Tag Archives: free motion Quilting on a Domestic sewing machine

Review of New APQS Ruler Foot for Free Motion Quilting


I have been waiting with bated breath for months for APQS to come out with their new ruler foot for my George. Every time I sit at my machine I would think about how great it is going to be……Then finally it arrived!! This is my review of the new APQS ruler foot. I felt that it would be best shown by a video.

I think my best advise if you have a George is to pay the extra $$$ and get the ruler foot. I know a lot of us are smarting ( judging from past emails from some George owners) that we had already paid for the ruler foot accessory set a few years back. I agree that the old foot is a bad design. It has been a source of angst for me. When I purchased George that is the one thing I didn’t demo. I knew I wanted a ruler foot…..I had a ruler foot on my domestic sewing machine that I was happy with. I just assumed that the George’s ruler foot- with it’s 20” harp space would be awesome. The truth was the angle of the foot’s ankle made the clearance to the right of the foot difficult.

a picture comparing the old APQS ruler foot to the new one
To the left is the Old APQS ruler foot, to the right the new ruler foot. I think the improvement to clearance is pretty obvious

In fairness to APQS they did try to correct the situation as best as they could until a new foot was re-designed. APQS did replace a lot of ruler feet to George owners with feet that had a smaller soldering at the ankle join, hoping that would it increase clearance. It helped- but not quite enough to really be happy with it.
The cost for the new feet are :
$365.00 for the set of 3 feet (closed ruler foot, open toe ruler foot and a standard free motion ruler foot.) If you are buying a new George this is a no-brainer- get the kit.
Closed Ruler foot: $140.00
Saddle foot or open toe ruler foot $200.00
I purchased the set because I am an open-toe gal. I use the open toe ruler foot probably more than any other foot. It allows me to swing between free motioning to ruler work without changing my foot most of the  time.

Installation wise, I had to summon up a good dose of patience. 
I already had adjusted my hopping foot height higher with the old foot. My standard quilting situation consists of a Supreme Slider and wool batting combined with hobbs 80/20. I could hardly get the new foot on, the fit was so tight. So I got out my screwdriver and adjusted the new hopping foot higher. I also checked to see that my needle was centered in the middle of the foot. I think all the pressure we sit down quilters put against the foot, pushing that fabric around , going over thick seams etc. can eventually push the foot off-center.
Mine was off. I began to look around my sewing room for something to quickly measure the distance from the needle to the edge of the foot all the way around . I spied a tracing hopper sitting on my desk that I got from Lisa Calle.

a picture ofLisa Calle's Hoppers- used to simulate a hopping foot as you draw designs
Lisa Calle’s Hoppers- used to simulate a hopping foot as you draw designs

I used this as my template to measure my needle distance. This worked out okay, but I was talking to Brenda, one of my online buddies ,she said she just traced around the foot on a index card, drew 2 lines to mark center and checked needle placement with that. My drawn circles in my video may not be the prettiest but I find Brenda’s idea easier to see than the clear plastic template hoppers…she’s so smart 🙂 ). We may need to make that suggestion to APQS!
I know that not everyone will go through all these shenanigans of adjusting height, centering and finally tension from all your mucking around. Just allow enough time so you are not growing fangs trying to slap that puppy in quickly. Mine took me the better part of a day when it was all said and done( I know…..I’m special 🙂 )

a picture of tension issues after installing the new foot.
The back of my test stitch out. Look at all the back-lashing and tension problems

Lastly , I guess in my mind I envisioned this true 1/2” foot alleviating a good deal of the marking I do on a quilt- especially were rulers are concerned. After all this adjusting, measuring, re-checking, I have come to the conclusion for me, that I will continue to mark. I am not a professional quilter, so maybe I lack confidence or the skills yet. But I don’t trust the accuracy of the needle to the edge of the foot in all directions.
Some quilt designs do not build on  previous lines and using a template’s markings will suffice . But if the needle is off it may become obvious in things like grids. I think I’ll save myself some heart ache and un-sewing and just mark.
The good news is that the new 1/2” foot with great clearance should open up the world of channeled templates like The Line Tamer or Lisa Calle’s Quilter’s Groove templates.

Well I hope this helps if you are on the fence whether to invest (or as in some of our cases-re-invest ;0 ) in the new ruler foot. For me, the cost was a lot cheaper than a new machine with a ruler foot that I was satisfied with.

I am not sure if the issue of your needle migrating off center happens in other quilt machine brands or not. If you have taken the time to read my APQS ruler foot review and can shed light on other machines,  leave us a comment and let us know- it’s always interesting to compare notes.

