Friday, April 3, 2015

Free Motion Quilting: Ruler Work on a Bernina 1230

Making a Blanket of Love for RPA Hospital's Newborn Intensive Care Unit is the perfect way to try out a new piecing or quilting technique. My latest finish, Hello Little Sailor, had plenty of both, and was quite a challenge.

My quiltmaking Wish List has, for a long time, included a plan to tackle the making of a Double Wedding Ring quilt, but frankly it's just been in my dreams. 

Enter those clever Sew Kind of Wonderful girls, with their Quick Curve Ruler and Metro Rings pattern. It's a Double Wedding Ring style quilt 'for dummies', so it was perfect for this one!

A single Metro Rings block, with a small border, was large enough for a baby quilt, and a Moda jelly roll of the "Celebration" range made it perfect for a baby boy.

I have a great deal to learn about using the Quick Curve Ruler ruler accurately, but this little quilt is all about overall effect!

Next I tackled the quilting.

I've shared glimpses of my domestic machine quilting progress on Instagram, and I know enquiring minds would like to know how I did this, so here are the tools I used.

The QCR Sidekick, companion to the Quick Curve Ruler, was designed for longarmers, but with a little practice I found it easy to create curved cross hatching, and unmarked straight lines. 

For the last 6 months I've been experimenting with using quilting rulers on both my domestic, sit-down machines, a 10 year old Elna 6004 and a 20 year old (at least) Bernina 1230, and if you want to do this a ruler foot is essential. 

Amy of Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventures has been a wonderful source of technical information.

This is what works for me. To set myself up on the Elna initially I bought the Janome Convertible Free Motion Quilting Foot Set.

The 1/4 inch ruler foot that comes with the Janome Free Motion Frame Quilting Feet Set for 1600P is going to be your friend for ruler work.

(There's also a rather nice little open toe quilting foot.)

Either of these feet screws onto the convertible unit with a tiny screw at the rear. Then this entire unit screws onto the shank of the machine like many other feet do.

So, in summary, this is the set-up for free motion quilting on my Elna, using the ruler foot for ruler work.

Sometimes, though, I like to use my Bernina 1230, and once I've screwed on the #75 Low shank adaptor to the Janome set above it just latches on to the machine in the usual way Bernina feet do.

This is the combo for ruler work on my Bernina 1230.

So in this way I can easily move between sewing machines using the same quilting feet.

I used my Bernina very happily for all the quilting on this little quilt, but will certainly be looking out for the Bernina ruler foot due to be released this month!

Back to the progress pics. Remember, overall effect! I have so much to learn.

After parallel quilting those scrappy sections on the top right hand arcs I later changed my mind and unpicked it all. Not a happy experience ;-(

I came up with the name, Hello Little Sailor, from the nautical favour of this cute fabric range.

This is the little label we attach to each of our Blankets of Love.

Will there be a full- sized Metro Rings quilt in my future? 

Maybe :-)


  1. Great post Di. These feet are on my list - just need to get my finger out!

  2. You did a fabulous job! A DWR is on my list, too, but it will probably be a MetroRings that actually gets made. Your ruler work looks great. Oh and that is a great name for a little quilt!

  3. Fabulous blog Di & this little quilt is amazing. πŸ‘πŸ’•πŸ˜‰. Just amazing work and such a fabulous result. I'm so greet with envy πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’š

  4. Oh was a wonderfully fantastic share Di! Thank you so much. I especially love that you share how to adapt the Janome foot to a Bernina. I've had some people ask me about that - thank you! Your little quilt is a masterpiece - really. Thanks again - so very inspiring!

  5. What a great post and a fabulous quilt. You have made me think I can do this. I already have the QCR and the Sidekick rulers so all I need is the feet. Thanks for sharing, this will be a treasure.

  6. A timely post for me, Di. I've already ordered the ruler foot and am now trying to decide which rulers to order. I'm stuck on what length curved ruler to start with. I can only afford two right now - one straight edge, one curved. I'm so looking forward to getting back up to the island and being reunited with my Janome. Your work is beautiful, and very inspiring. Have a lovely Easter weekend. xo

  7. it looks lovely! I really need to practice free motion sometime and see if I can get better at it, I have tried a couple times but never really like it - I need to make myself practice a baby quilt like you did (although you already know what you are doing)

  8. Nicely done, Di! Both the quilting and the explanation of the feet. Thanks for the shout out. I will return the favor as I'm sure some of my Bernina using readers will like to see you using the Janome foot. Not to mention we all like to see great quilting.

  9. Thank you, I also fancy a DWR quilt and had been considering buying the metro ring pattern and ruler. I had not however heard of ruler feet for machine quilting, so this was very informative and as I have a Bernina I will be following this up with interest....anything to help me improve my FMQ!

  10. I follow Amy's freemotion quilting too as it is amazing. But I have not practised a lot. Yours is stunning!!!

  11. visiting from Amys blog.....your quilting with th ruler is fantastic !!!!

  12. What a lovely job you did on that little quilt, Di! I'm also anxiously awaiting the Bernina ruler foot — it can't come too soon to suit me. :)

  13. Luv your Double Wedding Ring quilt. Ive just purchased & learning to use the new rulers available from Westalee Rulers for quilting on a domestic machine, Leonie has some YouTube videos available. Will have a look at Amy's blog now. Take care, Annette

  14. Great quilt and great post-thanks for sharing!

  15. This is a really helpful post, and quite a spectacular result.

  16. Oh Di I love your blog and your quilting prowess ..... Will you please give me some lessons?

  17. You are an inspiration! Your quilting is fabulous.. I purchased the Westalee ruler sampler set and foot, now practice practice practice just to look half as well as yours. THANKS FOR SHARING. Linda


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