Today, we’re playing with the Ruler Foot, and I have a couple of other tips for you as well. I’ll continue with the same wall quilt I worked on yesterday. The seams around the spools are perfect for ruler work.
The first thing we have to do is change the foot. There are several sets of optional accessory feet, and we’ll explore more of them tomorrow.
The Ruler Foot is a very substantial metal foot. The distance from the needle to any point outside the circle is a perfect ¼”, making it great for precision work. The shank on the back is high to allow the ruler to fit underneath. The outside is perfectly smooth, allowing the ruler to move around on all sides of the foot.
To change the needle, you need a hex tool included in the supply kit with the PLATINUM™ Q160. While the standard foot with the machine looks like a Ruler Foot, the sides are not as high, and the ruler could slip and make contact with the needle, which would not be a good thing. Use the proper tool to get the job done right!
When you loosen the screw that holds the foot in place (no need to remove it), the foot may drop to the throat plate, but it won’t come off. I have the Ruler Foot in this photo as I got ahead of myself when taking the photos.
To release the foot, lift the Feet Mount to gain a bit more height, and the foot comes off.
Another excellent characteristic of the Ruler Foot is the indentations on two sides, which allow you to see right into the center of the foot by the needle for 100% accuracy.
Make sure you’re using the proper ruler thickness, which is ¼”, and made especially for industrial-style quilting machines; not the ⅛” you use on the domestic sewing machine. That, in conjunction with the Ruler Foot, ensures the ruler doesn’t slip and hit the needle. I highly recommend putting some grips on the back of your ruler to help stabilize it.
There are many brands, so check them out before buying. As I mentioned before, check with your friends to see which rulers they use. While there are all kinds of rulers with decorative edges, my preferred ruler is a straight edge that’s 12” long. It has markings in ½” increments along both long edges and lines parallel to the long edge in ¼” increments.
As with any other type of quilting, you want to pull up your bobbin thread, and it’s best to keep those threads under the foot.
The beauty of ruler work (a type of free motion quilting) is that you can easily change the direction of stitching by rotating the ruler without having to rotate the project, which is a hassle with a domestic sewing machine. However, with the 16” throat space, it was easy to rotate my small project, so I mostly stitched towards myself. However, I wouldn’t do that with a larger project.
Remember, the outside of the Ruler Foot is ¼” from the needle, so position the ruler ¼” from the edge or line where you want to quilt. Initially, it may seem odd, but you’ll quickly get used to it.
To stitch an angle without rotating the project, rotate the ruler. Ruler work is free motion quilting, so you can go in any direction, which is a huge time saver on a larger quilt.
Because of the indentations in the foot, it’s easy to get precision on the corners.
And if you wish, you can even stitch backward.
I stitched around all the spools and in the ditch around the two borders. It didn’t take long before it was complete, and it was so accurate!
So, I grabbed another project to quilt using the Ruler Foot.
Technically, I could’ve quilted this with a walking foot on my domestic sewing machine as it’s not very big. However, the exercise was to learn the PLATINUM™ Q160, and as I mentioned yesterday, it’s easier to learn to quilt on small projects. Once I’m comfortable with the process, it’ll be easy to proceed to the larger projects.
I wanted to quilt the table runner on the diagonal through the black squares and continue the stitching into the black border. If I had done this on the domestic sewing machine, I would’ve marked the lines in the border. Because I used the ruler, the ruler was my marking tool.
As I quilted right to the edge of the project, I started and stopped in the excess batting, so there’s no need to worry about securing the thread ends, as they’ll get caught in the binding.
I even let a few ugly thread nests occur so you can see how awful they are. They look very messy and take some time to clean up if this were the good part of your project, but it’s OK here because it’s on the excess backing to be trimmed off.
Don’t forget to position the ruler ¼” away from where you want the stitching line to occur. I’m right-handed, so I keep the ruler mostly to my left, but it can be in any orientation that works for you.
As you can imagine, even though I had excess backing, the project no longer covered the sensors for Stitch Regulation once I reached the corners.
Trust me, if the quilt didn’t cover the sensors, the stitch consistency was not good. How to fix it? You could have even more backing, but that’s not always practical. I realized that if I took a small piece of muslin and placed it near the edge of my fabric as I approached the sensors, the sensor would continue to register.
I placed the small piece of muslin on my table runner so it moved at the same speed as the table runner and kept the stitches consistent. Problem solved!!!
Another feature I love about the ruler is the 45-degree line at the two ends. The line comes in handy as I near the edge of the table runner to ensure my starts and stops are lining up properly.
Here’s another tip for straight line quilting, whether with ruler work or a walking foot on the domestic sewing machine. I do one straight line in one direction near the middle of the project, and then I do a second straight line in the opposite direction. This process helps to secure the quilt in quarters and prevents the top and backing from becoming skewed during the quilting process.
Then as you quilt subsequent lines, in the same direction as the first line you made, ensure there are no tucks on the back as you cross the second line of stitching. If there is, remove them and redo that section. I check the back frequently to ensure there are no issues. No one wants to rip!
And how does the tension look on the back? I used a gold thread in the bobbin and black thread on the top. Yep – I like to test the tension to the max, and it looks pretty darn good. No major tension adjustments were necessary. Notice how the backing is nice and flat, with no ripples or tucks between the lines of stitching.
Wow! Quilting the table runner didn’t take very long at all, and it was so easy with so much room in the throat space. The ruler didn’t tip as the entire surface was large and flat. Free motion quilting is no longer a four-letter word when you have the right tools!
Well, that wraps up another day with the Husqvarna Viking PLATINUM™ Q160. It was so much fun, and tomorrow is the last day where I’ll talk about more of the optional accessory feet and something very unique that I never thought about until I read the instructions on one of the feet. So be sure to come back!
Have a great day!
This is part 4 of 5 in this series
Go back to part 3: How to make free motion quilting a smooth operation [Tips and Tools]