Kelly Cline Quilting

Best Quilting Rulers…..For Experts and Beginners Alike!

Best Quilting Rulers by Kelly

I may be biased, but these are the best quilting rulers ever! They were created quite by accident in December 2015, when a woman was commenting on my Facebook page and asked where might she get the rulers that were lying on my work surface (rulers I had my glass man cut out of acrylic, just for me). The moment she asked, the bells started dinging in my head and I answered, “From me, if you can wait a bit!”

I started my research, found a manufacturer, and before I knew it they were in my hands. The next week, I sold out of the first 200. The rest is history and I am thankful for those of you who are using them now!

Palm Ruler in Action

This cool ruler, the smallest one that I call the Palm Ruler (because it fits in the palm of my hand), is really great for tight spaces. I also use it as resistance when I travel around an applique or shape. Both of these great rulers can be used with either a long arm machine or a domestic machine. You can purchase the Palm Ruler here.

Palm Ruler in Action 2

When using the rulers with a domestic, make sure to use a quilting foot on your machine. There is such a thing as a ruler foot, which is thicker than the free motion foot, but I find that the quilting foot works just fine. The pressure that I use on the ruler against the quilting foot is very light. What makes this the best ruler for quilting on a domestic is the size! It is 5 inches long by 2 1/2 inches wide.

The fit on a regular machines’ throat is ideal, even without an added table base. Because I am a long arm quilter, when I quilt on a domestic machine I am thinking backwards! It takes awhile to get my rhythm, but once I do, it’s very meditative. On a domestic, you are moving the ruler with the quilt, definitely opposite from long arm quilting!

Palm Ruler on Hand

In this photo you can actually see the size in my hand, which is why it is one of the best rulers for quilters.  The clear acrylic ruler is 1/4 inch thick and has 2, 1/4 inch stitch lines around for easy measuring. I also put 1 inch marks on the side for another measure.

I have been asked if I would have a hole placed in the ruler for hanging, but I have chosen not to do that. When I am working in quick movements on the long arm, I find that the hole can get caught up on a raised seam. I know, you’re thinking, that’s crazy! Well, this quilt is what made me decide NOT to add the hole. I can show you a very small bit of this quilt that must have 3,000 or more flying geese. Having gone into each “goose”, I will guarantee a hole in the acrylic, will hold you up!

flying geese quilt closeup

The other reason this is probably my favorite quilting ruler are the curved ends! Do the sharp corners of your rectangular ruler ever get caught up in the seams of your quilt? The curved ends allow smooth movement over a quilt when working on the long arm.

Slim Ruler In Action

The long, Slim Ruler is a fabulous quilting ruler. It is 9 inches long by 1 1/2 inches wide. It is also made of 1/4 inch acrylic and has a 1/4 inch stitch line going around. Again, I like this one because it fits easily in my small hand. It is great for longer work, ditch stitching in particular. Once again, it maneuvers well on a domestic machine or a long arm machine. When using this quilting ruler on the long arm, make sure you are using a table base that fits your machine. Like the palm ruler, the slim ruler also has curved ends so it lends to quick movements and no catching on seams. You can purchase the Slim Ruler here.

Slim Ruler for Marking

These quilting rulers also double for wonderful marking rulers. I multi-task with them all the time, using a purple air erase pen when doing quick work. The edges are also marked at 1 inch intervals. Mark, position, quilt, using the same ruler! How much more efficient is that?

Two Rulers on Quilt

This is a work in progress, a vintage hankie on my domestic machine. I’ve taken two incredible classes from the great, Sharon Schamber. She is as capable on a domestic machine as she is on a long arm. A particular comment she made that has stuck with me is that when she quilts on a long arm she is moving quick and while working on a domestic, she says she gets into a meditative state and it’s much calmer. I have found this too!

There are other rulers I keep in my quilt toolbox. Some of my favorites are made by Handi Quilter, the Versa Tool and the Mini Scallop. These are great rulers for their versatility. Others I use and like are by Jane Hauprich. Jane’s rulers are most helpful when I need a curve.

I hope you are playing with some fabulous rulers! Once you get the rhythm, they are super fun!

Quilter’s Cuckoo Clock, by Jodie Davis!

