Mar 26 15

Using up What’s at Hand and 2 New Rulers in the Store


One thing that happens when you are developing new machine embroidery applique designs is that you end up with tons of quilt blocks, and I mean TONS!  That shot above was from about 2 1/2 years ago when I was creating the blocks for the Harmonic Song Birds Quilt, and I would guess that I now have about 6-7 times this amount of blocks and borders.  This happens because you end up testing the embroidery file and often times end up making small adjustments to them and you have to stitch out a new block each time you make a change.  When I do this, sometimes I have a specific use for the block and make it in fabrics/colors that will coordinate for a specific project.  Other times, I have no idea what I’ll use it for in the short term and end up with lots of blocks that will be used for something down the road.  In the last 6 weeks, I’ve been working on some quilts that use up some of my “test blocks.”  I’m quilting a small wall hanging now that began with this old MEA block in the center and then I threw some setting triangles around it:



I recently tested out a series of files using the Appli-K-Kutz Large Feather die for a border design so I have lots of these feather borders lying around as well:



(Those cross-hairs in the center come out before the block gets used; they are how I align the block on the stabilizer.)  I added these borders and some cornerstone blocks and pieced this wall hanging:



I started out by outlining all the applique shapes with invisible thread:



And then moved on to some ruler work.  I’m still quilting this, but I’ve really had fun playing with the Line Tamer Ruler on this quilt.  This is a variation of the straight edge long arm ruler in that it has a channel routed out through the center of the ruler:



By placing your ruler foot inside the channel, you have tremendous control over your lines.  Here’s a shot of what I’m trying to describe:



Can you see the fine white lines on the blue/green fabric?  All I had to do was place the Line Tamer so the white line ran down the center of that channel, and I had beautiful lines that created a quilting design that ran across the center block and into the setting triangles.  I also used the Line Tamer when I was creating the framing design around this star:



I know it doesn’t look like much in this early photo, but once I finished all the framework and then added some “filler” designs inside some of the channels, the quilting around the center star came out looking really neat:




You can also use the Line Tamer just like you would a “regular” straight line ruler by holding the edge up against your ruler foot (notice that this ruler has etched lines both near the channel as well as on both sides of the ruler).  All I can say is that I LOVE MY LINE TAMER!!  I love it so much that we just picked it up in our online store and you can find it by clicking here.  I am also smitten by another ruler called the 4 Way Radical Ruler by Dusty Farrell.  Here’s what it looks like:



It has 4 different circular arcs and 1 double arc.  It’s very easy to hold this ruler and it’s very hard to hold small circles in place as you quilt around them, so this is a big plus!  I have just barely started uncovering all that one can do with this ruler, but I’ve made some really pretty border designs with it.  Here are just a few.  The “plain” mini swag:



…and this is after I went back in and added filler inside those miniswags:



Those colors don’t photograph very well, so here’s a clearer shot from my scrap piece when I was making up this design:


I have 2 more variations of this one border and I haven’t even sat down and really “tried” to come up with ideas yet!  Here’s one more example from this ruler…I made this one by combining 2 of the circle sizes and then going in to add filler once the baseline 2-tiered swag border had been stitched.  This border is much deeper than the earlier ones:



Ooh-la-la!  I could play with these rulers all day!  You can find the 4-Way radical ruler in our online store by clicking here.  And one more thing…if you’re anywhere near the Philadelphia area Fri and Sat of this week, I’m teaching at Steve’s Sew and vac in King of Prussia, PA, so give them a call!  You can find their site by clicking here.







  1. QuiltShopGal Says:

    I’m absolutely drooling. Total #CreativeGoodness. Beautiful machine embroidery and quilting. I have go to play with those rulers. Love it all, but those little curves are amazing. No way could I make those even, so the power of the ruler would certainly help. Of course, I’m still waiting for your next DVD for FMQ w/rulers!


  2. Hannele Says:

    Hi Patsy, how long is the Line Tamer ruler? Your quilting and embroidery work are just fabulous again 🙂

  3. Amy Johnson Says:

    Looks fabulous!Ruler work is so much fun.

  4. Brenda R Says:

    I had been wondering about using a ruler like the Line Tamer. As usual, thank you for taking the guess work out of it! Stunning quilt play there, Patsy!

  5. Diane Evans Says:

    These are exactly what I was looking for when I started quilting my current quilt!!! I am heading to your store with credit card in hand. Gorgeous work, Patsy.


  6. Hannele Says:

    I’d like to order a Line Tamer Ruler, but Finland is not an option on the list…

  7. Vickie VanDyken Says:

    Ohhhhh man. It’s been a long time since I have been to King of Prussia! I am from Everson, WA. but I drive a truck so I’ve been everywhere 🙂 Wish I could attend! I’m just beginning to FMQ and I am totally in love with all your things. I just tried hyperquilting.. awesome 🙂 Did it on a table runner but I should have used more contrasting thread. Being new I was worried about hiding my stitching. I think I’m over that now!! Still not perfect at it but I do okay and I see that the brighter colors would have really made it pop. Live and learn:)
    Thanks for all you do.

  8. Debbie Says:

    Just lovely Patsy,
    I too will be clicking over to your shop for some rulers. It is so nice to have that info that they work well for you, as I know I have rulers that end up in a drawer – never to see the light of day again…. Seeing your beautiful samples make all the difference!
    Thanks for the great post