Ruler Quilting 101 Reveal

Finishing one project seems to make it okay to add a dozen new ones!

First, the finish… ruler sampler

This sampler of quilting with rulers will be a quick visual of designs I may or may not use in future projects. The advantage of making the sampler?

  • Playing with ruler designs on paper made me comfortable with how the rulers felt, and how to manipulate them
  • Drawing the designs helped planned the general flow of stitching
  • My mistakes will remind me of things to avoid or things to change

You can make your own sampler! Whenever you see a quilting pattern you like, make a rough drawing – mine are REALLY rough. More like scribbles, that I keep with the rulers. Once you start a collection you will see patterns emerging. You will have more ideas about combining designs, which rulers to use (or buy), and it will speed things up when it comes to the actual planning of your own designs.

To make your designs, thy this approach :

Draw a 12″ square, since that is the size of most quilt blocks. Then add 3″ on all 4 sides. This will give you the equivalent of one block, 4 borders and 4 corners to play with.

Pencil and erase the designs until you have something you are happy with. The 12″ square is star of the show. Use the design you like best, and make it large. How do your rulers work with the large space? Corners are the opposite. They will challenge you to think and play small. Will the same rulers work in small spaces? Borders give you the opportunity to stretch &repeat designs. In both the corners and borders I tried to repeat designs at least once. First attempts are seldom perfect; practice is a good thing.

When you are ready to stitch your designs, sandwich a number of pieces and stitch them out. You will see that having drawn them on paper first will help plan the stitching.

On another note, we are very happy to welcome the Modern Quilt Guilt to out city. Our first assignment was to make name tags to wear to the meetings.

I went into my sewing room looking for supplies, notions and inspiration. The magnets I found were for purse making, and I couldn’t think of a way to make them work on a name tag. I couldn’t find any pins that were appropriate – but finally I saw a zipper that had fallen on the floor and decided it could work as a lanyard.

The name tag was first on the “to do” list at a retreat I attended last weekend. After that, I worked on a Christmas 2018 quilt. How is that for being ahead of the game? More like being behind, as it won’t be ready for 2017. The Laura Burch fabric I bought on my trip to Saskatchewan last May was the inspiration on this Simple Woven quilt pattern by Moda Bake Shop. Here is a sneak peak at several blocks: basket weave

I also made progress on The Circle Game. Then I had to set it aside while I waited for more fabrics to arrive. They did. But now I am on to other things. The plan is to resume hand work when we are away for several days at the end of December. I can hardly wait to play with these pretty fabrics. circle game2

Things may be quiet from this end for awhile. Christmas always does that to me. Decorations, gifts, ornaments… Too many ideas; too little time. I did get a new assistant, but so far, he is not much help. Huxley is his name, and he is quite the distraction.

I will leave you with another fall recipe from Ken’s kitchen. We had quite the batch of sweet pumpkins this year, and Ken has been trying new pumpkin recipes every week. This is one of the best pumpkin breads I have tasted. Try serving it like gingerbread, with a dollop of whipping cream. I will also be receiving a recipe for Pumpkin Curry soup within the next day or two and will add it here. It is really good! Our daughter does not like curry but she even admitted that the soup tasted good.

Have a great December, and have fun with all of your sewing and crafting activities! I will be back once my Santa work is done.

Posted in 2017, quilt along, recipes, ruler quilting, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Ruler Quilting 101 – Block 6

This was one of the first blocks I designed. It takes a more modern approach – ignoring lines that define the border and corner blocks. It is not difficult, just a little more involved so the instructions are a little longer than normal.

Once again we are using the 12/13″ Arc ruler. This is the 4th block we have made using this ruler, which shows just how versatile this ruler is.


Here are the particulars:

  • RULER: 12/13″ Arc
  • LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: 101, Beginner Ruler Quilting, some experience Free Motion Quilting (FMQ)
    • cross hatch kite, square
    • leaves, border of inside square
    • cross hatch mountains, border
    • gentle waves, border
    • surf wave, border
    • vase, corner
    • spider, corner

Step 1: Make the basic markings on your quilt sandwich

  • Mark your 18″ square (these will be your seam allowance lines), A1, A2, A3 and A4.
  • Mark the 4 lines that are 3″ in from the seam allowance, lines B1, B2, B3 and B4.
  • Mark the diagonal lines from B1 to B3, and B2 to B4 (C1-2)
  • Find and mark the center of your block (D)
  • Find the center of each B line, top and bottom (E 1-4)
  • There will be a few additional markings that we will mention as we get to them. A6S1

