Ruler Quilting 201 – Start Stitching

Starting can be scary.

But I had a plan, I had rulers, I had a sandwich I liked, and I had thread. Recently I attended a class where a teacher suggested using 7 threads – 3 matching the colours in your quilt, 2 variegated, and 2 entirely different. This was my line up. 201 threa

This week’s task was to stitch the square flower design that I showed you last week. This is what it ended up looking like on paper. RQ201 final paper copy

The center (1) was made using the 2 1/2″ circle, which is found in many beginner kits. Using the Magic Seam Marker (small red disk in the picture), I am able to duplicate the stitching line, which is 1/4″ in from the edge of the ruler. The circle stitches out to 2″. RQ201 flower circle

I used the 8 Point Crosshair ruler (Westalee) to mark and then stitch the center lines, with the longer ones along the seams. This was the only markings I made for the flower.201 cross-hair

 

The length of the Chevy ruler (Angela Walters) determined the length of the long petals. I used the reference lines on the ruler for the shape – starting with zero at the circle and going to the 3/4″ line at the end of the spoke (#2). RQ201 flower arm

The corner of the ruler formed the tip of the petal. RQ201 flower tip

For the shorter petals, I used the same technique but determined the length by the seam, and then marked the ruler to get them all the same length.

Stitching one row around was okay, but not very noticeable. 201 flower b

Another row of echo stitching was better, but still not enough. 201 flower c

I decided to vary it, so did another row of outline stitching 3/4″ away, and finished it off with an outline row 1/4″ away. Markings on the ruler helped keep things relatively consistent.201 flower d

Now I had lots of options. There were channels I could fill with squiggly lines or pebbles. There were inside and outside parts to the petals, and there was the center. All spaces in which to play.

My 201 option (ruler only) ended up looking like this: 201 flower f

The 201+ (ruler + FMQ) was: 201 flower e

I liked 201, but the jury is still out on 201+. Plan A is to continue and see what happens; Plan B is to cut it up and turn it into pillows. We will see where things takes us. In either case, this is a flower I intend to make again. There are just so many potential design options.

This flower would be easy for you to make, even if you don’t have any of the rulers that I used. Simply mark/stitch the circle and then use a straight ruler for the rest. It measures out at 15″ square. I think it would look lovely as the center motif on a pillow, and you could make it bigger with some straight line stitching around it. 

Posted in 2019, FMQ, my patterns, quilt along, ruler quilting, Skill Builders, super simple quilting, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ruler Quilting 201 – The Design Process

It started right. A large sheet of paper on the floor, with the blocks marked.

Do you have any idea what cats do with large sheets of paper? It goes something like this… 201 cat

The next step was to put the bed runner under a vinyl tablecloth and mark out designs on the tablecloth with washable markers. That was the picture I showed you last week. IMG_9276

Now, why did I think that would work? It could…if you were going to stitch it before the marks disappeared…if you didn’t need the table for anything until you were done…if you didn’t mind markers coming off on your hands, your rulers and everything else they came in contact with.

Next came a smaller, more manageable sheet of paper (to be used only when my assistant Sir Huxley was sleeping). I picked several rulers to use, as I get confused with too many options. 201-rulers-scaled-2560-e1572572319128-scaled-2560.jpegThis time I was going to do a repeat- drawing out the basic concept of one section but giving myself permission to reverse, resize and revise motifs for variety in other sections.

It made sense to start with the larger design elements. The Chevy ruler from Creative Grids (#1) has been in my collection for awhile but I have been at a loss as to what to use it for that a normal straight ruler couldn’t do. This time I was determined to use it, and I come up with this straight-line flower that I quite liked. 201 pattern

Drawing it on paper first really helped visualize the design. For the real thing I would make just a few minor adjustments so that the seam lines wouldn’t compete with the edges of the flower.

Next week we will start stitching. I really liked it before it was quilted. Would I like it after?

 

Posted in 2019, my patterns, quilt along, ruler quilting, Skill Builders, super simple quilting, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Ruler Quilting 201 – Super Simple Bed Runner

For the next few weeks I will build on all of my previous Ruler Quilting post.

