Thursday, April 27, 2017

Ruler Work on a Bernina Q20 Sit-Down Long Arm Machine

When I got my Bernina Q20 sit-down long arm, I was determined to learn ruler work. This involves using 1/2" thick rulers to create designs while free-motion quilting.  I took two Craftsy classes with Amy Johnson to learn the basics, and watched lots of  YouTube videos. Like anything, there is a learning curve but it's fun and I'm getting there:

At International Quilt Festival Chicago a few weeks ago, I got to spend a little time in classes with Kim Brunner, Jamie Wallen, and Linda Taylor. Each of them taught me at least one thing that is very helpful.

Kim showed us how to create a pencil guide to allow me to draw lines with the rulers that will be exactly where the stitching line will be. The foot is 1/2" wide so the needle is 1/4" away from the ruler edge. It takes a bit of practice to figure out where you need to start and stop. Being able to draw/design with the rulers and paper is very helpful:

I've been saving scrap paper to draw designs on. On one page I drew a 6" square and two 4" squares--then I copied them on the back of the scrap paper. This gave me lots of pages to play with the rulers and designs:

Once it was time to stitch the designs on the quilt, I needed to draw some reference lines. Everyone has their favorite marking tools, I like these and, yes, they do wash out:

 I also like chalk markers/pencils and use those whenever possible.

With this quilt, Random Ohio Stars, a free pattern from Bonnie Hunter, first I stitched in the ditch over the entire quilt. This made it possible to remove the safety pins I used for basting the 3 layers together. The only pins left once I started the detail quilting were on the borders. Then I jumped in and started the designs on the larger empty blocks, around the star points, and anywhere else that needed some more quilting.

Here is a shot of the whole quilt top:

Now I have to decide how to quilt that border. Threads used on the body of the quilt are King Tut #968 on the top and Bottom Line #617 in the bobbin. They pair nicely together and the bobbin thread matches the back almost perfectly.  But that border is very dark so I plan to switch the top thread to a darker color. Balancing the tension may take a little doing. The Bernina is very easy to adjust tension and the bobbin holds lots of thread so I can happily quilt for hours. I have a Mettler 60 wt. black cotton and a Superior Sew Complete 50 wt. polyester--I'll try both of them with the Bottom Line bobbin thread and see which performs better. Then it will be time to figure out the border design. I'm thinking really simple to let the border print show--marking it would be difficult so I'm leaning toward simple ruler work designs. Stay tuned...

Let's Quilt!


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