Step 2: Stitch all your B and C lines. A6S2

Step 3: Start by making one of the larger circles (outline of the surf wave). Using E1 & E2 as a guide, stitch from one seam allowance to the other. You will need to move your ruler as you go. I did that at the C line. After you do the first row of stitching, make a row of echo stitching 1/4″ outside your initial row. A6S3

Step 4: Make another large circle using E2 & E3 as your reference points. Make a row of echo stitching outside of this semi-circle as well. (note: the picture shows the needle on the inside of the curve but that is not where you want to stitch. You want to stitch on the OUTSIDE of the curve, with the ruler positioned on E2 and E3, as shown in the picture)A6S4

Step 5: Stitch the other two semi-circles from the seam allowance of E3 to E4 (just to the B line, not to the seam allowance this time) and then continue to the seam allowance of E1. Repeat the row of echo stitching. You now have your center kite.

Step 7: Starting at E1, make leaves along all the B and C lines. There is no extra markings involved; simply follow the arc of your ruler from one point to the next (green lines). You will end back at E1. Reverse your direction in order to start Step 8. A6S7
Step 8:
 Make 3 leaf shapes in the border area from E1 to E4, and on to the corner (yellow row). This forms the first row of your gentle waves. Travel 1/2″ and stitch your next row of waves (brown row). Follow the diagram shown. Reverse direction and stitch the third row of upper waves (pink row). A6S8
Step 9:
 Make the lower waves in the same border area (black line). Start with one at the seam allowance (AB line) at corner #2. Stitch one arc to match E4 at the seam allowance, then stitch another to AB at corner #1. Start again at the other AB line of corner #1 and stitch to the semi-circle line under E1. Make another 2 rows above this line of stitching, 1/2″ apart. A6S9
Step 10:
Make flower pots in corners 1 & 2, following the diagram shown. A6S10
Step 11:
Next, let’s finish the large circle we started with when we were making the leaves. It is the border area between E1 & E2, including corner #4.
This is a simple swirl design. It starts where the circle meets A (seam allowance) and always stitches to and from BB. Feel free to ‘eyeball’ the space between your stitching lines. A6S11
Step 12:
To finish the border section, make 3 mountains. Start with finding the mid-point between E2 and BB, between BB and E3, and finally, between E3 and BB. These will be your 3 mountain peaks.
Start stitching at E2 on the A line, stitch up to F1 and back down to AB. Make one row of echo stitching 1/4″ from the first row. Then complete the inside with cross-hatching. Repeat for the other two mountains. A6S12
Step 13:
We are down to our last corner. Find the center of the square and make a spinning design from corner to corner and from the mid-point of each side. A6S13

Voila! We are done! This will be my last block in the 101 beginner series. I hope that you stuck with me to the end, and that you enjoyed your ruler quilting experience.

Next week I will show you my six block sampler quilt put together. It will be hung in my sewing studio as a visual reminder of the many ways my few rulers can be put to use.

Posted in 2017, my patterns, quilt along, ruler quilting, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Ruler Quilting 101 – Block 5

This week we will mix it up a bit, just in case you are tired of simply working with the Arc ruler. My intention was to use one ruler per block but the straight ruler is such a standard item, I decided to incorporate straight lines into this design. Here is the block we will make: block5

Here are the particulars:

  • RULER: 12/13″ Arc, 13″ straight, and 4″ Arc
  • LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: 101, Beginner Ruler Quilting, some experience Free Motion Quilting (FMQ)
    • framed 8 petal flower, square
    • reverse rainbow, border
    • wonky curved square, corner
    • 4 petal flower, corner

Here are the rulers I will be using: block5 rulers

The only new ruler is the 4″ Arc by Westalee. It is in their starter kit. You may recall that in Block #3 I attempted to make Cathedral windows in the corner squares using the 13″ arc because it was too big and did not have a sharp enough curve to produce the desired affect. The 4″ Arc ruler by Westalee is the perfect ruler to use in such a small space.

Step 1: Make the basic markings on your quilt sandwich

  • Mark your 18″ square (these will be your seam allowance lines), A1, A2, A3 and A4.
  • Mark the 4 lines that are 3″ in from the seam allowance, lines B1, B2, B3 and B4.
  • Find the center of each B line, top and bottom (C 1-4)
  • Find and mark the center of your block (D)
  • There will be a few additional markings that we will mention as we get to them.


