Today is part 3 of our series of tips for longarm quilting with rulers and templates. Today we’re focusing on circles, arcs, and swags.
We showed you the VersaTool in yesterday’s post. It has two curves — one is a full half circle and one is a gentle arc.Use the gentle arc shape for the continuous curve quilting we showed yesterday. The half circle can be used creating either just a half circle or a full circle by repositioning the VersaTool as you go.
You might find it easier, however, to use full circle templates for circles. This set has circles from 2 inches in diameter through 12 inches. They have ruler lines and a center hole to make it easy to consistently align the circle template on your quilt. There are even angled lines to help align the circle template with the corner of a block.
Quilting tip when using circle templates: When quilting around a circle template, apply gentle pressure at the four points where the machine changes directions (from vertical to horizontal and back). Think of the hours on the clock. Pay special attention to 2:30, 4:30, 7:30, and 10:30. Remember to use three-point pressure: ruler against hopping foot, machine against ruler, and ruler against ruler base.
Use circle templates for continuous curve quilting.
Use circle templates for concentric circles. Simply mark the quilt where the center of the circles will be and use that mark when placing the various circle templates.
Use circle templates for “kissing” circles. Then, once you’ve quilted the circles, embellish the areas between them with additional quilting.
Use circle templates to create spines for feathers. Mark the quilt if needed with a horizontal line for aligning the circle templates.
Use circle templates to create melon shapes — and then embellish as desired.
Some find the half-circle templates easier to use when all they need is arcs. The come as a set that nest together. Remember, the smaller the circle, the fuller the arc. The larger the circle, the flatter the arc.
Consider using Clamshell templates, which are available in two sizes: 1-1/2″ and 3″ on one template and 2″ and 4″ on the other template. They enable you to do continuous arcs without repositioning the ruler after each one.
Offset the template with each row for interesting clamshell quilting designs.
Swag template sets are available in 4″ widths and 6″ widths, each with four templates in the set.
They are designed to nest so you can layer the swags if desired. Note that some of the swag templates have cutouts for creating diamond, circle, heart, and tear drop shapes.
Swags are great for border designs and feathers, and are a great jumping off point for interesting embellishments.
Lastly, why not use the mini-circle template to create pebbles, flower centers, filler designs. It also has a great straight edge for stitch in the ditch and other straight-line quilting.
This is the last of the blog posts about using rulers and templates. If you haven’t added them to your quilting repertoire, now is the time!