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Ruler Work Tips & Tricks

Getting started with ruler work

1) What needles to use

Recommend starting with a 90/14 Top-stitch Needle (the Superior Titanium needles are great).

When free motion quilting with rulers make sure that your needle is new -change the needle regularly as an old or damaged needle will cause skipped stitches and thread breakage.

When free motion quilting, we expect our thread to work moving in all directions and because of this directional movement you need to use a needle with a larger eye. The larger eye prevents the thread from shredding and will give you a better stitch.

2) What thread to use

For best success, we recommend starting with a 30-50 weight cotton thread.

There are so many beautiful threads to choose from, finer threads give a light feel to your quilting, and heavy threads give a more solid appearance.

If you change your thread, sew a test to check the tension. When quilting with finer thread you will generally need to tighten the tension slightly; for heavier thread you will loosen the tension.

You can use most threads for quilting and there are no rules, if you find a thread that you like, try it!

3) Extension Table

An Extension Table designed to fit your machine will make quilting with rulers and templates and free motion quilting so much easier.

An extension table provides a large flat surface to work with and prevents you from rocking the templates which can make ruler work extremely difficult.

A fitted extension table, like our Sew Steady line, does not have gaps that could catch templates as you move them across the throat of the machine causing you to miss a stitch or run off line.

Free motion quilting requires smooth gliding of the quilt to get an even stitch which makes a Free Motion Glider or Grid Glider well worth having.

4) Basting

There are a number of ways to baste your quilt:

Long basting stitch, usually done by hand but also possible using the longest stitch on your machine.

Pin basting, time consuming but cheap and easy to reuse for all of your future projects.

Spray basting, least time consuming but also expensive if done regularly.

Whichever method you choose, remember that the basting should be no more than 4” apart to ensure good security of your quilting sandwich while you work!

One thought on “Ruler Work Tips & Tricks

  1. I have a Brother Luminairre XP1. How do I set it up to use Westalee rulers on it? I can’t find a way to manually lower the feed dogs. As you can tell, I am a newbie. The instructions above don’t show machine setup.

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