Step 2: Stitch all your B lines.

Step 3: Starting with C1, stitch the first row of the frame from C1 to C2, then to C3 and C4. Then continue to fill in each section towards the BB corner. I placed my ruler right on the previous stitching line, so the rows are 1/4″ apart. Before you continue on to Step 4, mark the middle of your first row of stitching (E 1-4).

Step 4: Make the 8 petal flower in the same way you made the butterfly in Block #3. Start in the middle (D), travel to the tip of one petal, back down to the center and then to the tip of the opposite petal before returning to the middle. Stitch the remaining petals in the same way. Your tips will be at the C and E marks.

Step 5: Make the reverse rainbows in each of the 4 boarder sections. Using the C marks as your guide, stitch from the SA to the upper C mark. Adjust your ruler and continue to the other AB seam allowance. Stitch two more rows, 1/2″ apart.

Reverse the rainbow. This time start with BB, stitch to the lower C center mark and continue back to BB. Make 2 more tows, 1/2″ apart.

Step 6: Stitch the 4 petal flowers in 2 corners, opposite from each other. You will need to find the center of the block (F1-2). This is where you will use the 4″ Arc ruler, reversing direction at F1 and F2. A3S6

Step 7: Stitch curved wonky squares in the other 2 corners. We first did this in Block #1 using the straight ruler. The Arc ruler gives a slightly different effect, and I must admit that I need more practice with this one!

Next week we will conclude this series with our final block for Ruler Quilting 101. Until then, have a great week and continue practicing!

Posted in 2017, quilt along, ruler quilting, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ruler Quilting 101 – Block 4

This is definitely my favorite block so far. block4

Here are the particulars:

  • RULER: 12/13″ arc
  • LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: 101, Beginner Ruler Quilting, some experience Free Motion Quilting (FMQ)
    • cross-hatch butterfly, square
    • 3 peaks, border
    • cross-hatch orbit star, corner
    • sunrise, corner

It is made using the same Arc ruler(s) as Block #3, so I will not review the rulers this time around. Simply go to that post if you want to read the review.

Step 1: Make basic markings on your quilt sandwich

  • Mark your 18″ square, lines A1, A2, A3 and A4. (same as all previous Blocks)
  • Mark the 4 lines that are 3″ in from the seam allowance, lines B1, B2, B3 and B4. (same as all previous Blocks)
  • Draw a line from corner to corner in the center square (C1-2). This line will not be stitched so make sure you use a marker where the lines can be removed.
  • Mark the center of your quilt sandwich (D)
  • Find and mark the center of each B line (E 1-4)
  • At each BB corner, make marks 1 1/2″ and 3″ down along the C line. A2S1

Step 2: Stitch all your B lines.

Step 3: Starting at the center (D), stitch along the arc of your quilting ruler to one BB corner, back to the center, up to the opposite BB corner and back to center. Do the same for the other two butterfly wings, and then repeat for all the F markings (see stitching diagram).

*Remember to use your small ruler to determine the placement of your quilting ruler for the corners and center.

**Also, if you are using the Westalee ruler, you will need to use the same technique as we did in Block 3 since your ruler is not long enough to reach from the corner to the center of the block. That is, to stitch part way along the arc and then re position the ruler at the desired destination.

Step 4: To complete the cross-hatch sections, line up the 1/4″ reference line on your quilting ruler along the outside of the butterfly wings. Use it as a guide to follow the parallel lines between the B line and the Butterfly wing. Travel the short distances needed at both ends (see diagram). Repeat for all four sections.

Step 5: Each of the 3 peaks will start and end at an AB point in the border section. We will stitch the center peak first so that we can use reference points on the quilting ruler for the other two peaks.

Starting where the seam allowance (A) meets the boarder line (B), follow the curve of your ruler to stitch to the E1 mark you made earlier (use your small ruler for accuracy). Then stitch down to other AB line. Repeat for the other two peaks. Start and end at the same point, but stitch 1/2″ to either side of the first peak (use the 1/4″ reference line on the quilting ruler).


*This is where a ruler that has both an inside and outside curve will come in handy. You will be able to stitch all three lines starting and stopping at the same spot by using the reference lines on both the inside and outside curves.

Step 6: In Block #3 we stitched orbit stars in two of the corners. This time we will make the same orbit star and simply add cross-hatching. Once again, use the 1/4″ reference line on the quilting ruler as your guide. Repeat for the opposite corner.