Check out the latest creation by my friend, Jodie Davis! Yes, it’s pricey, but super cute and well made in Germany.  What a fabulous idea!

Quilt Shop Cuckoo Clock

How To Flatten a “Not So Perfect” Quilt Top or Border!


YES, it can be done! I learned this method from a wonderful class with Sharon Schamber. You can use starch and heat to reduce wobbles and waves from any quilt top, border, or block! I did this last week with a beautiful, vintage top. The quilt was machine pieced and hand appliqued in the blocks.




This is what the block looked like before I created the magic! There was at least 2 inches of extra fabric in the center. After I sprayed the block and ironed, it was almost flat. I was able to start stitching at this point with NO WRINKLES OR CREASES!


The final block looks like it was perfectly flat to begin with!


Now, if you’re still wondering how it works, watch this quick video.  I learn by watching, so I hope the visual helps you too!

Frame a Quilted Hankie!


I never knew I was such a hankie lover! They are the simplest linen you can quilt. Small, simple and fast! I’ll take you through the steps to create this one-of-a-kind piece. Let’s go!


These are the fabrics used in this piece. The background is a red cotton with a sheen, underlayment is a gold lame’ and then the hankie is on the top of this sandwich.


Hankies are usually quite thin, so I like to put something underneath them. Sometimes it’s just a white layer or a thin piece of batting, but this one has some cutwork, so I put the lame’ just under the inside open area. I will admit it was a little tricky to position it!


I work on a Handi Quilter Fusion longarm. I’ve recently become a Handi Quilter Ambassador, so you can imagine how much I adore my machine! To begin, I have loaded a piece of muslin backing on my frame, then I begin “the stack”. First, is a piece of 100% wool batting. Then a layer of background fabric, which is the red cotton with a hint of sheen. Next, is the gold lame’ just underneath the inside cutwork. Finally, the hankie.


I begin by stitching down the red fabric, creating the shape I want, in this case a square. Then I stitch the perimeter of the hankie, following the lines of the lace. This will also anchor the lame’ on the inside.


On this piece, I used Cindy Needham’s Ultimate Stencil. When faced with a lot of white space, this IS the ultimate stencil. It is a fabulous grid system that let’s you create a unique design. I used a purple air erase pen to draw my lines. I like these pens because the lines disappear in about an hour.


After using the grid for the straight lines, I connect the dots where I like and then start my free motion quilting in those spaces.


This is where the design starts to take shape. I don’t necessarily know where I’m going. I decide each step as I go!


Now that I have the inside designed, I go back out to the background fabric and echo the scallop of the hankie. From there, I decided on a piano key border.


The last thing I do while I have the piece on my longarm, is to stitch around the perimeter of the hankie to finish the edge. Once I have the hankie off the frame, I add small glass beads to tack down the middle of the flowers and give the piece a wee bit ‘o bling. For this particular piece, I trimmed about 2 inches beyond the size of the frame, wrapped around a piece of acid free foam core board, then completed with the inset piece of cardboard that came with the frame.


Here is the finish! Framed it is about 24″ square. I put spacers right inside the frame (1/4″ strips of foamboard) so the fabric does not touch the glass. Many times I cut a mat, but this one looked great on its own.

I made this piece to sell at my guilds’ silent auction a few weeks ago, so it no longer resides with me. This was a tough one to give up, but I know it’s making someone smile when they look at it! Thanks for following my process. I hope you’ll give it a go, whether you work on a domestic or longarm machine. Have a fabulous weekend!


“Flower Dancer”, Brazilian Embroidery


Get ready for some incredible embroidered eye candy! This piece was sent to me by Freda, in Florida. She had asked if I could quilt the background. Of course, I said yes, she mailed, and I proceeded to stare at it for a few months because I was simply overwhelmed by it’s beauty. I will also admit I was somewhat intimidated by her meticulous stitching and was afraid to even start!


The original piece is 18″ x 24″ and the background is more of a cream color than white. Pictures never show the depth of color, but trust me, this one is amazing!








The pattern is called, “Flower Dancer”, and you can see from the photos it is absolutely stunning without doing anything else to the piece. You can order the kit at JDR Brazilian Embroidery. I finally felt the mood one day and decided I’d better get started!


I began by dropping flower motifs around the embroidery and a few butterflies to mimic the embroidery. I always like to duplicate an element from the embroidery or fabric, if quilting a quilt.


