Ruler Work – Free Motion Quilting

Thank-you for attending my lecture on getting started with rulers on your domestic sewing machine. I hope that I was able to answer a few questions and inspired you to jump in!

Tips for Getting Started:

  1. An extension table that attaches to your sewing machine is a must. The ruler & your hands both need a solid flat surface to the left of the needle. The sewing machine’s bed is not wide enough.
  1. A slippery sheet to cover the bed of the sewing machine. The “Sew Slip” has a non-stick top surface which is bonded to cured silicone. The tacky back holds the “Sew Slip” to your machines surface. “SewSlip” eliminates the drag on your free-motion sewing and quilting projects. Best of all, you don’t need to tape the “SewSlip” down to have it stay where you put it.
  2. Quilting Gloves are needed to grip the ruler and the quilt
  3. Attach gripper stickers to the underside of the ruler.
  4. There are many different rulers to assist you in your free motion work. Some are curvy, wavey, straight, angled, round, oval, large and small. For anyone just getting started, I recommend the Handi Versa Tool from Handi Quilter. This ruler is a multi-purpose ruler with a different angle and curve on each of its four sides.
  5. Rulers for free motion quilting are thicker than rulers used for cutting fabric with a rotary cutter. They are ¼” thick.
  6. The free motion quilting foot for Ruler Work is also thicker/taller than a standard free motion/darning foot. This foot is a must for ruler work. Standard free motion feet are “flat” (the area of the foot through which the needle passes) a standard foot may slip under the ruler with disastrous results!
  7. The ruler foot is adjustable in height. It is important to be able to adjust the foot to the height which allows the quilt to move freely under the foot. Secondly the foot can be adjusted to the optimum height for your specific sewing machine and ruler type.
  8. Download a pdf with suggested uses of this ruler:…/HandiVersaTool-Instructions.pdf
  9. Watch this video to see a quick overview of the uses of this ruler:
  10. Free Motion Quilting and Ruler Work go hand in hand. Use ruler work to add precise quilting to your Free Motion Quilting projects.
  11. You can purchase a “Generic” Ruler foot for your machine, especially when you sewing machine model’s manufacturer does not offer a Ruler Foot. Simply establish whether your machine is a “HIGH” or “LOW” shank machine. Once you attach the ruler foot to your machine, make certain that the needle will not hit the foot and adjust the height of the foot to suit your machine.
  12. Check out Patsy Thompson’s video on Youtube, she has lots of information about choosing a foot that fits your machine.
  13. Liz at Janome has lots of information for Janome and Elna machines
  14. Google Instructions for the “BERNINA RULER PANEL INSTRUCTIONS PDF” to get the free download of the instructions

Tips for using rulers:

  1. Don’t press too hard on the ruler. Relax, let the little grippers you have placed on the underside of the ruler keep it from slipping. It only makes it harder to move the quilt smoothly.
  2. Use “three point pressure” on the ruler:
  3. Press the ruler down against the quilt B. Press the ruler gently against the ruler foot. C. Press the ruler foot against the ruler.
  4. Adjust the height of the Ruler Foot. There is a screw on the foot that allows you to raise and lower the foot. The foot should be as low as possible, while allowing the quilt to be moved freely under the foot.
  5. The foot will float on the quilt. If your machine is set to make the foot “spring” up and down, turn this function off.
  6. Proceed with caution: Whether the Ruler Foot is specifically designed for your machine or not, make sure to test all possible limitations.

For example, height restrictions: Inspect the back of the Ruler Foot. Notice the clearance at the back of the foot to the quilt. Is there enough room for the ruler to fit against the back of the foot? If not, you will never place the ruler against the back of the foot.

Is the needle aligned with center of the opening in the Ruler Foot? If not, move the needle to the center position.

If the needle is too close the front or back of the Ruler Foot’s opening, consider that this foot is not suitable for your machine. This should not be a problem if you chose the correct foot for your machine.

  1. TEST putting needle down in the fabric when you are ready to quilt: Either turn the fly wheel manually to sink the needle or press the “needle down” key. If the Ruler Foot is in the up position, the needle bar (above the needle) may hit the foot. This can happen because your machine was not designed to function with such a tall foot. Easy and simple remedy: ALWAYS LOWER THE RULER FOOT BEFORE SINKING THE NEEDLE INTO THE QUILT.

DO this test your machine manually, (don’t press the needle down key)If the needle bar hits the foot, always make sure to drop the Ruler Foot into the down position before using the “needle down” function or whenever sinking the needle down into the quilt.




Free Motion Quilting

Free Motion Quilting – Top Tips for Success


These notes are a companion to my lecture. It is recommended that you attend my lecture to get the full meaning of the following notes

Extension Table – An extension table that attaches to your sewing machine is a must. Your left hand needs a solid flat surface to the left of the needle. The sewing machine’s bed is not wide enough.

