How do I quilt with rulers on my sewing machine?

You must have what is referred to as a Ruler Foot for your machine. This foot is round with a high edge to allow quilting rulers to slide along the foot as you quilt, using the ruler to guide the shape of the line of stitching. A regular free motion quilting foot is not sufficient as the ruler could easily slip over or under the machine foot and under the needle. This will certainly break the needle and may throw the machine out of time, requiring a trip to the service tech. A ruler foot is typically 1/2 inch in diameter with at least 1/4 high sides.

Where do I find a ruler foot for my machine? 

Janome is the first sewing machine company to have a ruler foot for it's domestic sewing machines. We sell this Janome Ruler Foot combination here and many other quilters have used the Janome version on their different brands of sewing machine. It is important to match up the machine shank type when doing so.

As the interest in quilting with rulers grew, an enterprising company in Australia created their own version of a ruler foot. The Westalee Ruler Foot Set is sold here and has a version to fit nearly every brand and model of machine, including Bernina with the use of the #77 shank adapter and the low shank Westalee foot.

Many sit down long arm and mid arm machines already have ruler feet available for their machines. Check with your dealer. Bernina now has a ruler foot for their newer machines.

Do I need a high shank, low shank or other foot for my machine?

If you do not know what shank your machine is, all you need to do is lower your foot and then measure the height of the center of the hole for the screw from the needle plate. We offer 4 Different Foot styles and 2 different thicknesses of templates for Domestic machines based on shank height. Please always indicated machine make and model so we can confirm we are sending you the correct foot.
Here's a blog post with pictures from Amy's blog on determining shank type.
There are some machines who require a different version:
Westalee Medium Shank Ruler Foot: for a selection of Pfaff Machines that have a Dynamic Setting: Creative Sensation Pro, Creative Sensation, Creative Vision, Creative Performance, Creative 4.5, 4.0, 3.0, 2.0, Performance 5.0, Quilt Expression 4.2, 4.0, Expression 3.5, 3.2, 3.0, 2.0, Expression 150.

Other Pfaff models use the Low Shank Foot.

Westalee High Shank Special Foot:
Pfaff 1200 Grand Quilter, Husqvarna Mega Quilter, Brother PQ1300 PQ1300 PQ1500S, Janome 1600P 1600P-DB 1600-QC, Singer 2OU 31-15, Babylock BLQP BL500A, JUKI DDL-227 DDL-555 DDL-8700 TL-98E TL-98P TL-98QE TL2000Qi TL2010.
Ruler feet from Westalee and Janome are not compatible with slant shank machines.
Will any type of ruler work?
No. For ruler work to get the best results, you'll want to use special acrylic rulers or templates with good accurate markings. Additionally there are considerations regarding thickness of the ruler...read on!
What's the deal with ruler thickness?
First it depends on the type of machine and ruler foot. If you have a hopping-style foot (none sold here are hopping type) you need to use thicker rulers usually 1/4 inch thick to keep the ruler from hopping over or under the foot. We do sell rulers and templates that are 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick and long arm rulers that are 5 mm thick as thinner templates and rulers are new to the market and these thicker rulers work fine for all machines to the front and side of the ruler foot. Low shank sewing machines do need a thinner ruler behind the foot.
Low shank machines have less clearance behind the foot and under the presser foot bar so it is best to use a thinner ruler with these machines. Most long arm rulers are too thick to be safely used behind the foot of a low shank machine. Additionally a little extra clearance behind the foot for high shank machines is helpful. Westalee sells both 3 mm and 4.5 mm templates and recommends the use of 3 mm templates for low shank machines. It is our opinion here at Amy's Quilting Adventures that the 4.5 mm templates are the best of all templates for domestic sewing machines. Certain ruler shapes are made to travel around all sides of a ruler foot. We carry 3mm thick versions of these rulers as well as the 4.5mm thickness.
High shank machines can usually use rulers up to 6mm (1/4 inch) behind the foot but can use as thin as 4.5 mm rulers too. The Janome 6600 and 7700 machines are high shank machines that benefit from the 4.5 mm templates as the accufeed system can interfere with the thicker rulers behind the foot. 
Machines that have an auto presser foot lift can be troublesome when it comes to ruler work. Because of the height of the ruler foot itself, there is reduced clearance between the needle clamp and the foot. Rule #1 for ruler work is to never raise the foot while the needle is down or lower the needle while the foot is up. Because of this, it is important to either wait until there is a ruler foot for these auto lift machines, or make sure the auto lift is turned off/unused.

Why don't you carry the 3 mm rulers from Westalee?

See the above paragraph. Additionally, this is a small home based business and I can't possibly stock everything from the get-go. Will this change eventually? Maybe. We do carry 3mm Westalee rulers in the items that we feel need to be used often behind the foot.

Why don't you have more of the Westalee line of rulers?

Again, this is a small home based business and their product selection is great. I do carry the templates that find to be the most versatile and useful. It is amazing how many designs can be made from just basic rulers. We can special order anything from their line for you!

Where can I find more information about quilting with rulers?

I'm glad you asked. Visit our blog Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventures for all kinds of free information primarily about quilting with rulers and free motion quilting in general.

Additionally, Amy teaches a class on ruler work at Craftsy. This class, Quilting with Rulers on a Home machine goes into great detail about ruler feet, rulers and templates, and designs with rulers. The Craftsy class platform allows you access to a forum to post questions to me and share your projects, plus you can read the questions asked and answers received by previous students. (There are links on our home page for 50% off Amy's classes.

Also visit the "About Us" page for links to more information about ruler work.

I've read the suggested information, but still have a question. Will you help me?

You bet! That's what I'm here for. Shoot me an email by clicking on this link Amy AT amysquiltingadventures DOT com  or by entering the information in your email program, changing out the AT and DOT.