Step 7: Follow the diagram to make the sunrise corners stitching from the outside corner (AA) to the inside corner (BB).


*I always start with the middle longest line and work out. It reduces the amount of shifting and puckering that occurs. You could also baste the 3 layers together just outside the A lines.

I hope the wait was worth it. Have a great week!

Posted in 2017, my patterns, quilt along, ruler quilting, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Set Sail

One more week before I get back to ruler quilting. And I promise, it will be the best block yet.

Today’s post features an old UFO recently finished. It’s journey started 3 or 4 years ago with the stitch out of some nautical designs by Urban Threads. There was a perfect spot at our cottage just waiting for it.

Obviously, my machine embroider skills leave something to be desired. I was so disappointed in this attempt that I have done very little since stitching out these.

This is why it almost hit the trash.


This year the perfect sport on the wall was still bare. I made a decision to either finish or discard. With nothing to loose, I decided to take this opportunity to practice some FMQ and ruler work. If it didn’t turn out, it could still be thrown away.

I started with micro stippling Mr. Octopus in the center. It was magic!  I couldn’t believe the difference! All the extra fabric got sucked up.


I was so pleased that I just continued block by block making quilting decisions as I went. Stippling got a little boring, so I tried using rulers for the first time – first as sun rays, then as wonky squares. Not perfect, but it was good practice.  The front looks better than the back.


Since the blocks were heavily quilted, the sashing around them seemed empty, so they got ‘framed’, and just for some more variety, I added wave-like lines and pebbles in the lower section. My sister suggested a rope tied to the anchor. It was perfect. A few stone embellishments completed the look. setsaila

We have had an on-going fight with beavers at the lake. DH is most annoyed with them, but they did leave me a nice hanging rod, so I knew I would be making tabs to hang the quilt from. When I saw the wood buttons at a local store I know they would be perfect. It just took some searching under closet doors to reclaim them from little Miss Mavis, who has used them as cat toys for a few years.

The final embellishment was going to be gem stone eyes for the sea creatures, but then I decided to also add some stuffing to the embroidery section to give it more of a 3-D look. After that, I could not think of one single thing more to add. setsailc

Did you ever get an A in an exam you thought you had failed? Me neither. But in Set Sail, it was almost as if I could do nothing wrong. Next summer it will be hanging in its spot at the lake. Finally!

Speaking of DH, here are a few more of his recipes. I am a little behind, so will give you four of them! As you can see, they are great comfort foods with ingredients that are readily available at this time of year.

Have a great week! I hope its a creative one.


Posted in 2017, art, recipes, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Ugly + Ugly = Beautiful

There are times I question my sanity.

This is more serious than a simple “What was I thinking!?” It is more like – Really? I signed up to do that? What state of weakness was I in when I agreed to it?

The issue this time: I signed up for a 9 month Block of the Month (BOM) program to make a pattern I don’t particularly like, using (some) ugly fabrics, which I am hand piecing.

First, I don’t usually buy kits. I want my quilts to be different and have their own personality, not simply be a duplication of someone else’s ideas.  The difference this time? The pattern has 18 blocks, and we were told to make any 2 blocks each month. We will be sent 9 pieces of fabric each month for 9 months, but were advised to wait at least 2 months (October) so that we would have a good selection to start with. This guarantees that each quilt will be different.

I also don’t usually sign up for BOM programs. BOM programs are just way too slow for my liking. However, after a very busy and productive year, I decided it might be time to slow down a bit. Hand piecing should certainly do that! Besides, with winter right around the corner, taking a little basket of hand stitching to my guild days as compared to all the normal sewing paraphernalia sounded very inviting.

The pattern is called The Circle Game by Jen Kingwell. With sincere apologies to Jen, it is not a pattern I particularly like or would normally purchase based on the picture of her quilt. It was a chance meeting with a quilt store owner and a FaceBook post that captured my interest. It was dubbed as a challenging pattern, done entirely with templates, and she made the recommendation that at least some of the blocks be hand pieced. Having done none of the above, how could I resist the challenge?

