Trapuntoed Ruler Work-Part 2A

February 21st, 2017



This is the 2nd block in my trapuntoed ruler work quilt; you can read about creating the first trapuntoed ruler work block by clicking here.  This block began just like before, by subdividing it with 8 soaplines that intersect in the center of the block.  I then used the largest template in the PTD Flower Template set to create my center-most shape:



Next, I left my pin in the center of the block but swapped the flower template to one of my Westalee Circles on Quilts templates. I choose a circle size that was just  a tad bit smaller than the center of the flower template I’d just stitched.  The circles on quilts templates are fun and you stitch the circles by “riding” inside the cut-out channels as shown below:



Once my circle was stitched, I swapped to a different Circles on Quilts Template that allowed me to stitch a circle that was just 1/2 inch smaller in diameter.  This allowed me to create a narrow channel and adding a channel always makes a design look more interesting:



Notice that my center pin is still in place.  That was deliberate as I thought I’d probably stitch another circle.  I swapped to a different color thread, then stitched a much smaller circle.  I swapped thread colors again, and used 2 different arc rulers to form a small curved “square” on point with tapering channels in the smallest circle:



Finally time for a bit of “fill-in” work!  I added a small featherette inside the square on point, then used my soap lines to guide me in stitching 4 featherettes inside the large “spine zone:” 



Next, I hyperquilted the lavendar featherettes with gold polyester thread and added small featherettes inside the flower petals.  (Sorry, the colors on this next photo are totally off!)



Before I go any further, doesn’t it strike you that the flower shape we began with really doesn’t seem much like a flower anymore?  I made tick marks on the center of each flower petal (they’re on the template), then used an arc ruler to add curved triangles that spring from the flower edge.  It was easy to create a tapering channel around the triangles y marking a temporay tick mark 3/4″ further out than the point of each triangle:



This design is far from complete but there are so many steps that it’s too much for one post!  See you soon with Part 2B details that will explain how  to take the design above to the design below:



Upcoming Classes in 2017

February 17th, 2017



I receive a fair number of emails asking me about when I am teaching classes.  I used to keep a list on my web site, but then I never updated it, so it wasn’t very valuable.  Below is a list of what has been set up thus far for 2017:


February 25, 2017 – “Ruler Work 101-Intro to Ruler Work for the Sit-Down Quilter”

The Quilt Patch, Tecumseh, MI


March 25, 2017 – “Ruler Work 101-Intro to Ruler Work for the Sit-Down Quilter”

Beginnings Quilt Shop, Hendersonville, NC


April 8, 2017 – “Ruler Work 101-Intro to Ruler Work for the Sit-Down Quilter”

Rutherfordton Quilt Guild, Rutherfordton, NC


April 21, 2017 – “Yes, There is Life After Stippling”

April 22, 2017 – Ruler Work 101-Intro to Ruler Work for the Sit-Down Quilter”

Sew It Fabulous Quilt Shop, Boerne, TX


May 2, 2017 – Lecture/Trunk Show

May 3, 2017 – “Ruler Work 101-Intro to Ruler Work for the Sit-Down Quilter”

Bloomington Indiana Quilt Guild, Bloomington, IN


May 6, 2017 – “Ruler Work 101-Intro to ruler Work for the Sit-Down Quilter”

Wyandotte, MI

Sew What Quilt Shop 724-281-7344


May 13, 2017 – “Ruler Work 102: Beautiful Ruler Work Borders”

Beginnings Quilt Shop, Hendersonville, NC


June 5, 2017 – Ruler Work 101 – “Intro to Ruler Work for the Sit-Down Quilter”

June 6, 2017 – 6-hour class TBD

Ann Arbor, MI

Leaubu Sewing Center

June 8, 2017 – Lecture/Trunk Show

June 9, 2017 –“Butterfly Wall Hanging”

June 10, 2017 – “Autumn Leaves Wall Hanging”

Indianapolis Quilt Guild, Indianapolis, IN


October 9, 2017 – Ruler Work 101 – “Intro to Ruler Work for the Sit-Down Quilter”

October 10, 2017 –Ruler Work 102 – “Creating Beautiful Arc Borders Using Ruler Work”

Sun Bonnet Sue Quilt Guild, Sequim, WA


 October 10, 2017 – Lecture/Trunk show: “ThreadPower!”