Quilting Gloves – A must. Afterall, it is your hands that control the stitch length. The stitch length will be erratic if your hands slip

Sew Slip- Free Motion Slider:A slippery sheet to cover the bed of the sewing machine. The “Sew Slip” has a non-stick top surface which is bonded to cured silicone. The tacky back holds the “Sew Slip” to your machines surface. “SewSlip” eliminates the drag on your free-motion sewing and quilting projects. Best of all, you don’t need to tape the “SewSlip” down to have it stay where you put it.

Drop the feed Dogs – If you leave them engaged they tend to fight against you when you kove the quilt sideways and backwards

The backing and batting should be at least 2” larger all around the outside of the quilt. This will give your hands something to grip. If there is little to no extra batting and backing, you will not be able to do your best stitching around the outside edges of your quilt.

Your frame of mind: If you are a novice, take on this new experience like a five year old kindergartner. Be excited, and proud of every stitch. Be proud of every scribble, as you progress, your scribbles will become calligraphy!

Like a pilot working towards his license, you need to put in the time. As the hours pile up, so will your skills.

Now that I have convinced you to get started, here are the secrets for success:

  1. The machine must sew at about ¾ speed, quite fast. (This can be set on the speed control slider or button)
  2. Engage the needle down function
  3. Bring the bobbin thread to the top of the quilt, hold onto the threads, sew a few stitches, stop, snip the threads and continue to stitch
  4. Your hands must move at a steady but slower speed.
  5. Never let go of the quilt while you are sewing.
  6. Only quilt between your hands, not above your finger tips or below the palms. Simply “STOP” re-position your hands, and continue stitching
  7. Never rotate the quilt while you are stitching. Although you may be practicing on a small piece and you see no reason why you shouldn’t rotate the fabric, keep in mind, once you have a large quilt in your machine YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ROTATE THE QUILT WHILE STITCHING. So don’t develop a habit that will make you feel uncomfortable and awkward.
  8. Tackling a very large quilt in a very small machine: Start in the middle of the quilt and stitch towards the right only. Give the quilt a ¼ turn and start back at the middle. Repeat a total of four times until you have the center of the quilt done. Then quilt the remainder of the quilt in a clockwise manner.
  9. More on the subject of speed: When Quilting to a point or around a corner, do not slow down how fast you move the quilt compared to how fast you are stitching. If you do, the machine will place several stitches at the point or at the corner. This is manifested on the underside, looking like mini French knots!

Spring 2017 Classes




WE HAVE MOVED TO: 624 Farnham Road Gibsons BC

15% discount on all supplies that are required for our classes. Buy your supplies for guild classes or classes held at other quilt shops and get the 15% discount. Classes must be current or in the future only, bring the supply list to qualify for the discount

Scrap Happy & Patchwork Crazy

Join the Club!

We meet every Sunday except Statutory Holidays.

We will try many different successful scrap-busting, fast quilt-making techniques to use up all our growing fabric scrap pile. This class is very casual and intended to be fun. Start now! Sort your scraps into groups: Such as Batiks or regular cottons , baby style/colour, masculine and feminine colour groups. Prepare to share your stash!

Sunday: 11am – 3pm

Drop-in Fee: $5 each Sunday starting September 17th


Carola Russell

This class is for the following types of quilters:

I have never free motion quilted, ever. I have tried a few times, but no success. I have taken a Free Motion Class, but lack confidence to tackle a special quilt. I am self-taught, need a few pointers. I can free motion quilt but am not satisfied with some of the results. I want to build my confidence. This class starts at the beginning, assuming you know nothing about free motion quilting. There are many tips for successful free motion quilting. Combine all the tips and you will notice your confidence build! 

Saturday February 18th

Class Time: 10am – 4pm

Class Fee: $48.00 Pick up supply list


Free Motion Quilting with Rulers – Intermediate

Carola Russell

Let’s ADD RULER WORK to our repetoire! If you have some Free Motion Quilting experience, this intermediate class is for you. You should have taken at least one free motion quilting class (or are self taught) in the past and are ready to hone your skills. Rulers are a great way to perfect “in the ditch” quilting, “navigate around corners”, perfect “channel quilting” and make consistent shapes such as curves and circles. Do not be intimidated by the description, this class is FUN for novices.

You must purchase a “RULER FOOT” and RULER SET before class

Friday February 17th 10:00am – 4:00pm

Class Fee: $48.00 Pick-up supply list

Beginner Quilting

Mary Robinson

How would you like to learn all the fundamentals of Quilting? Accurate cutting, seaming, quilting & finally, binding the edges. Each step along the way you will learn the tricks to success. The tips and techniques you’ll learn will make you a confident quilter!