If I made an apology to Jen for not liking her pattern, I must also  apologize to Kaffe Fassett and his multitude of followers. I find his fabrics to be some of the ugliest ever (lots of fish, flowers, circles) and have never been able to purchase any for that reason. But something magical happens when you cut it into small pieces. Take a look at this – a picture of my first 4 (the easiest) blocks. Circle Game 1

Now, if you have been following my Ruler Quilting series, you may be wondering about this interruption. It is not something I would normally do, but a trip to the hospital and some post-surgery recovery at home means I have not been sitting at my sewing machine for several weeks. I will get to back to Ruler Quilting as soon as possible.

In the meantime, in spite of everything I said above, I am loving this project. The fabrics arrived in the mail at a perfect time and the hand stitching was a perfect recovery type activity. As for slow? Maybe not so much. I am on block #6 now, and bought more Kaffe Fassett and Tula Pink fabric today. I can’t possibly drag this out for another 7 months waiting for all my packages to arrive.

It is not too late if you are interested in joining me in The Circle Game. Contact Diane from Di-Versity Quilting in Pritchard BC at (250)577-3494. Diane would be more than happy to talk to you, and is wonderful at answering questions.

Happy stitching! I would love to know how many people out there are hand piecing. It really is quite therapeutic.

Posted in 2017, challenges, hand piecing, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Ruler Quilting 101 – Block 3

In Block 3 we will start using the Arc ruler. During the summer, when I was preparing for this series, I jotted down designs I liked and was surprised at how many used an arc pattern. So much so, that we will make at least 4 blocks using arc rulers. For this first one, we will just use two that are almost identical in the arc they provide.

So, here is Block 3: block3

Here are the particulars:

  • RULER: 12 & 13″ arc
  • LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: 101, Beginner Ruler Quilting, some experience Free Motion Quilting (FMQ)
    • whirlwind, square
    • water lily, border
    • orbit star, corner
    • cathedral window, corner

Here are the rulers I will be using: 13 inch arc ruler

  1. This is the 12″ Arc/straight edge combo ruler in the Westalee (Sew Steady) starter kit. It is 1/8″ thick, and 6″ long.
    • Markings: it has 3 horizontal lines that run parallel to the edge of the rulerthat allow for design widths of 1/4″, 1/2″, 1″ and 2″. In addition, it has 9 vertical lines including a start and finish line.
    • What I like about this ruler:  I really like having all the vertical lines. It makes it easy to divide a 6″ space into half, thirds or quarters. I also like the size when doing a small space, like the corners
    • Things that could be an issue: The size was something I liked when doing small spaces, but becomes an issue when doing larger spaces or longer lines. I will give you alternatives when we get to those spots.
  2. This is a 13″ Arc ruler by Teryl Loy Enterprises. Mine is 3/8″ thick; it also comes with a thickness of 1/4″. It has an inside curve and an outside curve.
    • Markings: This ruler also has 3 horizontal lines, but they are thicker in the center and tapered at the ends. This provides reference lines when your stitching is not going to be a consistent amount. to It has one vertical line in the middle.
    • What I like about this ruler: I really liked that the ruler had an inside and outside curve. It gives you more options. If you are tight for space, or if you have a preference to use one hand over the other, you have the flexibility to use either curve. I liked the length of this ruler for larger spaces. I also used it successfully on my low shank, small throat machine.
    • Things that could be an issue: I wish this ruler had more vertical lines. Sometimes I was guessing on the placement

Step 1: Make the basic markings on your quilt sandwich

  • Mark your 18″ square, lines A1, A2, A3 and A4. (same as Block #1)
  • Mark the 4 lines that are 3″ in from the seam allowance, lines B1, B2, B3 and B4. (same as Block #1)
  • Find the center of each B line (C 1-4)
  • Find and mark the center of your block (D)


Step 2: Stitch all your B lines.

Step 3: Stitch from one corner of a BB line to the center mark. Flip the ruler and stitch down to the opposite corner. Repeat the second line in the same way to/from the other 2 corners. You have now divided the center block into 4 curved sections.

Note: Remember to use your small ruler to determine your ruler placement 1/4″ away from the stitching line. This is just a little more difficult than it was with the straight ruler. I find it helps to stand the small ruler up so that the arc of your quilting ruler does not interfere with the 1/4″ measure. The picture below shows how easy it is to be off. I couldn’t get a good picture when I stood the ruler up.


Note: The Westalee ruler is not long enough to reach from the corner to the center. If you are using the Westalee ruler, you will need to start at the corner and stitch to one of the vertical marks. Then stop and move the ruler so that you can reach the center and continue stitching.