October 11, 2017 – Lecture/Trunk Show: “Ruler Work for Sit Down Quilters”

October 11, 2017 – “Ruler Work 102: Beautiful Ruler Work Borders”

October 12, 2017 – “Ruler Work 101-Intro to Ruler Work for the Sit-Down Quilter”

Quilters Anonymous, Shoreline, WA


November 9, 2017 – Lecture/Trunk Show – “Ruler Work for Sit-Down Quilters”

November 10, 2017 – TBD (at least 1 workshop will be Intro to Ruler Work)

November 11, 2018 – TBD

Great Lakes Heritage Quilt Guild, Bloomfield Hills, MI

 If you’d like to see a list of available classes and descriptions of what is covered in that class, you can find that list by clicking here.  If you’d like me to teach a class at your local quilt shop or quilt guild but don’t see one listed that you’d like, I’m happy to fashion one around your needs.  I really love to teach and get other quilters jazzed up about what they can do with their machines, so I’m hoping to hear from you!




Another Ruler Work Border Design

February 14th, 2017
I’ve started experimenting with some ruler border designs that involve curved cross hatching.  I think curved cross hatching is lovely, but it’s a fairly formal quilting design and I don’t think it really fits with the type of quilts I make.  So, I thought that maybe incorporating smaller sections of it might fit better with my style.  In the ruler work  border design above, I’ve started with creating a tapering space on top, then using curved cross hatching in a middle section, then filled the bottom triangle with a featherette.  I used my PTD arc ruler 12 to create this, but this kind of ruler work can be done with any arc ruler.  It started with just creating the bare-bones framework:
(This initial framework is a scant 1/4 inch channel on top, then another scant 1/4 inch channel below the tapered section.)  The next shot shows the area where I used the curved cross hatching.  In my case, I simply used the etched markings on my ruler to create (3) 1/2 inch channels in one direction and then (3) 1/2 inch channels in the opposite direction.  If you have arc rulers without markings, or if you wish to create channels in a  width that wouldn’t be possible using the markings on your arc ruler, you could just make tic marks for your starting stopping points and use those to create your channels.  Here’s what the framework looked like once the cross hatching was done:
(Note that the 3rd one has curved cross hatching throughout the entire bottom section; this one is a different experiment.)  Next up came the fill-in work.  I swapped to a lavender polyester thread and stitched a waterfall featherette in the upper section.  Here’s what that section looked like once done:
It would be fine to leave this border design as is, but an empty triangle always calls to me to fill it with a featherette, so I did:
I really like how that came out, but felt obliged to make a border design where there was more of the curved cross hatching.  Here’s what that option looks like before the top featherette had been added:
…and in this next shot, I’ve filled the top space with a featherette.  (Did you notice that this featherette is oriented 180 degrees from the earlier ones?  I had to do something different!)
Personally, I like that earlier border design better, but it’s fun to try new stuff!
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Trapuntoed Ruler Work-Part I

February 11th, 2017



This is the first block in a quilt I’m making that will feature trapuntoed ruler work.  Unfortunately, you won’t be able to appreciate the wonderful effect of the trapunto until I complete the other blocks and sew them together and then get them into that final quilt sandwich.  These early posts about this quilt will really focus on just the ruler work but if you can stick with me over several posts, this will all fall together and make sense.  For now, know that each block is 20 inches square and each block begins with a layer of batting pinned to the wrong side of the block.  There is no backing fabric.


