I’m working now on a large trapunto, almost-wholecloth quilt with some random piecing inserts and I’ll be using ruler work for the trapuntoed circles. Here’s a test piece, a trial run on which I’ve tested the circles and played with various fills:
I also took a great ruler work class at the Folsom Meissner store from Elaine Buchanan. I’ve done a good bit of straight line ruler work, but no curved work. Besides, I wanted to learn the right way to use rulers and I knew Elaine was who I needed to take. She gave me great guidance and I’m more confident in my ruler work. My class project:
It’s got some problems, yes, but I wasn’t there to create a masterpiece, I was there to learn and let mistakes happen. And they did. One of the biggest take aways:
Your tools make a difference – use the best.
Case in point: I accidentally left my Sew Together bag at Meissner the last time I taught and it has not turned up. I had hundreds of dollars worth of items: prescription glasses, various scissors and snips, and my BERNINA ruler foot, a $100 foot! I had not replaced that foot when I took Elaine’s class, so I used this generic foot instead (Clarity).
The only reason I had this foot was that many of my students were coming into my free motion quilting classes with this foot, using it as their main fmq foot. I was quite perplexed – it is not a good foot for general fmq quilting as it limits visibility vs a true fmq foot and, it’s a generic foot. There is a thought out there that this is a good foot for both ruler work and fmq, so you don’t have to change feet as you go from one to another. I had to buy the foot to be able to speak authoritatively on it.
I know why students want it – it’s $35 and the foot made for your machine runs $60 – 100+! This is my belief and I’ll back it up below:
The feet manufactured for your specific machine will work better than generic feet.
A few observations:
- Let’s look at this generic foot. I had so much trouble with it. I had used the BERNINA foot so I knew what a ruler foot was supposed to do. Note the photo above of the generic foot. The height is adjustable…..if you get your screw driver out.
See that gold colored wheel on the BERNINA foot? I just twirl that one way or the other to adjust the height. And you will be adjusting the height. Do you really want to get a screw driver out to do that?
2. Let’s consider another thing: see the tiny little “v” cut out on the BERNINA foot above? It allows a clear view of where your needle is hitting. Now, look at the cutout on the generic below :
That right there is a problem. It does give a great view of the needle hitting, but the ruler can easily slip over that wide cut out:
See how the ruler foot has slipped under the ruler where that wide cutout is? That means you will NOT have a straight line, nor will you be 1/4″ away, you’ll be less than 1/4″. Not. Good. If I didn’t know how a ruler foot is supposed to work, I would have just assumed I sucked at it and couldn’t even get a straight line using a ruler.
3. Another problem with this ruler foot:
See how low that metal shank is? If I flipped my ruler to the back (and you will want to on occasion), the ruler would not fit underneath (on my BERNINA). So could not flip my ruler behind the foot. You can raise that up (with a screw driver) and avoid that problem, but that will also mean your foot is now riding lower on the surface of your quilt and you’re more likely to push the puff of the batting into a tuck. This is not a problem on the BERNINA foot.
4. It’s handy to have the middle of the foot marked. On the BERNINA foot, the center of the “V” is the center of the foot. The generic foot does not have that center marking.
5. The BERNINA foot is offset so that you can see behind the foot. The generic foot is straight set, blocking the view behind the foot.
I know your manufacturer’s foot is way more expensive than the generic. But you want accurate lines right? Isn’t that why you’re doing ruler work? Maybe you have used this foot or ones like it and had success – great! I found it difficult and as a result, it was not a bargain for me.
Moving on to piecing. Let’s be real, I am not an expert piecer. But I do piece and I know how to do it well, but I can always use some help:
I purchased this Acorn Precision Piecing Easy Press Solution (I think at PIQF) and hadn’t used it. The idea behind this is that the product flattens the seam. You fill the little dispenser on the right with the solution and it has a foam tip that spreads the solution on your seams if you just swipe it across. That seemed like an ethereal concept to me until I started this project:
I constructed my pieced strips using a flip-and-sew method on tearaway stabilizer. I used a 1.0 stitch length so the paper was super easy to tear away. But once I started piecing those strips into my silk, this happened:
It may not be terribly obvious from this photo, but the strip on the left was without the use of the Easy Press Solution and the strip on the right was treated with the solution. The seams just collapse down flat, just like you want them to. Just so you know, I had pressed the left strip’s seam and clapped them down with a clapper to try to get that seam to lay down and it still stood up.
The above photo is from the top side, before I used the Easy Press Solution. That seam is perfectly straight underneath and well-pressed, but there was this wee bit of wobble thing going on that went away after I used the Easy Press. I had all kinds of different fabric weights also which contributed to the wobble.
So this inexperienced piecer is now an Easy Press Solution fan. It really made a difference. As soon as you swipe the seam with the solution, it just collapses flat. Love it!
So, just my opinion but strongly held! Products and tools make a difference. Quality products make for a more accurate and pleasant experience. Go for it!
I’ll link up with Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday where all the good links hang out.