RQ 101 was about using one ruler for a variety of designs.

RQ 201 is the reverse; Several rulers, one design. You might even get one or two Free Motion Quilting suggestions to complement the ruler design.

This week its about the quilt sandwich – something simple and manageable. In RQ 101, I made the blocks without a particular plan. It turned into a Sampler. IMG_E6684

This time, I wanted to apply RQ to an actual, more practical quilted project. Placemats? Cushions? Table runner? Bed runner?

A look at my fabric stash for solids or near solids, helped with the decision. It seems I have collected a fair bit of grunge in the past couple years, and I decided to use an assortment of white and pinks – a little bit of yardage, some fat quarters, and a few pieces stolen from a Layer Cake. IMG_9258

I have always liked the look of bed runners, with matching pillows but it is not something I make very often, so it became the project to practice my ruler quilting on. 

The pattern needed to be simple. The thread, not the piecing would be the star of the show. I cut all the pieces 10″, the same size as the Layer Cake; 12 white and 12 pink.

Pairing a pink and white together, I stitched around the perimeter and then cut the pieces diagonally in both directions to produce 48 half square triangles.

The eyes don’t work as well as they used to. The hands shake more, and every machine sews a little different. 1/4″ seams aren’t always 1/4″. Good thing we have tools to help us get it right. In this case, the Bloc_Loc helped square up the pieces to 6 1/2″.

Keeping it simple, I choose a herringbone pattern for the layout. IMG_9276

It is ready to think about quilting designs for this piece. That will be next week’s discussion.

 

Posted in 2019, quilt along, ruler quilting, Skill Builders, super simple quilting, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Life’s a Beach

Ironic, that topic is.

On a weekend that most Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving, it is looking more like Christmas. Thanksgiving pumpkins

Roads were closed. School was cancelled, and the grandkids came to hang out with Grandma. They had fun making forts. Tea anyone? fort

It turned all our plans upside down. Instead of traveling 6 hours north to make a Thanksgiving dinner for aging parents, I spent considerable time prepping for an upcoming Quilting Cruise.

The assignment? Make a 10″ challenge block using the phrase “Life’s a Beach” as inspiration. It had me stumped – until I returned to one of my favorite subject matters. Life's a Beach

Now I really need your input. Does it work? Does it make sense? What does it say to you?

The next task was internally driven. I had no hand stitching to take. Now, even I have to admit that being concerned with not having enough to do when you are going on a quilting cruise seems excessive. All I know is that hand stitching is my security blanket. All those hours, airports… airplanes… hotel rooms… ports… sea days with no classes… will be made MUCH better with a small portable project. And for that, I had nothing.

Looking through my ‘someday’ pile, I found the perfect project. Baltimore Christmas. This will be an applique challenge. One that could keep me going through many, many trips, but I made the decision (subject to change) to make only three of the blocks, and to make one per year. In 3 years I should have a Christmas wall hanging. No pressure. IMG_0197

I decided to start with Block #8 – a nice top block for a wall hanging of three. Block 8

Part way through the prep I was already contemplating a strategy for shortening this project. What would a person do with only one block?.

We were just given another piece of homework. One of our excursions will involve a block exchange with quilters in Costa Rica. It was optional, but how could you not? The block was to represent where you came from. All I have so far is the fabric.exchange block to be

As usual, the first thing to go into the suitcases will be my quilting supplies and projects. My hand stitching book will be part of the carry on. handstitching book

Dear Hubby had a birthday this week, so DH was given a day off and I took over Ken’s Kitchen. I have as much trouble following recipes as patterns but came up with a very delicious meal. Birthday dinner

Garden carrots, spinach pasta, Lemon Vodka Shrimp, (a very, very good sauce) and Walnut Crusted Chicken. The recipes are with my modifications.

