Rulers & FMQ

My mind is seriously blown right now.  I’ve been watching a lot of videos on FMQ lately and practicing my own skills.  The other day I found some videos of people using rulers to quilt on longarm machines. While it was interesting to me I didn’t give it much thought because I’m not a longarm quilter.

So today I was messing with my practice piece — I got a new FMQ foot for my Janome — and was playing mindlessly when my eyes fell on my 6″ square ruler beside my machine.

Light bulb moment.

Ruler Work Domestic Sewing Machine

This new FMQ foot does not hop, which makes it perfect for ruler work. So I gave it a try.  Wow!  Why didn’t I have this foot and this lightbulb moment before I quilted the Accidental Dresden?!

I just lined the ruler up against the foot and ran the machine like normal. I didn’t have any trouble with the ruler sliding (I do have grippy things on the back of the ruler though) and the whole thing was easy to control.

While this may not be new to you, the concept of using rulers in FMQ is very new to me. (Sometimes I’m late to the party, but I’ll eventually get there!)

Ruler Work Domestic Sewing Machine

I did some more investigating and found the following:

  • There are rulers made specifically for ruler work both with standing / sit down longarm machines and domestic sewing machines.
  • These rulers are 1/4″ thick which reduces the risk of them getting under your FMQ foot and breaking your needle.

So, I’m not advocating doing something that’s unsafe.  But for me, I was sewing slowly enough and had good control of the ruler.  I will definitely purchase the rulers made specifically for this task.

The mind-blowing part for me was being able to stitch straight lines without marking or using a walking foot.  It’s such a pain to change from one foot to another when quilting a big quilt, and I have found myself not quilting a particular design on a section of my quilt simply because I didn’t want to interrupt my flow and change things out.

Ruler Work - Domestic Sewing Machine

Please forgive the sloppiness – this is just my test piece. 🙂

So, if you think ruler work is only for a longarm machine, think again.  We can use them on our domestic machines! Yay!!

And just because, here’s a pic of the first pebbles I’ve ever practiced. I’m going to love these in a blending color as a filler on my quilts.  🙂

Pebbles - FMQ

What is your experience with using rulers in your quilting? Have you tried using them?

P.S. For those of you who asked – the Tutorial for the Zippered Tote Bag is up on the Tutorial page. I hope you’ll share pics if you make one.

Happy Sewing!



About Beth

I’m a wife, mother of two, and lover of all things crafty. I love to cook up new things in the kitchen and in my craft room, and sometimes get “licking the spoon” mixed up with “licking the fabric”!!

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6 Responses to Rulers & FMQ

  1. hydeeann says:

    i’ve never tried this or even seen it either, so you got to the party at least ahead of me. =) wow! i’m trying to straightline right now with my walking foot and it’s a challenge to keep that straight. maybe this would be adaptable and help! thanks for sharing.

  2. Cheryl says:

    I have seen YouTube videos on using rulers with home machines but have never tried it. You have inspired me, I am going to try it this weekend!

  3. I have heard a lot about using rulers but I have never tried it myself – your results are amazing and I just keep thinking of all the rulers I am going to ask for as Christmas gifts! 🙂

  4. Jasmine says:

    I have used rulers on my sit down quilting machine which comes with the ruler foot. It opens up a whole lot of possibilities. I definitely recommend using the right tools. Any at Amy’s free motion quilting adventures has a lot of good information about quilting on a domestic with rulers.

  5. Joanna says:

    How do you hold the ruler/move the quilt at the same time? Or is the trick to just do a space big enough for the ruler so you move them together rather than sliding the ruler down all the time?

  6. Lynne Tilley says:

    Wow, this is really cool! The only free motion I’ve done is with a regular sewing foot with the feed dogs lowered. I have a regular janome machine and plan on getting a free motion foot for it. This is so interesting We learn so much on the internet; thanks for sharing this!

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