Tag Archives: free motion quilting on a sit down 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,

Free Motion Swirling Flowers


I am finally carving out a bit of time up in my sewing room. After much doodling I decided on doing some free motion swirling flowers in the white background areas. I used a modified flower embroidery design in the center of each block and I was looking for something that  just “felt right” . Two of some of the talented people I follow for free motion quilting inspiration are Lori Kennedy at the theinboxjaunt.com and Patsy Thompson’s wonderful tutorials on YouTube, her site www.Patsythompsondesigns.com and both of their Craftsy classes . They are two of the most talented, creative quilters out there. I feel that the free motion swirling flowers were a direct result of Lori’s Dizzy Daisy motif and Patsy Thompson’s Plumify technique  from her Ultimate Free-Motion Feathers  on Craftsy . I love the movement in Patsy’s Plumify and at the same time love all the swirls thrown in on Lori’s Dizzy Daisy. The addition of the swirls, “Cs” and echo quilting make this an easy fill that is so pretty.

a picture ofFree motion flower swirls done in 40 wt Glide
I normally try to change the direction of the swirls, but my camera battery was dying while I was stitching……just too much distraction!

I thought I would do a quick tutorial on what I’m currently doing on this quilt……before time passes and I have to scratch my head and figure out the motif again! I will also add the drawing to my notebook of quick  designs that I like. It’s amazing when you thumb through how many you forget about!
I am loving the texture that the quilting is bringing to the white background areas on my quilt. Is it quilted to death?…..You bet!…. But if that isn’t your thing, simply change up the scale to a larger motif and cover even more real-estate on your quilt more quickly.

a picture of the free motion flower swirls and the texture it creates on my quilt
Close up of the texture this motif has on my white on white background

I hope all of you guys are getting in some great quilting time- I have sure missed talking with you all!


Review of Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book

This week’s post is a review of  Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book by Amanda Murphy. I hadn’t heard of or seen this book before, but came upon it one night while I was surfing the web.

a picture of Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book By Amanda Murphy
Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book By Amanda Murphy

As a side note, a quilting buddy shared an internet shopping tip a month or so ago. She said to put the things that you are interested in buying your cart and wait 24 hours before you return to purchase. A lot of the times, 24 hours later, you may feel like you can live without that wonderful gizmo or whatever… (she also just informed me that doesn’t apply to online sales – LOL- in that case you can wait an hour or so to see if you feel the same about it – thanks Kathy!  ,you have saved me a lot of $$). This tip alone is worth reading this post if you practice it!
Anyway, back to the book 🙂 .  I read the glowing reviews on Amazon and dropped it in my cart…. playing by the rules not to purchase for at least 24 hours. 
I happened to be going to my quilting group the next day and asked another friend if she had the book and if she liked it. She equally gave it a good review , so it got moved from my shopping cart to a purchase -she’s a talented quilter in her own right so I respect her endorsements (how many books have you purchased sight unseen only to feel lukewarm about when you held it in your hot little hand?- more than I care to admit!).

Now that my book has come (don’t you love getting packages in the mail ??!!) and I have had time to really give it a good look, I have to say that Amanda Murphy did a good job. This book takes a lot of traditionally pieced blocks and shows you several different ways to quilt them – with simple doable motifs. This is a great book for both beginners or those that have been free motion quilting a while and just need some inspiration ( come on….we have all been there…your quilt is done and you have been looking at it forever….and ….nada…nope…nothing..).
Amanda organizes her ideas by indexing by quilt element (blocks like churn dash or pin wheel) or designs by family (loops, back and forth etc) . This makes it easy for you to find inspiration for a specific block, or just go with a “feel” like….something swirly or hearts.
Many times Amanda breaks the block design down step by step showing how she would stitch the design out. In fairness I have to say, some her photos of the quilts are a little hard to see the quilting, but the real emphasis of the book is her drawings /diagrams. Her book has 155 “mix and match” designs and 30 blocks plus some sashing and border ideas.
The Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book will go on my bookshelf alongside by doodle book and a few other  late night shopping acquisitions that I keep to jar my memory when I am having that “deer in the headlights” moment and can’t think what to quilt next.
( click on the link above to go to her blog to get a preview)
So….are you guys late night or daytime impulse shoppers??

Have you had a recent quilt that has just left you scratching your head wondering what to quilt on it??
Hoping your bobbin is always half full,

a picture 5 different designs using Accents in Design for a little Ellipse template design inspiration as my framework to free motion quilt

Ellipse Template Design Inspiration

A few weeks ago I got an email from a reader that had just purchased an Accents in Design Fine Line Ellipse Template. She had posed the question as to what else can she do beyond the obvious when it came to design options. My response….lots!! 🙂 I hope you find a little Ellipse Template Design inspiration!!

I had been thinking about re-doing one of my first videos that was about the Fine Line Ellipse template….my lighting/ angle/ lens, was not quite worked out yet, to say the least. I stitched this in contrasting thread once again for visibility during the video- it does show every little wobble, but I think it would be lovely in a complimentary thread color.

Ellipse template Design inspiration showing 5 designs stitched out
5 different designs using Accents in Design Ellipse template as my framework to free motion quilt

I Love this template. It is a No- Brainer- a go to  when it comes to borders. It’s an easy design answer to almost any flavor quilt you may have. Just change up your fill pattern. Keeping it simple for busy fabrics , baby quilts or heavy use throws….just go with the template outline- in one, two or three passes.
But if you want to put your stamp on a quilt, then start doodling and thinking about filling that space of the ellipse.
I have to say that I do love the ole artistic value of 3. My favorite motif is when I divide this design into 3 and then fill-er-up! Play around with it…I have done the peace sign /pie slice division of space- let your imagination go with it!

a picture ofDoodles- They're not supposed to perfect....just inspirational and helpful to get the muscle memory going!
Doodles- They’re not supposed to perfect….just inspirational and helpful to get the muscle memory going!

I sat in front of the TV, while my family watched“Lord of the Rings”, doodling away. I have pages of combos using different fillers (no you won’t find Frodo in one of my motifs 🙂 …) I encourage you to sit ,relaxed and doodle- see how many combinations you can think of. These are all designs that we all know how to do- easy- peasy!!

Happy Quilting my friends!