DH has been busy harvesting his gardens. It was not very bountiful, which suited my minimalist spirit fine. Instead of massive amounts of zucchini to deal with, I have been able to use them one by one – mostly for this classic Chocolate Zucchini Cake. birthday cake Super easy and half-way healthy (you can even successfully substituted carrots for some or all of the zucchini). Instead of icing, I sprinkle chocolate chips and chopped nuts on top, and I make them into large cupcakes instead of baking it as a cake. The cupcakes are large enough to serve two, and freeze well.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, lets focus on everything good in our lives. Life’s a Beach!

Posted in 2019, challenges, recipes, travels, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Verb Command Prompts

I am in need of a little breather, so for the next few weeks we will have posts that are lighter in nature.

This time around, I am sharing a list of Verb Command Prompts. They are simple phrases used as inspiration in art and design, but can also be applied to your quilting projects. These may be handy as a starting point for a new project.  On the other hand, one of the prompts may be the perfect solution if you have a project you are struggling with.

  • Make it bigger
  • Make it smaller
  • Make it tiny
  • Make it BIG
  • Make it round
  • Make it square
  • Elongate it
  • Simplify it
  • Make it shorter
  • Make it longer
  • Make it shorter
  • Make it heavier
  • Make it lighter
  • Make it sparkle
  • Make it light up
  • Enclose it
  • Fill it up
  • Empty it
  • Coil it
  • Twist it
  • Combine it
  • Make it glow
  • Open it
  • Turn it upside down
  • Lay it on its side
  • Stretch it
  • Shrink it
  • Change its colour
  • Refine it
  • Eliminate parts of it
  • Distort it
  • Use repetition
  • Make it two or three dimensional
  • Change the shape
  • Change a part of it
  • Make it part of a set
  • Mechanize it
  • Electrify it
  • Make it move
  • Reverse it
  • Make it look like something else
  • Rotate it
  • Make it part of something else
  • Repeat it
  • Turn it inside out
  • Give it texture
  • Make it revolve
  • Make it stronger
  • Make it fragile
  • Make it durable
  • Use symbolism
  • Be unrealistic
  • Contain it
  • Make it cooler
  • Make it hotter
  • Add ingredients
  • Twist it
  • Make it transparent
  • Make it opaque
  • Glamorize it
  • Use another material
  • Add human interest
  • Make it compact
  • Miniaturize it
  • Make it collapsible
  • Go to extremes
  • Summarize it
  • Make it shine
  • Make it grow
  • Split it
  • Make it darker
  • Exaggerate it
  • Subtract it
  • Add it
  • Divide it
  • Use the obvious
  • Lower it
  • Raise it
  • Isolate it
  • Condense it
  • Bend it
  • Match it
  • Suspend it
  • Make it stand upright
  • Make it lie flat
  • Concentrate it
  • Make it symmetrical
  • Make it asymmetrical
  • Sharpen it
  • Depress it
  • Spread it out
  • Solidify it
  • Liquefy it
  • Soften it
  • Harden it
  • Make it narrow
  • Make it wider
  • Make it funny or silly
  • Make it fly
  • Squash it
  • Flatten it
  • Fold it
  • Unfold it
  • Extend it
  • Make it uncomfortable
  • Use a different texture
  • Make it slapstick
  • Extrude it

I do wish I could tell you who compiled the list, but I can’t. All I can tell you is that it has been on my phone since March 2017 and I get inspired every time I read it. One of those things you just can’t delete.

 

Posted in 2019, art, Inspirational, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The very basics – Curved Ruler Quilting

This week we continue Ruler Guided quilting exercises for the Arc Ruler. This is geared towards anyone who is just starting, or interested in exploring ruler guided quilting.

Here are the four exercises I will cover:

Once again, I would recommend at least 2 Arc rulers for your toolkit – a large and small one. The large one will give you a nice smooth line over a large block but the arc is gradual so you will not see it on a small block. The small one works well in small areas but you would need to pivot too often on a large block which makes it difficult to get a nice smooth line. I also prefer rulers that have the same arc on the outer and inner edges.

You will need four 10″ sandwiched squares and contrasting thread.

