it.
Some manufacturers, Janome and Bernina, have specific ruler feet for their machines; however, it is possible to buy universal ruler feet. Clarity in Design, Westalee and Silesian are all brands that provide Ruler Feet for low, medium or high shank machines. A link here will help you decide what the shank neight is of your machine.
Which Ruler Should I Buy First?
Start with a straight ruler. The designs below are just a few possible designs with an excellent straight ruler. Rulers with markings are equivalent to extra rulers, as you can use that one ruler in more dimensions with great accuracy.
Before you buy any ruler, have a good look at it and see if there are options for you to use them in different ways, for example
- Do they have markings so that you can echo the lines you have drawn at ¼” or ½” or more
- Do they have degree marking at 45’ or 60’ so that you can accurately create a triangle or circle of your ruler work
- Do they have both horizontal and vertical lines so that you can use the ruler at 90 degrees to your work with just as much accuracy without having to twist the quilt?
For my Introduction to Ruler Quilting Class, I recommend these rulers (ruler 1 or ruler 2) and for my or my Curved Quilting Class, I recommend these rulers (4″ and 7″ rulers).
There is some discussion about using slightly thinner rulers for lower shank machines. I will discuss this with you ahead of the class, and I don’t believe it is necessary.
Classes & Getting Started
I could talk about the benefits of ruler quilting forever! I can’t remember the last item I quilted without using a ruler. It makes my quilting life so much easier! I run two classes for ruler quilting. An Introduction to Ruler Quilting I which we master the straight ruler and 15 different designs, and then my Curved Ruler Quilting Class where we progress to create curved designs. If you have any questions about these classes, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org