Each of the 4 curved sections will be treated in the same way. From whichever corner you ended, travel along the B line until you can place your ruler on the second line (1/2″ line) on your ruler. Sew to the center curved line, travel 1/2″ and sew back down to the boarder. Repeat this kind of echo stitch until you have the whole section filled. Then repeat for the other 3 sections. A1S3

Step 4: Make a waterlily in each of the 4 boarder sections. Using the C marks as your guide, stitch from the SA to 1/2″ on either side of the mark on the B line. Then stitch four lines to each corner square, following the diagram shown above.


Step 5: Stitch an orbit star in 2 corners, opposite from each other. A1S5

Step 6: Stitch a cathedral window in the 2 other corners. The arc on this ruler did not produce a very nice cathedral window. Since this is a sampler quilt, I might leave it so that I remember what not to do, or I might still change it using a ruler with more of an arc (like the 4″ ruler in the Westalee starter kit). A1S6

Due to a medical emergency, I did not get next week’s block finished in time to show you. Instead, I will give you a couple of recipe’s from Ken’s Kitchen.

Both of these are slow cooker recipes. I once made the mistake of telling DH that all slow cooker recipes taste the same. That was a challenge and he wasn’t happy until he found some different ones. I hope you like them.

Posted in 2017, my patterns, quilt along, ruler quilting, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Ruler Quilting 101 – Block Two

This week we are making Block Two of a Ruler Quilting Sampler quilt. It is not nearly as involved as Block 1 was. block2

Here are the particulars:

  • RULER: 2 1/2″ Circle Ruler (finishes as 2″ circles)
  • LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: 101, Beginner Ruler Quilting, some experience Free Motion Quilting (FMQ)
    • circles
    • orange peel
    • clamshells
    • corner flowers

Here is a picture of the rulers I have: circle rulers

  1. This is the 2 1/2″ circle ruler in the Westalee (Sew Steady) starter kit. It is 1/8″ thick and has the option of inserting a puzzle ‘key’ to close the circle.
  2. This is a 2 1/2″ circle ruler by Teryl Loy Enterprises. Mine is 3/8″ thick; it also comes 1/4″.
    • Markings: Both rulers have identical markings – horizontal, vertical and diagonal. The Westalee ruler has one additional marking to show the center of the puzzle key. You will notice I have more grip on the thicker ruler. It follows the markings – not sure yet if I should have done that.
    • What I like or dislike about this ruler: There really wasn’t anything I disliked about this ruler, although its use is more limited than some other rulers. You definitely need all the markings.

Step 1: Make the basic markings on your quilt sandwich

  • Mark your 18″ square, lines A1, A2, A3 and A4. (same as Block #1)
  • Mark the 4 lines that are 3″ in from the seam allowance, lines B1, B2, B3 and B4. (same as Block #1)
  • Mark the mid-point on all 4 sides. Draw a line from C1 to C3; for C2 and C4 you just need a small mark. C1S1

Step 2: Make 3 rows of circles along the line you drew from C1 to C3, starting at the seam allowance (SA) line and ending at the SA. The first row will be the middle row with 9 circles. Repeat for Row’s 1 and 3 on either side of the middle row (I left one circle off at the beginning and end of each row).

My method is taken directly from Teryl Loy’s video. (orange peel video). It is done in a row of half circles in a figure 8 going one direction, and then the other half done going in the reverse direction.

If you with to use the key provided in the Westalee kit, you can make individual circles, but you will have to bury threads OR travel over existing threads to the start of the next circle.

Note: The paper diagrams for this block were drawn with the 2 1/2″ circle ruler but stitch out at 2″ so the paper diagrams look slightly different than the quilt block. This should not affect the end product since pencil drawings are only used to indicate the stitching flow.

Step 3: To make the orange peel, you simply stitch another 2 rows of circles that overlap rows 1&2 and rows 2&3.

The ruler markings will really help you keep the circles centered. C1S3

Step 4: To make clam shells start with your C2 mark and measure 5″ to either side in order to determine your starting point. Make 5 half circles on the first row, 4 on the next, 3, 2 and then 1. This paper chart shows the flow, but for simplicity purposes it only shows 3 rows. Repeat at the C4 mark.

Step 5: Make a flower in each corner. Start where the B lines cross, and make one circle going each direction. Travel half way up any circle in order to make the center circle.