Square #1: The Orbit exercise is very simple, intended just to get the feel of free motion quilting around a curved edge. Draw your square 1/2″ bigger than your ruler. Place your ruler along one edge, leaving 1/4″ on either side.

Stitch corner to corner; then repeat for all four sides. Use your small ruler or spacer to get an accurate positions and get right into the corner.

Square #2: The Curved Diamond exercise requires a 6″ square. Mark the center of each line. Then stitch from point to point to point all the way around.

For the second row of stitching line the ruler up with your previous row of stitching at the mid-point of each line so that your stitching will be 1/4″ away in the center. Then pivot the ruler and stitch back to the same spot on the outside as the previous row.

Square #3: For the Flower exercise, practice using the inside curve of your ruler. Stitch the 6″ square starting anywhere along one of the lines instead of a corner. Once you get back to where you started you are ready to begin the partial flower.

This block is pretty free-form. Make as many petals as you want and as long as you want them. There is no need to match lines or reference points, just always come back to the center point of the flower. 

Square #4: The Four Petal Crosshatch looks much more difficult than it is. After stitching your 6″ square, start at the center to make the four petals. Stitch along the arc of your quilting ruler to one corner, back to the center, up to the opposite corner and back to center. Do the same for the other two petals.

To complete the cross-hatch sections, travel from the center out along one of the petals using the ruler foot to determine the 1/4″. Line up the edge of your quilting ruler along the stitching line of the petal. Now your stitching will be 1/4″ away. Fill the section with curved stitching one way, and then the other, traveling the short distances needed. Repeat for all four sections.

This is just a taste of what is possible with the Arc Ruler. Keep an eye out for designs you like. I can guarantee that you will find many, and it will become one of your favorite rulers.

 

Posted in 2019, Classes, ruler quilting, super simple quilting | 4 Comments

The very basics – Straight line Ruler Quilting

I promised you some Ruler Quilting, and it starts today.

Previously, I had posts about why you might want to quilt with rulers, what to look for in rulers, preparation & set-up, and even designing with rulers.

Then, I did a series of 6 posts called Ruler Quilting 101.  It was an exercise of coming up with many different designs with just one ruler.

This new series will end with Ruler Quilting 201 – using multiple rulers to make one design. At this point, I really do need to add a disclaimer. I am not an expert. I just like to explore and experiment. Some things work; others don’t. You can follow my process and learn from my mistakes, or copy things you like.

This particular post is for those who are entirely new to ruler guided quilting on a domestic sewing machine. The very basics. This will ensure that we are all on the same page once we actually get to Ruler Quilting 201.

The straight line is the most fundamental shape in quilting, so in this post we will have 5 short exercises using a straight ruler. A nice straight line is difficult to achieve with FMQ, but one of the easiest in ruler-guided quilting. The straight ruler will end up being your most valuable ruler in your toolkit. I would recommend that you have two – a short (6-8″) and long (12 or 13″). 

Start: with sandwiched scraps (about five 10″ squares) and contrasting thread. Use things you are happy to dispose of – it will give you the psychological freedom to play.

Set your machine for FMQ, with the feed dogs down.

NOTE: Make sure that you have the appropriate Ruler Foot for your machine, and that the rulers you are using are the right thickness. Your sandwiched scraps should move freely under the foot, but your foot should be low enough to sit lightly on the fabric.

Mark a square on your fabric using any marker you want – even pen! The easiest is to mark around a common 6 1/2″ cutting square. RQ basics

Square #1: The Matchstick exercise is intended to get you comfortable holding the ruler and stitching in all four directions. Start by stitching around the square that you drew, but instead of moving the fabric when you get to the end of the line, move the ruler – example might be to start with the ruler to the right of the foot, moving it to the front, then to the left and finally to the back (if your ruler doesn’t fit along the foot at the back, it is too thick).

