May 18 16

Another Ruler Work Border Design and Some New Rulers

I finally just stole some time from something I should have been doing a couple days ago so I could quilt.  I start feeling edgy when days go by without some free motion quilting, so I viewed this as a form of mental health for me.  Here’s a fun new ruler work border design I came up with:
You can make border designs like this using any basic arc ruler.  I used the PTD #12arc ruler (part of the ruler starter pack set, see below) for this but honestly, any arc ruler will work.  The ruler work framework or “bones” that are the basis of the design are created in 2 phases.  Here’s what it looked like after I had finished phase 1:
You can see that this section “holds” the uppermost featherette.  It’s different than most borders you’ve seen on this blog in that the channel is a highly tapered channel.  You have to be careful when you go to fill tapered channels because some designs just don’t look good when you have to alter their dimensions to accommodate a dynamic, or changing channel width.  Here’s phase 2 of the ruler work framework:
All I did here was to throw in another set of channels and the middle channel is also a tapered channel, but it’s tapered in the reverse direction as the upper wide channel.  This is where the filling in begins.  I started by stitching a featherette inside the top section.  As I did this, my goal was to completely fill that section until I got to the narrow space where things would be so small that they’d start to seem messy:
Next, I filled the other tapered channel with another featherette, but this time I made it an inverted featherette just to add more variety into the mix:
I was starting to love the design at this point.  I think you could fill in that bottom section with all kinds of neat designs, even background fill designs.  I was kind of “stuck” on featherettes, so I swapped to a  different blue rayon thread and made one last featherette for the base section:
 I could come up with ruler work border designs all day and all night; it’s very addictive to allow yourself the freedom to think about this stuff!
I’m still toying with hyperquilting that top featherette section…
In other news, I am frequently asked what machine quilting rulers I recommend for someone who is starting out in the world of ruler work.  There are millions of them available, and they aren’t cheap,so you really need to build your arsenal of rulers over a long period of time.  I must admit that I have many rulers that I use all the time as well as many rulers that I never use.  In between, there are loads of rulers that I use now and then but when I need them, they are exactly what I need.  So…how does one go about buying rulers?
I view the person starting out as a “toe-dipper.”  The hope is that you will fall in love with ruler work but you won’t know that until you’ve played with it for awhile.  Let me tell you that it will feel pretty weird at first and you will wonder why you are ‘starting all over again” with your free motion quilting!  To give ruler work a fair chance and at the same time, not “break the bank,”  I think it’s wise to start off with a good straight line ruler that’s at least 8-10 inches long and a few arc rulers of different sizes/curves.  With those basics, you will be able to create a very wider range of quilting designs.  We’ve put together a starter set that will keep you knee-deep in ruler work for a long time to come, and we are debuting our line of “ruler starter sets” for machine quilters:
Each set contains (1) 10-inch long straight ruler and (3) arc rulers of varying lengths/curves (a 6.5 in arc; 8 in arc, and a 12-in arc, seen below):
These come in both the traditional 1/4 inch thickness as well as the 3mm thickness for those folks using the Westalee low and medium shank ruler feet, so there is a set that will work for you, regardless of what kind of set up you are using to quilt.  You can find them in our online store by clicking here, and be sure to choose the ruler thickness that will work for you!  We aren’t selling these rulers individually but the price is discounted because of them coming as a set.  I looked around for a long time for a similar set when I was first starting out but couldn’t find one, so I hope these will help you out! 

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