Step 6 (Optional): To define the 3″ border (so that this block is consistent with all the other blocks), I went back to the straight ruler and stitched a short straight line along the B markings, where there wasn’t a circle. C1S6

That is it for Block #2! Next week we will use the 13″ arc ruler to produce this block:block3


Posted in 2017, my patterns, quilt along, ruler quilting, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Ruler Quilting 101 – Block One

Finally! The day is here and we can start to play! If you have not read my previous posts, review them for prep and set-up. This week we are making Block One of a Ruler Quilting Sampler quilt:block1

Here are the particulars:

  • RULER: straight
  • LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: 101, Beginner Ruler Quilting, some experience Free Motion Quilting (FMQ)
    • straight line, short
    • straight line, long
    • matchsticks
    • diamonds
    • wonky squares
    • meandering rectangles

Here are the 3 rulers I will be using:  straight rulers

  1. This is the 6″ Fine Line ruler by Accents In Design. It is 1/4″ thick with a ‘hook’ strip already applied on the underside.
    • Markings: it has 4 horizontal that allow for design widths of 1/4″, 1/2″, 1″ 2″ and 2 1/2″. In addition, it has vertical and diagonal lines.
    • What I like about this ruler: This is my go-to ruler for short lines. It is sturdy and easy to use. I like the finger grips and I like having the vertical and diagonal lines in the middle of the ruler.
    • Things that could be an issue: While I like the finger grips, not everyone does. It makes storage more difficult. Sometimes they break off and some have had the finger grips interfere with parts of their sewing machine especially if you have a low shank machine. Also, I am not a big fan of the hook strip. It catches on things and makes the ruler a little tippy which affects accuracy.
  2. This is a 13″ ruler by Teryl Loy Enterprises. Mine is 1/4″ thick; it also comes 3/8″
    • Markings: It has 14 horizontal lines the length of the ruler; half of the lines are 1/8″ apart and the other half are 1/4″ apart. It also has 2 vertical line at one end of the ruler and two diagonal lines (45 and 60 degrees) at the other.
    • What I like about this ruler: I love all the reference line and this is the only ruler of the 3 that has lines spaced 1/8″ apart. Also, I love that it is 13″ long. Most blocks are 12″ so this ruler gives you that nice long straight line across the whole block – less chance of your lines going astray. This is my go-to ruler when I stitch in the ditch or have other long lines.
    • Things that could be an issue: I wish the vertical and diagonal lines were in the middle of the ruler instead of at the end and that the diagonal lines were mirrored in both direction. If your machine doesn’t have a large throat space your ability to use the ruler going right will be limited.
  3. The Westalee (Sew Steady) starter kit contains the 12″arc/straight edge combo ruler. The ruler is 7″ long, with markings for a 6″ line. The one I have is 1/8″ thick.
    • Markings: It has three horizontal 1/4″ lines and 9 vertical lines in addition to the start and stop lines.
    • What I like about this ruler: I like all the vertical reference lines. It is easy to divide your space into half, quarters and even eights.
    • Issues: I wish it had diagonal lines and at least one 1/8″ line.

Step 1: Make some basic markings on your quilt sandwich

  • Mark your 18″ square, leaving a minimum of 1/4″ for the seam allowance on all sides (I am using a friction pen for my marks). This will be the same for all future blocks and I will always show them as lines A1, A2, A3 and A4.
  • Make 4 lines that are 3″ in from the seam allowance. This will also be the same for all future blocks and will be marked as B1, B2, B3 and B4.
  • Mark a line corner to corner from the B lines. This will be C1 and C2. L1S1

Step 2: With your ruler as a guide, stitch all B and C lines. You can do this either with the feed dogs up or down but since we are practicing FMQ with rulers, consider this as extra practice.  The point where the C lines cross is the center of your block (point D).

Tip: You can stabilize a long ruler by placing a small ruler at the end, holding the long ruler with one hand and having your thumb on the other. This picture demonstrates it. tip1c

Step 3: Make a 5 1/2″ square in the center of your block. My short ruler (#1) makes this an easy job. With a center marking and the 45 degree angles, I can match the center point of the ruler to fabric along with the C seams and simply stitch from the other side of the ruler from one C seam to the next. These are E lines.L1S3a

Step 4: Make matchstick rows between point D and the E lines going in all 4 directions. Play a little; don’t worry about matching up the matchstick rows. Vary the width between the matchsticks. Get use to the feel of the ruler. NOTE: Since this is a sampler quilt and not a show quilt, I will be travelling over existing stitching lines when the distance is not too farL1S4

Step 5: Now let’s practice a little accuracy and long lines that haven’t already been marked. Place your ruler along the B line and stitch to the inside of the 12″ square. Your lines will be the width of your ruler foot – 1/4″. Make two rows and repeat for all four sides. This is where my 13″ ruler is really handy as it covers the whole space. However, if you are using a shorter ruler, just keep moving it along the line. L1S5a

Step 6: It’s diamond time, and we need a few more marks. Divide the lines you just made into 4 equal parts, and make 3 small marks at the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 spots (mine are 2 3/4″ apart). Find the center of the E lines and mark that point (also 2 3/4″ apart).