For me, when I’m making mandala-like designs like this, I always mark 8 lines across my quilt block as shown below:



Those marked soap lines will serve as starting/stopping points for ruler work as we “build” this design.  I will be making up all these designs on the fly, and the lines really allow me to maintain symmetry in the final design.  Do you see that piece of green foam in the center?  There is a flat-headed straight pin in the dead center of the block (this is where all those lines intersect), and that foam pin anchor is securing it in place.  I used the large flower template from the PTD Flower Template set to form the base of my ruler work framework.  I’m guessing that you don’t even see a flower in the center part of the finished block, so this is  a good example of how easy it is to use templates for purposes other than the obvious.  Here’s a shot of the center flower as it was setup for stitching.  Notice that there’s a tiny hole in the dead center of the template.  That straight pin is coming up through it and the foam pin anchor holds it in place.  Also notice that I’ve aligned my template so the markings fall over the markings on my fabric block.  You don’t have to do that, but it makes life easier if you do:



Once the flower had been stitched, I switched to the corner marking oval templates by Westalee.  As you can see, I used one of them to create another round of “petal-like” ovoid scallops surrounding the original flower:



Here’s what things looked like once that entire first round was completed:



Next, I wanted to create a 1/4 inch channel , so I used the next size up of the Westalee corner marking ovals and aligned it so the edge fit right up against the stitched line:



I did this all the way around the design.  Next, I wanted a wider channel so I could fill it.  I swapped to the next size up of Westalee corner marking oval but this time I placed it so my stitched line aligned with the marked line inside the oval’s edge, as this would create a 1/2 inch wide channel:



…and here’s what the design looked like at the end of this round:



Starting to look more interesting, n’est pas?  I was itching to do some fill-in work, so I added small featherettes inside the outermost “petals.”  I used a polyester lavender thread for this zone:



…and here’s after the entire zone had been filled:



I moved to that 1/2 inch wide channel next and threw in a single row of pearls using a Floriani gold polyester thread:



This next step is hard to see.  I used a small circle template to create a channel inside the innermost flower shape; this channel tapers at the base of each petal.  This is the stitching being done in turquoise rayon thread below:



…and here’s how it looked after that channel was completed but before it was filled with tiny pearls.  I am still always struck by how much power adding a channel can add to a design:



I then began working on the “bones” of the center-most design.  I used the inside portion of the Handiquilter Arc C ruler to create 4 narrow mellon shapes:



(Notice that I’ve switched to another polyester thread; this time a very light turquoise.   Changing thread colors makes it more fun and interesting, but also helps to create visual “zones.”)  I then used the bump-back feather technique to stitch 4 featherettes, each of which springs from one of those melons.  Here’s a shot as I was still adding them:



…and here is the center-most section once it had been completely filled in:



(Sorry, the colors in that last photo and next photo are way off!)  I then added a circle of channeled crescent shapes around the whole thing:



…and here it is once I’d filled in the “empty space” between the crescents with the fingertips design (magenta rayon thread), and added a row of small pearls inside that innermost channel by the smallest petal shapes (green Floriani polyester thread):




This last photo shows what it looks like at the end, the only addition being the addition of pearls inside the double crescent circle with gold polyester thread:



Once it was done, I cut away the excess batting that falls outside the mandala and here’s what the back looks like at this phase:




We won’t see this block again for awhile, but it was a blast to stitch this out!  Three more to go, and I’ll post those along the way!




Another Ruler Border Design

February 6th, 2017


This was a border design I created a number of months ago and pretty much forgot about.  The framework for this is basic ruler work using arc rulers.  This is what the framework looked like as I was just finishing the skeleton.  I believe I used my PTD arc ruler 8 for this but honestly, any arc ruler can be used to make this type of design:




(I guess this was one step beyond the framework/skeleton, as there is a  featherette inside each triangle zone, but you can hopefully see the ruler work framework.  The original triangle has a 1/4 inch channel followed by a 1/2 inch channel.  If you’ve taken a class w/me or follow my blog, then you know I’m going to fill that 1/2 inch channel with a quilted design.  This next shot shows the 1/2 in channel filled with a row of pearls and the featherette has been hyperquilted with gold polyester thread.  This is a good example of how playing with thread colors can really ramp up a design:




Next, I switched back to my original turquoise thread and added a continuous line of shallow swags along the outside of each triangle zone.  This was done freehand:




I liked it at that point but it needed more “oomph,” so I added the second row of swags:




Here’s what it looks like upside down…kind of interesting to me:




I am wondering 2 things:


-Wouldn’t this be cool is the “empty sections” were filled in with their own design? and


-If you eliminated all the fancy part of what I did and just looked at it as a traditional arched border that has internal swags, what might this design look like with only the lower section filled in?


Hmmm…I sense some play time coming…