Moving down the line, make a series of matchsticks in both directions. There is no way to do this wrong! Just practice and get used to using the reference lines on your ruler. RQ straight 1

Square #2: For the Wonky Square, you will learn to reference different points. Start by putting your needle down at one corner and then stitch to the opposite line. Continue stitching to the next line, and so on, working towards the center. It doesn’t matter how far along the line you place your ruler, just be consistent. I placed the ruler at the third line. RQ straight 2bRQ straight 2

Square #3: The Zig-Zag Block is similar to the Matchstick Square but you will be practicing accuracy. Start with the zig-zag. It doesn’t matter where you turn, how many lines you make, or how far apart they are. Once you have made them, stitch a series of 1/4″ lines in two different directions. NOTE: line your ruler up along your last line of stitching, and along the Ruler Foot. That should be 1/4″. RQ straight 3

Square #4: The Tunnel block is more practice for your 1/4″ stitching, and using the ruler on all 4 sides. Remember to rotate the ruler instead of the fabric! RQ straight 4

Square #5: You will use a Spacer for the first time in the Star Block. Some kits have spacers in them, but I use a small 2″ ruler.

Make some marks on all four sides of the square that you can use for reference. Put your needle down where you want to start, and your ruler down 1/4″ away from where you want to end. Stitch across the block. RQ straight 5aRQ straight 5

Curves are also very common so next week I will do something similar with an Arc ruler.

 

 

 

Posted in 2019, ruler quilting, Skill Builders, super simple quilting, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Postcard Fabric Art -Winnipeg

Last year I was challenged to make a large 3-D postcard of my Hometown. It was so much fun that I decided to make a series, one for each city/place I have ever called HOME.

That first one was an area that I grew up in – Love, Saskatchewan.

A small rural farming community with a great sense of humour

Winnipeg, Manitoba was next. I have lived here for 40 years.

I designed the card as soon as I finished Love. I started, ran into problems, and the project stalled. Then I spent considerable time contemplating some technical difficulties. The background layer had to feature a big moody sky, a large canopy of trees, the famous corner of Portage & Main, and The Forks – where the Red River and the Assiniboine River meet

My first attempt was entertaining, but not very successful. It involved the pounding of plant materials in an attempt to dye different designs into the fabric. That was last fall – after a very dry summer. Maybe the plants had nothing to give.  The next attempt used a scrap of Indigo dyed fabric for the sky and Inktense for the rest. I can’t seem to get the hang of using Inktense, but decided to use the piece, knowing that the majority would be covered. Here is a picture of the two I had to choose from.

On to Layer #2: I decided to include the St. Boniface Cathedral-Basilica to pay tribute to our French heritage. I made a pattern, transferred it to Heat & Bond, added seam allowance (SA), adhered it to the Flexi-Firm (wrapping the SA to the back) and then added details with pen, pencil and pencil crayons. Layer #3: The Provencher bridge goes over the Red River, linking downtown Winnipeg with the French community of St Boniface. There are many interesting Inuit carvings along the bridge. I made a ribbon using fabric and Heat & Bond (in photo above), drawing the Eagle, and the Fleur de Lis, placing the ribbon under the Esplanade Riel Foot Bridge and over the St Boniface Cathedral-Basilica.

Layer #4: Esplanade Riel Foot Bridge is the People’s Path over the Red River. It is only 5 meters wide, 250 meters long, but rises 57 meters in the air. I completed it the same way as the Cathedral, adding the cables (crochet cotton) while I was putting the card all together. For this one, I glued down 1 layer of spacers (bits and pieces of FlexiFirm) so that it would sit higher than the Cathedral.

Layer #5: The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) is the only national museum outside of Ottawa. It’s purpose is to promote respect for others. For this piece of unique architecture, I used pieces of silk fusion left over from my ICE project. I put two levels of spacers under this piece so that it could be placed higher than the Esplanade Foot Bridge.

Layer #6: Winnipeg has a large canopy of trees. Layer #6 was intended to reflect that based on this picture of a tree lined pathway. I wanted to be able to place it on top of CHRM but under the Legislature in order to create some depth.

