Nov 23 14

Bolstering Free Motion Quilting Skills

I am really focusing on trying to strengthen my  ruler work free motion quilting skills.  For me, this involves 2 separate areas that I am working on:
1.  Strengthen my mechanical skills at handling the ruler and moving the quilt at the same time.
2.  Develop an artistic eye for how to create secondary designs from the quilting design.  One thing I love about ruler work is one can easily create a framework or skeleton to hold free motion designs and when this framework is repeated across blocks, the result can be very interesting.
The only way I know to learn these skills is to just keep doing it.  I’ve been practicing on things I don’t care about a whole lot so I won’t feel badly if I mess them up.  I made this block recently from the large heart MEA design a couple months ago:
I wasn’t wild about the colors and fabrics I chose, so I set it aside.  As it turned out, this was a good substrate to practice my ruler work.  I started by playing in the center section where I used curved rulers to create 4 crescent shapes:
I went back in and created a channel by stitching another crescent zone a little smaller than the first:
That channel matters-can you see how much more “punch” that simple design has just by virtue of adding a channel?  I thought about stitching something inside those crescents, but I’m learning that leaving some “empty zones” is very effective, so I left them as is. 
Next up, I wanted to kind of “frame” the applique design.  I swapped my curved ruler for a straight edge ruler and here’s what I did:
(Those outer feather things in the corners look pretty weird, but it’s because I planned for a 1/2 inch seam line, so I had to make them small enough that they’d be outside the seam line.)  Here are a couple of close ups:
Overall, I like the block a whole lot better after the quilting has been added, so i think I’m on the right track!


  1. SewCalGal Says:

    You are definitely on the right track. Absolutely gorgeous.


  2. Lorie Bugaiski Says:

    It beautiful! Love it

  3. Jean Says:

    Wow. That’s pretty darn good for a practice run! Yay you!

  4. Patricia L Walters Says:

    Really Wonderful! Do you have a tutorial about using a ruler for free motion work?

  5. Amy Johnson Says:

    Isn’t ruler work so much fun? Yet a challenge as it makes us think in very different ways compared to regular FMQing. Then there’s using what rulers we have to do what we want with the lines of our quilts.

    Sure looks like you’re up to the challenge!