After all the motifs were placed, I used a whimsical fill of paisleys, swirls and bubbles, to give the feeling of movement or dance to the overall embroidery. One more picture since the sun was shining just right later in the day!


There you have it! A beautiful piece, enhanced even more with quilting! Freda plans to create a small, crazy quilt border. It will be a wall hanging for a special granddaughter. I hope you enjoyed my Flower Dancer adventure! YES, even I ordered the kit and will be checking Mary Corbet’s video library for the new stitches I need to learn! Have a fabulous weekend!


The “Circuit Rider” Quilt


I finished this a few weeks ago for my dear friend, Gwen. The pattern is called, The Circuit Rider, by Jenifer Dick.


I needed to finish quite a few quilts for our upcoming guild show, so I was looking for a quicker way to finish an applique. I used the Bethanne Nemesh method of mid-custom quilting.


I probably saved 3 hours by NOT ditch stitching most of this quilt. Instead, I worked the feathers and motifs right UP to the applique. It’s brilliant! What a time saver!


Everything on this quilt is free motion and the echoing on the applique is simply “eye balled”. Once you get the rhythm and movement, it goes fairly quick! Total time on this quilt was 10 hours.


The back is a good illustration of how the motifs work up to the vine. No ditch stitching required!


Love those backs!!


You can see this quilt and about 100 others at our annual guild show, April 2nd and 3rd, in Lawrence, KS. Join us if you are in the area!


Sedona Star


This amazing quilt was a labor of love and a year in the making by my friend and customer, Shari. The pattern is Sedona Star, by Sarah Vedeler. I used at least a dozen thread colors, all Glide brand by Fil-Tec. Finished size is 106″ square and contains a lot of my heart and soul 😉 Enjoy the picture overload!



















Shirt Pocket Quilt

Gwen shirt

I’m sharing a quilt I did for a customer from a couple of years ago. I saw it in my pictures the other day and every time I see it, I want to make it! Not that I have the time, but I love everything about this quilt. I’m sorry I don’t have the pattern name for you. I do know that my friend, Gwen, who made this, said it was difficult because the shirts were all different.

Gwen shirt 1


Her purpose for this quilt was to showcase some of her hankie collection in the pockets. It was a challenge to quilt in the placket area of the shirt, due to the thickness and the buttons that she left on the shirts, but I figured it out!


Gwen shirt 2


She also did the black embroidery around each pocket that gave it the finishing touch!

Gwen shirt 3

What a GREAT finish to a unique quilt! How ’bout that border!!?

Gwen shirt

New Zealand Vintage Linen!


My sweet friend, Denniele, Louanna Mary Quilt Design, brought me this beautiful antique linen all the way from New Zealand. What a treat! I should also mention, she bought it in an antique store on KANSAS STREET! (I live in Kansas) I have scads of linens, but this one was calling me, NOW! I popped it on between some customer quilts yesterday and OHHHH, what a finish! I can’t get over how it glows.


My layering on the longarm is as follows, backing, double batting of 80/20 and 100% wool, Dupioni silk and finally, the vintage embroidery. The double batting always gives a piece the look of Trapunto, without any extra work.


I use my small, palm ruler as resistance against the foot, to outline around the edge of the linen and do some ditch stitching. It’s small, fits your hand perfectly, and the rounded ends won’t get caught up like the annoying corners on a straight ruler. You can order them here, Kelly Cline rulers! I usually ship them out the same day you order them, so you’ll be a ruler pro in no time!






This is before any stitching. Sweet to begin with!


Stitched down and then I started with a few lines of echoing.


And there you have it! These linen pieces stitch up in an afternoon, unlike days on a large quilt.  Maybe too, they are just beautiful! A wonderful presentation for someone’s amazing handwork from the past. I always hope they would be proud!

Red, White and Blue……


I finished this beautiful July 4th themed quilt last week. Made by Suzanne, it was a UFO she couldn’t even remember where it came from. I agree, it always feels great to finish a project you put away many years ago!






I kept with the patriotic theme and used lots of stars and shapes that were in the quilt fabrics. Lots of ruler work, which I love!






My lesson for today, don’t think too hard about the quilting! Let the fabrics be your guide.