Friday, June 8, 2012

Quilting with Rulers on a Domestic Sewing Machine

In my post on my butterfly wall hanging, I mentioned that I had done free motion curved cross-hatching using a long arm ruler. I had heard that some folks were trying this on the bigger sit down machines like APQS George (Love!) or the HQ Sweet 16. But I had not actually found anyone who was doing it. After purchasing Karen McTavish's book, Custom Curves and the accompanying DVD, I was disappointed to see that the demonstration of  crosshatching on a domestic machine was done with a walking foot. (Love this woman's work and her books!) I thought at least it could be done by following the marked lines free motion.
Then I came across the Janome Free Motion Frame Quilting Feet Set, made for use with the Convertible Free Motion Quilting Feet Set. It has a foot/toe made to do ruler work! I picked this up at the Janome booth at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival this year. I had no idea they made such a foot. It is for use on the larger Janomes that one can use with a frame and table system. (To be clear, I do not have a frame system.) Since the Quilter's Rule was at the show too, I picked up a double S curve ruler by Rhonda Beyer, Karen's partner in the Custom Curves book.

The two essential things for ruler work on your sewing machine after the ruler toe is to have a good smooth surface to glide your quilt over as you stitch and to have a "grippy" ruler. I used my cheap ruler grip method-- clear nail polish and a sprinkle of salt. It worked like a charm!

Since the ruler foot is a 1/4" foot; meaning the distance from the needle to the outside edge of the foot, place the ruler 1/4" away from where you want the line to be stitched. Then I rested my left hand on the ruler with my pinky and ring fingers off the far side of the ruler (onto the quilt) and slide the quilt and ruler along the side of the foot as a single unit. At first I tended to press too hard down on the ruler and quilt, making it difficult to move, but I soon got the hang of it.

This method can be done with a regular darning or free motion quilting foot and/or rotary cutting rulers, but you run the risk of sliding the ruler up under the needle. This would break your needle and possibly mess up the timing of your machine.

I found the method to be easier than I thought it would be, and since I did this ruler work in the corners of my quilt, I found that the ruler helped control the edges as I stitched, keeping them from bunching up as I stitched back in toward the quilt. I found it to give much better results than following a marked line.

Give it a try and let me know how it turns out for you!

34 comments:

  1. yup - breaking needles - that's what I accomplished! Have got to find out if this foot will fit my machine. Love your cheap gripper method!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This looks amazing! What type of machine do you have? I have the Janome Horizon and wondered if it would work...Thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kate, I am using a Janome 6600P. I think the Horizon is a high shank machine also, so this would work on it too. And as the Levi commercials used to say, you've got a "skosh more room"! You need the convertible free motion foot set, plus the free motion quilting set for frame quilting. The latter is just the 'toes' for frame quilting and they fit on the convertible foot set.

      Delete
    2. Great, thanks so much for the quick reply...already ordered. I don't understand why this idea isn't used more???

      Thanks again!

      Delete
  3. Just a quick note to let you know my ruler foot arrived and is working wonderfully...I am so happy and wanted to thank you for this information!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad you are enjoying it! I've got a new post on ruler work in progress. It should be up in the next few days.

      Delete
  4. That looks great! Just got a George and was thinking of getting the 1/4" foot to try some ruler work. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello Amy,
    I just bought myself a straight ruler from Handi Quilter. I am having a hard time finding the special foot here in the Netherlands. Even the representative for Janome here in the Netherlands I met today in a quilt show had not heard of this foot. I might have to order it from the US. More patience is needing to really get going. I have tried your technique out with my normal darning foot a my thickest normal ruler. It worked, but I think it safer to wait for the other foot in combination with the thicker ruler.
    Thanks for sharing all of this information!
    Esther
    esthersipatchandquilt at yahoo dot com
    ipatchandquilt dot wordpress dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The ruler toe comes packaged specifically for the 1600P, since that’s the machine most likely used on a home frame system. This throws people, even the reps, off. I even had 2 folks tell me their dealers said they couldn’t use it on other machines, which isn’t true. It’s labeled part #767-434-005 if that helps. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Delete
    2. Do you know If that would fit my Janome Memory Craft 4900?
      Kate

      Delete
    3. Thank you for providing the part number. I ordered mine just now and will report how it works.