Winnipeg trees

To create this, I decided to make fabric out of thread. I have never had much success with this process so I was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out. It is made simply placing a ton of loose threads in between two layers of water soluble sheets. You then do a lot of free motion stitching to keep the threads together. The sheets dissolve when washed and you are left with a fairly soft flexible web.

Layer #7: Winnipeg’s PFA would not be complete without including Winnipeg’s grandest and most mysterious neoclassical building – the Manitoba Legislative Building. The Golden Boy is at the top, with a sheaf of wheat in its left arm representing the fruits of labour while the torch in its right hand represents a call to youth to join his eternal pursuit of a more prosperous future (Wikipedia). I thought this would be the most difficult of all the elements to ‘build’ but in the end it was fairly simple. After tracing the outline onto FlexiFirm and cutting him out, I used a gold leaf marker to make him the appropriate colour.

The PFA had to be completely finished before I could glue the items to the front so it was time to consider the back. LOVE had a unique Postmark. Winnipeg also needed something that was unique. The Winnipeg Jets Logo, found on a piece of fabric, was perfect.

After that it was simply stitching around the edge, adding info, and gluing down the elements on the front.

It feels good to be done. Which HOMETOWN will be next?

Posted in 2019, art, challenges, fabric dyeing, FMQ, quilted postcards, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Tempus Fugit & the Perfect Form Collage

It seems like summer did a Vanishing Act. Most of my quilting projects did not.  Neither did the cleaning (ugh!) or yardwork I was going to accomplish over the summer.

Now, here it is – another new and exciting season! Welcome back to those who have been with me for awhile, and a special welcome to the dozens of new people that subscribed to my Blog over the summer. In spite of my helter-skelter approach to quilting, I hope that you will stick with me and be inspired to try something new in this wonderful world of quilting.

My update of the last two months will take several weeks. On top of that, I am having some technical difficulties. It seems some things have changed since I last used this site. Don’t you just hate being your own IT support?…

Page 49

My biggest exciting news is that I got published!  So what that it was small. So what that they got it upside down. Ha! Still … a picture of a 4×6″ PFA (Postcard Fabric Art) in the August/September issue of Quilting Arts is very exciting.

The Reader Challenge was in honour of the 100th issue, the theme being Tempus Fugit – Latin for Time Flies. I submitted the PFA so long ago I had forgotten about it.

Here is my card.

Tempus Fugit

I did not think it was particularly good, but I had given it a lot of thought – which they did not ask for. Can I share it with you?

It started with my stash of botanically dyed fabrics from several years ago. You may recall the batches of berries, branches, herbs and spices that I picked, cooked and labeled. The colours are not vibrant but I used those fabrics because of the contrasting textures I had to work with. I used wool (tree), linen (background), cotton (squares) and cheesecloth (foreground) dyed in Juniper berries, coffee, wild pincherries, echinacea and mustard powder.

Starting with the background, I stitched lines to illustrated wind, movement, the passing of time. The roots of the tree illustrated historical events that affect us today. Most of the roots are covered since the impact of the past on the present is not always obvious. The squares are dates on a calendar, again representing the passage of time. Some are gone (on the ground), some we can look forward to (in the sky), and some are now. There is only one square with an X. That is today.

Enough philosophy!

As for my on-going projects, Amazon Star is still with the Long Armer so there is nothing new to report there.

The Circle Game, on the other hand, is at the hand quilting stage. After almost two years of hand piecing, applique, and big stitch embroidery, this is very exciting! It’s also a first. The much revered ‘rocking stitch’ seems to elude me so the ‘stab method’ will have to do. I am also really enjoying the floor frame I found on Kijiji. CG ready to quilt

In the middle of large, long-term projects, I get the urge to FINISH something – you know, that check mark on the ‘done’ list. The Perfect Form collage by Laura Heine has been calling my name for sometime. Maybe it was time to start?

