It all began this way. On the left, is a simply printed tea towel from my granddaughter. On the right, is the fabulous print that will create the border. HERE WE GO!
This may have been the most fun I’ve ever had in quilting! Probably because it began as the very simple artwork of my 3 year old granddaughter, Juniper. She printed it using fruit dipped in paint. I always say, I’ll quilt anything, but kid art is the BEST!
Appropriately keeping with the theme, I added this fabulous fruit print border I had picked up from my guilds’ “share pile” the night before. I made it 6″ wide, really not knowing where I might go with this project.
I wasted no time and got it on the frame as fast as I could. I didn’t mean to work on it for so long, but it did consume about 3 days. I’m guessing it might have been 15 hours of quilting. I had no pre-plan and designed as I worked. Thread color is always difficult for me. It scares the BA-G-BEES out of me to use a contrasting color, always afraid I will make a mistake and it will JUMP out of the quilt! Thankfully, I had a couple of longarm friends who encouraged me to GO GREEN, so I dove right in!!! (the color is Kiwi, by Glide)
I used a double batting of 100% wool because I wanted some big fluff! This was all stitched free motion, so I used round templates and eyeballed a lot of the circles. I wasn’t terribly concerned about perfection on this piece. I wanted to keep some of the child and whimsy that it was screaming!
Before going any further, I wanted to make sure to get a signature in. Since it is a collaborated piece, it deserved both our names AND a date!! Label and date your quilts! I like using my own handwriting. Try it, you’ll be surprised that writing with your longarm will look a lot like your regular handwriting!
Then there were the lines! I’m a little particular about lines, maybe OCD about them!!! I like them straight and I use my ruler, moving it along and beside the entire time. These are 1/8″-1/16″ over the entire piece. Eeeek!!!!
It’s hard to see, but I continued the line work into the border, adding a line of pearls at random spots.
After getting the circles where I wanted, lines where they needed to go, I went inside the painted circles and organically stitched where the paint had landed. I like the juxtaposition of the inside and outside circles.
Then there were the rhinestones!! OMG!! I have waited for the right quilt to do some intense embellishing and this was the one! Once again, hard to see in photos, but I placed about 150 stones throughout. This was the icing on the cake!
At this point, I was so thrilled I had put our names in before I even started. I got a little carried away and before I knew it I had filled in all the space! I let a few circles and ghosted shapes flow over into the border. I love asymmetry and use it whenever I can.
Here is the finished piece before I stretched it onto an artists’ canvas, next step! I wanted it to hang and be self framing, so the hubs helped and we stretched it over a canvas, stapling to the inside as we stretched. The hardest part was making sure we kept it centered and equal on all sides. I had also quilted it to the edge, so I had plenty of excess fabric to use for stretching.
And who doesn’t love a back!!! Oh my gosh, I may love it even more!
I always believe the back of a quilt tells the real story. You can see things you will never notice on the front. I was sad that by choosing to stretch on the canvas, I lost the back view! Ah, well, “C’est la vie!”
Before I let Juniper have it back, I hung it on my wall for a few days. I decided if it were me, I might hang it sideways. Pieces like this are so great, they can go a few different ways and you can have a new piece of artwork each direction! I hope you enjoyed this piece and are inspired to re-purpose a special fabric from a child. I guarantee fun!!!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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?
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!