Now accuracy DOES matter. You want your needle, not your ruler to go from point to point. This brings me to the most important tip you will ever learn in ruler quilting:

Tip: Put your needle down where you want to start. Determine where you want your stitching to end and use your small ruler to measure 1/4″ from that point. Line your quilting ruler up to that point, and your stitching will be be accurate. L1S6a

Make 2 rows of stitching following the diagram.  L1S6b

Step 7: We have arrived at the border of our block. It should be 3″ x 18″ +SA on all 4 sides with the corners already defined by our stitching (3″ squares). On 2 corners opposite each other, make some 90 degree lines. Do this by placing your ruler along the B line and stitch just until the outside edge of your ruler foot touches the next B line. Put your ruler along that B line and stitch to the edge. Repeat this for as many lines as you like.

Optional: If you want to practice more straight and diagonal 1/4″ lines, mark out another 3″ on either side of the corner squares. Again, use your B lines as a guide, stitch up and down to the other B line, and then from the corner of your square to the other corner. L1S7a

Step 8: Make three more 3″ squares in the two borders that are adjacent to each other, including a corner. You will have a total of 7 squares where you can practice some wonky squares. This is best demonstrated with a paper diagram. A shows you how to start each square. B shows a complete square including backing out at the end, without tying off. C, D, & E shows the progression from one square to the next.

Use any reference line on your ruler – just be consistent. I used the 1/4″ mark. This meant all of my stitching was 1/2″ apart. Move the ruler (not your fabric) from left to back to right to front, and you will see how easy and forgiving this is. L1S8a

Step 9: The remaining space (including the other corner) is reserved for meandering rectangles. This is a good filler, and another great exercise in practicing the placement of your ruler in all 4 positions. Use the reference lines on your ruler against A and B lines to keep things square. However, you are on your own for this one! Here is a picture to get you started:


That’s it! I apologize for the length of this post but the straight line is so important I tried to get in as many designs as possible. We will be using the straight ruler in every single block.

Don’t hesitate to send me any comments you have – is something unclear? are the instructions too detailed? are the instructions not detailed enough?

Next week join me as we use the 2 1/2″ circle ruler to produce this block: block2





Posted in 2017, my patterns, quilt along, ruler quilting, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Northcott’s Canada 150 Block Party Finals

All spring you watched me collect and make blocks from shops that participated in Northcott’s Canada 150 Block Party challenge. Similar to row-by-row, you had to visit individual quilt stores in order to collect the patterns. Some of you even bought kits from your local stores and mailed them to me. I had so many blocks and panels, I made 2 quilts.

I gave you the locations and stories behind the blocks. The blocks were wonderfully Canadian. I even designed one myself – called Winterpeg. Just look for the snowflakes!

Both of my quilts are in the top 13 from entries submitted across Canada. I really wanted my quilts to reflect all of Canada so both of my quilts have all thirteen provincial & territorial flags on them. None of the other quilts that made it to the finals have that. I was also able to collect blocks from every participating province – thanks to you.

Now it’s voting time (the winning quilt will be chosen by votes), and I would really appreciate any help you can give me. It could be your vote; it could be forwarding this post to your friends, sharing it on your Facebook page, Instagram or even on your blog.

Although these quilts were made to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, you do not have to live in Canada in order to vote. You can only vote for each quilt once, but you CAN place more than one vote so you can vote for both of mine, and you can vote from any device with a different IP address – iphone, laptop, work computer etc.

To refresh your memory, here are pictures of “My Canada” (front, back and detail) which I custom quilted on a domestic sewing machine, and here is the link to vote for My Canada.


It’s A Party was finished just weeks ago, quilted by a friend on her long arm. Here is the voting link to It’s a Party


Thank you, my blog family and friends!!!


Posted in Canada 150, challenges, Contests, Uncategorized | 4 Comments