It didn’t take long to finish up my wall hanging. That is an advantage of small quilts! And here’s the finish, though I still haven’t given it a final press. You can see the Quilt Inspector’s paws as he looks over my work:
This quilt was my first attempt at ruler work. I used Bernina’s #96 ruler foot, which is made for long arms and which Bernina does not actually recommend for domestic machines. They have since come out with the #72 adjustable ruler foot that is meant to be used with domestic machines. I had no trouble at all using the #96 presser foot, and I have heard that others have used it successfully. A ruler foot has a thicker base than a normal free motion quilting/embroidery foot, and you use it with long arm rulers that are 1/4″ thick. The combination prevents your presser foot from slipping over the ruler. Instead you can run the presser foot along the ruler for more precise lines.
I worked with three rulers, all from Lisa H.Calle:
The straight ruler was very easy to use. It made it much easier to keep parallel lines parallel and to stitch in the ditch or travel along already-stitched lines. Of the 3 rulers, it was the easiest to use, though for the most part I using it for things I could have done with a walking foot. I definitely felt I was able to maintain consistent lines more easily than with just my walking foot, particularly over longer distances, and I did not have to turn the quilt as often as I would have with my walking foot.
The curved ruler was also fairly easy to use. It has so many marking lines that you can find a way to line it up with a pieced or already quilted line on your quilt. I did find it slipped sometimes, and there are a few places that I quilted and tore out multiple times before I got the lines where I wanted them. It takes some practice to take the diameter of the quilting foot into account accurately when placing the ruler. The other issue, and it affects all the quilting rulers except the straight edge, is that for every type of curve you will need another ruler. I found I can do some adjusting to extend the flattest part of the curve, and I could use both the inner and outer curves of the ruler for slightly different shapes, but if you want a much tighter curve, or a much gentler curve to match a particular design idea, be prepared to shell out more money for the ruler you need. Despite the limitations and challenges, this was the ruler I liked best. I felt it allowed me to do things quickly that I could not have done as easily without it.
The circular ruler was the hardest to use by far. In theory, you should stitch around 1/4 of the ruler, and then shift your hands, stitch another 1/4 circle, shift and continue. In practice, I found it impossible to keep the circular ruler in place. I remember reading about another ruler that had a pin mechanism to keep the ruler centered. I would definitely recommend something like that.