I am primarily motivated by deadlines. A looming deadline is the main reason I get anything done.
I am secondarily motivated by guilt. My sister made a beautiful, original quilt top several years ago. I remember when she bought the fabric during one of our mini family reunions (just my mom, my sister, and I) at the Houston Quilt Festival. A couple years later she asked if I could quilt it for her. I hesitated and said yes, but told her it would have to wait until after whatever deadline I was working on at that moment. If I remember correctly, that was in early 2012, before sweet hubby’s stroke, before Amalya, before my father passed away, before my mother-in-law passed away, before Hazel was born, basically…before.
I put my sister’s quilt top up on my design wall so I could savor the guilt regularly. She even gave it to me already layered and basted. I had no excuse, other than I didn’t really want to quilt a queen size project on my regular machine, and I was not on good terms with George. This week I decided I wanted to get rid of my guilt, and also get this quilt back to my patient sister by finishing it in time for her May birthday.
I decided to use this project as an opportunity to learn how to quilt with a ruler. My sister’s quilt has dark squares which I decided to quilt with horizontal parallel straight lines. These represent bricks or stones. I will quilt the light squares with vertical curves and swirls to represent water.
I have a Fine Line Quilter’s Straight Ruler that I wanted to use. I really liked the peg-like finger grips on the top of the ruler. They made it so easy to keep the ruler steady and to move it to new positions. With this ruler, I found I could easily stitch a beautiful straight line in any direction. If I try to freehand a straight line, especially from side to side, I inevitably get a wavy line. I also appreciated the parallel lines that are incised into the ruler. It made it so easy to make perfect parallel rows of stitches 1/2″ apart.
One thing that makes this ruler different is the “resistance strip” that is on the bottom of the ruler. It is basically the prickly part of a piece of velcro. It works beautifully for keeping the ruler anchored in place while stitching. For my project, however, the velcro kept pulling on the basting stitches. I ended up stitching along the main components of the design so the entire quilt was stabilized and then I pulled out all of the basting. After that, everything went much quicker.
I haven’t used this ruler yet with my more typical pin basting, but I imagine there might be additional issues, but nothing insurmountable. In any case, I definitely will be exploring ruler work more in the future.