      Delete
  6. I am a Bernina owner, Virtousa 150. I just ordered the Janome Convertable Free Motion Set, than the foot 77 and than the Free Motion Frame Quilting set to get the foot for rulers. I am new at this but it truly amazes me what you do! I found you through posts at Leah Day. I don't have the funds to purchase a fancy new machine but I am going to give this a try. I will let you know how it works out. I thank you for youa awesome posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting! I am eager to hear how this foot combo works for you!

      Delete
    2. I ordered the 3 feet from 3 different places, the all arrived today. I was up at 1:00am to see how it would work. Sad to say the foot 77 Bernina does no work with the Janome foot. I ordered the 75 foot and see if that works. I PRAY the standard converter foot may work.

      Delete
    3. NOoooo….! I’m so sorry to hear it. I’m trying to find an email from somebody I know I got a while back who was using the Janome foot with a Bernina. I know another reader who has ordered these feet for her Bernina too. I haven’t heard if she’s gotten them yet. Did you get the low shank version of the Janome convertible set? Because that’s what I read works with the Bernina adapter. Searching, searching…

      Keep me updated.

      Delete
    4. Yes it was the low shank foot converter foot 77. I ordered 75 standard foot, not giving up yet.

      Delete
    5. Yes on low shank Janome convertible set

      Delete
  7. http://www.sewingpartsonline.com/free-motion-frame-quilting-feet-set-janome-767434005.aspx

    Is this compatible with a MC 6500?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the ruler toe will fit the convertible free motion quilt set, which you can get for your machine.

      Delete
    2. How about the MC 4900? That's my machine.
      Kate

      Delete
    3. I can't tell from the Janome website, but it's a fair bet that your machine could use the convertible free motion foot set for low shank machines (unless it's a high shank?) and then use the ruler toe (sold as for the 1600) with it.

      Delete
  8. Would this converter set work with a Babylock quilters choice pro?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I doubt you'll see this response as it's so late and you're a ne-reply blogger. But we had a Babylock in the shop recently and the covertible foot set did NOT work with it. It went on fine, but the needle didn't line up in the right spot for it. Sorry.

      Maybe this will help other machine owners.

      Delete
  9. Wow! This is a whole new world! Has anyone tried any of these feet on a Brother? Mine is a PS420. One day I hope to have a Janome but for right now I am enjoying my Brother. Sure would like to be able to use rulers though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't have much knowledge about the other makers of machine. BUT, the convertible foot set comes in high and low shank versions, so it may be possible, depending on how the needlebar and presser foot bar are arranged. You can use this technique with a regular FMQ foot set a little higher than usual, but it's a little tricky.

      Delete
  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Can you use long arm rulers to quilt on a domestic machine? how hard is it to do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Pat. My blog has plenty of information on ruler work with domestic machines. Click on the tabs above, read this article and more.

      Delete
  12. Hi Amy, I am happy to report that I bought the Janome Convertable Free Motion Set and the #75 Shank for my Bernina 710. My DH filed a small place on the Janome part and made it fit my #75 Shank! I added the Janome Ruler toe and it works like a dream! I am so excited to get started. Now I just have to buy the rulers to start practicing! Thanks so much for you informative blogs! I am so inspired!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yippee! I am so glad to hear it! I will be sharing this info in a blog post later as I know there are so many Bernina users who would love to do this.

      I had another reader tell me a while back that they had done this, but I hadn't heard any follow-up from her. Are you the same person? Or maybe you're another brilliant and ingenious quilter! Thanks for letting me know.

      Delete
  13. Hi Amy, I love your site and all that you share with everyone! I am a bit confused on this one, do these work with the low shank Janome machines? Also do you have any tutorials using this ruler method?
    Thanks for your wonderful site!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Terri- there is a low shank version of the Janome Convertible Free Motion Quilting Foot Set.

      For more information on this method, click on the tab at the top of this blog about using long arm rulers on a domestic machine.

      For video tutorials, see my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/sonshinecottage/

      Hmm....I really should post a button that leads to my youtube channel, shouldn't I?

      Delete
  14. Wow, great Blog, I really appreciate your thought process and having it explained properly, thank you!

    Geminy Sewing Machine

    ReplyDelete