Trying to Rock Rulers: Begin at the Beginning

Beginning on ruler work, I have decided, seems much harder than it looks.  Maybe hard is not the correct terminology.  There are just so many things to remember.  Here are some of the key points I have learned!

  • There are videos out there by the manufacturer of your ruler to show you some tips about the usage of said ruler.  Take advantage of them!
Ruler Cable1

Parr Cable Ruler

Parr’s website address is carved right on to their rulers.  I checked out the video for the use of this cable ruler and took note of the high points.  Of course I missed a crucial point when doing a long length of the continuous cable.  That is when you get to the end, you need to flip it around to keep going, not wiggle back to the starting end.  Oops!  I am familiar with un-sewing.

  • Those lines on the ruler are they to help you with placement and they are oh so helpful once you figure them out!

Those lines are for multiple uses, I discovered.  Those at the very end show you where your needle will start/stop sewing.  The curved lines on each side of the well/ditch are used for matching up on the second pass of stitching.  And those same lines for matching up on the second pass also work for stopping your needle in mid-cable!  Who knew?!  Well, I do now, and so do you.

Ruler Cable2

Cable on the sashing strips

  • Use of those reference points to move the ruler

In the picture above, you can see that I had to move the ruler once to fill the space.  I used those nifty lines in the center of the ruler!  The one helped determine where the needle stopped once I aligned the stitching points.  I was able to stitch to the end of the ruler ditch, and the pattern fit fairly well in the designated space.   I still need to figure out how to determine where to start in the space so that the design ends up centered . . .

Ruler Alignment

Ruler aligned on first stitching lines

  • Missing on these rulers are some reference lines along the straight edges

These missing reference lines would be SO helpful for ensuring your placement is straight and especially as you sew a long stretch.  Note to self – look for that in future ruler purchases.  In the mean time, I think I can etch some reference lines or points in them myself.  I just eyeballed the placement using the long website name.

  • You do not want or need to push down hard on the ruler!

I discovered during my second attempt (after unsewing mentioned above) that if one pushes down too hard on the ruler, the ruler foot jumps over said ruler and the needle breaks.  Oh!  A lighter touch is much better, and really the ruler doesn’t need a death grip on it.  It’s really not going anywhere.  You do however need to keep you fingers out of the way of the needle knob – one wrap from that gives you a start, but you remember to keep you hands flat after that!

  • Use rubber grips – they really assist with the death grip issue stated above

Once you get the ruler in place, and get the ruler foot lined up where you want it in the well/groove, the rubber grips do their job.  They make special little circles just for this purpose (or some rulers come with them).  I put two one the cable ruler – one on each end on opposite sides.

Ruler Grips

  • Make a quilting plan before starting

I printed out a picture of the quilt top and made notes on it as far as my quilting plan.  Here’s what my notes look like:

Runner Quilting Plan

I tried to stitch each block without a lot of starting and stopping, which seemed to work well for the most part.


That’s the end of sharing my beginning ruler experiment for now.  I plan on trying the chevron ruler in the navy border but I doubt there will anything worthwhile to share.  I have plenty of rulers yet to try, so stay tuned for part II of rocking the rulers!


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15 Responses

  1. Roseanne, I think you did a great job with your rulers! Woohoo! I’ve never used rulers with grooves like that, only straight rulers. I’m impressed! 🙂

  2. farmquilter says:

    Oh, dear, bitten by the ruler bug!!! I quilt on a longarm and have a zillion rulers that I love to use!! One hint, if your ruler doesn’t have the straight registration lines to line up on a seam or the edge of your quilt, use blue painters tape – it doesn’t leave residue, re-positions easily but stays where you put it – on the top of the ruler to be your registration line. Even with the etched lines on some of my rulers, they aren’t always where I want/need them to be so I have a roll of painters tape in my quilting room all the time! Your cable looks great…next time I would love to see a double cable 🙂 nothing like a challenge, right? I can’t quilt at all on my DSM and yours looks awesome!!!

    • Roseanne says:

      WOW – thanks for the great suggestions! Painter’s tape – that is a fabulous idea. Ooh, and it that a challenge for a double cable?! HAHA – it never occurred to me to try that but yes, that would have looked great. Hmm, now and thing to figure out how to center two sets of the cable in the allotted space. Thanks so much for the tips!! ~smile~ Roseanne

  3. Kathryn says:

    Fantastic. I am at this point in time not going to use rulers but you never know. Love how this turned out.

    • Roseanne says:

      Hi Kathryn,
      I didn’t KNOW I was going to use rulers. HAHA! Our friend Carol took us to a ruler sale, and so I felt compelled to buy some. Now I have to learn to use them . . . and here we are. ~smile~ Roseanne

  4. Liz W. says:

    Great post, and your cable work looks really beautiful! Good luck on your ruler adventures.

    • Roseanne says:

      Hi Liz,
      Aww, thanks so much. Plenty of room for improvement but we all know it’s a process or journey. ~smile~ Roseanne

  5. Vicki in MN says:

    Even though I don’t quilt on my domestic, I still enjoyed your post. Yes rulers with lots of registration lines are helpful, not only straight but on the diagonal too! You are just experiencing the tip of the iceberg!!

    • Roseanne says:

      Hi Vicki,
      Oh yes, I forgot about diagonal lines. I didn’t need them in this particular setting, but they would definitely be helpful. ~smile~ Roseanne

  6. Shannon Fleming says:

    All good points you have made. I don’t use rulers much. It’s way too much work!

    • Roseanne says:

      Hi Shannon,
      HAHA – you may have hit upon the most important point. It may prove to be too much work . . . but we’ll see. ~smile~ Roseanne

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