The first quilt in the series is called Easy Big Blocks. This terrific quilt (42” x 52”) will show off your “Focus Fabric” surrounded by coordinating fabrics. You’ll even make a pair of matching pillowcases.

Four Thursday Nights: Feb. 16th, 23rd, March 2nd and 9th

6:00pm – 8:30pm

Class Fee: $79.95 plus materials (maximum class size: 6)

(Receive a 15% discount on all materials required for classes)

Sampler Quilt – Intermediate Quilt Making

Mary Robinson

You’ve learned the fundamentals of machine piecing & quilting and now it is time to move onto new techniques.

Join Mary for a five-session course that introduces you to the “Sampler Quilt”. Learn new patchwork techniques, making a different traditional block in every session. You choose the quilt size.

Class Fee: $89.95 includes textbook of 25 assorted Sampler Blocks

Five Wednesdays 6:00pm – 8:30pm

March 23rd, 30th, April 6th, 13th, 20th


Stitch + Dye = Serendipity Quilt

Carola Russell

In this two-day workshop, we will approach dyeing from a different angle.

Day one: piece together a quilt top using assorted undyed, natural fibre fabrics, cotton, bamboo, linen, rayon and silk. Day two: stitch some more and in the afternoon it is time to dye the pieced quilt top.

All dyes will be ready to apply to your quilt. No mixing, no buckets, no masks, no measuring, no prior knowledge required. A “Low Immersion dyeing technique” will be employed to make a multi coloured quilt top. Simply apply the dye, wait and Voila! You will go home with a gorgeous one of a kind quilt top ready to quilt.

Saturday & Sunday April 22 & 23rd 10:00 to 4:00 and 10:00 – 3:00

Class Fee: $115.00 includes dyes. Pick up supply list


Class Registration Policies

  • Registration is accepted on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Class Fees and Kit Fees are required at the time of registration. (some kit fees are payable to the teacher)
  • Registration will be accepted:

  • by phone (VISA or MC); or
  • in person (VISA, MC, cash, debit)
  • 5% GST will be added to all class fees
  • Class Fees are non-refundabletwo weeks notice is required for class transfers
  • Minimum Class size: Four, unless otherwise specified
    • In the event that a class is cancelled at Carola’s Quilt Shop, all registrants will be contacted and offered a full refund or an alternate class, your choice of course.
    • Pick up your supply list when you register. Purchase your supplies before class unless your supply list indicates otherwise. Prepare as requested on the supply list.
    • Confirm that the class will run before purchasing supplies
    • Please purchase your supplies at Carola’s Quilt Shop to help keep classes running. You will receive a 15% discount on supplies purchased for our classes.
    • Bring your sewing machine or serger in good running condition, complete with instruction manual and accessories.
    • Arrive at least 15 minutes before class start time.

Easy Bargello Table Runner

This is a very easy table runner to make. The accompanying pictures take you step by step through the cutting and sewing process.

You will need:

6 – 5” wide strips wof – one of six different fabrics (wof= wide of fabric, cut selvage to selvage, measures approx. 42″ in length)

4 – 2 1/2″ wide strips (wof) for binding, set aside

Let’s get started:

Cut each 5″ wide strip in half along the fold, into 2 strips approx. 21″ in length

You will have 2 strips of 6 different fabrics.

Place the strips in order: 1 – 6 and repeat 1 – 6, for a total of 12 strips side by side

Let’s start to sew:  Use ¼” seam allowance throughoutBargello1

Sew all twelve strips together along one long side of the 5” wide strip. You can sort them in a pleasing manner before you start, the 12 strips must remain in the same order.

Press all seams in the same direction. When done you will have one strip set of 12 joined strips the unit will measure about 21” wide and 55” long.

Sew the unit into a tube by sewing the long side of strip number one to the long edge of strip number twelve. Press that seam in the same direction as the other seams.


Lay the strip tube on your cutting mat, right side out, smooth and straight. Without too much waste, trim one side with raw edges, to square it up. Starting at the squared up side, cut 8 – 2 ½” wide strips for a total of eight strips.Bargello2

Lay out the eight strip sets side by side. They are still in a tube.

At the top of strip-tube #1, designate a fabric as the first fabric.

At the top of strip-tube #2 fold the first fabric in half.

At the top of strip-tube #3 will have the second fabric’s seam at the top.

At the top of strip-tube #4 will have the second fabric folded in half.

At the top of strip-tube #5 will have the third fabric’s seam at the top.Bargello3

At the top of strip-tube #6 will have the third fabric folded in half

At the top of strip-tube #7 will have the fourth fabric’s seam at the top

At the top of strip-tube #8 will have the fourth fabric folded in half

Tip: Use painter’s tape to number the strips

Cut open strip #1 at the top along the seam (do not open the seam)

Cut open strip #2 along the fold (the middle of the first fabric)

Cut open strip #3 along the seam between the first and second fabric, do this with all eight strip sets.

