Thursday, 28 May 2015

Quilting Rulers - what's the big deal??

I've been a fan of Free Motion Quilting since I got into quilting about four years ago. It's such a wonderful art-form and in all honesty, I draw better with my sewing machine than I do with a pencil in my hand. That all being said, I've always been interested in what machine quilting rulers had to offer. There are several types on the market and I have recently investigated the Westalee rulers. I chose this brand mostly because of their specially designed foot which prevents you from accidentally slipping and stitching over the rulers. They also have an excellent range of YouTube clips that show how to use their various rulers. Even better than that, they are entirely Australian owned and made. 

This is my favourite so far.
I started off with the sample pack of rulers to get a feel for the concept and how I may be able to use them in my quilting. It didn't take long for me to fall in love and imagine all sorts of ruler possibilities. The rulers are covered in various markings that mean each one can be used to create different designs. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to manipulate the ruler and fabric I was working with and the little grip strips you can purchase on the website held on nicely as I stitched. The new catalogue recently published shows endless possibilities for imaginative quilt blocks, borders and really anything you want. 
Perhaps the feature that most interests me is the way Free-Motion-Quilting can be integrated with the ruler work. The rulers give that precision that I love but also leave space for the free motion designs I've got so good at doing. Here are some cushion covers that were quilted to try out the rulers. The Westalee foot also fits really well on the Bernina low-shank adaptor I already had - but are available for all machines. 

The most difficult part for me when using the rulers, is regulating my stitch length. I've been totally lazy lately and have been using the Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR) for all my quilting. This is not a major issue as I used to do a fair bit of quilting without the BSR, but pedal regulation is a skill I need to brush up on.

Now I'm desperate to piece a few quilts so I can practice more ruler work!

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