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Thread: Rulers and guides for Long Arm quilting

  1. #1
    Super Member bamamama's Avatar
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    Before I spend another small fortune on rulers, guides and templates (still broke from purchasing the machine)I was wondering if some of the more experienced Long Arm Quilters could recommend a good starter package of rulers, etc. that are the most helpful to a beginner. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I love the Gadget Girls (thegadgetgirls.com). I use several of their rulers all the time. I particularly like the circles. I often do feathers. I also like the straight edge ruler. Another favorite is the one for making swags.

  3. #3
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    cool stuff! Wow are rulers really that expensive though? I was looking at some of their package deals. I am also a soon to be LA owner.

  4. #4
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    The tool I find most helpful to a LA beginner is practice. I find the template tools just too pricey at this stage of the game. Besides I like the look of free hand guided. When I took delivery of my machine, I did spring for a straight edge ruler though. I think a straight ruler might be the most universal LA template.

  5. #5
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    yes rulers and templates are expensive because they have to be 1/4" thick, don't make the mistake I did, I thought I found a really good deal, they were like 1/2 the prices I'd seen elsewhere! so I bought several sets for $75, when I got them I realized that they were DESIGNING templates, only 1/8" thick! A must have is a stitch in the ditch, I've heard a lot about the linetamer (haven't bought it yet tho) and there is a 4 in 1 tool that I see used a lot, I do have that one

  6. #6

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    I have used my circle set a bunch and the straight ruler for in the ditch work. I also have a flower that I have used on a bunch of stuff. My approach was to buy a few that I knew I could use and then try to use them in as many ways /designs as I could.

  7. #7
    Super Member StitchinJoy's Avatar
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    I rarely use rulers. I do mostly freehand and custom work with very few pantographs.

    I use rulers for stitching in the ditch. I have two that I use most often, the one that came with my A-1 Elite longarm machine and a nice little Megan Best ruler. I love the little ruler because it fits my hand so well, and also because it has a quarter inch cutout along the side. That allows me to hold the ruler on the seamline, while the machine stitches in the ditch. You can get it at http://www.bestquilter.com/2.html

    When I want to make straight lines (not stitching in the ditch), I prefer not to use a ruler at all. I prefer MARKING the straight lines on the top with chalk, either by drawing with a piece of school chalk or by pouncing with chalk.

    I find the stencil by Pam Clarke, with straight lines one inch apart, is one of the most useful tools in my workroom. I use it for piano key and beadboard borders and also for marking small spaces for crosshatching, like behind applique.
    http://www.homestitches.com

    I'm not affiliated with these women or their companies.

  8. #8
    Super Member sewwhat85's Avatar
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    that is great info thanks

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic
    The tool I find most helpful to a LA beginner is practice. I find the template tools just too pricey at this stage of the game. Besides I like the look of free hand guided. When I took delivery of my machine, I did spring for a straight edge ruler though. I think a straight ruler might be the most universal LA template.
    I agree with feline here - practice is the most valuable of all the tools you can have.

    I went to a 3 day longarm class thru my Gammill distrubutor and we did free motion and custom using basically easy things you would normally have at home as guides. The one I really liked was the 1 inch strip of tape that has about 1/8 or maybe 1/4 inch of foam on it and you tape it to your top and use that as a guide for your hopping foot. Great for doing cross hatch and etc. Plus you can reuse each stripe numerous times. We made a practice quilt top by having 9 squares that were 8 or 9 inches squares and 3 x 3 then in each of those squares you practice one little element like making little feathers, or the crosshatching, or taking a jar lid and stitching around it just to get comfortable making designs. Do you have micro handles for your longarm? They make alot of difference too.

    Good luck,
    Sherryl
    Candlequilter

  10. #10
    Super Member suezquilts's Avatar
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    I didn't read all the posts, but what I did was went to the glass specialists and had them cut me a few rulers, round ones for the center of feathers, and straight ones around 3 inches wide. I did this for a fraction of the cost, and then I went hog wild and purchased Gadgit Girls and several others.
    Which I sold after I purchased the Statler... lots of $ invested in the rulers...

  11. #11
    Super Member bamamama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by suezquilts
    I didn't read all the posts, but what I did was went to the glass specialists and had them cut me a few rulers, round ones for the center of feathers, and straight ones around 3 inches wide. I did this for a fraction of the cost, and then I went hog wild and purchased Gadgit Girls and several others.
    Which I sold after I purchased the Statler... lots of $ invested in the rulers...
    I have a really good friend who is in the laser engraving business.....I'll have to pay him a visit.

  12. #12
    Super Member bamamama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by candlequilter
    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic
    The tool I find most helpful to a LA beginner is practice. I find the template tools just too pricey at this stage of the game. Besides I like the look of free hand guided. When I took delivery of my machine, I did spring for a straight edge ruler though. I think a straight ruler might be the most universal LA template.
    I agree with feline here - practice is the most valuable of all the tools you can have.