It wasn’t totally stress free. In fact, I really struggled with the fabrics that were provided in the kit. Collage1

I just had to put my own spin on it. It called for hundreds of flowers – not what I have much of in my stash. The Aboriginal Australian fabrics would have to do. As a result my dress form has many strange animals on it. Lizards. Turtles. Star Fish. Seahorse. Even a tiger.I used a black cotton base, leaving some areas uncovered. And to top it off – some glitz. If you are going to play, you have to go all the way.

Gloria

 

Gloria will find a home in my sewing studio.

 

Posted in 2019, art, quilted postcards, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Designing for Ruler Guided Quilting

This will be the last post before taking my annual summer break. I wanted to do a few posts on Ruler-Guided quilting, but life gets in the way of writing instructions, making samples, taking pictures and sitting in front of the computer.

So, this post is about designing with rulers. There are some tips to get you started with your own designs, and pictures of designs recent students came up with. Over the summer, I want to play with some of the newer rulers I purchased and then in September I plan to go past my Ruler Quilting 101 series with some more complex designs – combining rulers, or combining rulers with FMQ.

Design is where it all starts. It is easy to look at finished designs and decide whether you like it or not, but coming up with a design is another story. Some of us get the equivalent of Writer’s Block. We draw a blank.

You can repeat what someone else does, but your quilts are unique. That’s wonderful! You need to be able to come up with your own designs and then be confident that you will like it once it is stitched out.

Here is my simple approach to designing with rulers.

  1. Start collecting simple sketches of designs you like. The designs are everywhere, and your sketches don’t have to be fancy. Just jot them down so that you have easy reference material the next time you want to do some quilting. simple designs
  2. Sort your sketches by rulers you already own. You will start seeing similarities. If you don’t have a particular ruler but have a lot of designs that require that ruler it will help you decide whether the purchase is worthwhile. designs simple
  3. Complete the following exercise:
    1. Draw a 12” square on a large piece of paper (in pen). Add 3” to all four sides. Treat this as one large quilt block, four borders and four corners. design square
    2. Using just one ruler, draw a different design in each of the 9 spaces. Continue to draw and erase until you are happy with your designs.
      • Note how the ruler feels in your hands. Is it big and clumsy? Is it too small to hold properly? The more you work with it the more natural it will become – but it also helps you decide what size you like to work with.
      • Take note of the ‘seam lines’ and how the markings on the ruler help you center or position your design. This will help you once you start stitching with the ruler.
      • Note how the ruler interacts with the different space sizes. What size of space does it work best for? If the ruler is too big for the space, can you use just a small section of the ruler to make it work? If your ruler is too small for the space, what can you do to ‘stretch’ it?
    3. Once you are done drawing designs, pretend to stitch them out by doing a finger run of the stitching lines. Is there a critical point (such as the centre) that you would need to mark? Try to figure out the best way to stitch out the design with the fewest stops, starts and over-stitching.
  4. Repeat the previous exercise using another ruler. Restricting it to just one ruler will force you to explore the many possibilities that exist for that particular ruler.
  5. Build your Toolkit. Consciously continue to add designs to your repertoire. Keep your paper copies (even the ones you don’t like) for reference. It will make choosing one easier the next time you need one for a quilt.

I taught this class recently, and the participants graciously agreed to let me post some of their pictures. This was the straight ruler exercise

design1design2design4design6

After one of the finger stitching runs, the design was revised so that it would be easier to stitch-out. That is one of the benefits of doing this exercise before an actual project.design8

It was fun to see the different designs that each person comes up with using the same ruler. Here are pictures using a ruler that was in their kit, but no one really liked. oval ruler

Just look at the variations for borders, and how one person ‘stretched’ the ruler to make a large center design. I am pretty sure all of them will now use that ruler. 

If you don’t want to miss the ruler series coming in the fall, make sure you have subscribed to my blog. You will then receive an email whenever I post (usually once per week). You can unsubscribe at any time.

I hope you will give this a try. In any case, have a great summer with family, friends and wherever your travels might take you. Visit Quilt Shops, continue quilting and have pleasant quilting dreams!

 

Posted in 2019, FMQ, Highlighting others, Inspirational, ruler quilting, Skill Builders, Uncategorized | 4 Comments