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Free Motion Quilting: Ruler Work

Seven months ago, I was pleasantly surprised to learn I could do free motion quilting “ruler work” with my Janome domestic sewing machine.


So, I purchased Janome’s Convertible Free Motion Quilting Foot Set and Free Motion Frame Quilting Feet Set.  The frame set includes the preferred 1/4 inch ruler foot for safe quilting with rulers.


Recently, through a blogger giveaway, I learned about rulers by  Accents in Design. So, I contacted Carol, at Accents in Design,  hoping she was looking for experienced free motion quilters with blogs to test and write about their experience with her rulers.

She said yes and mailed a 6 inch Fine Line Quilter’s Straight Ruler and a 6.5 inch Continuous Curve Ruler.


Ruler features

  • Thick and clear acrylic base
  • Resistance strip on the underside of the ruler
  • Incremental laser scoring on the underside
  • Finger grips: for a natural hand position on the ruler

The 1/4 inch incrementally scored lines and the center and 45 degree scored dashed line on the continuous curve ruler make grid work easy.

However, it would make the straight ruler even better, if like the continuous curve ruler, it had a center line and 45 degree angle too.

As you can see below, the top left row of straight lines are straight, but slanted. I think a scored 45 degree angle would have helped with accurate ruler placement.


Wow! I had a good time testing various designs with the Fine Line Quilter’s Rulers. I started with simple straight line combinations. As with every new tool there was a learning curve.


I was a little timid in the beginning, so the stitch lengths are not consistent. I was afraid the Velcro strip was not enough to hold the ruler in place, but I was wrong.  Watch Carol’s video demo:

I wanted to expand the FMQ possibilities, so I decided to take time to sketch out designs on paper before stitching. The more I planned and sketched on paper the better the results.


It can be time consuming, like applique, but I think the results are worth it. With patience and practice, I believe the process will improve. For instance, these are small quilt sandwiched that can be easily rotated when needed.  However, the website says:


"Sit-down machine quilters can outline a Mariner’s Compass motif without turning their quilt. Don’t pivot your quilts to change stitching directions, change the angle of your ruler and complete vertical, horizontal and diagonal design elements."

I haven’t tried the Mariner’s Compass, but in the patterns below I did change the angle of the ruler a few times. Again, I believe it requires practice.


It was time to take these new skills from a sample quilt sandwich to a real quilt project. My process for quilting any project is:

  1. choose a contrasting or blending thread
  2. sketch the area to be quilted on paper and try different designs
  3. test designs on a sample quilt sandwich


Above is a sample with the five-sided quilting area from the project. I wanted to fill it with a quilting pattern using the Continuous Curve Ruler.


I think the gentle curve crosshatching adds a nice texture to the table runner. Notice how I used the center dashed line in the top left image below to help consistently mark the same shape in the border. The center line is placed along the seam line.


Instead of batting I decided to use Soft and Stable by Annie. Soft and Stable is thick, yet easy to FMQ. However, it is too think to use with Fine Line Rulers. The ruler would not fit under the foot thumb screw.

I chalked it up to a lesson learned and pulled out the chalk to draw the quilting lines with the ruler instead. It worked out perfectly.

The Final Results:


  • The rulers are easy to use
  • The design possibilities are numerous
  • It increases accuracy in grid work without marking
  • The rulers take sit-down quilting to new heights


  • The lack of a center line and a 45 degree angle on the Quilters Straight Ruler.

I have the privilege of teaching a workshop on free motion quilting at my guild, Virginia Star Quilters, this fall. I plan to include a demo on Fine Line Quilters Rulers.

I am linking up with

Lee’s WIP Wednesday

Esther’s Wow

We Did it Wednesday

Leah’s Free Motion Quilting Friday

Sarah’s Can I get a Whoop Whoop Friday

Marelize’s Anything Goes Monday

Filed under quilting quilts free motion quilting freemotionquilting machine quilting machinequilting Quilters Quilt Design livinh20quilter janome6500 test

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WIP - What’s the Point? Five Focal Points, One Quilt Block

Are looking for a versatile quilt block that is fun and easy to make? This crazy quilt block might be the answer.

  • It can be used, like in the projects above, to highlight themed appliques like butterflies or a block exchange with a Bible verses penned, signed and dated by participants.
  • It’s a great beginner block because an accurate quarter-inch seam is not essential.
  • It’s good  for scraps. In three of the four projects the scraps were sorted and stitch by color, yet maintain a scrappy appearance.
  • It can be used to (L to R, top & bottom rows) make a table runner, a baby quilt, a wall hanging and a lap quilt.

Once complete, these will  be used as samples for a beginner quilting class.

Missouri Star Quilt Company and Brandy Stell sell templates for the center shape. I used Brandy’s template and the foundation piecing method.

Check out their videos to see how easy and fun this block is to make.

Missouri Star Video

Brandy Stell video.

I’m linking up with

Lee’s WIP Wednesday

Esther’s WOW Wednesday

Marelize’s Anything Goes Monday

Filed under quilts crazy quilt quiltblock livinh20quilter scrappy scrapquilt

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Foundation Paper Piecing

April’s Block Lotto block is Triangles-in-a-Square.


The Block Lotto pattern by Jean-Sophie Wood has three methods for making the block. I choose method 3, foundation paper piecing. It was the push I needed to begin watching an online class at Craftsy.


Learning foundation paper piecing is on my “to learn” list. A few months ago, I committed to learning this technique by enrolling in Carol Doak’s Mastering Foundation Paper Piecing class on


I believe two essential tools are needed for foundation paper piecing. One is the Add-A-Quarter ruler. It is a guide for cutting seams down to a quarter inch.


Secondly, using the right paper for the technique is essential. The paper must be rigid yet easily removed without damaging the stitches. I used Ricky Tims’ Stable Stuff Poly.   Carol Doak also has paper for foundation piecing available at her website.

In the video below, Karen Johnson, of Connecting Threads, demonstrates how to foundation paper piece with the Add-A-Quarter ruler and Carol’s foundation paper.

I’m linking up with

Lee’s WIP Wednesdays

Filed under quilting foundation paper piece carol doak connection threads triangles in a square livinh20quilter craftsy

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Design & Technique 

I love learning. I also enjoy accomplishing multiple goals in a project. I am learning how to design quilts with Quilt Wizard and taking Carol Doak’s Mastering Foundation Paper Piecing class at

Above is the first quilt design that requires paper piecing. I made a test block to see if I could actually pieced the quilt.

I am enjoying the class and the software is user friendly. Take a few minutes to watch Quilt Wizard’s video. You get a lot for only $30.

Filed under quilting quilter paperpiecing becraftsy livinh20quilter craftsy quiltwizard diy learn fun quilts look

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Under the Needle - Radiant Feathers

This is another Virginia Star Quilters guild orphan block turned wall-hanging.

  1. Add white border
  2. Make quilt sandwich
  3. Stitch every seam with monofilament thread
  4. Stitch feather design from center out with Glide thread
  5. Attached binding and hanging sleeve

I like the result of combining the vanishing point stitch design with feathers. You can see other examples of vanishing point here and here.

I’m linking up with

Leah’s Free Motion Quilting Fridays

Sarah’s Can I Get a Whoop Whoop

Marelize’s Anything Goes Monday

Lee’s Work-in-Progress Wednesday

Filed under quilting freemotionquilting machinequilting feathers livinh20quilter