Happy quilting my friends,

Judi Madsen AQS iquilt Class Free Giveaway

a picture of my version of Judi Madsen's AQS iquilt class traditional quilt
My version of Judi Madsen’s traditional quilt from her iquilt class  Quilting Makes a Difference was stitched with Superior Threads Bottom Line on the top and Filtec Magna Glide Classic in the bobbin

This past summer I was asked if I wanted to participate in beta testing the new, soon to be launched, AQS iquilt online class site. Of course I jumped at the chance (the hard part was I had to promise not to blog about it until the class went live and I got the okay). I had to make a really tough choice between which instructor’s class I would like to take. I chose Judi Madsen AKA Green Fairy Quilts. I had just lamented to a friend that I would love to take a class from Judi- hoping she would be coming to the new AQS show this year in Daytona Beach, Florida (they still haven’t announced the classes). If you don’t know who Judi is (you must be living under a rock  🙂 ), check out her website http://greenfairyquilts.com/ or better yet go to Pinterest and search Green Fairy Quilts or Judi Madsen for an extensive library of her beautiful quilting.
Anyway – back to the class…Judi’s class is called Quilting Makes a Difference. Even though this is a free motion quilting class that is taught on a longarm, I felt that most of what she taught I could apply to the sit-down quilter. Judi takes you through 2 small quilt tops in 2 different styles of quilting, one traditional and one modern. There is some basic straight ruler work in both quilts (if I can do this you can too).a pictrue of using a quilt template to outline stitch around quilt

a picture of using the handiquilter versa tool to do basic ruler work

I Finished the traditional one (being a feather girl I couldn’t resist), and have started quilting the modern quilt and hope to have that done in a week or so (we’ll have to see how busy life gets).
This is a great class but as a sit down quilter I thought you may find these suggestions helpful.
• Stitch in the ditch the whole quilt first.
• I chose to stitch out the quilt in the order that she did her sample (after SIDing the whole quilt)  following along with the video- which Judi started with the border first (which is way normal for a longarmer). I pin basted, used a little temporary quilt adhesive spray in between quilt layers and SID, which stabilized it just fine- I had no shifting. If I was going to do a larger quilt, as a sit down quilter, I would not start in the border- I would have started more central in the quilt.
• In the corner scrolled/feather motif I found it a bit easier to get my spacing of the feathers in each corner a little more even by dividing the corner into ¼ sections.

a picture dividing the triangle areas into 1/4th sections helped keep my feathers evenly distributed
dividing the triangle areas into 1/4th sections helped keep my feathers evenly distributed

• Mark your border boundaries before you start quilting. Give yourself a little wiggle room for when you get wild with your feathers making sure your binding doesn’t cover any feathery wonderfulness 🙂
• Turn your quilt frequently- I don’t care what anyone says about not turning your quilt- if you can’t see it- you can’t accurately quilt it.
• Having said that- if you are quilting on a sit down longarm, be aware of the direction that you are quilting in. Your best stitch quality is usually left to right if you are facing the sewing head as in the HandiQuilter Sweet 16 , or pulling the quilt straight toward you as on my APQS George or other quilting machines that orient as a traditional domestic sewing machine. Pushing my quilt through the throat space toward the back of the machine causes a bit more problems…I’m not saying never  go in that direction…just be aware.
• Seeing my stitches is difficult with white on white fabric at certain times of the day. I found it easier to quilt losing my progressive prescription glasses and putting on a pair of cheater magnifier readers instead. It gives me a larger magnified area to view my work….. (I know it all sounds so…old lol)
• Lastly-I would watch the whole class through once, then set your computer up in your sewing area where you can pause the class as you follow along or back it up and review sections that you may need to spend a little more time on
Please take a moment to click through and visit the iquilt site and check out the great classes that they are offering. We can never have enough of this great instruction being piped directly into our homes. It is through American Quilter’s Society generosity that I am able to offer Judi Madsen’s class Quilting Makes A Difference to one lucky reader. Please show them some internet love and give them a look.
To register to win, just leave me a comment or subscribe to my blog before midnight 11/20/2015. Please make sure that your security settings allow me to reply to your email. I will make every effort to contact you through the email you provided. If you have any questions leave a comment or email at thequiltjournal@gmail.com .
Best of luck and happy quilting….I’m off to finish my modern sample!

Linking up with Lorna over at Let’s be Social 

Grabaroo’s Quilting Gloves Give Away!


