Friday, 29 January 2021

Very Tricky Ruler

For the star quilt that I am working on, I decided to use one of the many rulers that I have accumulated over time.

The Handiquilter Star Flower Ruler
I have only tried this ruler a couple of times to quilt the flower and was keen to use the star in the middle as an accent on my quilt...anyway, that was the original idea. Trying it out, I changed my mind several times, almost deciding that this was going to be too hard.

But first things first...this ruler has to be handled with extra care as it is very easy to hit if you are not careful. On the Bernina Q20 I lower the foot before I start quilting in order to see where I hit the fabric. If you are in the middle of things, it is very easy to not pay attention as to where your foot is in relation to the ruler. To overcome this I had my foot in the middle of that star before I lowered it (not quite in the middle in the photo below)

...then decided where I wanted the star to sit by placing the ruler around the foot, shifting it into position...
After I was satisfied that this was the spot, I then moved the ruler away again  (so the foot was in the middle again) and only then did I do my tie off, bringing the ruler only against the foot once it was lowered and the needle was in the fabric. Then I stitched the star. Had to put on a few Handigrip patches to stop it from sliding, but also used my draw liner patches for added stickability.

This ruler is quite tricky. The star shape is small (2in) and I struggled to go around the curves to get from star point to star point. Without fail I would have these sudden elongated stitches on the curve because of jerky movements on my part. The more this happened the more my death grip on the ruler strengthened which only contributed more to the issue. I was doing this in stitch regulation which helped and it took me a while to figure out how to overcome this. In the end I set my stitches per inch to 11 which meant my elongated stitches were slightly smaller and I began to relax more and consequently had less of those. The trick really was to take your time, relax and go slowly around those curves without any sudden jerky movements as you descend into the star point.

Managed to put my stars onto the quilt and then looked at the border. It's smallish and the star would just fit in it. Thinking that I would probably regret this I set out to stitch the stars also into the border. 

For this I had to go along the top part of the star first the entire length of the border and then return right to left to complete the bottom part of each star. First attempt was a fail as my bottom parts were at times slightly out of alignment with the top part giving me these weird wonky stars (even after having made 2in marks along the border and following those marks). Second attempt I tackled differently by looking at where the top part was sitting. If I could see I was out by a few thread widths I shifted my ruler slightly so that top and bottom were in alignment. That worked quite well. While the stars are probably not exact, the overall picture looks consistent. 

By the third border I felt that I conquered this ruler...the issue of going around the curves was less of a problem and I was able to put the stars down quite neatly and quite quickly.
Happy that I persevered as this small shape is ideal to use in sashings or in blocks and once you are used to it you can complete  this quite quickly with minimal fuss. I stitched this out in a light yellow variegated Aurifil 50/2 thread and it does look quite charming. Now I just have to work out what I am going to do in the rest of the quilt.



  1. Your star looks terrific in that border. Well done conquering working with a small fiddly template!

  2. Funny as I'm actually working on a quilt where a star motif would be perfect. I think I'll need to pick up this ruler.

  3. So interesting! The star motifs look so cool. You know, I wonder whether there's a different way you could mark the borders to make it easier to position the ruler for each star. Like, what if you marked a straight line through the CENTER of where each star needs to be, so you could align the top star point and the inverted V between bottom points on the straight line each time you moved the ruler. Would that help? There are also various inexpensive gadgets on the market, like the little purple wheels from Bethanne Nemesh's web site, and another thing that I bought somewhere else that fits around the tip of your marking pen so that you can trace along the inside or outside edge of any ruler and automatically your mark is placed 1/4" away, exactly on the stitching line. If you were working on a project that you wanted to be really, really precise, you could use one of those to mark the whole star on the stitching line and then there would be zero guesswork getting your needle into position and lining up the ruler. But it sounds like you're getting the hang of this ruler anyway and might not need these kinds of "crutches" once you've used it a few more times.


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