You will notice that the strip with the “cut seam” snuggles up to the “cut fold” of the strip next to it.Bargello4

No need to pin. However I used 2-3 pins at the end of each seam. This allowed me to ease seams to match before I arrived at the end of the seam with the sewing machine.

Sew the 8 strips into pairs, making sure that the seams of one strip is centered in the middle of the rectangle beside it. Sew the pairs together until you have all eight strips sewn together. Voila!                                                                                   Quilt and bind your table runner as desired


Warning: Making multiples of this table runner in the same fabrics may result in a larger than expected quilt. Add borders to fit any size bed!

Copyright Carola’s Quilt Shop & Thread Company All rights reserved 2016

Use for your own personal enjoyment, do not copy or duplicate in any form. Send your friends here to download their own copy. Enjoy! Carola



Sewing & Craft Show March 2016

Thank-you for attending my lectures “Scrap Happy” & Quick Gifts to Make”

(If you attended my “Needle & Eye” lecture, you will find the notes in a previous blog post)

Here are the links and instructions you will need to make lots of gifts and scrap busting quilts while using great techniques and short cuts:

Converging Corners Quilt Tutorial


Mod Mosaic Quilt Blocks


Paper Piecing with Adding Machine Tape

Faux Pleated Table Runner


Crazy Quilted Hexagons

To printout your own graph-paper to create “Hexagon Papers”:


Click on Triangle and Hexagonal

Next Click on Equilateral Triangle

Scroll down (careful don’t click on the ads)

In the bottom of the measurement box: click “Download PDF”



Carola’s “Pleated” Cushion

Fits a 16” pillow form

This is a Fat Quarter & Jelly Roll friendly project

You will need: 

19 – 2 ½” x 20” long strips

1 – 18” x 18” square fabric for the stitching foundation

1 – 16″ square pillow form

Fabric for the pillow back

Temporary wash-away or fade-away marking pen

Let’s get started:

Press 18 – 2 ½” x 20” strips in half lengthwise, wrong sides together

Layout the strips in the order they are to be stitched. Strip #1 is not pressed in half.

Place strip #1 at the bottom of the 18” x 18” foundation fabric, you a=will be working from the bottom up.

Place strip #2 on top of strip #1, raw edges even, 1 ¼” up from the bottom. Pin through all layers.

Stitch in place, with a ¼” seam allowance, by sewing along the raw edges of strip #1 & #2

Strip #3 is placed 7/8” above the folded edge of strip #2. Pin in place and stitch along the raw edge.

Continue in the same manner adding the remaining strips.

Trim to 17” square. Use a ½” seam allowance to attach the pillow back.



Carola’s Quilt Shop

Rock Soup

If you want specific colours in your quilt, such as brights, autumn colours, pastels etc., sort fabrics into colour groups. A totally scrappy will look great too.

You will need Strips and Squares:

Cut some of the fabric into squares 3” to 5” in size, the bigger the square the faster you will complete your quilt.

Cut most of the fabrics into strips, any length in a variety of widths 1 ½” to 4” wide.

The wider the strips the faster you will complete the quilt.

An assortment of different strip widths looks nice, so cut an assortment of widths.

The squares (rectangles even!) and strips do not need to have accurate measurements, but straight edges are nice to work with though.

Let’s get started:

Thread your machine with a neutral colour piecing thread such as Aurifil 50/2 ply. Insert a new Universal 80/12 or Microtex 80/12 Schmetz needle.

Attach a ¼” piecing foot if you have one. Otherwise use the regular presser foot.

¼” to 3/8” seam allowance is allowed.

With right sides together, raw edges even stitch a square to a strip.

Press seams toward the strip. Trim excess fabric strips using a small ruler. Add strips to the next side moving in a clockwise manner as shown in diagrams.

Continue until you have at least a 15” or bigger square. Set aside.

Make a few more 15” squares. That’s easy, they are so much fun to make any time you only have a few minutes to sew

Use the 6½” x 24” ruler and make a diagonal cut through the 15” square. Cut as many 6 ½” strips as possible from one 15” block. Sub cut the 6½” strips into 6½” squares.

Join the leftovers to make additional 6½” squares.

Make as many 6½” blocks for desired quilt size.

Now is the time to audition fabrics for sashing, border and binding.

We cut our sashing 2” wide and the border 3 ½” wide.

Add sashing as shown in the diagram.

Our quilt measures 71” x 57” finished, 7 blocks across & 9 blocks down

Copyright Carola’s Thread Company & Quilt Shop

All rights reserved since 2009