A picture of my grabaroo's quilting gloves

As quilters we all have our favorite quilting aides. Some of us like hoops or rings to help us guide our fabric, some prefer aloe or certain brands of moisturizing creams that leave your hand a bit sticky, and above all else,  a lot of us love our quilting gloves. Today I’m going to talk about my new best friend when I quilt, my Grabaroo ‘s quilting gloves .
Quilting as much as I do and doing posts and videos for my blog, I am always acutely aware of how dirty my gloves get.  I was always buying a new pair because there is only so much washing (and they were a hand wash item) my gloves can take before they just didn’t look clean and I needed to bump to a new pair. I even tried buying them off eBay directly from China….all I can say is you get what you pay for… The fabric wasn’t as soft and the coating on the tips not as “grippy”. Then I stopped by my local quilt shop about 6 weeks ago and noticed she was stocking the Grabaroo’s gloves….the rest was history!
 The First thing you notice is Grabaroo’s are a deep purple- that alone is reason to buy them !- in 6 weeks I haven’t washed mine yet! ( I see on their website they are now making them in black too…maybe they will make me look thin 🙂 )
 Grabaroo’s are made of a high quality material-a soft nylon with a little spandex for a comfortable stretch that do not make my hands hot.
 The grips on the tips of each finger are made from PVC and are really grippy
 They are machine washable
 If you go to www.grabaroo’s and click the more info button below the gloves, a sizing chart pops up to help you pick the right size for your hands

a picture of purple Grabaroo's quilting gloves
This week I am so thankful to be able to offer you the chance to win a free pair of Grabaroo’s quilting gloves. Just leave a comment on this post telling what your favorite, must have item is for your quilting (it can be anything -your favorite music, thread, gloves…whatever) A random drawing will be done next Friday 9/18/2015 at 7am. Also a 20% discount off Grabaroo’s is available for this week if you call them directly to place your order at 813-792-8600 or 877-310-(GRAB)4722 and mention The Quilt Journal. This is a great chance to stock up or just to try one of my favorite things ! Thanks Miriam at Grabaroo’s!!
Have a great week and Happy Quilting!
PS: I do not have any financial relationship with Grabaroo’s what-so-ever. This is purely a product I like. One of the main goals of my blog is the sharing of information that helps all of us on our quilting journey.

Review of The Quilter’s Groove Rulers

This week I wanted to take a little time to play around with The Quilter’s Groove Rulers that are from Lisa Calle. My review of the Quilter’s Groove Ruler is from a sit-down quilting perspective,  but some of the information applies to the stand-up longarmer as well.

The ruler fit very well on my Baby Lock Ellisimo with a generic ruler foot on. The presser foot has enough lift that I can simply slide the ruler under the foot and into the channel or groove.

The groove does not fit snugly around your foot (like the Line Tamer) , so initially you have to remind yourself to keep a little bit of pressure on the ruler, keeping it bumped up against the stitching side of the channel/groove.   The ProLine 4 is meant to give 1/4″ lines , but you easily use it to make 1/2″ lines as well- simply by moving the position of the ruler foot from the stitching side of the channel, to the side you bump up against twice (this will make more sense when you watch the video).

On my APQS George, I felt that because of the way APQS makes their ruler feet (even the new ones)  The Quilter’s Groove was best used in a left to right orientation.  On the George, there is a tiny bump on the top of the hopping foot where in connects to the shaft portion of the foot. This little bump keeps the ruler from bumping up flush against the right side of the APQS George’s ruler foot- keeping it about 1/8″ away.

a picture showing a space to right of the hopping foot of the APQS George in the review of the Quilter's Groove
Note the space to the right side of the hopping foot on my sit-down longarm (APQS George) which ultimately effects line spacing

Having played with Handi Quilter’s Sweet 16 with the Line Tamer, I feel that the Quilter’s Groove would fit all the way around the hopping foot without any obstruction or irregularities. Each of us knows our machine’s ruler feet and how rulers/templates fit around it normally( do you usually have clearance to fit a 1/4″ template to the rear of your machine, or do you have to work with rulers in a vertical position?)

Quilter’s Groove also comes in  sizes ranging from 1″ to 1/16″ for straight rulers and a good variety of curved ruler sizes as well ( rulers that are only a 1/8″ to  1/16″ really hard to find!).  The bottom line is , I think that this is another good tool that makes our life as quilters easier. For more information on this and other Quilter’s Groove rulers please visit Lisa Calle’s Website.

Thanks for stopping by,
Happy Quilting,