Rulers and templates are a great way to add precision and variety to your quilting. Here are some tips for using rulers and templates when machine quilting.
Use a ruler base. It adds width to the machine bed and stability for the ruler.
Keep the ruler flat so it doesn’t slip over the hopping foot. Not only will this likely break the needle and damage the ruler, it can throw off the timing the machine.
Use “three-point” pressure:
- Press the ruler against the side of the hopping foot
- Press the machine against the ruler (if you are using a longarm)
- Press the ruler against the ruler base (if you are using the HQ Sweet Sixteen, the ruler needs to be in contact with the quilting sandwich)
- Only use as much pressure as needed to keep the ruler from slipping
Quilt only where you can securely hold the ruler. When you feel you will lose control or the ruler starts to shift, stop and readjust your hand.
Add extra backing around the edges of the quilt edge to provide space for ruler work.
If there isn’t enough backing fabric on the sides to allow good ruler work and prevent the ruler base from hitting the clamps, pin a length of twill tape to the edge of the quilt and attach the clamps to the twill tape.
Make sure the needle stops in the down position so you can reposition the ruler without the machine moving.
Don’t expect ruler work to be a fast technique. Slow down and enjoy the precision you get from using rulers and templates.
Check back tomorrow for more about rulers and templates.