    I went to a 3 day longarm class thru my Gammill distrubutor and we did free motion and custom using basically easy things you would normally have at home as guides. The one I really liked was the 1 inch strip of tape that has about 1/8 or maybe 1/4 inch of foam on it and you tape it to your top and use that as a guide for your hopping foot. Great for doing cross hatch and etc. Plus you can reuse each stripe numerous times. We made a practice quilt top by having 9 squares that were 8 or 9 inches squares and 3 x 3 then in each of those squares you practice one little element like making little feathers, or the crosshatching, or taking a jar lid and stitching around it just to get comfortable making designs. Do you have micro handles for your longarm? They make alot of difference too.

    Good luck,
    Sherryl
    Candlequilter
    No micro handles, I'll have to look into that eventually, I am terrible at the really small stuff like stippling. I like the idea of using tape and other household items as guides. Just don't want to waste $$$ on things that I won't use. I am taking a class on feathers and drawing ALOT and practicing NON STOP! I love it!

  13. #13
    Super Member suezquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bamamama
    Quote Originally Posted by suezquilts
    I didn't read all the posts, but what I did was went to the glass specialists and had them cut me a few rulers, round ones for the center of feathers, and straight ones around 3 inches wide. I did this for a fraction of the cost, and then I went hog wild and purchased Gadgit Girls and several others.
    Which I sold after I purchased the Statler... lots of $ invested in the rulers...
    I have a really good friend who is in the laser engraving business.....I'll have to pay him a visit.
    It really was reasonable. I gave my home made ones to a friend who purchased a longarm, I got my $12 out of them.
    The glass guy made several circles, and 3X ? rulers. 3 inches seem to be the right size to hold onto. Check out my website, many of the photos are done free hand without the computer. The ones in the slideshows are mostly computerized.

  14. #14
    Super Member StitchinJoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bamamama
    No micro handles, I'll have to look into that eventually, I am terrible at the really small stuff like stippling. I like the idea of using tape and other household items as guides. Just don't want to waste $$$ on things that I won't use. I am taking a class on feathers and drawing ALOT and practicing NON STOP! I love it!
    Are you going into business? If you are planning on doing your own and love stippling, go for it. If you're quilting for others, I'd suggest you wait and see what your market dictates. See what type of quilting designs the people in your region prefer.

    I've found very few quilters in my area want who want me to do stippling; I think it's because they stipple their own quilts at home on their domestic machines. I've stippled less than 6 client quilts in 6 years of business, and I do hundreds of quilts. Most quilters here prefer a pretty freehand or custom.

    The only quilters who have asked for miccro-stippling wanted it behind stars or NY Beauty blocks, or as filler behind applique. Since I micro-stipple so infrequently, I haven't bought the micro-handles.

    It's easy to read all the longarm digests and websites and feel like you need every gadget and template and feature out there. But it's best to wait and see what your own particular style is, and then get whatever tools YOU need.

  15. #15
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic
    The tool I find most helpful to a LA beginner is practice. I find the template tools just too pricey at this stage of the game. Besides I like the look of free hand guided. When I took delivery of my machine, I did spring for a straight edge ruler though. I think a straight ruler might be the most universal LA template.
    Yes mom I will practice. LOL. But I want toys and gadgets! Why must the voice of reason ring so true. :) :D

  16. #16
    Senior Member MamaHen's Avatar
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    I bought a few rulers to start off, and as I find others I think I might enjoy and can afford I buy one at a time. But Mostly I free hand, and stitch in the ditch, and practice, practice, practice.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by StitchinJoy
    Quote Originally Posted by bamamama
    No micro handles, I'll have to look into that eventually, I am terrible at the really small stuff like stippling. I like the idea of using tape and other household items as guides. Just don't want to waste $$$ on things that I won't use. I am taking a class on feathers and drawing ALOT and practicing NON STOP! I love it!
    Are you going into business? If you are planning on doing your own and love stippling, go for it. If you're quilting for others, I'd suggest you wait and see what your market dictates. See what type of quilting designs the people in your region prefer.

    I've found very few quilters in my area want who want me to do stippling; I think it's because they stipple their own quilts at home on their domestic machines. I've stippled less than 6 client quilts in 6 years of business, and I do hundreds of quilts. Most quilters here prefer a pretty freehand or custom.

    The only quilters who have asked for miccro-stippling wanted it behind stars or NY Beauty blocks, or as filler behind applique. Since I micro-stipple so infrequently, I haven't bought the micro-handles.

    It's easy to read all the longarm digests and websites and feel like you need every gadget and template and feature out there. But it's best to wait and see what your own particular style is, and then get whatever tools YOU need.
    I use my micro handles for just about any of my free motion custom quilting. They give me alot better feel of control and movement. I do very little micro stippling, but use my handles all the time.

    Thanks,
    Sherryl
    Candlequilter

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